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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., 2004. Pipes, Leadership, and Interregional Interaction in Protohistoric Midwestern and Northeastern North America, in: Rafferty, S., Mann, R. (Eds.), Smoking And Culture: Recent Developments In The Archaeology Of Tobacco Pipes. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tennessee, pp. 73-141.
Drooker, P.B., 2004. The William Tompkins Collection. Members Update 15, 6.
Drooker, P.B., 2004. The Making of a Postage Stamp. Members Update 15, 6.
Drooker, P.B., 2004. The Lake George Battlefield Park Collection at the New York State Museum. Fort George Advice: The Newsletter of the Lake George Battlefield (Fort George) Alliance Spring, 1-3.
Drooker, P.B., 2003. Matting and Pliable Fabrics from Bottle Creek, in: Brown, I.W. (Ed.), Bottle Creek: A Pensacola Culture Site In South Alabama. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, pp. 180-193.
Drooker, P.B., 2003. Curation of Archaeological Collections at the New York State Museum. New York Archaeological Council Newsletter Fall, 1-3.
Drooker, P.B., 2002. The Ohio Valley, 1550-1750: Patterns of Sociopolitical Coalescence and Dispersal, in: Ethridge, R.H., Hudson, C. (Eds.), The Transformation Of The Southeastern Indians, 1540-1760. University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi, pp. 115-133.
Kutruff, J.T., Drooker, P.B., 2001. Textiles from the Wickliffe Mounds Site, in: Wesler, K. (Ed.), Excavations At Wickliffe Mounds. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, p. Chapter 14.
Drooker, P.B., 2001. Material Culture and Perishabililty, in: Drooker, P.B. (Ed.), Fleeting Identities: Perishable Material Culture In Archaeological Research. Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, pp. 1-15.