Faculty and Staff

Kelly Dixon

Kelly Dixon


Email: kelly.dixon@mso.umt.edu
Office: Social Sciences 235 and Social Sciences SS 244 (laboratory)
Office Hours:

Please contact me to make an appointment.

Personal Website

Current Position

Professor, Department of Anthropology

Personal Summary

Kelly J. Dixon is an archaeologist and Professor at the University of Montana’s Department of Anthropology. She specializes in archaeologies of adaptation, boomtowns, colonization, colonialism, extractive industries, human-environment interactions, landscape transformations, and marginalized populations. Living and working in the North American West for 20 years, Dixon’s research includes case studies from this region that underscore the international connections this region has with the rest of the world and that engage audiences of non-specialists. Dr. Dixon is dedicated to developing student-oriented interdisciplinary archaeological research and serves as a mentor to Ph.D., M.A., and Undergraduate students. While at UM, Dixon has been engaged in partnerships with federal, tribal, state, and local government agencies, as well as various stakeholders, communities, and other universities, to integrate research and education so the next generation of archaeologists is prepared to responsibly and respectfully preserve and protect past and present cultural heritage.


PhD, University of Nevada

Home Department

Department of Anthropology 


Anthropology 252 Archaeological Wonders of the World

Anthropology 455 Artifact Analysis

Anthropology 395 Archaeology and Anthropology of Olduvai Gorge

Anthropology 466 Archaeological Survey

Anthropology 456 Historical Archaeology (Archaeology of the "Modern World")

Anthropology 487/495 Anthropological Field Experience

Anthropology 495 Landscape Archaeology

Anthropology 467 Archaeological Field Schools (Landscape Archaeology, Missoula Historic Underground, Fort Missoula, Coloma "Ghost" Town)

Anthropology 503 Graduate Seminar in Cultural Resource Interpretation

Anthropology 551 Graduate Seminar in Historical Archaeology (Archaeology of the "Modern World")

Anthropology 601 Proposal Preparation and Research Design

Selected Publications

In Press (2020) "Repercussions of Rapid Colonization: Archaeological Insights from the North American West." In Handbook of Global Historical Archaeology, edited by Charles Orser, Jr., Pedro Funari, et al., Routledge, London. 

In Press (2020) "From the Land: Apsáalooke Perspectives on Landscape, co-authored with Aaron Brien." In Archaeologies of Landscape and Place in the American West, edited by Carolyn White and Emily Dale, University of Florida Press.

2019  "Beyond the Shelf: Anthropological Collections at the University of Montana," co-authored by C. Riley Augé, Michael Black Wolf, Emerson Bull Chief, Kelly J. Dixon, Virgil Edwards, Gerald Grey, Conrad Fisher, Teanna Limpy, Katie MacDonald, Ira Matt, John Murray, Abby Ogle, Sadie Peone, Alvin Windy Boy, and Darrell “Curly” Youpee. In New Life for Old Collections, edited by Rebecca Allen and Benjamin Ford, University of Nebraska Press.

2019  "Landscapes of Change: Culture, Nature, and the Archaeological Heritage of Transcontinental Railroads in the North American West." In Chinese Railroad Workers in North America (an overview of Stanford University’s Chinese Railroad Workers in North America project), edited by Gordon Chang, Shelley Fisher-Fishkin, and Roland Hsu, Stanford University Press.

2018  "Comment" on "Archaeology of Precarious Lives: Chinese Railroad Workers in North America, by Barbara L. Voss." Current Anthropology 59(3): 302-303.

2017 “Contact Period Artifacts at Bridge River Housepit 54," co-authored with Mary Bobbitt, C. Riley Augé, and T.A. Foor. In The Last House at Bridge River:  The Archaeology of an Aboriginal Household in British Columbia during the Fur Trade Period, edited by Anna Marie Prentiss, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

2017 “Rock Hearths and Rural Wood Camps in JÄ«n Shān/Gām Saan 金山: National Register of Historic Places Evaluations of 19th-century Chinese Logging Operations at Heavenly Ski Resort in the Lake Tahoe Basin.”  In Historical Archaeology of the American West, University of Nebraska Press, edited by Margaret Purser and Mark Warner, chapter co-authored with Carrie Smith.

2016 "Landscapes of Change: Culture, Nature, and the Archaeological Heritage of Railroads in the American West," in 北美华工与广东侨乡社会 [The North America Chinese Laborers and Guangdong Qiaoxiang Society, Proceedings], Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China.

2015 “Inscribed in Stone: Historic Inscriptions and the Cultural Heritage of Railroad Workers,” co-authored with Timothy Rostov Urbaniak, Historical Archaeology 49(1):100-109.

2014 "Historical Archaeologies in the American West." Journal of Archaeological Research 22(3):177-228. In 2017, the Journal of Archaeological Research highlighted this paper as one of 10 articles published in the last 25 years that exemplify the journal’s high-impact mission to effectively draw in readers with various backgrounds to facilitate dialogue across many fields.

2012 “'Verily the Road was Built with Chinaman's Bones': Archaeology of Chinese Line Camps in Montana."  International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 16(4):666-695, co-authored with Christopher Merritt and Gary Weisz.

2012 An Archaeology of Desperation: Exploring the Donner Party’s Alder Creek Camp. (editor and contributing author to three chapters, Julie M. Schablitsky and Shannon A. Novak, co-editors), University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. Winner of the Society for Historical Archaeology's James Deetz Book Award.

 2012 "'A Place of Recreation of Our Own': Archaeology of the Boston Saloon." In The Materiality of Freedom: Archaeologies of Post-Emancipation Life, edited by Jodi Barnes, University of South Caroline Press, Columbia, pp. 115-135.

2011 “Coloma Mining District: Gold Mining and Community in Western Montana’s Garnet Range. Co-authored with Marta A. Timmons, Industrial Archeology 37(1 and 2): 61-78.

2011 “The Signature of Starvation: A Comparison of Bone Processing at a Chinese Encampment in Montana and the Donner Party Camp in California.”  Historical Archaeology 45(2):97-112. Co-authored with M. Ellis, C. Merritt, and S. Novak. 

2010  “’Men, Women, Children Starving’: Archaeology of the Donner Family Camp.” American Antiquity, 75(3):627-656. Co-authored with S. Novak, G. Robbins, J. Schablitsky, G. R. Scott, and G. Tasa.

2007 “The Donner Party: An Archaeological Perspective on a Tragedy in the Sierras.” Historical Methods, 40(4):179-181. 

2007 “When Fancy Gets The Upper Hand of Fact: Historical Archaeology and Popular Culture in the American West.” SAA Archaeological Record, 7(3):19-25.

2006 “Sidling Up to the Archaeology of Western Saloons: Historical Archaeology Takes on the Wild of the West.” World Archaeology, 38(4):576-585.

2006 “Saloons in the Wild West and Taverns in Ancient Mesopotamia: Explorations Along the Timeline of Public Drinking.” In Between Dirt and Discussion: Methods and Methodology in Historical Archaeology, edited by Steven Archer and Kevin Bartoy, pp. 61-79. Springer [Academic] Press, New York and London.

2006 “Archaeology of the Boston Saloon.” African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter, June 2006.  http://www.diaspora.uiuc.edu/news0606/news0606.html#2

2006 “Survival of Biological Evidence on Artifacts: Applying Forensic Techniques at the Boston Saloon.”  Historical Archaeology 40(3):20-30.

2006 “Forensic Technology and the Historical Archaeologist.” Historical Archaeology 40(3):1-7. Co-authored with Julie Schablitsky and Mark Leney.

2005  Boomtown Saloons: Archaeology and History in Virginia City, Nevada.  University of Nevada Press, Reno.