Hunter Johnson, M.A. | President

Mr. Hunter Johnson serves as company president, Principal Investigator, 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. Mr. Johnson has written articles published by the Journal of Alabama Archaeology and the University of Alabama Press, and he has written numerous cultural resource management reports. He has directed projects throughout southeastern North America over the past twenty years. Mr. Johnson has conducted cultural resource management projects for numerous federal, state, and local governmental agencies as well as private businesses and individuals.


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.


Virgil "Duke" Beasley, Ph.D. | Geophysical Investigator/Archaeological Mentor

Dr. Beasley earned his M.A. in anthropology at the University of Alabama (1998) and his Ph.D. at Northwestern University (2008). His research interests include the archaeology of freshwater fishing populations, the origins of settled village life, monumentality, and the archaeology of segregation. Dr. Beasley has extensive experience in southeastern North America, including professional and academic experience. Dr. Beasley directs projects, mentors staff members, and is an FAA Part 107 licensed small unmanned aircraft systems pilot at TVAR.


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, B.S. | Archaeologist/ Database Manager

Mr. Rael received his B.S. in earth systems science with a concentration in geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at UAH. In a cooperative student program, he worked on earth science projects for NASA. Mr. Rael has 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.


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.


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.


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.


Mr. Van de Kree holds two M.A. degrees from Mississippi State University: one in Applied Anthropology, the other in English, with a concentration in technical writing. In addition to teaching technical writing at several colleges, he has extensive experience in desktop publishing and editing. His research interests include Southeastern archaeology, Mississippian societies, and ethnomusicology. He has written articles that have appeared in Early Georgia and Journal of Alabama Archaeology, with forthcoming articles in American Archaeology and Mississippi Archaeology.


Monica Warner, M.A. | Archaeologist

Ms. Monica Warner received a B.S. in anthropology from Kent State University, and is currently preparing her M.A. thesis at Mississippi State University. She serves as a project supervisor, and osteologist. Ms. Warner’s research interests include human migration, isoscape refinement, mortuary practices, and biogeochemistry.


Elin Crook, B.S. | GIS Coordinator

Ms. Elin Crook received a B.S. in earth systems science, with a concentration in GIS and remote sensing as well as a degree in Russian language studies from University of Alabama, Huntsville. She serves as GIS Coordinator and Laboratory Supervisor for TVAR.


Kevin Cowart | GIS and Geophysical Technician

Mr. Cowart has a decade of experience working with geospatial technologies and remote sensing. He began as a U.S. Army radar operator, attended undergraduate studies in GIS, and served multiple internships at NASA as a remote sensing analyst before joining TVAR in 2012. Mr. Cowart’s primary interests include remote sensing, cartography, cartographic research, and spatial databases. He is currently finishing a B.S. in Geographic Information Science at Arizona State University.


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.


Erin Johnson | Finance Director

Mrs. Erin Johnson serves as TVAR’s finance director 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.


Michael Krause | Technical Staff

Mr. Krause received a degree in anthropology from the University of Alabama. His primary interests are ceramic technology and GIS applications in archaeology.


Chandler Burchfield | Technical Staff

Mr. Burchfield received a degree in anthropology from the University of Alabama. His primary interests are Southeastern archaeology and GIS applications in archaeology.


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.


Brent Anthony Lyles | Technical Staff

Mr. Lyles received a degree in anthropology from Mississippi State University. His interests are Archaic period and Colonial archaeology, lithic and ceramics technology, and GIS applications to better understand past human behavior.


Heather Bass | Technical Staff

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.


Christina Oliveria | Technical Staff

Ms. Oliveira received a degree in anthropology from the University of Florida. Her primary interests are Southeastern archaeology, zooarchaeology, bioarchaeology, and remote sensing.