Faculty Director

Sissel Schroeder

Sissel Schroeder is an archaeology professor in the Department of Anthropology and a faculty affiliate with American Indian Studies, the Center for Culture, History, and the Environment, and the Nelson Institute. She is a Wisconsin native, born in Madison and raised in Wausau. She attended Luther College as an undergraduate, where she majored in Anthropology and Biology, received her M.S. in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and her a Ph.D. in Anthropology from The Pennsylvania State University. As an undergraduate, she had an opportunity to work closely with a faculty member and a research associate on the analysis of ancient architecture and pottery from an archaeological site near St. Louis, MO. Around 800 – 1,000 years ago, The area around St. Louis was home to the most populous city of its time north of Mexico. This experience helped her land a job upon graduation at the Illinois State Museum, where she continued to work with archaeological materials from the St. Louis area. After several years of interest and training in skeletal biology and the investigation of ancient funerary practices, she returned to research on the ancient peoples living in the floodplain of the Mississippi River, with a fieldwork emphasis south of St. Louis. After completing her Ph.D. she taught at the University of Michigan and University of Kentucky. When offered the opportunity to join the faculty at Wisconsin, she leapt at the chance to return to her home state and teach at its premier public university. She enjoys working with the bright and highly motivated undergraduates at Wisconsin, some of whom have worked in her lab or joined her on archaeological projects in the field. She also has conducted research in the earliest peoples to inhabit this land we call Wisconsin some 12,500 years ago, and the ecology of Native American maize agriculture in eastern North America from 2000 years ago until the early 19th century. Her current research is centered in western Kentucky where she is exploring architectural diversity, political organization, multi-ethnic community formation, and ritual practices at a heavily fortified site that dates to about 800 years ago.