Mary Ann Levine Professor of Anthropology, Department Chair of Anthropology

I grew up in Huntingdon, Quebec and earned a BA in Anthropology with First Class Honours from McGill University in Montreal. At McGill I had the privilege of being mentored by Bruce Trigger, Fumiko-Ikawa Smith and Michael Bisson. I pursued my interest in Northeastern North American archaeology by attending graduate school at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where I studied with Dena Dincauze, Martin Wobst, Bob Paynter, and Art Keene. I was awarded an MA in Anthropology with Distinction for my critical analysis of radiocarbon results associated with Northeastern Paleoindian sites. I earned my PhD in 1996 for my work on the provenance of native copper artifacts crafted by Late Archaic and Early Woodland hunter-gatherers. This research received generous funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. Immediately following graduate school I taught for two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Ithaca College. In 1998 I joined the faculty here at Franklin and Marshall College.


In my research I have sought to uncover and challenge unexamined assumptions about indigenous peoples, particularly hunter-gatherers, in the Northeast. This research trajectory began when I was still in graduate school, and had the opportunity to study a previously unexamined collection of artifacts from the Hudson River Valley in NY. My first publication analyzed this collection to challenge the assumed absence of hunter-gatherer groups during the immediate post-glacial period. In a second article, I demonstrated that the conventional use of paleo-ecological models and ethnographic analogies drawn from the arctic were inappropriate, and led to untenable interpretations of Northeastern hunter-gatherers. In my dissertation I sought to evaluate the dominant model of native copper procurement by utilizing trace element analysis to test the veracity of the 160-year old assumption that all Native Americans east of the Mississippi procured their copper exclusively from the Great Lakes. This project was the first to use Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis to test copper artifacts from the Late Archaic and Early Woodland periods against a large database of geological copper signatures. Following the completion of my dissertation, I examined ancient landscapes in central NY that were previously thought to be marginal to hunter-gatherer lifeways. It has long been thought that hunter-gatherer in this area had a relatively simple land-use system, focused on river valleys and lake shores. This characterization is based largely on untested assumptions derived from research conducted from 1930-1970 on a few large sites. It has been widely accepted that these hunter-gatherers rarely if ever utilized upland areas; this assumption has been handed down largely because upland areas have rarely been sampled, creating a perpetuating tautology. My research successfully demonstrated that uplands were in fact intensively used by Late Archaic hunter-gatherers in the Finger Lakes region of NY.

More recently, since 2007, I have begun to consider how the reality of post-contact indigenous lifeways may differ from our prevailing assumptions about them, through the archaeological and ethnohistorical analysis of the life of Madame Montour. My most recent research project focuses on the site of Otstonwakin. The woman who became known as Madame Montour in the NY and PA colonial archives was born in Québec in 1667, the child of a French-Indian marriage. She spoke her mother’s central Algonquin language, her father’s French and in the course of her life she learned a variety of Algonquin and Iroquoian languages as well as English. She left Québec in the 1690s to join in Michigan where she participated in fur trade and began serving as an interpreter. In 1709 she married an Oneida chief, and traveled to Albany, to serve as interpreter for NY Governor Robert Hunter. From 1709-1719 she entered public records and colonial archives on numerous occasions as a frontier diplomat who interpreted during various political negotiations between delegates of the Five Nations Iroquois and the Governor of NY. After the Governor’s departure from the colony in 1719, Madame Montour traveled to PA and by 1727 attended meetings between Pennsylvania’s Provincial Council and a variety of multinational Indian delegations, specifically translating for Governor Patrick Gordon as land settlements were being made with the Iroquois. 

At this point she resided at Otstonwakin, a multinational Native American village. In 2007, 2008, and 2009 I successfully directed a project to rediscover Otstonwakin. My research project focuses on early 18th century colonial encounters and considers the significance of Madame Montour’s Otstonwakin in the last decades of the Long Peace. The Long Peace established by William Penn stretched from the Colony’s founding until the mid-1750s. After 1750, Penn’s Woods witnessed considerable bloodshed as the colonial landscape was forever transformed. My work focuses on early 18th century colonial entanglements just prior to the French and Indian War by examining the significance of one frontier diplomat (Madame Montour) and one site (Otstonwakin) in the last decades of the fragile long peace. Otsonwakin has been the site of several recent archaeological fieldschools.

And finally, since 2002, I have served as co-director of the Thaddeus Stevens and Lydia Hamilton Smith project. This project focused on the excavation of an urban lot once owned and occupied by Thaddeus Stevens (1792-1868), one of the 19th century's best known abolitionists, and Lydia Hamilton Smith (1813-1884), a businesswoman who was Stevens's long-time housekeeper. The data we recovered from the site includes a modified cistern we believe was used as a hiding place on the Underground Railroad. Beyond the materials directly relating to Stevens and Smith, we recovered artifacts relating to an early 18th century lime kiln, a mid-18th century blacksmith shop, an early 19th century brewery, a mid-19th century pottery works, a late 19th century hotel, and an early 20th century veterinary hospital. The site has proven to be a rich source for answering numerous research questions, and has led to multiple opportunities for collaborative research which has included several cohorts of F&M students. For our efforts we were recipients of the 2003 Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster Elvin N. Heisey Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service and the 2005 Preservation Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Award for Archaeology.


Edited Volumes

2009    Archaeology and Community Service Learning, edited by Michael Nassaney and Mary Ann Levine, University Press of Florida.

1999    The Archaeological Northeast, edited by Mary Ann Levine, Kenneth Sassaman, and Michael Nassaney.  Native Peoples of the Americas Series, Bergin & Garvey Press, Westport, Connecticut [paperback issued in 2000].

Book Chapters and Journal Articles

in press Archaeology, Intangible Heritage, and the Negotiation of Urban Identity in Lancaster   Pennsylvania [with James A. Delle]. Historical Archaeology [accepted scheduled for 2010]

2010    Remembering the Women of Vine Street: Archaeology and Historic Preservation of an Urban Landscape in Lancaster, PA [with James A. Delle]. In Archaeology and the Preservation of Gendered Landscapes, edited by Sherene Baugher and Suzanne Spencer-Wood. Springer Publications [expected January 2010].

2009    Archaeology and Community Service Learning at the Thaddeus Stevens and Lydia Hamilton Smith Site, Lancaster, PA [with James A. Delle]. In Archaeology and Community Service Learning, edited by Michael Nassaney and Mary Ann Levine, pp. 83-109, University Press of Florida.

2007    Determining the Provenance of Native Copper Artifacts from Northeastern North America: Evidence from Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 20:1-16.

2007    Overcoming Disciplinary Solitude: The Archaeology and Geology of Native Copper in Eastern North America. Geoarcheology 22(1):49-66.

2005    Heritage Tourism and Community Outreach: Public Archaeology at the Thaddeus Stevens and Lydia Hamilton Smith Site in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. [with Kelly Britt and James A. Delle]. International Journal of Heritage Studies 11(5):399-414.

2004    Excavations at the Thaddeus Stevens/Lydia Hamilton Smith Site, Lancaster, PA: Archaeological Evidence for the Underground Railroad? [with James A. Delle]. Northeast Historical Archaeology 33:131-152.

2004    The Clauson Site: Late Archaic Settlement and Subsistence in the Uplands of Central of New York. Archaeology of Eastern North America 32:161-181.

2003    The Cayuga Lake Archaeology Project: Surveying Marginalized Landscapes in New York’s Finger Lakes Region. Archaeology of Eastern North America 31:133-150.

1999    Native Copper in the Northeast:  An Overview of Potential Sources Available to Indigenous Peoples. In The Archaeological Northeast, edited by Mary Ann Levine et al., pp. 183-199.Bergin & Garvey Press, Westport, Connecticut.

1999    Preface. In The Archaeological Northeast, edited by Mary Ann Levine et al., pp. xv-xviii. Bergin & Garvey Press, Westport, Connecticut. [with Kenneth Sassaman and Michael S.Nassaney].

1999    Uncovering a Buried Past:  Women in Americanist Archaeology Before the First World War.  In Assembling the Past:  Studies in the Professionalization of Archaeology, edited by Alice B. Kehoe, pp. 133-151.University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

1997    The Tyranny Continues:  Ethnographic Analogy and Eastern Paleo-Indians.  In Caribou and  Reindeer Hunters of the Northern Hemisphere, edited by Lawrence J. Jackson and Paul T. Thacker, pp. 221-244.  Avebury, Aldershot, Great Britain.

1996    Women's Work.  In The Cambridge Illustrated History of Archaeology, edited by Paul Bahn, pp. 356-357.  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.  [with Alice Kehoe].

1994    Presenting the Past:  A Review of Research on Women in Archaeology.  In Equity Issues for Women in Archaeology, edited by Margaret C. Nelson, Sarah M. Nelson, and Alison Wylie, pp. 23-36.  Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association Number 5.

1994    Creating Their Own Niches:  Career Styles Among Women in Americanist Archaeology Between the Wars.  In Women in Archaeology, edited by Cheryl Claassen, pp. 9-40.  University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

1991    An Historical Overview of Research on Women in Anthropology.  In The Archaeology of Gender, Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Chacmool Conference, edited by Dale Walde and Noreen Willows, pp. 177-186.  The Archaeological Association of the University of Calgary.

1990     Accommodating Age:  Radiocarbon Results and Fluted Point Sites in Northeastern North America. Archaeology of Eastern North America 18:33-63.

1989    New Evidence for Early Postglacial Occupations in the Upper Hudson Valley.  The Bulletin: Journal of the New York State Archaeological Association 98:5-12.

Reprinted Articles

1999    Archaeology's Unrecognized Working Women.  In Archaeology:  Down to Earth, 2nd edition, by David Hurst Thomas.  Fort Worth, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, pages 18-19. [reprinted from "Creating Their Own Niches"...  Levine (1994:11-12)]

1998    Archaeology's Unrecognized Working Women.  In Archaeology, 3rd edition, by David Hurst Thomas.  Fort Worth, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, page 18. [reprinted from "Creating Their Own Niches"...  Levine (1994:11-12)]

Book Reviews

2002    Book review of “It’s About Time: A History of Archaeological Dating in North America” by Stephen E. Nash. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 18: 105-106.

2002    Book review of “Determining Geologic Sources of Artifact Copper: Source Characterization Using Trace Element Patterns. Edited by George (Rip) Rapp, James Allert, Vanda Vitali, Zhichun Jing, and Eiler Henrickson. Geoarchaeology 17(6): 625-627.

2002    Book review of “Wonderful Power: The Story of Ancient Copper Working in the Lake Superior Basin” by Susan R. Martin. American Antiquity 67(2):396-397.

1999    Book review of “The Calvert Site: An Interpretive Framework for the Early Iroquoian Village” by Peter A. Timmins.  Journal of Field Archaeology 26(4):467-469.

1993    Book review of "The Uses of Style in Archaeology" edited by Margaret Conkey and Christine A. Hastorf.  American Antiquity 58(4):779-780.

1991    Book review of "En marche entre deux mondes:  Préhistoire récente au Québec, au Labrador, et à Terre Neuve" edited by Pierre Dumais and Moira T. McCaffrey.  American Antiquity 56(3):564-565.

1989    Book review of "Mounds of Sacred Earth:  Burial Mounds of Ontario" by Walter Kenyon.  North American Archaeologist 10(3):252-255.

1987    Book review of "Archaeology in Quebec-L'Archéologie au Québec" by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and "Meeting Our Ancestors:  What Can Their Bones Tell Us-Rencontre avec nos ancêtres:  Ce que nous révèlent leurs ossements" by Robert Larocque.  Man in the Northeast  33:159-162.

Course Information

 Introduction to Archaeology (ANT 102)
 Great Mysteries of the Past (ANT 125; First Year Seminar)
 North American Indians of the Eastern Woodlands (ANT 261)
 North American Archaeology (ANT 260)
 Hunter-Gatherers (ANT 325)
 Queens, Goddesses, and Archaeology (ANT 365)
 Archeology of Colonialism in Native North America (ANT 373)
 Archaeological Methods (ANT 411)
 Summer Fieldschool in Archaeology (ANT 471)