Krysta Ryzewski - Assistant Professor


Assistant Professor of Anthropology
PhD, Brown University, 2008

I am a historical archaeologist and my research explores the consequences of disruptive social and environmental pressures on past communities, landscapes, and material culture production and use. My current research projects focus on these relationships in urban North America (Detroit) and in the Caribbean (Montserrat). As an anthropologist I am interested in long-term processes of colonialism, urbanization, disaster response, and technology transfer on both sides of the Atlantic. I participate in several interdisciplinary and collaborative research initiatives, all of which add different dimensions to the type of archaeology that I practice and teach.  

I advise and work with PhD and MA students in historical archaeology. I am also willing to supervise graduate students who have interests in multi-media applications in archaeology, archaeometry, contemporary archaeology or cultural heritage management. Click here for information on applying to the graduate program in Anthropology.

Research Projects

I currently direct three long-term projects in the Caribbean and Detroit, as well as a number of smaller collaborative projects with colleagues in and beyond archaeology.  Funding for my work is generously provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, American Association for University Women, the Department of Energy and others. For more information, visit my project webpages:



My research is published in over 20 peer-reviewed journals and books. Here is a full list of publications. A few recent publications include:

  • Ryzewski, K. and J.F. Cherry (2015). Struggles of a Sugar Society: Surveying Plantation-Era Montserrat, 1650-1850, International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 19(2): 356-383.
  • Howard, J.L., K. Ryzewski, B.R. Dubay, T.W. Killion (2015). Artifact preservation and post-depositional site-formation processes in an urban setting: a geoarchaeological study of a 19th-century neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, Journal of Archaeological Science, 53(2015): 178-189.
  • Ryzewski, K. (2014). Ruin Photography as Archaeological Method: A Snapshot from Detroit, Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 1(1): 36-41. 
  • Ryzewski, K., H.Z. Bilheux, S.N. Herringer, J.C. Bilheux, L. Walker, B.W. Sheldon (2014). The Role of Archaeological Objects in the Development of Neutron Imaging Techniques at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Advances in Archaeological Practice, 2(2): 91-103.
  • L. McAtackney, K. Ryzewski, and J.F. Cherry (2014). Contemporary 'Irish' Identity on the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean: St. Patrick's Day on Montserrat and the Invention of Tradition. In Heritage, Diaspora, and the Consumption of Culture: Movements in Irish Landscapes, Diane Sabenacio Nittham-Tunney and Rebecca Boyd (eds), London: Ashgate, pp. 113-134.  


ANT2666 Fantastic Archaeology

ANT3020 Introduction to Archaeology (Fall 2015)

ANT3200 Lost Cities and Ancient Civilizations

ANT5515 Archaeology of the Atlantic World

ANT5500 Historical Archaeology(Fall 2015)

ANT5565 Urban Archaeology

ANT5270 Archaeological Theory (Concepts & Techniques)

ANT5280 Archaeological Field Methods

ANT6570 Archaeological Laboratory Analysis

Other Affiliations

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown University (visiting scholar, 2011-present)

Preservation Detroit (advisory council)

Detroit Sound Conservancy (advisory board)

Council on Midwest Historical Archaeology (standing committee)

Conference on Michigan Archaeology

Doing Anthropology in Detroit

The Anthropology of the City initiative includes a strong focus on Detroit's cultural heritage and archaeological resources. Detroit has a rich, layered history that has yet to be fully explored archaeologically. Since the 1960s Wayne State has been 'ground zero' for urban archaeological research in Detroit. This tradition continues to thrive owing to the university's position in the heart of the city's Cultural Center, its role in a number of community-based research projects, ongoing research projects involving faculty and students, and access to the invaluable collections of the Grosscup Museum of Anthropology.


3031 FAB and 1208 Old Main
656 W. Kirby
Research Area

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