Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Thomas Zych

Zych in the field, Aztalan, Wisconsin

Associate Lecturer of Anthropology

Archaeologist, Anthropology Undergraduate Advisor

Office: UH 2680 C
Phone: 419.530.4395


M.S. in Anthropology, 2013, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM)
Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), 2012, School of Architecture and Urban Planning
      & the Department of Urban Planning, UWM
B.A. in Anthropology & Classical Archaeology, 2004, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

Research Interests

My anthropological research background is based in archaeology, with a key interest in culture contact, hybridization, and ethnogenesis. Much of my archaeological experience is associated with prehistoric Native American cultures of the Lower Great Lakes during the Late Woodland period roughly between ca. 600 to 1300 CE. I find the material culture we create and engage with in our daily lives speaks volumes about our cultural identities and relationships with others. Thus, my research aims to better understand complex changes in material culture over time and space through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and geomorphometric analyses. Additionally I'm interested in how people engage with and create, a sense of "place" in what might be today called their ethnic community construction and maintenance practices. Therefore in addition to studying artifacts of the past, I'm interested with how past peoples engaged with their environments and dealt with changes to those places over time; arguably a pertinent lesson to learn from the past that we might employ for ourselves today.


2022  Thomas J. Zych and John D. Richards, Pushing and pulling the Mississippian Moment into the western Great Lakes, In Following the Mississippian Spread: Climate Change and Migration in the Eastern US (ca. AD 1000-1600). Edited by R. Cook and A. Comstock, Springer.

2018  John D. Richards and Thomas J. Zych, A Landscape of Mounds: Community Ethnogenesis at Aztalan, In Archaeology and Ancient Religion in the American Midcontinent, edited by B.H. Koldehoff and T.R. Pauketat; University of Alabama Press.

2017  Chunkey and the Historic Experience in the Mississippian World. In Prehistoric Games of North American Indians Subarctic to Mesoamerica, edited by B. Voorhies, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, Utah.

2016  Patricia B. Richards, Catherine R. Jones, Emily Mueller Epstein, Nicholas W. Richards, and Brooke L. Drew and Thomas J. Zych, “You Couldn’t Identify Your Grandmother If She Were In That Party”: The Bioarchaeology of Postmortem Investigation at the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery. In Bioarchaeology of Dissection and Autopsy in the United States, edited by K. Nystrom, Springer.

2015  Thomas J. Zych. Aztalan’s Northeast Mound: The Construction of Community, The Wisconsin Archeologist 96(2):53-118

2015  Thomas J. Zych. The Chunkey Game, In The Medieval Mississippians, edited by T.R. Pauketat and S.A. Alt, Popular Archaeology Series, School for Advanced Research Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

2012  John D. Richards, Thomas J. Zych, Katie Z. Rudolph. Archaeological Investigations at Aztalan (47JE1) by the 2011 UW-Milwaukee Field School, The Wisconsin Archeologist 93(1):95-101

More details at the UT Scholars page...

Courses Taught

ANTH 1020 - Introduction to Anthropology
ANTH 2100 - Human Society Thru Film
ANTH 2750 - World Prehistory
ANTH 2980 - Topics in Anthropology:Linguistic Anthropology
ANTH 2980 - Topics in Anthropology: Play Performance & Theatricality
ANTH 2800 - Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 4300/5300 - Cultural Resource Management

Last Updated: 11/9/23