General Interest/Area of Focus
North American Historic Archaeology, with emphasis on the
Mark has been directly involved in historic archaeology since his first paid position, assisting with the 1979 excavation of Ft. Ouiatenon, an eighteenth century French and British period fort in central Indiana. Over the intervening years, he has participated in numerous projects throughout both the Great Lakes and Midwest regions, including Ft. Mackinac in northern Michigan and at a British colonial period farmstead in downtown Detroit. Given the rarity of such early sites in the region, it is not surprising that the majority of his research has focused on sites of the more recent American period, dating from the early nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries. These embrace a wide range of resources, including both historic period Native American sites (e.g., villages, sugar camps, activity areas, etc.) and Euroamerican resources (e.g., homesteads, farmsteads, taverns, forts, canals, water-powered sawmills, lumber camps, and school houses, as well as urban residential neighborhoods and industrial properties).
Society for Historical Archaeology
Most recently, he has focused his primary research interests on small-scale settlement processes on the pre-Civil War agrarian frontier, as typified by Illinois and the greater Midwest. Although an increasing number of these sites have been excavated, the integration of these typically small data sets and their application to broader regional and national questions of settlement dynamics will remain an active research area for many years to come. Currently, this work is exemplified by the recent publication of our work at the Seibert site (11S801), a ca. 1815-1860 farmstead complex in St. Clair County.
Branstner, Mark C. (editor)
2010 Standing Structure Archaeology: The DeBaun/Waters Farmstead Site (11MS2258), Madison County, Illinois. Illinois Archaeology 22(1):48-66.
2009 The Buckmaster Site: An Early Settlement Period Homestead in Southwestern Illinois. In Lincoln’s Land – The Archaeology of Early Illinois, edited by Alice Berkson. Illinois Antiquity 44(3-4):16-19.
2008 The Problem with Distorted, Flattened, Spent, and Otherwise Mangled Lead Balls: A Simple Remedy. Illinois Archaeology 20:168-184.
1999 The Euro-American Archaeological Record of Michigan's Territorial Period 1796-1836. In Retrieving Michigan's Buried Past: Prehistoric and Historic Archaeology in the Great Lakes State, ed. by J. R. Halsey. Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
1999 The Carp River Sawmill Company (20CH99): A Pre-Civil War Settlement on the South Shore of Lake Superior. The Michigan Archaeologist 45(2): 36-57).
1989 Ceramics and Table Glass. In Excavations at the Trombley House (20BY70): A Settlement Period House Site in Bay City, Michigan, edited by E.J. Prahl. The Michigan Archaeologist 35:153-170.
1987 Working-Class Detroit: Late Victorian Consumer Choices and Status (with Terrance Martin). In Consumer Choice in Historical Archaeology, ed. by S. Spencer-Wood, pp. 301-320. Plenum Press, New York.
Selected Papers Presented
2014 Complexity Begets Ambiguity: Small Site Archaeology and NRHP Significance. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
2012 Fort Johnson and Cantonment Davis: Excavation Notes and Material Recoveries (with Robert N. Hickson). Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Baltimore, Maryland.
2010 Hog Capital of the Nation: The Rise and Fall of the East St. Louis Stockyards.
2008 Horseshoe Pond (11BR442): A Pre-Civil War Farmstead on the Western Illinois Settlement Frontier. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
2006 The Chenoweth Site (11MD771): A 19th Century Farmstead in McDonough County, Illinois (with Richard Fishel). Paper presented at the Midwest Archaeological Conference, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.
2002 The Sweepings of Two Centuries: Archaeological Recoveries in Association with the Ft. Mackinac Wall Restoration Project. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Mobile, Alabama.
2000 The 18th Century French Settlement at the Straits of Detroit. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
1996 The Carp River Sawmill Company: A Pre-Civil War Settlement on the South Shore of Lake Superior. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Cincinnati, Ohio.
1995 Interpreting Logging in Michigan: Research at a Late Nineteenth Century Railroad Logging Camp (with Dean A. Anderson). Paper presented at the 1995 Midwest Archaeological Conference, Beloit, Wisconsin.
1995 The Life and Death of a Canal: The Wabash and Erie Canal in Lafayette, Indiana (with Sean B. Dunham). Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C.
1984 Blue Collar Detroit: A Late Victorian Baseline Study on the Near East Riverfront. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Williamsburg, Virginia.