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Dr. Penelope B. Drooker

Curator of Anthropology Emerita

B. A., Geology, 1965, Wellesley College

M.S., Hydrology, 1968, University of New Hampshire

A.L.M., Anthropology, 1989, Harvard University

Ph.D., Anthropology, 1996, The University at Albany, State University of New York

My archaeological research centers on two areas: the Contact Period in eastern North America (ca. 1500-1750), and perishable material culture, particularly archaeological textiles.

The Contact Period, during which Europeans began to explore the Western Hemisphere and they and Native Americans initially encountered each other, was an era of rapid change, even far inland from where face-to-face confrontations and accommodations were taking place. I am particularly interested in tracing changes and continuities in inter-regional interaction patterns through the movements of European trade goods and indigenous objects of value such as engraved marine shell gorgets and redstone pipes, and assessing the accompanying changes and continuities in Native lifeways during this turbulent period.

As much as 95 percent of Native American material culture – houses, clothing, containers, hunting and fishing implements – was fashioned from organic materials such as wood, bark, plant fiber, leather, fur, and feathers, yet only a small fraction of this survives in the archaeological record. Much of my research in this area is dedicated to searching out and analyzing new sources of evidence, such as textile impressions on pottery, that can be used to deduce the significance of perishable crafts in the economies and “social fabric” of past peoples.


Drooker, P.B., 2017. The Fabric of Power: Textiles in Mississippian Politics and Ritual, in: Waselkov, G.A., Smith, M.T. (Eds.), Forging Southeastern Identities: Social Archaeology, Ethnohistory, And Folklore Of The Mississippian To Early Historic South. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, pp. 16-40.
Drooker, P.B., 2017. Fabric Fragments from Pine Island, Alabama: Indicator of an Evolving Male Costume Item. Southeastern Archaeology 36, 75 - 84. doi:10.1080/0734578X.2016.1247633
Steponaitis, V.P., Swanson, S.E., Wheeler, G., Drooker, P.B., 2011. The Provenance and Use of Etowah Palettes. American Antiquity 76, 81-106. doi:10.7183/0002-7316.76.1.81
Drooker, P.B., Hart, J.P. (Eds.), 2010. Soldiers, Cities, and Landscapes: Papers in Honor of Charles L. Fisher, New York State Museum Bulletin. The University of the State of New York, Albany, New York.
Fisher, C.L., 2009. Beneath the City: An Archaeological Perspective of Albany, New York State Museum Circular. The University of the State of New York, Albany, New York.
Drooker, P.B., 2009. The Fort Ancient Archaeological Tradition, in: McManamon, F.P. (Ed.), Archaeology In America: An Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, Midwest And Great Plains/rocky Mountains. Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, Connecticut, pp. 106-110.
Drooker, P.B., 2007. Notes on Two Noded Pipes from West Virginia. West Virginia Archeologist [for 2002] 54, 47-50.
Drooker, P.B., Hamell, G.R., 2007. Strange Creatures from the Archaeology Collection. Legacy: The Magazine of the New York State Museum 3, 8-9.