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Christopher DeCorse

Professor, Anthropology

Chris_DeCorse Headshot

Contact Information

207 Maxwell Hall
(315) 443-4647
Curriculum Vitae
Christopher DeCorse CV 2015


Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1989


General anthropology, historical archaeology, culture contact, Africa, African diaspora


I am an archaeologist with research interests in culture contact and change, material culture studies, and general anthropology.   I have excavated at sites in the United States and the Caribbean, but my primary area of research has been in the archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnography of sub-Saharan Africa.  I am interested in how archaeology can help us understand the transformations that occurred in Africa during the period of the Atlantic trade.  My field experience includes sites in the Gambia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo. However, my most recent archaeological research has focused on the African settlement at Elmina, Ghana, the site of the first and largest European trade post established in sub-Saharan Africa.

My principal publications include the Record of the Past: An introduction to Physical Anthropology and Archaeology (Prentice Hall 2000), Anthropology: A Global Perspective, co-authored with Raymond Scupin (4th edition, Prentice Hall 2001), West Africa during the Atlantic Slave Trade: Archaeological Perspectives, edited (Leicester University Press 2001), and An Archaeology of Elmina: Africans and Europeans on the Gold Coast (Smithsonian Institution Press 2001).  To find out more about the Record of the Past, visit the companion website


Books and Monographs

2005 Brian Fagan and C. R. DeCorse. In the Beginning (12th edition). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

2001  C.R. DeCorse. An Archaeology of Elmina: Africans and Europeans on the Gold Coast, 1400-1900. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Press. 

2001  R. Scupin and C.R. DeCorse. Anthropology: A Global Perspective (4th Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall (1st Edition 1992; 2nd Edition 1995; 3rd Edition 1997). 

2001  C.R. DeCorse (editor). West Africa During the Atlantic Slave Trade: Archaeological Perspectives. New York; Leicester University Press. 

2000  C.R. DeCorse. The Record of the Past: An Introduction to Archaeology and Physical Anthropology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 

1994  C.R. DeCorse and C.J.B. DeCorse. Worldviews in Human Expression. Office of Instructional Development, University of Maryland University College. 

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

2004 C.R. DeCorse and Gerard L. Chouin "Trouble with Siblings: Archaeological and Historical Interpretation of the West African Past" in Sources and Methods in African History: Spoken, Written, Unearthed,  Toyin Falola and Christian Jennings (eds) pages 7-15, University of Rochester Press, Peer Reviewed Book Chapter.

2004  Review of "World Eras, Volume 10: West African Kingdoms, 500-1590", edited by Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure. Farmington Hills, Michigan: Thomas Gale, 2004.  International Journal of African Historical Studies, 37(3), 2004, 25-26.

2004 Review of "Ama: A Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade" by Manu Herbstein, First e-reads publication 2001.  International Journal of African Historical Studies, 37(1), 2004, 166-167.

2004 Review of "Cattle for Beads: The Archaeology of Historical Contact and Trade on the Namib Coast", by Jill Kinahan, Studies in African Archaeology 17, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Uppsala, Sweden, and Namibia Archaeological Trust, Windhoek. Historical Archaeology, 38(2), 2004, 138-139

2004 Review of "Coast of Slaves (Slavernes Kyst)" by Thorkild Hansen, translated by Kari Dako. Accra, Ghana: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2002. International Journal of African Historical Studies, 37(1), 2004,165

2003 Review of “J. C. Harrington Medal in Historical Archaeology" Merrick Posnansky 2003.” Historical Archaeology, 38(2), 2004:1-6

1999   C.R. DeCorse. "Oceans Apart: Africanist Perspectives on Diaspora Archaeology." In "I, Too, am America": Archaeological Studies of African-American Life, edited by Theresa Singleton. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, pp. 132-155 

1998  C.R. DeCorse. "Culture Contact and Change in West Africa." In Studies in Culture Contact. edited by James Cusick. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University, pp 358-377. 

1998  C.R. DeCorse. "The Europeans in West Africa: Culture Contact, Continuity and Change. In Transformation in Africa. edited by Graham Connah. London: Cassells, pp 219-244. 

1996  C.R. DeCorse. "Documents, Oral Histories, and the Material Record: Historical Archaeology in West Africa." World Archaeological Bulletin. 7:40-50. 

1993  C.R. DeCorse. "The Danes on the Gold Coast: Culture Change and the European Presence." The African Archaeology Review. 11:149-173. 

1992  C.R. DeCorse. "Culture Contact, Continuity and Change on the Gold Coast, 1400-1900 AD." The African Archaeology Review. 10:163-196. 

1991  C.R. DeCorse "West African archaeology and the Atlantic Slave Trade." Journal of Slavery and Abolition. 12(2): 92-96. 

1989  C.R. DeCorse "Material Aspects of Limba, Yalunka and Kuranko Ethnicity: Archaeology Research in Northeastern Sierra Leone." In Archaeological Approaches to Cultural Identity. edited by S.J. Shennan. London: Unwin Hyman, pp. 125-139. 

1989  C.R. DeCorse "Beads as Chronological Indicators in West African Archaeology: A Reexamination." Beads: Journal of the Society of Bead Researchers. 1:41-53. 

1986  M. Posnansky and C.R. DeCorse. "Historical Archaeology in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review." Historical Archaeology. 20(1): 1-14. 

1984  C.R. DeCorse. "Elixers, Nerve Tonics and Panaceas: The Medicine Trade in Nineteenth Century New Hampshire." Historical New Hampshire. 39(1): 1-23. 

Research Notes and Reports

2001   C.R. DeCorse and Sam Spiers. "West Africa Iron Age." Encyclopedia of Prehistory, Volume 1. pp 313-318. 

2001  C.R. DeCorse and Sam Spiers. "West African Regional Development." Encyclopedia of Prehistory, Volume 1. pp 339-345. 

2000  C.R. DeCorse, Edward Carr, Gerard Chouin, Gregory Cook and Sam Spiers. "Central Region Project, Coastal Ghana." Nyame Akuma. 53:6-11. 

2000  C.R. DeCorse "Results of the 1998 SHA Membership Survey." SHA Newsletter. 33(1):13-14. 

2000  C.R. DeCorse. "An African Bead in New York." Update: Newsletter of the African Burial Ground and Five Point Archaeological Projects. 3(1):6-7. 

1998  C.R. DeCorse. "African Historical Archaeology: Costal Ghana." Society for Historical Archaeology Newsletter. 31(4):28-29. 

1997  C.R. DeCorse. "The Archaeology of Western Africa." In The Encyclopedia of Sub-Saharan Africa, Volume 1. New York: Schribner's, pp 84-90 

1997  C.R. DeCorse. "Historical Archaeology in Western Africa." In The Archaeology of Sub-Saharan Africa: An Encyclopedia. New York: Garland, pp 545-549. 

1996  James Ellison, Peter Robertshaw, Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, Roderick J. McIntosh, Ann B Stahl, C.R. DeCorse Larry H. Robbins, Susan Kent, Adoum Ngaba-Waye, Mohamed Sahnouni, A.K. Segobye. "The Future of African Archaeology." African Archaeological Review. 13(1):5-34. 

1996  C.R. DeCorse. "West African Forest Kingdoms." The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. New York: Oxford University Press, pp 747-748. 

1996  C.R. DeCorse. "Archaeological Perspective of Cultural Contact and Trade in West Africa. " In Aspects of African Archaeology, Papers from the 10th Congress of the Pan African Association for Prehistory and Related Studies. edited by Gilbert Pwiti and Robert Soper. Harare, University of Zimbabwe Publications, pp 681-686. 

1995  C.R. DeCorse and E.K.Agorsah "Analysis of Smoking Pipes from the Maroon Stronghold of Nanny Town, Portland, Jamaica." Archaeology Jamaica. 9 and 10:59-65. 

1994  C.R. DeCorse. "The Elmina Bakatue: Evaluating Change and Continuity in Coastal Ghana." Ghana Studies Council Newsletter. 7:5. 

1994  C.R. DeCorse. "Ivory Artifacts from Elmina." Ghana Studies Council Newsletter. 7:5-6. 

1993  C.R. DeCorse. "Archaeological Research at Elmina." Archaeology in Ghana. 3:23-27. 

1991  J. Haviser and C.R. DeCorse. "African-Caribbean Interaction: A Research Plan for Curacao Creole Culture. In Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology." edited by E.N. Ayubi and J.B Haviser. Reports of Archaeological-Anthropological Institue of the Neatherlands Antilles. No. 9:326-337. 

1991  C.R. DeCorse. "West African Archaeology and the Atlantic Slave Trade." Journal of Slavery Abolition. 12(2):92-96. 

1988  C.R. DeCorse. "Rock Art in Northern Sierra Leone." Bollettino del Centro Camuno di Studi Preistorici. 24:121-124. 

1987  C.R. DeCorse. "Historical Archaeological Research in Ghana, 1986-1987." Nyame Akuma. 29:27-31. 

1987  C.R. DeCorse. "Excavations at Elmina, Ghana." Nyame Akuma. 28:15-18. 

1981  C.R. DeCorse. "Additional Notes on Archaeological Fieldwork in Sierra Leone." Nyame Akuma. 19:14-17. 

1981  C.R. DeCorse. "A Report on the Smith Farm Site, Brentwood, New Hampshire." New Hampshire Archaeologist. 22(1):1-7. 

1980  C.R. DeCorse. "An Archaeological Survey of Protohistoric Defensive Sites in Sierra Leone." Nyame Akuma. 19:14-17. 

1979  C.R. DeCorse. "Analysis of Feature 6 at the Marshall Pottery Site." New Hampshire Archaeologist. 20(1):31-48.