Paul White

Associate Professor and Department Chair
Department of Anthropology
BMH 219

(907) 786-6455


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Brown University, 2008


Paul White specializes in historical and industrial archaeology. His fieldwork in Alaska, California, Michigan, and Vermont has been conducted in a range of contexts, including for the National Park Service, Forest Service, Historic American Engineering Record, and Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. White’s research has concentrated on exploring the mining industry, investigating themes of technological change, environmental impacts, and enduring connections between mining and colonialism. His recent book, The Archaeology of American Mining (University of Florida Press, 2017), provides an overview of archaeological findings that have accumulated over the past five decades. He is currently researching the history of ore processing in Alaska, work that also involves the field documentation of several historic gold mills. Dr. White teaches classes in historical archaeology, archaeological surveying, landscape archaeology, and anthropological theory.

Below: Detail of the milling circuit of the Gold Cord Mill, Hatcher Pass, Alaska. The drawing indicates the routine checks necessary to keep equipment operational. Illustration by P. White 2017. Click image for larger PDF.
Gold Cord Mill

Research Interests

  • Historical and Industrial Archaeology
  • GIS
  • Landscape Archaeology
  • Ethnohistory
  • Colonialism
  • Mining in the West


Archaeology of American Mining

The mining industry in North America has a rich and conflicted history. It is associated with the opening of the frontier and the rise of the United States as an industrial power but also with social upheaval, the dispossession of indigenous lands, and extensive environmental impacts.

Synthesizing fifty years of research on American mining sites that date from colonial times to the present, Paul White provides an ideal overview of the field for both students and professionals. The Archaeology of American Mining offers a multifaceted look at mining, incorporating findings from an array of subfields, including historical archaeology, industrial archaeology, and maritime archaeology. Case studies are taken from a wide range of contexts, from eastern coal mines to Alaskan gold fields, with special attention paid to the domestic and working lives of miners. Exploring what material artifacts can tell us about the lives of people who left few records, White demonstrates how archaeologists contribute to our understanding of the legacies left by miners and the mining industry.  
Order here or order by phone, 800.226.3822.

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White, Paul J. 2017. The Archaeology of American Mining. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

White, Paul J. 2016. The Archaeology of Underground Mining Landscapes. Historical Archaeology 50(1): 154-68.

White, Paul J. 2010. The Rise and Fall of the California Stamp: Historical and Archaeological Perspectives on the Aging of a Technology. IA: Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 36(1): 64-83.

White, Paul J. 2008. Claiming an “Unpossessed Country”: Monuments to Ownership and Dispossession in Death Valley. In Archaeologies of Placemaking: Monuments, Memories, and Engagement in Native North America, One World Archaeology series, vol. 59, edited by Patricia E. Rubertone, pp. 135-60. Walnut Creek, Calif.: Left Coast Press.

White, Paul J. 2006. Troubled Waters: Timbisha Shoshone, Miners, and Dispossession at Warm Spring. IA: Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 32 (1): 4-24.

White, Paul J. 2003. Heads, Tails, and Decisions In-between: The Archaeology of Mining Wastes. IA: Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 29 (2): 47-66.

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