Derek Anderson

Department / Division

  • North American Archaeologist


  • Staff


  • Outreach Coordinator and Archaeologist


Phone: (662) 325-3826


  • Box AR
  • Mississippi State, MS 39762


  • B.A. Penn State University, Anthropology, 2003
  • M.A. University of Wyoming, Anthropology, 2007
  • Ph.D. (coursework completed) University of Arizona, Anthropology
  • Ph.D. candidate, Mississippi State University, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences

Derek Anderson is an archaeologist at the Cobb Institute, and also serves as the outreach coordinator and the manager of the Lois Dowdle Cobb Museum and the Cobb Institute library in addition to teaching classes in the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures. His research is focused on the Pleistocene of North America, particularly in the analysis of lithic artifacts and faunal remains from archaeological sites. Since 2000, he has been involved in a wide range of projects, including fieldwork in fourteen different states, and in Mexico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, working both in cultural resource management (CRM) and academic contexts. While working on his Master’s degree at the University of Wyoming, he supervised excavations at Hell Gap and Agate Basin, and assisted with excavations at Barger Gulch, all large Paleoindian campsites. His M.A. thesis, “Prehistoric Rockshelter Utilization in the Paint Rock Canyon Archaeological Landscape District” summarized the results of a large survey project in the Bighorn Mountains of Northern Wyoming. At the University of Arizona, he worked at the State Museum analyzing faunal remains from midden assemblages at James and Dolley Madison’s Montpelier, and assisted in excavations of mammoth and gomphothere remains in AZ and Sonora, Mexico. Since 2010, Anderson has been senior supervisor at the Topper Clovis site in South Carolina, and came to MSU after a year of employment at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA). While at SCIAA, he began a long-term research project involving the refitting and spatial analysis of artifacts from Topper, which has expanded to involve technological and chronological aspects of the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene hunter-gatherer groups who visited the site.

At Mississippi State, Derek has been involved in a variety of projects in addition to continuing his work at Topper. He supervises the zooarchaeology lab at the Cobb Institute and has had contracts to analyze large faunal assemblages from Mississippi (22OK1147), Tennessee (40SU14), and the U.S. Virgin Islands (12-VAm1-42). From 2012 to 2016, he was a co-Principal Investigator for excavations and monitoring of the University of Mississippi Medical Center cemetery project (which focused on historic burials associated with the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum in Jackson, MS) and is a member of the Asylum Hill Research Consortium. He serves as the state representative in Mississippi for the Paleoindian Database of the Americas (PIDBA) project and along with Dr. Shane Miller, is investigating multiple Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene sites throughout the Southeast, including the Hester site (22MO569) in Mississippi and the Swag site (38AL137) in South Carolina. Derek is also the Principal Investigator at the Aklis site on the island of St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.