Krysta Ryzewski

Krysta Ryzewski

Associate Professor
Department Chair

3034 F/AB and 1208 Old Main (offices); 1114 Old Main (lab)


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Krysta Ryzewski

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Expertise: Historical and Contemporary Archaeology | Research areas: North America & Caribbean | Research topics: cities, diaspora, land-use, material culture & archaeometry, historic preservation & heritage, resilience & social welfare, and creative expression 


I currently serve as Chair of the Department of Anthropology.

I am also an archaeologist, and my research combines material culture and documentary sources to understand how people navigated the unprecedented social pressures, systemic inequalities, and environmental changes that accompanied the development of late modern-postindustrial North American cities and Caribbean settlements.

I practice archaeology in collaboration with local residents, community organizations, and government agencies. Through these partnerships I apply archaeological findings to address the legacies of social justice issues, contribute to historic preservation efforts, and foster sustainable heritage management. I also enlist my experience with materials science/archaeometry, remote sensing, and digital humanities in designing my research and disseminating results. Over the past two decades, I have conducted fieldwork on land and underwater in the Midwest, New England, and Caribbean; my current work involves projects on sites in Detroit, Hamtramck, and Montserrat (and soon, St. Croix). I recently completed multi-year terms on Wayne State's Academic Senate and the Board of Directors of Preservation Detroit. I currently serve as Vice Chair of Michigan's State Historic Preservation Review Board and as a member of the Education Committee for the Hamtramck Historical Museum. Since 2020 I have been a Co-Editor of the American Experience in Archaeological Perspective historical archaeology book series for the University Press of Florida. 

I am currently recruiting graduate students (MA and PhD) whose interests overlap with my topics of expertise (see above). Prospective graduate students are encouraged to contact the Department to request more information about our graduate programs, or email me direclty with inquiries.  

Research Project Links:

Unearthing Detroit project (PI since 2012)
Old Hamtramck Center (PI since 2018 in collaboration with Hamtramck Historical Museum)
Survey and Landscape Archaeology on Montserrat (co-PI since 2010)
Enduring Materialities of Colonialism (EMoC) on St. Croix (Key/Senior Research Partner, delayed start/COVID, 2021-2025)
Ethnic Layers of Detroit (co-PI since 2014) 


  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Archaeology & Engineering, Brown University, 2008-2011
  • Ph.D, Anthropology, Brown University, 2008
  • M.Phil, Archaeology and Heritage Management, University of Cambridge, 2003
  • B.A., Archaeology, Boston University, 2001

Awards and grants

  • Grants: National Endowment for the Humanities, National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, American Association for University Women, US Department of Energy

  • Career Development Chair, 2019-2020

  • The Explorers Club, Fellow National, 2018

  • John L. Cotter Award, Society for Historical Archaeology, 2017

  • Junior Faculty Research Award, Wayne State University Academy of Scholars, 2016-17

  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Teaching Award, 2016

Selected publications

Detroit Remains: Archaeology and Community Histories of Six Legendary Places. University of Alabama Press, (book forthcoming, November 2021)

The Archaeological History of Montserrat in the West Indies (book co-authored with John F. Cherry), Oxbow, Oxford, 2020.

Detroit 139: Archaeology and the Future-Making of a Post-Industrial City, Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 6(1), 2019. 

Contemporary Archaeology and the City: Creativity, Ruination, and Political Action. (book edited with Laura McAtackney), Oxford University Press, 2017.

Archaeological assessment reveals Earth's early transformation through land use. Lucas Stephens, et al. (K. Ryzewski, contributing author), Science, 365(6456): 897-902, August 2019.

For a complete list of publications see:

Currently teaching

  • Not teaching during the 2021-22 academic year

Courses taught

ANT2020 - Global Detroit (Gen Ed) 

ANT2200 - Lost Cities and Ancient Civilizations (Gen Ed) 

ANT3020 - Introduction to Archaeology

ANT3111 - Digital Storytelling and Ethnic Detroit (Gen Ed)

ANT5270 - Archaeological Concepts and Techniques

ANT5280 - Archaeological Field Methods (Fieldwork in the Americas)

ANT5500 - Historical Archaeology  

ANT5560 - Urban Archaeology

ANT6570 - Archaeological Laboratory Methods

ANT5515 - Archaeology of the Atlantic World

Citation index