Alexander J. Smith

Alexander J. Smith, Ph.D

Assistant Professor
(585) 395-5709
alsmith@brockport.edu
Office: Liberal Arts 313
Website

Education

  • PhD, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown University, 2015
  • B.A. (summa cum laude) Anthropology and Classical Archaeology and Ancient History, Brandeis University, 2009

Areas of Specialty

  • Survey and landscape archaeology
  • Geographic information systems
  • Indigeneity and colonialism in the archaeological record
  • Historical archaeology
  • Western New York History
  • Colonial dynamics in the Mediterranean (Iron Age through the Twentieth Century)

Courses Taught

  • ANT 101 - The Human Condition
  • ANT 202 - Introduction to Archaeology
  • ANT 307/WMS 307 - Gendering the Past
  • ANT 343 - Rivers, Cities and Empires
  • ANT 381 - Archaeology and Aliens
  • ANT 384 - Archaeological Methods
  • ANT 440 - Historical Archaeology
  • ANT 442 - Field Methods in Archaeology
  • ANT 470 - Professional Development
  • ANT 471 - Anthropological Theory
  • ANT 463/563 - Museology
  • HON 380 - Rotating Topics

Research Interests

I am a historical archaeologist with roots in the study of the Mediterranean Iron Age and episodes of colonialism and cultural interaction around the world. I have worked in the Rome, Jordan, Montserrat (West Indies), Guatemala, Providence (Rhode Island), and am currently working in Naples, New York, Sardinia, Italy, and Menorca, Spain. I am also heavily involved in public outreach in the Rochester area, working closely with the Memorial Art Gallery (as a Creative Workshop instructor and volunteer) and the Rochester Museum and Science Center.

Together with the Cumming Nature Center in Naples, New York, in 2017 I began excavating a previously known 19th century foundation, located on the nature center’s property, an area once known as Frost Town. This foundation belonged to a family and a settlement that based its livelihood on the exploitation of the old growth forests of the region. As a logging settlement, Frost Town was largely abandoned by the beginning of the 20th century as the forests began to decline and the farmland proved too difficult to exploit. This project, in conjunction with the Cumming Nature Center, a branch of the Rochester Museum and Science Center, aims to explore the daily lives of the people of Frost Town with respect to increasing inter-regional connectivity, Erie Canal traffic to the north, and the environmental degradation wrought by the logging establishment. Frost Town Archaeology had its inaugural field school season in 2019 and recently completed a 2022 field school with the support of an ACLS Sustaining Public Engagement Grant. For more information visit this website, frosttownarchaeology.com, or our Instagram page, @frosttownarchaeology.

I also continue to work in the Mediterranean as a co-director of the Menorca Archaeological Project, which investigates the Medieval Islamic communities of Menorca, Spain. We are an international team of experts that investigate the remains of 13th century Islamic households built into the remains of Iron Age settlements. I have been working on Menorca intermittently since 2007 and wrote my doctoral thesis on the prehistory of the island. Check out or Instgram page, @MAProject360. I am also a former co-director of the Sinis Archaeological Project (SAP) in West-Central Sardinia, a multi-scalar archaeological survey that aims to understand the human occupation of the Sinis Peninsula from the Neolithic to the 20th century.