Lauren Downs. Assistant Professor
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University Hall (UH) 3127
(205) 934-3508

Research and Teaching Interests: Material culture, North American prehistory and ethnohistory, Native American studies, Southeastern archaeology

Office Hours: T/TH 11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. or by appointment


  • BA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Archaeology and Native American History
  • MA, University of Alabama, Southeastern Archaeology
  • PhD, University of Alabama, Southeastern Archaeology/Archaeology of Complex Societies

Originally from North Carolina, Lauren Downs is an archaeologist specializing in the prehistoric and early historic peoples of the southeastern United States. Before joining the UAB Department of Anthropology in 2013, Lauren was an instructor at the University of Alabama, where she also received her master’s and doctoral degrees. Much of her research focuses on the late prehistoric Native American mound-building cultures of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. At sites in these regions, Lauren utilizes archaeological survey and excavation to address topics such as earthen mound construction and use, settlement patterns, cultural interaction/exchange, social inequality, and the ways in which each can inform our understanding of the past.

Since coming to UAB, Lauren’s research also has expanded to include the historic mining communities of Birmingham’s Red Mountain. These communities represent an important cross-section of the local population in Birmingham at the turn of the 20th century. Her current research of historic Red Mountain focuses on one of the earliest all-African American mining communities in the area, which also was the site of one of the first civil rights protests in the city of Birmingham in the 1890s.

Lauren enjoys incorporating hands-on learning experiences into her courses, including field-trips, the use of artifacts in the classroom, and taking students into the field for archaeological survey and excavation. In her spare time, Lauren also enjoys cooking, gardening, and traveling.

{slider=Recent Courses}
  • ANTH 451/609: Advanced Anthropological Archaeology
  • ANTH 411/611: Advanced Field Archaeology
  • ANTH 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 106: Introductory Archaeology
  • ANTH 200: Applied Anthropology
  • ANTH 222: Prehistory of North America
  • ANTH 242: Peoples of the World: South American Indians
  • ANTH 262: Mythbusters: Archaeological Hoaxes, Scams, and Documentary Disasters
  • ANTH 355/655: Archaeology of Alabama and the Greater Southeast
  • ANTH 467/667: Museum Studies
{slider=Select Publications}
  • John H. Blitz and Lauren E. Downs, eds. 2015, Graveline: A Late Woodland Platform Mound on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Archaeological Report 34. Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson, Mississippi. (ISBN-13: 978-0-938896-00-5.)
  • John H. Blitz, C. Fred, T. Andrus, and Lauren E. Downs, "Sclerochronological Measures of Seasonality at a Late Woodland Mound on the Mississippi Gulf Coast," American Antiquity 79 (No. 4, 2014):697-711.
  • Sarah M. Sherwood, John H. Blitz, and Lauren E. Downs (co-authors), “Built to Last: An Integrated Geoarchaeology of a Late Woodland Sand Platform Mound,” American Antiquity 78 (No. 2, 2013):344-58.
  • Lauren E. Downs, “Plaquemine Culture Occupation in the Northern Natchez Bluffs: 2007 Excavations at the Glass Site (22WR502), Warren County, Mississippi,” Mississippi Archaeology 42 (No. 1, 2010):3-28.
{slider=Academic Distinctions & Professional Societies}
  • Society for American Archaeology
  • Southeastern Archaeological Conference
  • Alabama Archaeological Society
  • Mississippi Archaeological Association