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Michael Stewart, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Emeritus
[Professor Stewart has retired from his position at Temple, but he can still be reached at the email address shown above.]
My field and scholarly training is in the prehistoric and historic archaeology of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, although I have also worked in the northwestern United States. My B.A. in Anthropology is from the University of Delaware, and I have an M.A. and Ph.D. from Catholic University. I have extensive experience in cultural resource management (over 20 years) and believe that it can be a venue for conducting significant research, as well as serving public interests and education.
The American Indian prehistory of the Eastern Woodlands, especially the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic sections of this area, are the focus of my ongoing research. The archaeology of this region provides excellent opportunities to examine more "world-class" problems, and my field work and publications attempt to take advantage of this. My particular interests include: the ways in which hunting and gathering groups adjusted to dynamic, shifting environments following the last ice age, as they colonized the area for the first time in human prehistory; the waxing and waning of socially complex behavior of hunting and gathering societies between 2500 BC and AD 900, including burial ceremonialism, the re-organization of traditional forms of work, trade and exchange; the adoption of a farming way of life (ca. AD 800/900), and all of its social implications and ramifications. From a more technical perspective I am interested in the use of geo- and environmental sciences in understanding how archaeological deposits are formed, and the recreation of paleoenvironments, a necessary step in evaluating cultures in context. American Indian pottery technology is also a special focus of my research.
I maintain an active field program in the Delaware Valley with summer field schools that focus on different aspects of Native American archaeology. In 1997 we began a long-term study of Hendricks Island, part of the Delaware Canal State Park in Pennsylvania. Research here is contributing to all of the issues that I've outlined above, and provides Park staff with the information they need to manage cultural resources in the area. A multi-year investigation of the Manna Site in the Delaware Water Gap is providing new insights into the use of plant resources through the Woodland period (ca. 1000 BC to contact with Europeans).
In collaboration with Temple graduate students, I am currently examining the raw materials used in American Indian pottery production, manufacturing techniques, pottery design, and the age, type and location of sites on which pottery is found. These studies provide insights into technology, settlement movements, trade, social and cultural interactions through time. Another ongoing collaborative project involves dating and understanding the prehistoric origins and use of maize (corn) in the Delaware valley and broader Middle Atlantic Region. We have been re-analyzing older archaeological collections, collecting new data through excavations, and examining dietary signatures in human bone and dog bone. In order to better understand the nature and impact of the physical environment during the transition to a farming way of life, colleagues from other institutions and I are analyzing oxygen isotopes in mussel shells from archaeological deposits for what they imply about water temperature and climate.
A newly initiated project in the Lehigh Gorge of Pennsylvania focuses upon the excavation and analysis of a stratified Paleoindian through Late Archaic site. One of the more understudied periods of regional prehistory, the time between 6500 BC and 3000 BC, is well represented on-site and will be a special focus of future research.
Grants related to my various research endeavors have enabled me to fund undergraduate and graduate student participation/training in field research every year for the past 7 years. I am especially proud of the fact that my students have presented papers at regional and national conferences, and had their work published.
2008 Artisan Choices and Technology in Native American Pottery Production. North American Archaeologist 29 (3-4):391-409. (senior co-author with George Pevarnik).
2008 The Utility of Dog Bone (Canis familiaris) in Stable Isotope Studies for Investigating Prehistoric Maize Consumption: A Preliminary Study. North American Archaeologist 29 (3-4):339-363. (second co-author with Sharon Allitt and Tim Messner).
2007 Assessing Current Archaeological Research in the Delaware Valley. Archaeology of Eastern North America 35:161-174.
2005 A Summary of Archaeological Explorations of Hendrick Island. Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey 60:13-19.
2005 Interpreting Variability in Prehistoric Rockshelter Assemblages: The Walters Shelter, 36MR42. In Upland Archaeology in the East: Symposia VIII and IX, edited by Carole Nash and Michael Barber, pp.103-119. Archaeological Society of Virginia Special Publication 38-7, Richmond.
2004 Changing Patterns of Native American Trade in the Middle Atlantic Region and Chesapeake Watershed: A World Systems Perspective. North American Archaeologist 25(4):337-356.
2003 A Regional Perspective on Early and Middle Woodland Prehistory in Pennsylvania. In Foragers and Farmers of the Early and Middle Woodland Periods in Pennsylvania, edited by Paul Raber and Verna Cowin, pp.1-33. Recent Research in Pennsylvania Archaeology, Number 3, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg.
2002 Archaeology: Basic Field Methods. Kendall/Hunt Publishers, Dubuque, Iowa.
1999 The Indian Town of Playwicki. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology, Volume 15, pp.35-54.
1998 Prehistoric Ceramics of the Delaware Valley. Special Publication of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
1994 Prehistoric Farmers of the Susquehanna Valley: Clemson Island Culture and the St. Anthony Site. Occasional Publications in Northeastern Anthropology, Number 13. Archaeological Services, Bethlehem, Connecticut.