1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences



My current research focuses on the archaeology of the slave societies that evolved in the Chesapeake and Caribbean in the early-modern era. In addition to teaching in the anthropology and architectural history departments at UVA, I am director of archaeology at Monticello, where my department is in the midst of several long-term research projects. Among them is the Monticello Plantation Archaeological Survey, a multidisciplinary initiative designed to reveal trajectories of change in settlement and land use on Thomas Jefferson’s Albemarle County plantation, along with their ecological, economic, and social causes and consequences.  

Monticello's archaeology department is also home to the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS), a collaborative venture that uses the web to facilitate sharing and comparative analysis of fine-grained archaeological data from sites occupied by enslaved Africans and their descendents in North America and the Caribbean. My Caribbean research is a collaboration with DAACS colleagues, and focuses differences in plantation organization and market participation by slaves on Jamaica and Nevis.

Evolutionary perspectives on learning, cognition, and behavior provide the theoretical inspiration for much of my empirical work. Topics of particular interest include style, markets, consumption, and cooperation. I'm also interested in quantitative techniques, particularly multivariate and spatial data analysis.

My course syllabi and some recent papers are available on my personal home page: http://people.virginia.edu/~fn9r/ 

First Name: 
Fraser D.
Computing ID: 
434-984 9812
Office Address: 

Archaeology Lab, Monticello


Ph.D. Yale 1990

Sub Discipline/s: 

Colonial North America and the Caribbean, vernacular architecture, archaeological theory, quantitative techniques, GIS, digital research archives.

Selected Publications: 

Forthcoming - Measuring Time, Population, And Residential Mobility From The Surface At San Marcos Pueblo, North Central New Mexico. American Antiquity. (With Ann F. Ramenofsky and Christopher D. Peirce).

2011 - Measuring Time, Population, And Residential Mobility From The Surface At San Marcos Pueblo, North Central New Mexico. American Antiquity. (With Ann F. Ramenofsky and Christopher D. Peirce).

2008 - The Lost World of Monticello: An Evolutionary Perspective. Journal of Anthropological Research 64 (2):161-193.

2007 - Frequency Seriation, Correspondence Analysis, and Woodland-Period Ceramic Assemblage Variation in the Deep South. Southeastern Archaeology 26 (1):47-72.

2007 - Inheritance and Adaptation: Archaeological and Architectural Perspective on the 17th Century Chesapeake.  William and Mary Quarterly 64 (3):451-520. (With James Whittenburg, Carter Hudgins, Willie Graham, and Carl Lounsbury).

2000 - Coincidence or Causal Connection? The Relationship Between Thomas Jefferson’s Visits to Monticello and Sally Hemings’s Conceptions. William and Mary Quarterly 56 (1):198-210.

1997 - Conspicuous Consumption as Wasteful Social Advertising: A Darwinian Perspective on Spatial Patterns in Classic Maya Terminal Monument Dates. In Rediscovering Darwin: Evolutionary Theory in Archaeological Explanation.  G. Clarke and M. Barton, eds. Pp. 267-290. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association.

1995 - Stylistic Variation in Evolutionary Perspective: Inferences from Decorative Diversity and Inter-Assemblage Distance. American Antiquity 60 (1):1-37.

1993 - Temporal Patterning in House Plans from the 17th-Century Chesapeake. In The Archaeology of Seventeenth-Century Virginia. T. Reinhart and D. Pogue, eds. Pp. 251-284.