Matthew Sanger

Matthew Sanger
National Musem of American Indian

Doctor of Philosophy

About

44
Publications
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447
Citations
Introduction
I research the deep history of Native peoples in North America with a focus on the Southeast U.S. I strive to work closely with Native American communities through collaborative projects, consultations, and by engaging Indigenous writers, especially Native philosophers. I often utilize cutting-edge technologies, including CT-scanning and elemental analyses, to investigate the lives of past Native peoples with a focus on communities living during the Archaic period (circa 8000-3000 years ago).

Publications

Publications (44)
Article
Full-text available
Circular shell rings along the South Atlantic Coast of North America are the remnants of some of the earliest villages that emerged during the Late Archaic (5000-3000 BP). Many of these villages, however, were abandoned during the Terminal Late Archaic (ca 3800-3000 BP). We combine Bayesian chronological modeling with mollusk shell geochemistry and...
Article
Native Americans created numerous shell rings – large circular or arcing middens surrounding open plazas – across the coastal Southeast U.S. during the Late Archaic (ca. 4800–3200 cal B.P.). While archaeologists have long studied how Late Archaic peoples formed and used shell rings, their later histories are less well known despite these constructi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Circular shell rings along the Atlantic Coast of southeastern North America are the remnants of some of the earliest villages that emerged during the Late Archaic Period (5000 – 3000 BP). Many of these villages, however, were abandoned during the Terminal Late Archaic Period (ca 3800 – 3000 BP). Here, we combine Bayesian chronological modeling with...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeology is in a period of change, a point of inflection in which the discipline strives to reject its colonial roots. Embracing the “ontological turn,” archaeologists are applying diverse worldviews within their interpretations, yet these worldviews continue to reintroduce colonial ideals as they emerge out of Western philosophical schools. Usi...
Article
Full-text available
FULL TEXT AVAILABLE HERE: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/share/author/BRW6SHCFURWJI5YX7IAV?target=10.1002/arp.1837 Within archaeology, concern over ethics has become a centre point of debate, particularly in terms of cultural patrimony, repatriation, intellectual property rights, and the display of sensitive items (Conkey & Gero, 1997; Fabian, 20...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Among archaeologists using remote sensing there is tremendous potential for the use of deep learning models for the prospection of archaeological features. The need for relatively large training datasets, technical expertise, and computational requirements, however, has slowed the adoption of these techniques. Here, we train a series of deep earnin...
Article
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Climate change and anthropogenic activities are actively destroying the archaeological record. The dramatic disappearance of archaeological landscapes becomes particularly problematic when they are also unrecorded. Hidden from view and eroding, these disappearing landscapes likely hold answers to important anthropological questions. As such, disapp...
Article
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Article
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Although remote sensing techniques are increasingly becoming ubiquitous within archaeological research, their proper and ethical use has rarely been critically examined, particularly among Native American communities. Potential ethical challenges are outlined, along with suggested changes to archaeological frameworks that will better address Native...
Article
Full-text available
In the mid-Holocene (5000-3000 cal B.P.), Native American groups constructed shell rings, a type of circular midden, in coastal areas of the American Southeast. These deposits provide important insights into Native American socioeconomic organization but are also quite rare: only about 50 such rings have been documented to date. Recent work using a...
Article
Ideal free distribution (IFD) models generally predict that populations, including human populations, will distribute themselves across the landscape such that resource access is optimized. However, links between ecology and human responses to it are not always straightforward, especially during periods of climate change when people often act based...
Article
Full-text available
Heritage tourism is a driving economic force in much of the coastal southeastern United States, including on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, one of the most popular destinations for vacationers in the country. Working with local community members in developing a diverse and multipronged public archaeology program, we helped facilitate research...
Article
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The eastern oyster ( Crassostrea virginica ) is an important proxy for examining historical trajectories of coastal ecosystems. Measurement of ~40,000 oyster shells from archaeological sites along the Atlantic Coast of the United States provides a long-term record of oyster abundance and size. The data demonstrate increases in oyster size across ti...
Article
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Archaeologists have struggled to combine remotely sensed datasets with preexisting information for landscape-level analyses. In the American Southeast, for example, analyses of lidar data using automated feature extraction algorithms have led to the identification of over 40 potential new pre-European-contact Native American shell ring deposits in...
Article
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Analyses of hafted biface shape using geometric morphometrics reveals similarities between assemblages recovered from two contemporaneous settlements located in coastal Georgia (USA), both dating to ca. 4200–3900 cal. B.P. This finding contradicts prior studies that demonstrated notable differences in pottery manufacture techniques used at each sit...
Article
Full-text available
Early and Middle Woodland Landscapes of the Southeast. ALICE P. WRIGHT and EDWARD R. HENRY, editors. 2013. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. xiv + 320 pp. $79.95 (hardcover), ISBN 978-0-8130-4460-6; $29.95 (paperback), ISBN 978-0-8130-6446-8. - Matthew C. Sanger
Article
Full-text available
Analysis of human remains and a copper band found in the center of a Late Archaic (ca. 5000–3000 cal BP) shell ring demonstrate an exchange network between the Great Lakes and the coastal southeast United States. Similarities in mortuary practices suggest that the movement of objects between these two regions was more direct and unmediated than arc...
Article
Multiple-proxy seasonality studies, in combination with stratigraphic reconstructions, provide data critical to understanding how Late Archaic residents of the Georgia Bight created shell middens. Deposited as large circular rings, these middens in part contain fishes caught year-round, clams and oysters harvested seasonally, and tree nuts gathered...
Poster
Full-text available
In 2018, we identified over 50 new potential shell rings in Beaufort County, SC using LiDAR and automated feature extraction algorithms. Further analysis of this data has confirmed the archaeological nature of several of these deposits. This poster details further analysis of these features. We find that the majority of these rings are significantl...
Article
Excavations conducted at the McQueen Shell Ring on St. Catherine's Island off the coast of Georgia recovered several fragments of a copper artifact. These fragments represent an artifact made from a thin sheet of copper, and were recovered from a Late Archaic feature with calibrated radiocarbon dates placing its use between 2300 and 1800 cal. BC. S...
Data
Supplemental table for: 'Davis, Dylan S., Carl P. Lipo, and Matthew C. Sanger. 2019. “A Comparison of Automated Object Extraction Methods for Earthwork Feature Identification in South Carolina.” Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.10.035.' Additional data available at https://orb.binghamton.edu/ant...
Article
Full-text available
One persistent archaeological challenge is the generation of systematic documentation for the extant archaeological record at the scale of landscapes. Often our information for landscapes is the result of haphazard and patchy surveys that stem from opportunistic and historic efforts. Consequently, overall knowledge of some regions is the product of...
Chapter
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The theory of anarchism primarily concerns the organization of society in a way that fosters egal- itarian or equitable forms of association and coop- eration and resists all forms of domination. An anarchist perspective involves an awareness of, and critique of, how power is implemented through social relations, whether positively as in collaborat...
Article
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Long-distance exchange of copper objects during the Archaic Period (ca. 8000-3000 cal B.P.) is a bellwether of emergent social complexity in the Eastern Woodlands. Originating from the Great Lakes, the Canadian Maritimes, and the Appalachian Mountains, Archaic-age copper is found in significant amounts as far south as Tennessee and in isolated pock...
Article
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The study of pre-contact anthropogenic mounded features- earthen mounds, shell heaps, and shell rings - in the American Southeast is stymied by the spotty distribution of systematic surveys across the region. Many extant, yet unidentified, archaeological mound features continue to evade detection due to the heavily forested canopies that occupy lar...
Data
Supplemental Table for Davis et al. (2018) "Automated mound detection using LiDAR survey in Beaufort County, SC" Southeastern Archaeology, https://doi.org/10.1080/ 0734578X.2018.1482186.
Article
Full-text available
Late Archaic shell rings have been the focus of archaeological research for decades, yet their history, use, and function are debated. Relying on an evidentiary line rarely used in shell ring studies – the analysis of stone tools and debitage – we test prevailing theories and find that models describing the rings as circular dams intended to hold f...
Chapter
Winkler and colleagues investigate the relationship between social status and well-being among the Guale from St. Catherines Island in Spanish Florida (A.D. 1607–1680). Specifically, they examine stress through dental caries, linear enamel hypoplasias, tooth size, and long bone length. Their analysis of mortuary data identifies postcontact social s...
Article
Full-text available
Radiographic imaging is used to determine the techniques used to form vessels from two contemporaneous Late Archaic shell rings in coastal Georgia. These data, in concert with decorative and technofunctional data, suggest that different potting communities occupied each ring. The presence of different communities at each ring corresponds with large...
Article
Full-text available
Excavations at two Late Archaic shell rings on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, revealed evidence of significant amounts of subterranean storage. Based on botanical evidence, ethonographic analogies, and interpretations of other Late Archaic sites, hickory nuts and acorns are the most likely resource being stored, and quantifying the capacity found...
Article
Full-text available
Beliefs and Rituals in Archaic Eastern North America: An Interpretive Guide. Claassen Cheryl . 2015. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, xiv + 385 pp. $59.95 (cloth). ISBN 978-0-8173-1854-3. - Volume 81 Issue 1 - Matthew Sanger
Article
Full-text available
While the emergence of pottery manufacturing is a wide-spread historical occurrence, and one that has garnered the attention of archaeologists for decades, we know very little about how these ancient vessels were created. Through the application of radiographic scanning and computed tomography this paper provides insights into the manufacturing tec...
Article
Full-text available
The Late Archaic of the American Southeast is typically described as a time of population growth, innovative developments in subsistence strategies, and increased social complexity. Although it is difficult to generalize, many Early Woodland communities are characterized as relatively small scale, fairly mobile foragers organized into unranked or m...

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Projects

Projects (6)
Project
This project seeks to address the following topics: 1. Data availability, sharing, and dissemination 2. Community engagement with remote sensing studies 3. The issue of surveillance and property rights as it pertains to remote sensing technologies and archaeological investigation 4. Impacts of remote sensing and geophysical archaeology on local communities 5. Benefits and drawbacks of geophysical approaches for investigating previously understudied regions 6. Potential for documenting at-risk and disappearing cultural heritage 7. The role of collaboration in archaeological remote sensing for addressing important archaeological questions
Project
Locate new shell mounds in and around Hilton Head Island, SC utilizing LiDAR and multispectral imagery. Use of object based image analysis (OBIA) methods will play major role in this study.