Kit W. Wesler, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


Professor of Archaeology

Director, Mid-America Remote Sensing Center

Ph.D. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1982.

M.A. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1977.

B.A. summa cum laude Washington University, 1975.

Research Interests

Dr. Wesler's research interests encompass the late prehistoric and historical archaeology of Eastern North America, West Africa and the Caribbean, the comparative study of complex societies, and computer applications to archaeology.

Currently, Dr. Wesler is continuing to analyze 15 years of excavations at the Wickliffe Mounds site in Ballard County, Kentucky, the 2005-2006 excavations and survey at Columbus-Belmont State Park in Hickman County, Kentucky and 2008 and 2010 excavations at Hematite, in the Land between the Lakes Recreation Area.  He is collaborating on a book reporting a study of the Taino of the north coast of Jamaica, and has recently returned to Jamaica to begin an archaeological investigation of the town of Falmouth.

Dr. Wesler served as a Project Archaeologist for the Maryland Historical Trust before coming to Murray State University, as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, while on leave from MSU in 1985-1986, and as a Fulbright Professor at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica while on leave from MSU in Spring, 2002. He was Director of the Wickliffe Mounds Research Center from 1983-2004.


Major Publications:

1981 Models for Pleistocene extinction. North American Archaeologist 2(2):85-100.

1983 Trade politics and native polities in Iroquoia and Asante. Comparative Studies in Society and History 25(4):641-660.

1983 Typology and sequence in the Maryland Archaic. Southeastern Archaeology 2(1):21-29.

1985 Model and sequence in the Maryland Archaic. In Roy S. Dickens, Jr., and H. Trawick Ward, eds., Structure and Process in Southeastern Archaeology, pp. 212-228. University of Alabama Press.

1991 Ceramics, chronology, and horizon markers at Wickliffe Mounds, 15Ba4. American Antiquity 56(2):278-290.

1993 The Introduction of Imported Ceramics in Nigeria: an archaeological perspective. West African Journal of Archaeology 22:109-132.

1994 Historical archaeology and prehistory: experimenting with dating formulas for Mississippi period ceramics. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 19(2):260-290.

1997 The Wickliffe Mounds project: implications for late Mississippi period chronology, settlement and mortuary patterns in Western Kentucky. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 63:261-283.

1998 (edited) Historical Archaeology in Nigeria. Africa World Press, Lawrenceville NJ.

1999 Chronological sequences in Nigerian ceramics. African Archaeological Review 16(4):239-258.

2001 Excavations at Wickliffe Mounds. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.

Most recent papers and publications:

2007   A Pilot Survey of Church Sites in Western Kentucky. Ohio Valley Historical Archaeology 22:21-30.


2007   Allsworth-Jones, Philip, Michele Bogle-Douglas, and Kit W. Wesler, Defining the Montego Bay Style: A Re-consideration of R. L. Vanderwal’s Work in Jamaica.  Proceedings of the 21st Congress of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology, University of the West Indies-St. Augustine (Trinidad), July 2005, vol. 1, 372-380.  University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad.


2008   Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site.  In Frances H. Kennedy, ed., American Indian Places: A Historical Guidebook, p. 100.  Houghton Mifflin Co., New York.


2008   Comments on the archaeology of comparative slavery.  Ohio Valley Historical Archaeology 23:1-7.


2009   Wickliffe Mounds State Park and Research Center.  in Archaeology in America, an Encyclopedia, edited by Francis P. McManamon, pp. 167-169.  Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, Connecticut.


2010   Test Excavations at Columbus-Belmont State Park and Hematite, Western Kentucky.  Presented to the Symposium on Ohio Valley Urban and Historic Archaeology, Blue Licks Battlefield State Park, Kentucky, 27 March 2010.


2010   Fifty years (Almost) of Western Kentucky Prehistoric Ceramics.  Presented to the symposium Pots, Political Complexity, and Remote Sensing: Papers in Honor of R. Berle Clay’s Contributions to Southeastern Prehistory, Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Lexington KY, 28 October 2010.


2011   Digitization and the Murray State University Archaeology Program, Part 2.  Presented to the Kentucky Heritage Council Archaeology Conference, Natural Bridge State Park, Slade, Kentucky, 19 March 2011.


2011   Theory, theories, postulates, and hypotheses: are there theories in archaeology?  Presented to the Symposium on Ohio Valley Urban and Historic Archaeology, Wartburg, Illinois, 26 March 2011.