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Mark Branstner
Historic Archaeologist/Cultural Resource Archaeologist

BA (1978), MA (1984) Anthropology
Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

E-mail: mbranstn@illinois.edu

Phone: (217) 244-0892

Complete Vitae (pdf)

 
Mark Branstner

General Interest/Area of Focus

North American Historic Archaeology, with emphasis on the
Euroamerican Settlement of the American Midwest

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 very 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).

Memberships

  • Society for Historical Archaeology
  • Illinois Association for Advancement of Archaeology
  • Midwestern Archaeological Conference
  • Conference on Michigan Archaeology (Secretary, 1997-2005)
  • Michigan Archaeological Society (President, 1984 and 2005)

Current Research

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 a small number of representative sites have recently been excavated, the integration of these inherently 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 ongoing analysis of the a number of small farmsteads (e.g., Chenoweth / 11MD771) and a ca. 1835-1870 abandoned townsite (Rocky Ford/Shelburn / 11LE72-74).

Previous Positions

1985-2005 Owner/Principal Investigator, Great Lakes Research, Inc., Williamston, Michigan

Selected Bibliography

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).

1990 [Ceramics].  In Report of the Preliminary Excavations at Fort Gratiot (1814-1879) in Port Huron, Michigan, ed. by B. Hawkins and R. Stamps.  Odyssey Research Monographs 2(1):51-62.  Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan.

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.

Branstner, M.C., and Terrance Martin
1987 Working-Class Detroit: Late Victorian Consumer Choices and Status.  In Consumer Choice in Historical Archaeology, ed. by S. Spencer-Wood, pp. 301-320.  Plenum Press, New York.

Prahl, Earl J., and M.C. Branstner
1984 Archaeological Investigations on Mackinac Island, 1983: The Watermain and Sewer Project.  Mackinac Island State Park Commission, Archaeological Completion Report Series 8, Mackinac Island, Michigan.

Selected Papers Presented

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.

1999 Consumer Choice on the Great Lakes Frontier: Ceramics, Core-Periphery Relationships and Social Identity. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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.

Anderson, Dean A., and M.C. Branstner
1995 Interpreting Logging in Michigan: Research at a Late Nineteenth Century Railroad Logging Camp.  Paper presented at the 1995 Midwest Archaeological Conference, Beloit, Wisconsin.

1995 Nineteenth Century Farmstead Structure: A Search for Pattern and Features.  Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C.

Dunham, Sean B., and M.C. Branstner
1995 The Life and Death of a Canal: The Wabash and Erie Canal in Lafayette, Indiana.  Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C.

1989 Historical Archaeology in Detroit: The Evolution of an Urban Management Strategy.  Paper presented at the Symposium on Ohio Valley Urban and Historic Archaeology, Cincinnati, Ohio.

1989 The William Macomb Farm.  Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Baltimore, Maryland.

1988 The Cobo Hall Expansion Project.  Paper presented at Michigan in Perspective: 30th Annual Conference on Local History, Michigan In Perspective, Wayne State University, Detroit.

1987 The Euro-American Archaeological Record of Michigan's Territorial Period 1796-1836.  Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Michigan Archaeological Society, Lansing, Michigan.

Branstner, Mark 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.


 

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