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Archaeology provides a perspective on Postcolumbian indigenous lives that both supplements and challenges document-based histories. My research centers on the archaeology of Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois) peoples, emphasizing the settlement patterns, housing, and political economy of seventeenth- and eighteenth- century Senecas. The empirical evidence provided by archaeology can do much to combat inaccurate narratives of Indian decline and powerlessness that pervade scholarly and popular writing about Native Americans. For example, fieldwork at the 1715-1754 Seneca Townley-Read site near Geneva, New York, recovered data indicating substantial Seneca autonomy, selectivity, innovation, and opportunism in an era usually considered to be one of cultural disintegration.
I am currently leading a research project focusing on domestic areas at the 1688-1715 Seneca town at White Springs, also located near Geneva, New York, and the predecessor to the Townley-Read site. Excavation, geophysical survey, and surface collections, conducted in collaboration with representatives of the Seneca descendant community, took place in 2007-2015. The project is currently at the cataloging, analysis, and writing stage.
I teach courses providing general introductions to American Indian Studies and the archaeology of North American Indians, and more advanced courses on archaeological theory, the global historical archaeology of indigenous peoples, and political economy in archaeology. I also offer hands-on training courses in archaeological excavation and laboratory analysis that tap into the rich archaeological resources of the Finger Lakes region.
I have a great interest in the long-term scope of indigenous archaeology in Central New York. I have delivered public talks on the archaeology of the region to audiences in Bath, Canandaigua, Geneva, Ithaca, Liverpool, Lodi, McLean, Montour Falls, Port Byron, Salamanca, Tyrone, Trumansburg, and Waverly.
- American Studies Program
- Archaeology Program
- American Indian Studies
- American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program
Research Interests: Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Archaeology and History; Historical Archaeology of Indigenous Peoples; Political Economy; Colonialism, Cultural Entanglement, and Indigenous Autonomy; Relations between Archaeologists and Indigenous Communities; Shell Bead Wampum; Red Pipestone and Red Slate
2008 The Seneca Restoration, 1715-1754: An Iroquois Local Political Economy . Gainesville: University Press of Florida and the Society for Historical Archaeology. Paperback edition issued February 2011.
2018 Markers of Difference or Makers of Difference? Atypical Practices at Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Satellite Sites, ca. 1650-1700. Historical Archaeology 52(1):12-29.
2016 Categories in Motion: Emerging Perspectives in the Archaeology of Postcolumbian Indigenous Communities. Historical Archaeology 50(3):62-80.
2014 Enacting Gender and Kinship around a Large Outdoor Firepit at the Seneca Iroquois Townley-Read Site, 1715-1754. Historical Archaeology 48(2): 61-90.
2014 Pruning Colonialism: Vantage Point, Local Political Economy, and Cultural Entanglement in the Archaeology of post-1415 Indigenous Peoples. In Neal Ferris, Rodney Harrison, and Michael V. Wilcox, editors: Rethinking Colonial Pasts through Archaeology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pages 103-120.
2013 Incorporation and Colonization: Postcolumbian Iroquois Satellite Communities and Processes of Indigenous Autonomy. American Anthropologist 115(1): 29-43.
2010 Not Just "One Site Against the World": Seneca Iroquois Intercommunity Connections and Autonomy, 1550-1779. In Laura L. Scheiber and Mark D. Mitchell, editors: Across a Great Divide: Continuity and Change in Native North American Societies, 1400-1900 . Tucson: University of Arizona Press, pages 79-106.
2009 Colonies, Colonialism and Cultural Entanglement: The Archaeology of Postcolumbian Intercultural Relations. In Teresita Majewski and David Gaimster, editors: International Handbook of Historical Archaeology . New York: Springer, pages 31-49.
2009 Regional Diversity and Colonialism in Eighteenth Century Iroquoia. In Laurie E. Miroff and Timothy D. Knapp, editors: Iroquoian Archaeology and Analytic Scale . Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, pages 215-230.
Warren Allmon, Marvin Pritts, Peter Marks, Blake Epstein, David Bullis, and Kurt Jordan
2017 Smith Woods: The Environmental History of an Old Growth Forest Remnant in Central New York State. Ithaca: Paleontological Research Institution Special Publication No. 52.
Peregrine A. Gerard-Little, Amanda K. Moutner, Kurt A. Jordan, and Michael B. Rogers
2016 The Production of Affluence in Central New York: The Archaeology and History of Geneva’s White Springs Manor, 1806-1951. Historical Archaeology 50(4): 36-64.
Peregrine A. Gerard-Little, Michael B. Rogers, and Kurt A. Jordan
2012 Understanding the Built Environment at the Seneca Iroquois White Springs Site using Large-scale, Multi-instrument Archaeogeophysical Surveys. Journal of Archaeological Science 39(7): 2042-2048.
Christopher N. Matthews and Kurt A. Jordan
2011 Secularism as Ideology: Exploring Assumptions of Cultural Equivalence in Museum Repatriation. In Reinhard Bernbeck and Randall H. McGuire, editors: Ideologies in Archaeology . Tucson: University of Arizona Press, pages 212-232.