Patty Jo Watson

Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Archaeology
Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Archaeology
PhD, University of Chicago
    View All People

    contact info:

      image of book cover

      Professor Watson's research explores prehistoric subsistence, technology, economy, and environment, and with processualist archaeology generally, and in her teaching she is also very interested in the variety of challenges voiced by post-processualists.

      During the early part of my career, Watson specialized in Near Eastern prehistory, participating in field projects (archaeological survey and excavation, and ethnoarchaeology) in Iraq, Iran, and Turkey. This work was all done under the aegis of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, in collaboration with Robert J. Braidwood's investigations of prehistoric food-producing communities, and of the origins of agriculture and pastoralism in the early Holocene period in western Asia.

      Beginning in the 1960's she also initiated research in Salts Cave, Kentucky, a portion of the world's longest cave system in Mammoth Cave National Park, and she was able to develop this work into a long-term research project on agricultural origins in Eastern North America. During the 1970's, she also helped direct an archaeological field project in western central New Mexico. She maintains professional relationships with Near Easternists, teach Near Eastern archaeology, and visit the Near East occasionally on study and lecture tours, but her own field work is currently in Kentucky caves, rock shelters, and shellmounds.

      Her courses range from introductory archaeology to advanced work in Near Eastern archaeology and in Eastern Woodlands and southwestern U.S. prehistory. Her graduate students write dissertations on many different aspects of both New World and Old World archaeology. She is especially interested in archaeological theory and field methods, and teach graduate seminars on those topics.

      Selected Publications

      Watson, Patty Jo

      1974 Archaeology of the Mammoth Cave Area. New York: Academic Press.

      1979 Archaeological Ethnology in Western Iran. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

      1990 The razor's edge: Symbolic-structuralist archaeology and the expansion of archaeological inference, with comments by Michael Fotiadis. American Anthropologist 92:613-629.

      1992 The origins of food production in Western Asia and Eastern North America. In L. Shane, O. Shane, and E. Cushing, eds. Quarternary Landscapes. Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press.

      1995 Explaining the transition to agriculture. In D. Price and A. Gebauer, eds. Last Hunters-First Farmers. Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research.

      1995 Archaeology, anthropology, and the culture concept. American Anthropologist 97:683-694.

      1996 Of caves and shell mounds in West-Central Kentucky. In Of Caves and Shell Mounds. Co-edited with Kenneth Carstens. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.

      1999 From the Hilly Flanks of the Fertile Crescent to the Eastern Woodlands of North America. In Grit-Tempered: Early Women Archaeologists in the Southeastern United States, edited by N.M. White, L.P. Sullivan and R.A. Marrinan. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, pp. 286-297.

      1999 Ethnographic Analogy and Ethnoarchaeology. In Archaeology, History and Culture in Palestine and the Near East: Essays in Memory of Albert E. Glock, edited by T. Kapitan. American Schools of Oriental Research, ASOR Books, Volume 3. Atlanta, GA: Scholar's Press, pp. 47-65.

      2001 Origins of Food Production. In International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, N. Smelser and P. Baltes, Editors-in-Chief. Amsterdam: Pergamon (Elsevier Science).

      2002 Theory in Archaeology. In Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems: Knowledge Foundations (Archaeology). Oxford: UNESCO and EOLSS Publishers.