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Randolph J. Widmer

Randolph J. Widmer

Associate Professor emeritus
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

Old Science Building, Suite 230


I am an archaeologist who specializes in Culture Ecology, the study of the interrelationship of cultural systems with the environment. My research interests are quite broad, both in terms of the research topics, specializations and areas of geographical interest. I specialize in coastal adaptation and the role of craft specialization in the development of cultural complexity. I have developed a methodology for investigating craft specialization utilizing micro-artifact analysis. My geographical areas of research interest are the southeastern United States and Mesoamerica. I have excavated at the site S3W1:33 (Tlajinga 33) at the ancient city of Teotihuacan and have conducted excavations at Late Classic Maya sites 9N8-H, and 8N11 in the Copan Valley of Honduras. In Florida I excavated the Solana site, 8Ch67, near Punta Gorda. Although today this site is aerially exposed; when the site was occupied some 1500 years ago it was underwater. I have conducted three excavation projects at the famous and important Key Marco site on Marco Island. I have also mapped and excavated the impressive Shell Island village site, 8Cr55, in Rookery Bay National Estuary located between Naples and Key Marco, Florida. My most recent field work has been at the famous “Miami Circle” site where my excavations resulted in the cultural association of the circle and the dating of the site the circle is located in. I also discovered why and how the holes were excavated into the site’s bedrock, the distinctive characteristic of the site that made it famous.

Research Interests

  • Archaeology of Southeastern United States and Mesoamerica
  • Culture Ecology
  • Development of Sociopolitical Complexity
  • Craft Specialization
  • Coastal Adaptation


  • First Place, 1961 Ft. Lauderdale JayCee's Junior Fishing Tournament
  • First Place, Southern Anthropological Society Student Paper Competition, 1975
  • F. C. Craighead Award for "outstanding contributions to research, education, and preservation in the prehistory of southwest Florida,"
  • Southwest Florida Archaeological Society, 1996


  • Society for American Archaeology
  • Southeastern Archaeological Conference
  • American Anthropological Association
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Florida Anthropological Society
  • Texas Archaeological Society

Selected Publications

2010 The Rise, Fall and Transformation of Native American Cultures in the Southeastern United States. Reviews in Anthropology 39:108-126.

2009 Elite Late Classic Maya Domestic Multi-Crafting Specialization at 9N8, Patio H Copan. In Housework: Craft Production, Risk, and Domestic Economy in Mesoarmerica. Edited by Kenneth Hirth, pP. 174 -204. Anthropology Papers of the American Anthropological Association Vol. 19

2006 The Pre-Columbian Economy. Cambridge Economic History of Latin America, Vol. 1, Edited by Victor Bulmer-Thomas, John H. Coatsworth and Roberto Cortes Conde, pp. 73- 106. Cambridge University Press (with Rebecca Storey).

2005 A New Look at the Gulf Coast Formative. In Gulf Coast Archaeology: The Southeastern United States and Mexico. Edited by Nancy White, pp. 68- 86. University of Florida Press

2004 Archaeological Investigations at the Brickell Point Site, 8DA12, Operation 3. The Florida Anthropologist 57:11-57.

2004 Explaining Sociopolitical Complexity in the Foraging Adaptations of the Southeastern United States: The Roles of Demography, Kinship, and Ecology in Sociocultural Evolution. In Signs of Power: The Rise of Cultural Complexity in the Southeast edited by Jon L. Gibson and Philip J. Carr, pp. 234 – 253. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.

2002 The Woodland Archaeology of South Florida. In The Woodland Southeast. Edited by David G. Anderson and Robert C. Mainfort, Jr. Pp. 297- 321. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.

1994 The Structure of Southeastern Chiefdoms. In Forgotten Centuries: Indians and Europeans in the American South, 1513-1704. Edited by Charles Hudson and Carmen Tessar, pp. 125-155. University of Georgia Press, Athens.

Introduction in Exploration of Ancient Key-Dweller Remains on the Gulf Coast of Florida. University of Florida Press, Gainesville. Reprint of 1896 edition by Frank H. Cushing.

1991 Lapidary Craft Specialization at Teotihuacan: Implications for community structure at 33:S3W1 and economic organization in the city. Ancient Mesoamerica 2:131-147.

1989 The relationship of ceremonial artifacts from south Florida to the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex. In The Southeastern Ceremonial Complex: Artifacts and Analysis, edited by Patricia Galloway, pp. 166-179. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln.

1988 Evolution of the Calusa: A Stratified Non-Agricultural Chiefdom on the Southwest Florida Coast. University of Alabama Press

1987 Evolution of Form and Function in a Teotihuacan Apartment Compound, Tlajinga 33. In Teotihuacan, Nuevos Datos, Nuevas Sintesis y Nueva Problemas. Edited by E. McClung de Tapia and E. C. Rattry, pp. 317-368. UNAM, Mexico.

1986 Sociopolitical implications of off-shore fishing in Aboriginal Southeast Florida. Florida Anthropologist 39:244-252.

Curriculum Vitae

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