Research Laboratories of Archaeology

Biographical Sketch: Vincas P. Steponaitis

Vincas Steponaitis (A.B., Harvard University 1974; Ph.D., University of Michigan 1980) is William E. Leuchtenburg Distinguished Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology at UNC-Chapel Hill. Formerly he was Director of the Research Laboratories of Archaeology (1988-2016), Chair of the Curriculum in Archaeology (2009-2016), and Secretary of the Faculty (2016-2021). He has served as president of the Society for American Archaeology (1997-1999), president of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference (1990-1992), chairman of the board for the Archaeological Conservancy (2003-2007), member of the NAGPRA Review Committee (2004-2008, appointed by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior), editor of the scholarly journal Southeastern Archaeology (1984-1987), and on numerous other professional boards and committees. He currently serves on the Smithsonian Institution's Repatriation Review Committee and the U.S. Department of the Interior's Preservation Technology and Training Board (appointed by the Secretary in January 2021).

His archaeological research interests focus on the precolonial Indian cultures of the American South, the origins of political centralization, chiefdoms, studies of ancient art styles, and the analysis of ancient ceramics. In addition to numerous articles, his books include Ceramics, Chronology, and Community Patterns: An Archaeological Study at Moundville (Academic Press 1993; reprinted U. Alabama Press 2009), Archaeology of the Moundville Chiefdom (co-edited with V.J. Knight, Smithsonian Inst. Press 1998; reprinted U. Alabama Press 2007), and Rethinking Moundville and its Hinterland (co-edited with C. Margaret Scarry, U. Press of Florida, 2016). He co-created Excavating Occaneechi Town (UNC Press 1998), one of the first digital monographs in archaeology, which won the PSP Electronic Product Award from the American Association of Publishers.

Other honors include the Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring (UNC-Chapel Hill), the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching (SUNY system), and the University Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (SUNY-Binghamton). He has been a principal investigator on grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.