Scott J. Demel
Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Dr Scott DemelOffice/Lab: Room 147D Gries Hall
Phone: 906-227-2843
NMU Archaeology Facebook Page


BS University of Wisconsin-Madison
MA University of Illinois at Chicago
PhD University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Courses Taught:

AN101  Introduction to Physical Anthropology & Archaeology
AN295  Archaeology of the Ancient Americas
AN295  Ancient Mesoamerican Civilizations
AN355  Seminar in Archaeological Field Methods (summer fields school)
AN420  Experimental Archaeology
AN495  Special Topics in Anthropology (various courses):
               Historical Archaeology
               ​Prehistoric Archaeology Field & Lab Methods
​               History of Anthropology
               Museum Studies I & II    
AN498  Directed Studies (various topics):
               Health, Society, and Culture
               Physical/Biological & Economic Anthropology
               Great Lakes Faunal Analysis
               Archaeology of China 
               Ancient Mesoamerican Farming Methods
               Archaeology Lab Collections Management Methods 
               McNair Scholar Research

Dr. Demel joined NMU as a full-time Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the fall of 2009. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a major in archaeology and a minor in geology. Professor Demal is currently teaching a variety of courses in anthropology and archaeology and runs the summer archaeology field school. The field school runs every other summer on Beaver Island, MI.


I am interested in how different ethnic groups have used the Great Lakes throughout prehistory and into the mid 19th century. To fully understand the opportunities available along these inland coasts I also study all aspects of the natural environment and cultural landscape to learn how humans have adapted to this dynamic landscape.

Prior to coming to NMU I worked for eight years at The Field Museum in Chicago where I was the Head of Collections for the Department of Anthropology. This position afforded me the opportunity to study firsthand the intricate details of material culture of ethnic groups from around the globe. I also had the opportunity to meet with indigenous representatives that were seeking to repatriate objects or remains, and to be trained in the use of analytical equipment such as an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) elemental analyzer. During this period I also taught courses in archaeology and co-directed archaeology field schools for DePaul University. Some of the archaeological sites I have worked on include: the Cable's Bay Fishing Village, the Burke Farm, and the MPS-Isle de Castor Village Site (Middle Woodland) on Beaver Island; Relocating Camp Douglas - Civil War Prison (Chicago); The Tetter Homestead – Kankakee IL (reconstruction era); Pullman State Historic Site - Chicago (early industrial); the Kubinski Site - a Middle Woodland Ossuary (Romeoville, IL); and the Brewster Creek Mastodon (DuPage County, IL).

Geographic Areas of Interest

North America/Great Lakes/Midwest

Coastal and Island Archaeology

Recent Publications & Conference Presentations


Demel, Scott J. (2010). Cultural Features at the New Lenox Site in The Late Prehistoric and Proto-Historic Components at the New Lenox Site, Illinois; edited by Rochelle Lurie (submitted).

Lurie, Rochelle, Doug Kullen, and Scott J. Demel.   ( 2009).   Defining the Archaic in Northern Illinois – In Archaic Societies – Diversity and Complexity Across the Midcontinent; edited by Thomas E. Emerson, Dale L. McElrath, and Andrew C. Fortier (Albany: State University of New York Press, March 2009)

Journal Articles:

Demel, Scott J. (2013). Cahokia Borrow Pit 5-1A in Illinois Archaeology, Illinois Archeological Survey, Inc., vol. 25, pp. 75-105.

Demel, Scott J. (2009). Brewster Creek Mastodon Camp!: Engaging Teens & Teachers in Scientific Inquiry, DuPage County, Illinois in Current Research in the Pleistocene; vol. 26: (submitted).

Pestle, William, Scott J. Demel, Michael Colvard, and Robert Pickering. (2007). Skeletal Biology and Mortuary Practice at the Kubinski Site (11-WI-1186), a Middle Woodland Ossuary in Illinois Archaeology; vol. 19: 47-84.

Demel, Scott J. (2007). Three Rediscovered Clovis Points From The Field Museum Collections in Current Research in the Pleistocene; vol. 24: 76-77.

Recent Conference Presentations:

2013 Midwest Archaeological Conference. Session - Late Prehistoric Period Studies: Ohio Valley and Michigan: MPS – Isle de Castor Site – A Seasonal Late Woodland Camp on Beaver Island, Lake Michigan.

2012 Midwest Archaeological Conference. Invited Symposium: In Memorium: Robert Hall, Doyen of Midwestern Archaeology – Popcorn, Cahokia’s Sense of Place, and Great Lakes Archaeology.

2012 Society for American Archaeology (SAA), Memphis, TN. Session: Historic Archaeology of Eastern North America - Fishermen and Farmers: An Archaeological Look at Life on Beaver Island, Lake Michigan during the mid-19th century.

2011 Midwest Archaeological Conference (MAC) La Crosse, WI. Session: Historic Archaeology - Artifact Density, Distribution, and Displacement in the Dunal Environment of the ca. 1848-1860s Cable’s Bay Fishing Village, Beaver Island, Lake Michigan.

2010 Society for American Archaeology (SAA), St. Louis, MO. Session: The Late Prehistoric and Proto-Historic Components at the New Lenox Site - The Interpretation of Cultural Features and Structures at the New Lenox Site (11-Wi-213), a 15th-17th Century Site Near Chicago, Illinois.