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Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

Bretton Giles

Ph.D. in Anthropology, State University of New York at Binghamton 2010

M.A. in Anthropology, State University of New York at Binghamton 2002

B.A. in Anthropology/Archaeology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania 1999

 Supervisory Archeologist and Curation Specialist, SASW Department, Fort Riley Cultural Resources, Fort Riley KS 66442, Phone: (785)239-6265, email: btgiles@ksu.edu

 Bretton T. Giles is a supervisory archeologist and curation specialist at Fort Riley, who is part of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at Kansas State University. He is an archeologist, who has primarily focused on understanding Native American societies in the Great Plains and Eastern Woodlands. Dr. Giles received his B.A. in Anthropology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he was initially trained and had some of his first field experiences in archaeology. He then pursued a graduate education at the State University of New York at Binghamton (M.A. 2002, Ph.D. 2010) and worked for the Public Archaeology Facility (PAF) at Binghamton University. Dr. Giles has worked in Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and New York. He has taught various courses, including Introduction to Anthropology, Introduction to Archaeology and World Prehistory, Bioarchaeology and the Archaeology of Ancient Symbols.

His research interests have generally centered on the indigenous peoples of the Great Plains and Eastern United States. Dr. Giles has written most extensively about research on Middle Woodland and Mississippian societies, while his work at Fort Riley, KS has resulted in an emerging research agenda in the eastern Great Plains. His research on the Middle Woodland peoples of the Eastern Woodlands has examined specific iconographic themes, and variability in the health, diet, and mortuary regimes of different groups. Recently, he has been collaborating with Dr. Ryan Parish (University of Memphis) to reassess the significance and contexts in which Middle Woodland bifaces (disk cores) were deposited and the chert sources from which they derive. Additionally, Dr. Giles has pursed research on Mississippian societies and he is currently working on an edited book titled: New Methods and Theories for Analyzing Mississippian Imagery (University Press of Florida) with Dr. Shawn Lambert (Mississippi State University). He has published articles on Mississippian maces and the practice and experience of Mississippian Warfare, as well. These topics frame his interest in how social hierarchies developed and were linked to the manipulation of cultural narratives, ritually-charged objects, and esoteric knowledge. He has also been a member of a research team examining hunter-gatherer and hunter-gather-fisher groups in Fuego Patagonia, including the spatial distribution of cranial modification and variation in height, body form and mass of these peoples. Dr. Giles’s research at Fort Riley has focused on the use of upland areas by PreColumbian groups, as well as the 19th and early 20th century farmsteads.


(In Press) An Event-Centered Perspective on Mound 2 at the Hopewell Earthworks. Special Issue: Ceremonial Situations in the North American Midcontinent: Perspectives from the Middle Woodland Era. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, special editors/organizers Edward R. Henry and G. Logan Miller (Co-authored with Ryan M. Parish and Brian M. Rowe)

2020 The Emergence and Importance of Falconoid Imagery during the Middle Woodland Period. In Shamans, Priests, Practice, Belief: Archaeological Examinations of Religion and Ritual in the Eastern Woodlands, edited by Stephen B. Carmody and Casey R. Barrier, pp. 75-92. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa AL.

2019 The Genealogical Connections between Particular Hopewellian and Mississippian Avian Motifs and Themes. In Encountering Hopewell in Ohio and Beyond, edited by Brian G. Redmond, Bret J. Ruby, and Jarrod Burks, pp. 231-264. University of Akron Press, Akron OH.

2017 Assessment of an east-west phenotypic variation in body height, body form and body mass among prehistoric hunter-gatherers of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, Chile. Chungará 49 (4): 623-634. (Co-authored with Marta P. Alfonso-Durruty, Manuel San Romàn and Flavia Morello)

2017 Woodland and Mississippian Cultures of the North American Heartland. In Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, edited by C. Smith, pp. 7847-7865. Springer Press, New York. (Co-authored with Sarah W. Neusius)

2015 The Presence, Geographical Distribution and Antiquity of Cranial Modification in Fuego-Patagonia. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 158 (4):607-623. (Co-authored with Marta P. Alfonso-Durruty, Nicole Misarti, Manuel San Romàn, and Flavia Morello)

2015 A Mississippian Mace at Iroquoia’s Southern Door. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 40:73-95. (Co-authored with Timothy D. Knapp)

2014 Dental Pathologies and Diet in the Middle Woodland Burials from Helena Crossing, Arkansas. North American Archaeologist 35:87-108. (Co-authored with Marta P. Alfonso-Durruty and Jennifer Bauder)

2013 A Contextual and Iconographic Reassessment of the Headdress on Burial 11 from Hopewell Mound 25. American Antiquity 78:502-519.

2010 Sacrificing Complexity, Renewal through Ohio Hopewell Ritual. In Ancient Complexities: New Perspectives in Pre-Columbian North America, edited by Susan M. Alt. pp. 128-197. Foundations of Archaeological Inquiry Series, University of Utah Press.

2010 Revisiting the Dead interred at the Mounds at Helena Crossing, Arkansas. Southeastern Archaeology. 29:323-340. (Co-authored with Marta P. Alfonso-Durruty and Jennifer Bauder)

2009 War is Shell: The Embodiment of Mississippian Warfare. In Warfare in Cultural Context: Practice Theory and the Archaeology of Violence, edited by A. Nielsen and W. Walker, pp.84-108. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. (Co-authored with Charles R. Cobb)

2008 Ceramic production, consumption, and exchange in the Banda area, Ghana: Insights from compositional analysis. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 27(3):363-381. (Co-authored with Ann Stahl, Maria das Dores Cruz, Hector Neff, Michael D. Glascock, Robert J. Speakman, and Leath Smith)