Dr. Alice P. Wright


Ph.D. 2014 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
M.A. 2010 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
B.A. 2007 Wake Forest University

Areas of Research/Interest:

Southeastern archaeology, Native North America, landscapes, historical ecology, heritage management, community-based archaeology, Southern Appalachians


Archaeology, North American Archaeology, Field Archaeology, Archaeology of the Native South, Ceramics for the Archaeologist, Community Archaeology, Landscape Archaeology


Dr. Wright is an anthropological archaeologist whose interests revolve around the relationships between people and places through time. Her ongoing research in the Southern Appalachians explores how Indigenous communities inhabited this ecologically complex region; how they shaped it through settlement, monumentality, and movement; and how they experienced the landscape over time, particularly through periods of climate change and culture contact. She currently co-directs two field projects on these topics, both of which involve undergraduate field schools and research assistants. Drawing on legacy survey data, the New River Headwaters Archaeological Project uses non-invasive methodologies and targeted excavation to elucidate Late Woodland settlement patterns in Ashe and Watauga Counties and better understand Indigenous responses to localized climate change. Meanwhile, the Linville Gorge Archaeological Survey is a partnership with the National Forests in North Carolina to document rock shelters and other archaeological sites in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area; it aims not only to learn more about this remarkable landscape and its relationship to ancestral Cherokee and Catawba peoples, but also to facilitate the preservation of cultural resources in a highly visited recreation area. In addition to these projects, Dr. Wright is also working with the Junaluska Heritage Association on a community-based archaeology project to discover archaeological traces of Boone’s early Black settlement and to document unmarked graves in historically Black cemeteries across Watauga County.

Dr. Wright serves as the Public Archaeologist for the Department of Anthropology. Questions about possible artifacts or archaeological sites can be directed to her at wrightap2@appstate.edu.

Representative Publications:

2021 Composing Complexity in the Eastern Woodlands. Current Anthropology 62(1): 30-52. With Cameron Gokee.

2020 Garden Creek: The Archaeology of Interaction in Middle Woodland Appalachia. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.

2017 Local and “Global” Perspectives on the Middle Woodland Southeast. Journal of Archaeological Research 25:37-83.

2015 Private Property, Public Archaeology: Resident Communities as Stakeholders in American Archaeology. World Archaeology 47(2): 212-224.

2014 The multiple uses of geophysical data in archaeology: informing excavation strategies and defining new research questions at monumental sites. Archaeological Prospection 21:75-86. With Timothy Horsley and Casey Barrier.

2013 Early and Middle Woodland Landscapes of the Southeast. University Press of Florida. Editor, with Edward Henry.

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Department of Anthropology

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-6384

Fax: (828) 262-2982

Office address
322A Anne Belk Hall