Dr. Cameron Braxton Wesson

Interim Dean

College of Arts & Sciences

Lehigh University


Moses Distinguished Professor

Department of Sociology & Anthropology

I am an archaeological anthropologist with primary research interests in the social, political, economic, and environmental impacts of European colonization on the Indigenous peoples of Eastern North America. My work explores Indigenous responses to contact, colonization, and early manifestations of globalization by examining archaeological and ethnohistorical evidence of households and domestic life. My primary field research focuses on a series of Native American sites in central Alabama spanning the period from A.D. 1000–1837. I am also pursuing a second area of research in the Scottish Outer Hebrides Islands with Dr. Niall Sharples of Cardiff University. That project seeks a better understanding of the complex occupational history of Orosaigh, a small island off the SW coast of South Uist.

Additional Research Interests

In addition to comparative colonialism, I am also interested in the archaeological signatures of poverty and archaeology's inability (or is it unwillingness?) to adequately address this important topic. What are the origins of poverty?  Why do we prefer terms like “inequality" and "social differentiation" when, more often than not, we are actually exploring the cultural and historical dimensions of poverty? How do we define poverty in material terms that will make it more visible in the archaeological record? What might our inability to engage the topic of poverty as an historical process say about the ideologies and politics underlying contemporary American archaeology? I examine these topics through archaeological investigations of the remains of Southern sharecropper cabins (with the late Dr. John W. Cottier), Mississippian sites in central Alabama (with Dr. Craig T. Sheldon, Jr. & Ned Jenkins), and New England Poor Houses (with Andrew R. Beaupré). I am finalizing an edited volume on the topic developed out of a session I organized for the 2013 SAA meetings.



Methodologically, I am increasingly interested in the use of remote sensing techniques in archaeological research. Since my work addresses community and household spatial relationships, remote sensing is ideal for examining spatial patterning. In 2012 we used a Bartington 601-2 gradiometer to examine the Ebert-Canebrake site (1Mc25), a palisaded Mississippian village in central Alabama. In 2013 I worked with Dr. Maureen Meyers (Ole Miss) at Carter Robinson in western Virginia (44Le10) to explore the density of structures near the site’s main mound. In 2013 I was also fortunate to work with John Cornelson of the National Park Service Southeastern Research Center in a multi-instrument examination of Horseshoe Bend National Military Park. In 2016 I began research in the Outer Hebrides with Dr. Niall Sharples making extensive use of a Phantom 4 drone for recording excavation units and identifying surface anomalies.

Excavations at Orosaigh Island, Outer Hebrides (2016)

Spatulate celt pendant from 1Mc25

Gradiometry results from 1Mc25 

(Bryant, Ervin, and Wesson, 2012)

Main mound at Thirty Acre Field (1Mt7)

3D topographic map of Thirty Acre Field (1Mt7)

Location and Geography