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Brandon T. Ritchison

Profile picture for Brandon T. Ritchison

Contact Information

309K Davenport Hall
607 S. Mathews Ave.
M/C 148
Urbana, IL 61801
Assistant Professor


I am an anthropological archaeologist who examines the relationships between mobility, environment, history, and sociopolitical organization on the islands and coasts of the Southeastern United States.  My research spans four thousand years and has included archaeological investigations in Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.

My research focuses on the relationships between migrations and other mobility strategies, climate change, and sociopolitical organizations in the ancient Eastern United States. I have been examining the case of the 14th century abandonment of the Savannah River Valley and the effects this abandonment and ensuing large-scale immigration event had on the neighboring Georgia Coast. In my research I employ multi-scalar spatial and chronological analyses of settlement, ceramic, and radiocarbon data.

I have had the privilege of instructing and supervising over 120 students and volunteers (and counting!) in test-unit excavations, shallow geophysical surveys, and systematic shovel test surveys at sites on the Georgia Coast, including the Kenan Field site, a 60-ha multi-component site on Sapelo Island, Georgia, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

I am also involved in many collaborations. I have been a part of a wide array of projects, including research on reconstructing past environments, radiocarbon sampling techniques, and on the state of the anthropology academic job market and the discipline’s ongoing issues in reaching equitable representation.

My current research focuses on refining understandings of space and time in the past. My ongoing projects aim to better understand the development of institutionalized inequality, especially as it relates to mobility practices, conceptions of property, ownership, debt, and gender.

Research Interests

Bayesian chronological modeling, Community organization, Paleodemography, Spatial analysis and GIS applications in archaeology, Archaeological geophysics, Migration, Monumentality, Historical Ecology, Political Economy, Heritage management, Climate Change


Ph.D., University of Georgia, 2019

B.A., University of Kentucky, 2012

Courses Taught

ANTH 101 - Introduction to Anthropology

ANTH 449 - North American Archaeology

ANTH 451 - Archaeological Survey

ANTH 499 - Introduction to GIS in Archaeology

ANTH 499 - Archaeology of Time

Recent Publications

2022      Ritchison, Brandon T. and David G. Anderson. “Vacant Quarters” and Population Movements: Legacy Data and the Investigation of a Regional Abandonment and Emigration Event from the Savannah River Valley to the Georgia Coast. In Migration and Climate Change: The Spread of Mississippian Culture, Cook, Robert and Aaron Comstock, eds. Springer.

2022      Cramb, Justin E., Brandon T. Ritchison, Carla S. Hadden, Victor D. Thompson. Changing Profiles among Junior Tenure Track Faculty in Archaeology: Time Series Survey Data Analysis. Advances in Archaeological Practice.

2021      Garland, Carey J., Brandon T. Ritchison¸ Bryan Tucker, and Victor D. Thompson. A Preliminary Consideration of Craft Specialization and Settlement Expansion on Ossabaw Island, Georgia, USA. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology. First View, DOI: 10.1080/15564894.2021.1962436  

2021      Jacob Holland-Lulewicz and Brandon T. Ritchison. How Many Dates Do I Need? Using Simulations to Determine Robust Age Estimations of Archaeological Contexts. Advances in Archaeological Practice. DOI: 10.1017/aap.2021.10

2021      Ritchison, Brandon T., Victor D. Thompson, Isabelle Lulewicz, Bryan Tucker, and John A. Turck. Climate Change, Resilience, and the Native American Fisher-Hunter-Gatherers of the Late Holocene on the Georgia Coast, USA. Quaternary International. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2020.08.030.

2020     Ritchison, Brandon T. Using Radiocarbon Data to Chronologically Control Population Density Estimates Derived from Systematically Collected Intra-Settlement Data. Radiocarbon. DOI:10.1017/RDC.2020.107.

2020     Ritchison, Brandon T., Victor D. Thompson, Isabelle Lulewicz, Bryan Tucker, and John A. Turck. Climate Change, Resilience, and the Native American Fisher-Hunter-Gatherers of the Late Holocene on the Georgia Coast, USA. Quaternary International. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2020.08.030.

2020     Thompson, Victor D., Torben Rick, Carey J. Garland, David Hurst Thomas, Karen Y. Smith,
Sarah Bergh, Matt Sanger, Bryan Tucker, Isabelle Lulewicz, Anna M. Semon, John Schalles, Christine Hladik, Clark Alexander, Brandon T. Ritchison. Ecosystem Stability and Native American Oyster Harvesting along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Science Advances 6(28):eaba9652.

2019     Hadden, Carla S., Kathy M. Loftis, Alexander Cherkinsky, Brandon T. Ritchison, Isabelle H. Lulewicz, and Victor D. Thompson. Radiocarbon in Marsh Periwinkle (Littorina irrorata) Conchiolin: Applications for Archaeology. Radiocarbon 61(5):1489–1500.

2018      Ritchison, Brandon T. Investigating 14th Century Immigration and Settlement Response on the Georgia Coast, USA. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 21:606–618.

2018     Ritchison, Brandon T. Exploring a Bayesian Method for Examining the Regional Ceramic Sequence along the Georgia Coast. Southeastern Archaeology 37(1):12–21.

2018      Speakman Robert J., Carla S. Hadden, Matthew H. Colvin, Justin Cramb, K.C. Jones, Travis W. Jones, Isabelle Lulewicz, Katharine G. Napora, Katherine L. Reinberger, Brandon T. Ritchison, Alexandra R. Edwards, and Victor D. Thompson. Recent Hiring Trends and Trajectories in Anthropology Faculty Positions. PLOS ONE 13(9): e0202528. DOI:

2018      Speakman, Robert J., Carla S. Hadden, Matthew H. Colvin, Justin Cramb, K.C. Jones, Travis W. Jones, Corbin L. Kling, Isabelle Lulewicz, Katherine G. Napora, Katherine L. Reinberger, Brandon T. Ritchison, Maria Jose Rivera-Araya, April K. Smith, and Victor D. Thompson. Choosing a Path to the Ancient World in a Modern Market: the Reality of Faculty Jobs in Archaeology. American Antiquity 83(1):1–12.

2018      Thompson, Victor D., Chester B. DePratter, Jacob Lulewicz, Isabelle Lulewicz, Amanda Roberts Thompson, Justin Cramb, Brandon T. Ritchison, and Matthew Colvin. The Archaeology and Remote Sensing of Santa Elena’s Four Millennia of Occupation. Remote Sensing 10(2):248–278.

2017      Thompson, Victor D., Thomas Pluckhahn, Matthew Colvin, Justin Cramb, Jacob Lulewicz, Katherine G. Napora, Brandon T. Ritchison. Plummets, Public Ceremonies, and Interaction Networks during the Woodland Period in Florida. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 48(2017):193–206.