David Dye

Dr. David H. Dye

Professor, Faculty Advisor

0-1 Johnson Hall and 117 Johnson Hall
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About Dr. Dye

Within Eastern Woodland archaeology, my main areas of interest are Mississippian conflict and cooperation, political organization, exchange, and religion. My new book War Paths, Peace Paths explores the relationship of conflict and cooperation throughout prehistory in the Eastern Woodlands and reveals new insights into the political and religious nature of warfare. My approach to archaeology is multidisciplinary, drawing on cultural anthropology, folklore, iconography, and ethnohistory. My research orientation is the material culture and political history of the Midsouth, focusing on Mississippian elites. I am also interested in documenting symbolic weaponry and ceramic iconography from the Midsouth through photography. In the summer of 2007 I began field work at the Middle Mississippian Link Farm site and in 2008 at Early Mississippian Mound Bottom site.


Ph.D., Gulf Formational Cultures in the Western Tennessee Valley, Washington University in St. Louis, 1980.

Research and Scholarly Activities

Research Interests

Eastern Woodland archaeology, conflict & cooperation, religion, lithic sourcing, ceramic analysis, photography.


The Transformation of Mississippian Warfare: Four Case Studies from the Mid-South. In The Archaeology of Warfare: Prehistories of Raiding and Conquest, edited by Elizabeth Arkush and Mark W. Allen, pp. 101-142. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, 2006.

Ritual, Medicine, and the War Trophy Iconographic Theme in the Mississippian Southeast. In Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms: Interpretations of Mississippian Iconography, edited by F. Kent Reilly, III and James F. Garber, pp. 289-320. University of Texas Press, Austin, 2007.

Severed Heads and Sacred Scalplocks: Mississippian Iconographic Trophies. In The Taking and Displaying of Human Body Parts as Trophies by Amerindians, edited by Richard J. Chacon and David H. Dye, pp. 274-294. Plenum, New York, (with James A. Brown), 2007.

Hightower Anthropomorphic Marine Shell Gorgets and Duck River Sword-form Flint Bifaces: Middle Mississippian Ritual Regalia in the Southern Appalachians. In Southeastern Ceremonial Complex: Chronology, Content, Style, edited by Adam King, pp. 165-184. University of Alabama Press, (with Shawn Marceaux), 2007.

Archaeology in the Dark Zone: Patty Jo Watson and the Pursuit of Prehistory in the Caves of the Eastern Woodlands. In Cave Archaeology in the Eastern Woodlands: Papers in Honor of Patty Jo Watson, edited by David H. Dye, pp. 1-30. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 2008.

Desecrating the Sacred Ancestor Temples: Chiefly Conflict and Violence in the American Southeast. In North American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual, edited by Richard J. Chacon and Ruben G. Mendoza, pp. 160-181. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, (with Adam King), 2008.