Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work

Meghan Buchanan

Meghan Buchanan

Meghan Buchanan


7018 Haley Center
(334) 844-4647

Office Hours

  • By appointment

About Meghan Buchanan
Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Dr. Meghan Buchanan’s archaeological research on Mississippian societies (ca. AD 1000-1600) of the Midwest and Southeast has focused on the consequences of violence and warfare associated with the rise and fall of these complex polities. In particular, she is interested how warfare impacted the daily practices of Mississippian peoples as they had to contend with long term threats of violence, food uncertainty, and restricted access to resources. Dr. Buchanan has directed excavations at the Common Field site in Missouri and the Ebert-Canebrake site in Alabama and has supervised projects at Cahokia Mounds (western Illinois), Kincaid Mounds (southern Illinois), and the Dead Man’s Curve site (southwest Indiana).

Currently, Dr. Buchanan is researching Mississippian societies along the Tallapoosa River in Alabama. As the major polities of Moundville (west Alabama) and Etowah (northwest Georgia) expanded (ca. A.D. 1200-1400) and collapsed (ca. A.D. 1400), the Lower Tallapoosa experienced periods of population expansion, violence, and abandonment as different groups of people came into contact and moved throughout the region. Dr. Buchanan’s research draws on excavation, remote sensing, and the reanalysis of legacy collections at Auburn to explore the following questions: Were the interactions between the diverse groups of people in the Lower Tallapoosa contentious or peaceful? Did some of their interactions result in new kinds of communities and material practices? What happened to the people who lived in the region prior to A.D. 1400? What happened to these communities after the de Soto entrada came through the region in A.D. 1540?

In addition to her scholarly research, Dr. Buchanan is an Executive Officer on the Board of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, was a co-founder of the Southeastern Archaeological Mentoring Network, and the recipient of a National NAGPRA Consultation grant.

Representative Publications

2020  Buchanan, Meghan E. and Rob Bonney. Rethinking Mississippian Copper Symbol Badges: Two Previously Unreported Examples from East Alabama. Southeastern Archaeology 39(3): 151-165

2020  Buchanan, Meghan E. Diasporic Longings? Cahokia, Common Field, and Nostalgic Orientations. Special issue (Cahokia Dispersion) of the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 27:72-89.

2019  Buchanan, Meghan, Elizabeth Watts Malouchos, Jennifer Green, and Sarah Baires. Southeastern Archaeological Mentoring Network Update. Horizon and Tradition: The Newsletter of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference 61(2):20-21.

2018  Buchanan, Meghan E. Patterns of Faunal Utilization and Sociopolitical Organization at Kincaid Mounds. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 43(2):151-179.

2018   Buchanan, Meghan E. Reconfiguring Regional Interactions in the Face of Cahokian Decline: A View from the Common Field Site, Mo. In Modeling Cross-Cultural Interactions in Ancient Borderlands, edited by Ulrike Matthies Green and Kirk E. Costion, pp.114-142. University of Florida Press, Gainesville.

2017  Buchanan, Meghan E. Tempering Practices in a Mississippian War-Scape: Ceramics and Technological Production at the Common Field Site. In War and Peace: Conflict and Resolution in Archaeology, edited by Adam K. Benfer, pp. 102-115. Proceedings of the 45th Annual Chacmool Conference.

2017  Buchanan, Meghan E., Jayne-Leigh Thomas, April K. Sievert, and Adam Crane. Mistaken Identity?: A Reassessment of the Angel Mounds State Historic Site’s Historic Cemetery Using X-Ray Fluorescence. Indiana Archaeology 12(2):59-77. (75% contribution)

Last Updated: August 21, 2020