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Robert A. Cook

OSU - Newark
Office: Founders 2062
Phone: (740)366-9159

Research and Professional Interests

  • family and political structures in early farming communities

  • inter-regional interaction and the evolution of social complexity

  • settlement and landscape archaeology

  • mortuary analysis

  • experimental archaeology

  • public interpretation

  • Fort Ancient, Mississippians

  • Ohio Valley prehistory

Courses Taught at The Ohio State University

World Prehistory

Peoples and Cultures

Fundamentals of Archaeology

Prehistoric Indians of Eastern North America

Strategy of Archaeological Field Research

Archaeological Laboratory Methods

Summer Field School in Archaeology

Public Archaeology

History of Anthropological Theory

Recent Publications


Cook, R. A. (2008) SunWatch: Fort Ancient Development in the Mississippian World. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.


Cook, R. A., A. Comstock, K. Martin, and J. Burks (in press) Early Fort Ancient Village Life in Southeast Indiana: The Guard Site Example.  Southeastern Archaeology.

Cook, R. A., and Aaron Comstock (in press) Toward More Continuous Artifact Analyses: Defining Key Dimensions of Fort Ancient Triangular Projectile Points.  Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology.

Deppen, J., and R. A. Cook (2013) Deer Use in Good Times and in Bad: A Fort Ancient Case Study from Southwest Ohio.  Environmental Archaeology.

Cook, R. A., and W. Lovis (2013) Lake Levels, Mobility, and Lithic Raw Material Selection and Reduction Strategies: A Great Lakes Case Study.  Environmental Archaeology.

Cook, R. A. (2012) Dogs of War: Potential Social Institutions of Conflict, Healing, and Death in a Fort Ancient Village.  American Antiquity 77: 498-523.

Nolan, K., and R. A. Cook (2011) A Critique of Late Prehistoric Systematics in the Middle Ohio Valley.  North American Archaeologist 32: 295-327.                      

Burks, J., and R. A. Cook (2011) Beyond Squier and Davis: Rediscovering Ohio's Earthworks Using Geophysical Remote Sensing.  American Antiquity 76: 667-689.

Cook, R. A., and J. Burks (2011) Determining Site Size and Structure in Cases of Low Surface Visibility: A Fort Ancient Example.  American Antiquity 76: 145-162.

Sunderhaus, T. S., and R. A. Cook (2011) Making and Breaking Pots in a Late Prehistoric Village in the Midwest U.S.  North American Archaeologist 32: 49-80.

Nolan, K., and R. A. Cook (2010) An Evolutionary Model of Cultural Change in the Middle Ohio Valley.  Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 29: 62-79.

Cook, R. A., and M. Schurr (2009) Eating Between the Lines: Mississippian Migration and Stable Carbon Isotope Variation in Fort Ancient Populations. American Anthropologist 111: 344-359.

Cook, R. A., and L. F. Fargher (2008) The Incorporation of Mississippian Traditions into Fort Ancient Societies: A Preliminary View of the Shift to Shell-Tempered Pottery Use in the Middle Ohio Valley. Southeastern Archaeology 27: 222-237.

Cook, R. A. (2007) Single Component Sites with Long Sequences of Radiocarbon Dates: The SunWatch Site and Middle Fort Ancient Village Growth. American Antiquity 72: 439-460.

Cook, R. A., and L. Fargher (2007) Fort Ancient-Mississippian Interaction and Shell-Tempered Pottery at the SunWatch Site. Journal of Field Archaeology 32: 1-12.

Cook, R. A. (2005) Reconstructing Perishable Architecture: Prospects and Limitations of a Fort Ancient Example. North American Archaeologist 26: 357-388.

Sullivan, A. P. III, R. A. Cook, M. P. Purtill, and P. Uphus (2001) Economic and Land-Use Implications of Prehistoric Fire-Cracked-Rock Piles, Northern Arizona. Journal of Field Archaeology 28: 367-382.

Recent Grants

2013 “Investigation of Early Fort Ancient Settlement and Community Patterns: Archaeological Survey of Dearborn County.” National Park Service and Indiana Department of Natural Resources ($49,782).

2012 “The Fort Ancient Structure Test Project: Evaluating a Potential 'Pompeii' Assemblage along a Mississippian Boundary." National Geographic Society ($20,000).

2011 “The Fort Ancient Regional Movement (FARM) Project.” National Science Foundation ($132,338).

2011 "Archaeological Field School at the Taylor Site: First Steps toward Understanding a Key Fort Ancient Village in the Little Miami Valley, Southwest Ohio." OSU-N Research and Scholarly Activity Grant ($3,985).

2011 "Imaging Earthwork Locations in Ohio." OSU-N Research and Scholarly Activity Grant ($753).

Collecting GPS data during archaeological survey.