Dr. Brandon T. Ritchison

Dr. Brandon Ritchison

Contact Information

109 Davenport Hall
607 S. Mathews Ave.
607 S Mathews
M/C 148
Urbana, IL 61801
Visiting Assistant Professor
View CV


I am an anthropological archaeologist whoexamines the relationships between mobility, environment, history, and sociopoliticalorganization onthe islands and coasts of the Southeastern United States.  My research spans four thousand years andtakes me to Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

My research focuses on the relationships betweenmigrations and mobility, climate change, and sociopolitical organizations inthe prehistoric Eastern United States. I have been examining the case of the 14thcentury abandonment of the Savannah River Valley and the effects thisabandonment had on the neighboring Georgia Coast. I have demonstrated the occurrence of a large-scaleimmigration event to the Georgia Coast during the final decades of the 14thcentury. I employed a multi-scalar approach to examine the response ofpopulations on the Georgia Coast to this event using GIS analysis of regionaland intra-site settlement patterns and Bayesian chronological modeling of newand legacy radiocarbon data.

During this project, I have instructed andsupervised over 120 students and volunteers in test-unit excavations, shallowgeophysical surveys, and a systematic shovel test survey of a 60-ha multi-componentsite on Sapelo Island, Georgia, supported by a grant from the National ScienceFoundation (NSF).

I am also involved in many collaborations. I have contributed to a wide array of projects, including research on reconstructingpast environments, radiocarbon sampling techniques, and on the state of theanthropology academic job market and the discipline’s ongoing issues inreaching equitable representation.  

Research Interests

  • Archaeology
  • Bayesian chronological modeling
  • Community organization
  • Paleodemography
  • GIS
  • Archaeological geophysics
  • Migration
  • Spatial analysis
  • Mississippian archaeology
  • Monumentality

Research Description

My body of scholarship contributes tomethodological and theoretical discussions on chronology, regional analysis,demography, and community organization. I have published results from my study,as well as from other collaborative efforts, in highly-ranked journals, such asPLoS ONE, American Antiquity, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, andthe Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. I have also published inregional and topical journals, including Southeastern Archaeology, Radiocarbon,and Ethnohistory


  • Ph.D., University of Georgia, 2019