Christopher N. Matthews

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Background 1

Christopher N. Matthews is associate professor of anthropology at Hofstra University and Director of the Center for Public Archaeology. He earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University in 1998. He has been associate director of Archaeology in Annapolis, director of the Greater New Orleans Archaeology Program, and laboratory supervisor at the American Museum of Natural History. 1


Education 1

  • Ph.D. Columbia University, Anthropology, 1998

Dissertation: The Making of the Annapolis Landscape: An Archaeology of History
and Tradition

  • M.A. Columbia University, Anthropology, 1991
  • B.A. George Washington University, Anthropology, 1989

Research Focus 1

His research focuses on American historical archaeology, with a special emphasis on the archaeology of captivity and freedom, the archaeology of capitalism, and the public meanings of archaeology. His research in Maryland illustrates that the preservation of the Annapolis landscape has been a key site for the negotiation and reproduction of traditional class- and race-based inequalities since the 18th century. He also has undertaken important research on the role of public outreach and community engagement in producing archaeology that afford descendent and local communities access to the process of making history. 1

Research Interest 1

American Historical Archaeology, African Diaspora Archaeology, Heritage Studies,
Community Archaeology, Public Archaeology, Archaeological Theory, Social
Construction of Race, Creolization, Tourism, Landscape
Regions: Northeastern United States, Lower Mississippi Valley, Chesapeake.

Selected Publications 2


The Archaeology of American Capitalism. University Press of Florida, 2010.

An Archaeology of History and Tradition: Moments of Danger in the Annapolis Landscape. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press, New York., 2002.

Reviews of An Archaeology of History and Tradition

Ethnographic Archaeologies: Reflections on Stakeholders and Archaeological Practices. Quetzil E. Castañeda and Christopher N. Matthews, Editors. AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek, CA. 2008.

Articles 2

Archaeologies of Poverty” Speical Issue of Historical Archaeology 45(3), edited by Christopher N.Matthews and Suzanne Spencer-Wood. 2011.

Lonely Islands: Culture, Comnmunity, and Poverty in Archaeoplogical Perspective.Historical Archaoelogy 45(3):41-54.

Emancipation Landscapes: Archaeologies of Racial Modernity and the Public Sphere in Early New York. In Historical Archaeology and The Importance of Material Things, II, Mark P.Leone and Julie Schablitsky, eds., pp. 69-92. Society for Historial Archaoelogy, 2011.

Black History as Property: A Critique of the Making of a Post-Civil Rights L:andscape, with Eric L. Larsen. In The Materiality of Freedom: Archaeologies of Postemancipation Life, Jodi A. Barnes, ed., pp. 26-46. University of South Carolina Press, 2011.

Secularism as Ideology: Exploring Assumptions of Cultural Equivalence in Museum Repatriation, with Kurt A. Jordan. In Ideologies in Archaeology, Reinhard Bernbeck and Randall H. McGuire, eds. pp. 212-32. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. 2011.

Freedom as a Negotiated History, or an Alternative Sort of Event: The Transformation of Home, Work, and Self in Early New York. In Eventful Archaeologies. Douglas Bolender, editor, SUNY Press. 2010.

Colonial and Antebellum New Orleans, with Shannon Lee Dawdy. In The Archaeology of Louisiana, Mark Rees, ed. Louisiana University Press. 2010.

Is Archaeology Political? Transformative Praxis within and against the Boundaries of ArchaeologyThe Public Historian 31(2): 79-89, 2009.

About Face: Heritage and Social Power in Public, with Matthew Palus. InEthnographies and Archaeologies: Iterations of the Past, Lena Mortensen and Julie Hollowell (eds.). University Press of Florida, 2009.

Archaeology, Obama, and the Long Civil Rights Movement. African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter, December 2008.

The Location of Archaeology. A contribution to Ethnographic Archaeologies: Reflections on Stakeholders and Archaeological Practices. Quetzil E. Castañeda and Christopher N. Matthews (eds.) AltaMira Press. 2008.

History to Prehistory: An Archaeology of Being Indian in New Orleans.Archaeologies: The Journal of the World Archaeological Congress 3(3):271-295. 2007.

Building Historic Landscapes in Annapolis, Maryland, with Matthew Palus.  A contribution to Envisioning Landscapes: Global Perspectives. Dan Hicks, Graham Fairclough and Laura McAtackney (eds.) UCL, London (One World Archaeology). 2007.

Significance, Value, and Property in the Public Face of Archaeologywith Matthew Palus. In Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory: Encounters between Past and Present, Dan Hicks and Angela Piccini (eds). Routledge, London, 2007.

Public Dialectics: Marxist Reflection in ArchaeologyHistorical Archaeology, 39(4):18-36. 2005.

The Political Economy of Archaeological Cultures: Marxism and American Historical Archaeology, with Mark P. Leone and Kurt A. Jordan.  Journal of Social Archaeology 2(1): 109-134, 2002.

Awards 2

2010    Award for “Archaeological Subsurface Investigation (Stage 2), Rock Hall Museum Far West Yard, May 2010.

2009   Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, Award for Summer field research at Joseph Lloyd Manor, June 2009.

2008    Homeland Foundation. Award for Summer 2008 archaeological program at Joseph Lloyd Manor, April 2008.

2006    Award from Hampton Bays Historic and Preservation Society for archaeological research
at the Prosper King House, Hampton Bays, New York, April 2006

2002    Research Award, University of New Orleans, June 2002.

2002    Presidential Research Award, Office of the Provost, Hofstra University, 2002.

2000    Dissertation Prize, Society for Historical Archaeology

2000    Certificate of Commendation, American Association for State and Local History

1999     New Orleans „40 Under 40′ outstanding achievers, Gambit Weekly

Contact Information 2

Department of Anthropology
Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
(516) 463-4093


  1. Matthews, Christopher N.
    2012    Christopher N. Matthews Bio. Electronic document,, accessed April 23, 2012
  2. Matthews, Christopher N.    2012    Curriculum Vitae. Electronic document,, accessed April 22, 2012.

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