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Kenneth E. Sassaman

Hyatt and Cici Brown Professor of Florida Archaeology

Ph.D., Anthropology, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1991
M.A., Public-Service Archaeology, Univ. of South Carolina, 1983
B.A., Anthropology, Univ. of Maryland, 1979

After working in South Carolina for 12 years with the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program (1987-98), Ken joined the faculty of the Department of Anthropology, University of Florida in 1998 and began long-term research in the middle St. Johns region of northeast Florida. Research in both regions centers on the culture history of ancient hunter-gatherers of the Archaic Period (ca. 11,000-3000 years ago). In 2009 he launched the  Lower Suwannee Archaeological Survey on the northern Gulf Coast of Florida to investigate the material realities and cultural interventions of climate change and sea-level rise over the past 5,000 years.

Current Research Projects

As work on a backlog of collections and results from the middle Savannah and St. Johns valleys continues, Ken has re-directed his interest in coastal archaeology towards the history of Atsena Otie, the 19th-century ancestral town of the modern town of Cedar Key. A hurricane in 1896 destroyed two timber mills and many of the homes of this now-abandoned island town, but its physical vulnerability to tropical storms is only  part of a complex history that explains why it was unable to endure as a place of industry and community. Parallel research on the hurricane histories of other Gulf-coastal towns (Mexico Beach, Galveston, Indianola) aims to understand how memories about past storms vary under different material, cultural, and political conditions.

Recent Publications

Copies of other publications by Ken Sassaman are available on