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Sarah Trabert

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Sarah Trabert

Associate Professor
Ph.D. University of Iowa, 2015

Office: Dale Hall Tower 805
Laboratory: Physical Science Building 328


Research Interests

  • Archaeology
  • North American Great Plains
  • Oklahoma archaeology
  • Collaborative archaeology
  • Late Pre-Contact and Post-Contact time periods
  • Migration
  • Ceramics analysis
  • Foodways
  • Horses
  • Enslavement and captivity


Dr. Sarah Trabert's research centers on understanding how Indigenous communities on the Great Plains responded to the many direct and indirect effects stemming from European colonial activities. Her work stresses that while settler colonialism arrived in the Plains in the 19th century, Indigenous peoples had dealt with many of the effects of the European presence for generations. She pairs research of existing artifact collections with new excavations at sites in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska to challenge narratives of Indigenous cultural change and assimilation after 1600 CE. Her work has included reconceptualizing community formation in what is now western Kansas as Puebloan migrants left their homes along the northern Rio Grande to seek refuge with Dene peoples on the Plains. More recently, Dr. Trabert has been collaborating with the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes on several projects that utilize Wichita oral histories, interviews, archaeological survey, and excavations to document and investigate ancestral Wichita sites.
She has a new book, Archaeological Narratives of the North American Great Plains: From Ancient Pasts to Historic Resettlement, on contemporary perspectives on Great Plains archaeology that stresses the importance for all North American archaeologists, regardless of the time period in which they work, to understand the contact period, Indigenous survivance and persistence, and the histories of contemporary descendant communities.
Dr. Trabert encourages and helps facilitate undergraduate and graduate student participation in her lab and field projects. She strongly believes that hands-on experience is a vital part of the education of anyone interested in pursuing archaeology as a career. She is also committed to public involvement in archaeological projects and has worked on numerous sites with volunteers of different ages and walks of life.

Recent/Significant Publications

2023 Trabert, Sarah, Matthew E. Hill, Jr., and Margaret E. Beck, "Movement or Diaspora? Understanding A Multigenerational Puebloan and Ndee Community on the Central Great Plains." Open Archaeology 9(1): 1-20.

2022 Trabert, Sarah, “The Long-Term Consequences of Designating Native American Sites as European Creations.” In Recognizing and Recording Post-1492 Indigenous Sites in North American Archaeology, edited by Lee M. Panich and Tsim Schneider. University Press of Florida.

2022 Trabert, Sarah Matthew E. Hill, Jr., and Margaret E. Beck, “Understand the Scott County Pueblo (14SC1) Occupation: Isolated Migrants or Community Builders?” In People in a Sea of Grass: Archaeology's Changing Perspective on Indigenous Plains communities, edited by Matthew E. Hill, Jr. and Lauren W. Ritterbush, pp. 131-143. University of Utah Press.

2021 Trabert, Sarah and Kacy Hollenback, Archaeological Narratives of the North American Great Plains: From Ancient Pasts to Historic Resettlement. SAA Press: Current Perspectives Series.

2021 Trabert, Sarah and Brandi Bethke, “Reconceptualizing the Wichita Middle Ground in the Southern Plains.” In Handbook of the Archaeology of Indigenous-Colonial Interaction in the Americas, edited by Lee M. Panich and Sara L. Gonzalez. Routledge Press.

2020 Trabert, Sarah, Understanding the Significance of Migrants' Material Culture. Journal of Social Archaeology, 21(1): 95-115.

2019 Trabert, Sarah, Partners and Power: Understanding Ancestral Wichita and French Trade at the Deer Creek (34KA3) Site. International Journal of Historic Archaeology, 23(2), 444-461.

2019 Trabert, Sarah, Reframing the Protohistoric Period and the (Peri)Colonial Process for the North American Central Plains. World Archaeology 50(5):820-834.

2017 Trabert, Sarah, Considering the Indirect Effects of Colonialism: Example from a Great Plains Middle Ground. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 48:17-27.

2016 Trabert, Sarah, Sunday Eiselt, David Hill, Jeffrey Ferguson, Margaret Beck. Following a Glittering Trail: Geo-chemical and Petrographic Characterization of Micaceous Sherds Recovered from Dismal River Sites. American Antiquity 81(2):364-374.

Courses Taught

  • ANTH 1113 (General Anthropology)
  • ANTH 3113 (Principles of Archaeology)
  • ANTH 4113 (Anthropology Capstone)
  • ANTH 4333 (Archaeologies of Movement and Migration in America)
  • ANTH 4763 (Archaeological Analysis)
  • ANTH 4953 (The Anthropology of Slavery and Captivity)
  • ANTH 4833 (Archaeology of the Great Plains)
  • ANTH 5783 (Ceramics Analysis in Archaeology)
  • ANTH 6713 (Archaeological Theory)
  • ANTH 6803 (Advanced Archaeological Theory)

Curriculum Vitae