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headshot of Matthew Sanger

Matthew Sanger

Assistant Professor; MAPA Program Director

Anthropology

Background

Sanger's interests revolve around questions of mobility, landscape, heritage, and community formation within Native American societies. He addresses these topics through archaeological research, largely in the American Southeast, where he studies ancient coastal hunter-gatherers. His research is heavily dependent on American Indian philosophies, oral histories, and collaborative research with descendant communities as he strives to understand how cosmological worldviews and ecological conditions influenced societal development. His research influences his position as Co-Director of the MA Public Archaeology program, where he trains students to work within the public sphere, including archaeological firms, museums, state and federal agencies, and historical societies. As such, the MA program prepares students to find employment at the intersection between archaeology and various invested communities, including descendant groups. Technology plays a critical role in this research, as he uses remote sensing in his fieldwork, including resistivity, magnetometry, and ground penetrating radar. He also uses radiography and three-dimensional scanning to investigate how objects were formed and used by past peoples. Sanger's new research includes surveys and excavations at the Sea Pines Shell Ring near Savannah, Georgia, more than three thousand years old with some of the earliest evidence for village formation, pottery manufacture, and regional polity creation in the United States.

Education

  • PhD, Columbia University

Research Interests

  • Archaeology of the Southeast United States
  • Emergent Complexity in Hunter-Gatherer Groups
  • Geophysical Surveys and Aerial Imaging
  • Ceramic Analyses
  • Public Engagement and Indigenous