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Featured Researcher: Dr. Mark Rees

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Dr. Mark Rees is a veteran researcher and professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He started at UL Lafayette 21 years ago as an assistant professor in the Anthropology Department and, since 2018, holds the E.P. Nalley/LEQSF Professorship in Social Sciences. In addition, he serves as director of the Louisiana Public Archaeology Lab.

The Research office recently sat down with Dr. Rees – a registered professional archaeologist – to learn more about his past and current research projects.

What is the main focus of your research?

Generally, my research focus is the archaeology and historical anthropology of Louisiana, the Lower Mississippi Valley, and north-central Gulf Coast, involving anthropogenic landscapes of the past 1,400 years.

What are some of your ongoing and recent research projects?

Ongoing Research

• Archeological Investigations in Kisatchie National Forest. Kisatchie National Forest, U.S. Forest Service, 2022 – 2027 ($400,000 funded).
• Co-Principal Investigator with Kory Konsoer, Principal Investigator, Louisiana State University. Managing the Impacts of Climate Change and Land Loss on Native American Archaeological Sites in Coastal Louisiana. South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center Consortium, U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, 2022 – 2024 ($293,297 funded).
• Conservation Stewardship: Preserving Natural and Cultural Resources for the Future. Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2013 – 2024 ($1,270,000 funded since 2013).
• Historical Archaeology of the Coushatta. Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, 2019 – 2022 ($342,923 funded).
• The New Acadia Project. Acadian Heritage and Culture Foundation and the New Acadia Project Steering Committee, 2014 – 2022 ($238,896 funded since 2014).

Recent Research (past 5 years)

• Testing and Assessment of the Effects of an Oil Spill on Coastal Archaeological Sites. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Environmental Studies Program, U.S. Department of the Interior. Award No. M14AC00022, 2014 – 2019 ($322,321).
• Mississippi River Delta Archaeological Mitigation. National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, National Park Service. Louisiana Public Archaeology Lab Fund, University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation, 2019 ($9,999 donation).
• Archaeological and Geophysical Investigation of the Martin Duralde Site in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana. Maison Stéphanie, Arnaudville, Louisiana. Louisiana Public Archaeology Lab Fund, University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation, 2019 – 2020 ($7,000 donation).
• Phase I Cultural Resources Survey for a Wetlands Mitigation Bank and Coastal Wetlands Restoration in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. JMB Partnership, LLC, 2018 – 2019 ($66,195 funded).
• Kisatchie National Forest Archeology Student Training. Kisatchie Ranger District, Kisatchie National Forest, U.S. Forest Service, 2012 – 2019 ($67,980 funded).
• Geophysical and Archaeological Assessment of the 1887 Thibodaux Massacre in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. Louisiana 1887 Memorial Committee, University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation, 2018 – 2019 ($1,000 donation).
• Reconnaissance and Phase I Cultural Resources Survey of the Apollo Road Extension in Scott, Louisiana. C.H. Fenstermaker & Associates, LLC, 2018 ($6,378 funded).
• Phase I Cultural Resources Survey for Avoca Island Mitigation Bank. Avoca, LLC, and Natural Resource Professionals, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 2017 – 2018 ($114,649 funded).

How are students involved in your research?

Undergraduate students are employed as research assistants on all of my projects, only occasionally as volunteers, and sometimes as class projects. Students have delivered posters and presentations at professional conferences. I have worked with, and am currently working with graduate students at Tulane University and LSU on several research projects.

In addition to research, what classes do you teach?

In addition to my 5 ongoing research projects, I regularly teach 3 courses per semester that include World Archaeology (ANTH 203), Archaeology (ANTH 303), North American Prehistory (ANTH 385), Louisiana Archaeology (ANTH 440), Cultural Resources Management (ANTH 480), Historical Archaeology (ANTH 493), Archaeology Field School (ANTH 490), Archaeological Records (ANTH 499), and Special projects (ANTH 497 and 498).

Tell us more about yourself.

In addition to serving as Coordinator of the Anthropology Program at UL Lafayette, I am vice chair of the Louisiana Archaeological Survey and Antiquities Commission, editor of Louisiana Archaeology, the journal and newsletter of the Louisiana Archaeological Society, and whenever possible, work on two technical reports, a journal article, and two book manuscripts, including one under contract with the University of Florida Press.