Erin Johnson | Chief Executive Officer

Mrs. Erin Johnson serves as TVAR’s CEO and manages payroll, billing, and insurance. She also works in close coordination with directors and certified public accountants in the day-to-day business aspects of the company. Ms. Johnson is uniquely qualified for this position insofar as she has participated directly in archaeological field and laboratory projects and has also served in a banking management position.


Hunter Johnson, M.A. | President

Hunter Johnson serves as company president, senior archaeologist, and director of cultural resource management studies for Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research (TVAR) projects. He received his M.A. in anthropology from the University of Alabama and is a member of numerous professional organizations. Hunter has directed projects throughout southeastern North America over the past twenty years and written articles published by the Journal of Alabama ArchaeologyMississippi ArchaeologySoutheastern Archaeology, University of Tennessee Press, and University of Alabama Press, and he has written numerous cultural resource management reports. 


Keith Little, Ph.D. | Senior Archaeologist

Dr. Keith Little received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Alabama and has 30 years of experience in all phases of archaeological investigation throughout southeastern North America. He serves as a Senior Archaeologist at TVAR. Dr. Little has written scores of cultural resource management reports as well as articles published by Early Georgia, The Florida Anthropologist, Journal of Alabama Archaeology, Southeastern Archaeology, and Smithsonian Institution Press. Dr. Little’s research interests and specialties include late prehistoric and protohistoric archaeology of southeastern North America and paleoclimatology. Dr. Little has conducted cultural resource management projects for numerous federal, state, and local governmental agencies as well as private businesses and individuals.


J. Rocco de Gregory, M.A. | Coordinating Director

Mr. Rocco de Gregory received his M.A. in anthropology from Mississippi State University and is a member of numerous professional organizations. He serves as an Archaeologist at TVAR and works in the capacity of a project manager, principal investigator, and coordinating director. Mr. de Gregory has worked on all phases of archaeological investigations in eastern North America, and his primary research interests are in bioarchaeology.


Scott C. Meeks, M.A. | Senior Archaeologist

Mr. Scott Meeks received his M.A. in anthropology from the University of Alabama and is currently completing his Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Tennessee. He serves as a Senior Archaeologist and Principal Investigator at TVAR. Mr. Meeks has over 20 years of experience in all phases of archaeological investigation throughout the southeastern United States and has worked with federal, state, and local governmental agencies as well as private businesses and individuals. He has written numerous cultural resource management reports, published articles in American Antiquity, Current Research in the Pleistocene, Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, PNAS, and has contributed chapters in edited volumes published by Texas A&M Press, University Press of Colorado, Left Coast Press, and University of Tennessee Press. His research interests include subsistence/settlement patterns and technologies of prehistoric hunter/gatherers in the Eastern Woodlands, environmental archaeology, natural and anthropogenic disturbance regimes, and human eco-dynamics of late prehistoric agricultural populations in the southeastern United States.


Erik Porth, Ph.D. | Senior Archaeologist

Dr. Erik Porth is an anthropological archaeologist and serves as senior archaeologist at TVAR. Dr. Porth received his B.S. in anthropology with a focus in archaeology from Middle Tennessee State University (2009) and earned both his M.A. (2011) and Ph.D. (2017) from the University of Alabama. Dr. Porth’s research explores monumentality, materiality, ritual, and performance within ancient complex societies of the southeastern United States. He has over 10 years of experience in all levels of archaeological investigation in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee.


Travis Rael, M.S. | Senior Archaeologist/ Database Manager

Mr. Rael received his B.S. (minor in computer science) and M.S. in earth systems science with a concentration in geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Mr. Rael's thesis, Ground-Based Remote Sensing and Excavations at a Middle Woodland Platform Mound (1LA111) in Lawrence County, Alabama, utilized a quantitative method for detecting and interpreting anomalies in gradiometer data, which proved effective in locating areas containing significant subsurface archaeological deposits. Mr. Rael has over ten years of field experience on various archaeological surveys and excavations for TVAR. He additionally has extensive experience in the analysis of artifacts and the development and maintenance of the company’s relational database.


Ashley Stewart, Ph.D. | Senior Bioarchaeologist

Ashley Stewart received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Alabama, where her research focused on bioarchaeology, dental anthropology, and mortuary analysis. She has over ten years of archaeological experience in all phases of archaeological investigation, with eight of those years dedicated to osteological and bioarchaeological analysis. In addition to her archaeological work, Ashley is passionate about community education and outreach, especially in regard to archaeological and anthropological topics.


Dan H. Webb, M.A. | Laboratory Director

Mr. Webb earned his M.A. in anthropology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and serves as the firm's laboratory director. He has over 10 years of experience in all levels of archaeological investigation in Eastern North America and extensive experience in cultural materials analysis. His research interests include environmental archaeology, alluvial landscapes and stratigraphy, as well as settlement/subsistence patterns among prehistoric communities of the Eastern Woodlands.


Heidi de Gregory, M.A. | Archaeologist II

Ms. Heidi de Gregory received a M.A. degree in anthropology from East Carolina University. She serves as an archaeologist and editor at TVAR and primarily assists in the composition of project reports. Her main research interests include the Mississippian period in the Southeast, mortuary analysis, and the management and care of archaeological collections.


Braden Dison, M.A. | Archaeologist

Mr. Braden Dison earned an M.A. in anthropology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). His primary research interests include the development of social complexity throughout the Southeast, with particular focus on the rise of monumentality and the cultural augmentation of landscape.


Katy Manning, M.A. | Archaeologist

Ms. Katy Manning received her M.A. in anthropology from Mississippi State University and is a member of numerous professional organizations. Ms. Manning has worked on all phases of archaeological investigations in the southeastern North America. Her primary reserach interests are in lithic technologies and the prehistory of the Southeast.


Brady Swilley, M.A. | Archaeologist

Brady Swilley received his MA in Medieval Archaeology from the University of Reading in 2015. He has six years of combined experience of archaeological excavation and survey in Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S. His research interests are the Archaeology of the Crusades and Historical Archaeology.


Mark Babin, M.A. | Archaeologist

Mark Babin received his M.A. in anthropology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and has experience in all levels of archaeological investigation. Prior to joining TVAR, he worked in federal agency NHPA Section 106 compliance throughout the Tennessee Valley. Mark’s research interests include colonial period and historical archaeology, southeastern ethnohistory, and materiality.


Lauren Ratliff, M.A. | Archaeologist

Lauren Ratliff received her M.A. in anthropology from Texas State University at San Marcos. Lauren has six years combined experience in forensic and archaeological work across the southeastern United States as well as Italy. Her research interests include biological anthropology, with emphasis on forensic anthropology and pathology.


Jillian Rael, M.A. | Senior Historian/Architectural Historian

Mrs. Rael received a B.A. in Art History/Photography and a M.A. in History, concentrated in domestic architecture of the antebellum South, from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Jill is a Certified Archives Manager, awarded from the Tennessee State Library and Archives where she worked as Assistant Director of the Stones River Regional Library. She has a strong background in public service, providing a wide range of experience collaborating with government agencies and non-profits. Jill's M.A. thesis and continued personal research centers on the relationship between architectural expression and class-identity in the South.


Hope B. Hawkins, M.A. | Preservation Planner

Ms. Hawkins received her B.A. in Anthropology and M.A. in Folk Studies, Historic Preservation Track, from Western Kentucky University, and has archaeological experience in several states in the Southeast and Midwest. After receiving her Master's degree she worked as Certified Local Government administrator for the City of Bardstown, Kentucky, and later as the Archaeologist Coordinator for the Kentucky Division of Mine Permits. Hope's interests include vernacular architecture, folkways, and historical archaeology.


Brianne Huitt-Thornton | Preservation Planner

Mrs. Brianne Huitt-Thornton completed her B.A. in History with a minor in Social and Behavioral Science at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. She has ten years of experience as Historic Preservation Planner in Middle Tennessee. She is currently pursuing her M.A. in History at the University of Alabama Huntsville. Her interests include modern history and historic architecture.


Shanda Davidson, M.A. | Architectural Historian

Shanda Davidson received her M.A. in History with a concentration in public history and historic preservation from the University of West Georgia. Ms. Davidson was the Historic Programs Assistant at the Alabama Historical Commission before moving to the private sector of cultural resource management. Ms. Davidson’s professional experience covers an array of survey and Section 106 compliance projects for federal, state, and local entities as well as private sector clients. Ms. Davidson also worked as a docent at the Frank Lloyd Wright-Rosenbaum House in Florence, Alabama where she researched and studied the Usonian architectural style and the concept of organic architecture. Her other research interests include the development of Ranch house subdivisions after World War II and transportation architecture including buildings and structures related to both the automobile and railroads.


Brittney Carnell received a B.A. in international relations and global affairs with minors in French and anthropology from Eckerd College. She also received a M.A. in history with a concentration in secondary education from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and taught Advanced Placement world history prior to joining TVAR. Brittney’s research interests include Southern history, historical archaeology, and mortuary practices.


Katie Weis | GIS Coordinator

Katie Weis received a B.S. in Anthropology from Troy University and minored in GIS. Her primary interests are GIS applications in anthropology.


Claiborne Sea, M.S. | Remote Sensing

Claiborne Sea received his M.S. in geosciences with a concentration in geospatial analysis and remote sensing from East Tennessee State University (ETSU), and is currently pursuing a PhD in anthropology at The University of Alabama (UA). Prior to attending ETSU and UA, Claiborne worked for the Kentucky Archaeological Survey, the University of Kentucky Program for Archaeological Research, and for the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology. His research interests primarily lie in the development and use of spatial technology for addressing questions of space and place at landscape-scales among Native American societies in the Southeastern US.


James Roncki, B.A. | Crew Chief

Mr. James Roncki earned his B.A. in anthropology from the University of Tennessee. He serves as a crew chief for TVAR.


Jeremy Spoons, B.S. | Crew Chief

Mr. Jeremy Spoons received a B.S. in geography with minors in English and anthropology from Jacksonville State University. Mr. Spoons serves as a crew chief and is an FAA Part 107 licensed small unmanned aircraft systems pilot at TVAR. His main interests are Southeastern prehistory and geology.


Richard Krause, Ph.D. | Research Affiliate

Dr. Richard Krause received his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and archaeology from Yale University in 1967. He serves as a Research Affiliate at TVAR. Dr. Krause has taught anthropology at the University of Nebraska, Ohio State University, and University of Missouri as well as the University of Alabama where he chaired the anthropology department from 1974 to 1981. He has conducted field research in the Great Plains, Alaska, South Africa, Yucatán, and the southeastern United States. He has also done ethnographic research among American Indians and several South African Bantu speaking groups. Dr. Krause has served on the boards of directors of a number of scholarly associations, including the Plains Anthropological Society, the Council on Alabama Archaeology, and the Alabama Historical Commission. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Plains Archaeological Society in 2011. Dr. Krause receives infrastructure and staff support from TVAR while conducting his research in the Tennessee Valley, serves as a company advisor, and occasionally participates in cultural resource management projects for TVAR.



Heather Bass, B.A. | Laboratory Supervisor

Mrs. Bass received a B.A. in anthropology from Mississippi State University. Her interests center on the prehistory of southeastern North America with a primary focus on ceramics.


Mindy Rogers, M.A. | Laboratory Technician

Ms. Rogers earned her B.S. in biology with minors in chemistry and Spanish from Birmingham Southern College, and her M.A. at Texas State University wich focused on non-destructive dental age estimation of a modern adult migrant Latin American population. She has five years of combined forensic and archaeological experience in both the field and lab in Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, and the Dutch Caribbean. Her research interests include biological anthropology with an emphasis in forensic and dental anthropology, as well as bioarchaeology.


Scott Shaw | Cave Specialist

Scott Shaw received a B.S. degree in geography from the University of North Alabama and completed numerous graduate courses in geography at the University of Alabama. He worked as an archaeologist between 1989 and 1995 on survey and excavation projects throughout the southeastern United States. Scott has been active in recording, mapping, photographing, and researching caves for over 30 years. He currently serves as cave file director and board member of the Alabama Cave Survey and is presently Archives Division Chief for the National Speleological Society.


Michael Lee | Archaeological Mechanical Excavator

Michael Lee worked for 30 years in construction before joining TVAR as an Archaeological Mechanical Excavator. He has eight years of experience in mechanical stripping and trenching at over 40 Native American, African American, and Euroamerican sites in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.


Don Andrews | Technical Staff

Mr. Andrews received a B.S. in Anthropology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Don has worked on archaeological projects of all phases across the United States. His primary interest is in the paleoindian period.


Henry Alexander | Technical Staff

Mr. Alexander received a degree in Anthropology from the University of Tennessee. His research interests include historical archaeology, archaeology of the African diaspora, and human osteology.