Paul A. Shackel

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Paul A. Shackel (born 1959) is an American anthropologist and a Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park. He joined the Department of Anthropology in 1996 after working for the National Park Service for seven and a half years. His research interests include Historical Archaeology, Civic Engagement, African Diaspora, Labor Archaeology, and Heritage Studies. He teaches courses in Historical Archaeology, Archaeology of the Chesapeake, and Method and Theory in Archaeology.


Shackel earned his PhD in Anthropology, which was awarded with distinction, at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1987. His dissertation focused on the archaeology and probate records from eighteenth-century Annapolis, Maryland and he described the development of modern behavior during early capitalism.[1]

Academic career[edit]

Shackel began his teaching career as an Adjunct Instructor, Department of Social Sciences, Suffolk Community College. During the summers of 1983 and 1984, he led a team of students in an archaeological excavation to locate the homestead of the founder of the Town of Islip, on Long Island. In 1984 and 1986 he served as an instructor in the Department of Anthropology at State University of New York at Buffalo, teaching Introduction to Archaeology, and Historical Archaeology. He co-taught a course with Barbara Little and Parker Potter in the Department of Social Sciences at Anne Arundel Community College in 1986. He served as a Lecturer in Department of Anthropology, UMCP in the 1987–88 academic year, and served as a Visiting Asst. Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland College Park in 1988–1989.[2]

Shackel came to the Department of Anthropology at UMCP and served as an Assistant Professor from 1996–1999; Associate Professor from 1999–2002 and Professor from 2002–present. He is currently serving as Chair of the Department.[2]

Research projects[edit]

In 1989 Shackel began working for Harpers Ferry National Historical Park as an archaeologist and he was part of a larger program related to the restoration of Lower Town Harpers Ferry. His extensive work at Harpers Ferry delves into issues of class and labor and has resulted in several books and articles.[3] In 1996 Shackel came to the University of Maryland (UMCP) where he served as PI or Co-PI on several projects with the National Park Service. In 2002 he helped to initiate a long-term archaeology project at New Philadelphia, Illinois, a multi-racial town that was founded by a freed African American in 1836. In the 1860s the railroad bypassed New Philadelphia and by the 1920s it was virtually abandoned.[4] In 2002 and 2003 the UMCP partnered with the Illinois State Museum (ISM), the University of Illinois (UI), and the friends group, the New Philadelphia Association (NPA), to perform an archaeological survey of the land. In 2004, UMCP received a 3-year National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates award that allowed Shackel to partner with UI and ISM to train undergraduates in archaeology and explore issues of race, class and ethnicity on the Illinois western frontier.[5] New Philadelphia was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005 and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2009.[6] The Archaeological Conservancy is currently working to help preserve the land, and in 2014 a bill passed in the U.S. Senate and the United States House of Representatives to perform a Special Resource Study to determine the feasibility of making New Philadelphia a National Park.

His recent work focuses on the anthracite region of Northeastern, Pennsylvania. During the fall and winter of 2010 an archaeological survey was conducted to locate the site of the Lattimer Massacre. In 1897, 25 miners of eastern European descent were killed while protesting for equal pay and better working conditions. Documentary research, oral histories and archaeological excavations of the domestic sites of coal miners and laborers in the coal patch towns of northeastern Pennsylvania is now the emphasis of this heritage project. This research focuses on issues related to labor, class, and historic and contemporary immigration and is sponsored by the University of Maryland.


Books authored[edit]

  • 2014 Archaeology, Heritage and Civic Engagement: Working Toward the Public Good (with Barbara J. Little). Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, CA.

Edited volumes[edit]

  • 1992 Meanings and Uses of Material Culture (with Barbara J. Little). Historical Archaeology 26(3).
  • 1994 An Archaeology of Harpers Ferry's Commercial and Residential District (with Susan E. Winter). Historical Archaeology 28(4).
  • 1994 Historical Archaeology of The Chesapeake (with Barbara J. Little). Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.
  • 1998 Annapolis Pasts: Contributions From Archaeology in Annapolis (with Paul Mullins and Mark S. Warner). The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tennessee.
  • 2001 Myth, Memory and The Making of The American Landscape. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. (Paper edition issued in 2008).
  • 2003 Remembering Landscapes of Conflict. Historical Archaeology 37(3).
  • 2004 Places in Mind: Archaeology as Applied Anthropology'' (with Erve Chambers). Routledge Press, NY.
  • 2007 Archaeology as a Tool of Civic Engagement (with Barbara Little). AltaMira Press, Lanham, Maryland. National Council for Public History Book Award finalist, 2008
  • 2009 The Archaeology and Ethnography of Cultural Heritage Management (with David Gadsby and Antoinette Jackson) Practicing Anthropology 31(3).
  • 2010 New Philadelphia: Racism, Community, and the Illinois (with Christopher Fennel and Terrance Martin) Historical Archaeology 44(1).
  • 2011 Archaeologies of Engagement, Representation, and Identity (with David Gadsby) Historical Archaeology, 45(1).
  • 2011 Heritage, Labour and the Working Class (with Laurajane Smith and Gary Campbell). Routledge Press, NY.
  • 2013 Reversing the Narrative (with Michael Roller) Historical Archaeology, 47(3). [2]
  • 2014 Reprint of: Historical Archaeology of the Chesapeake (with Barbara J. Little). Percheron Press, Clinton Corners, New York.



  1. ^ Shackel, Paul A. 1993 Personal Discipline And Material Culture: An Archaeology of Annapolis, Maryland, 1695-1870. The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Shackel, Paul. "Paul Shackel Professor & Department Chair". Department web site. Department of Anthropology, University of Maryland. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  3. ^ 1996 Culture Change and The New Technology: An Archaeology of The Early American Industrial Era. Plenum Publishing Corp, New York, NY; 2000 Archaeology and Created Memory: Public History in a National Park. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishing, New York City, NY.
  4. ^ Walker, Juliet, 1983, Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier.University Press of Kentucky, Lexington
  5. ^ Shackel, Paul A. 2010 Remembering New Philadelphia. In New Philadelphia: Racism, Community, and the Illinois Frontier, edited by Christopher Fennel and Terrance Martin and Paul A. Shackel. Historical Archaeology, 44(1),
  6. ^ Interior Secretary Kempthorne Designates 9 National Historic Landmarks in 9 States. Archived 2009-03-05 at the Wayback Machine.

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