DeeAnne Wymer, professor of anthropology

DeeAnne Wymer, professor of anthropology

DeeAnne Wymer


Ph.D. Ohio State University
M.A. Ohio State University
B.A. Ohio State University


Archaeology, paleoethnobotany, evolution of food production, archaeological method and theory, pseudoscience and North American eastern woodlands, and Egyptian archaeology and paleoethnobotany.

Why anthropology?

"I was never a normal child. I always liked science and adventure, and all that cool stuff. I come from a typical working class family but also grew up reading the National Geographic and thus never wanted to “grow up to do your normal average life!” I always loved mysteries and thought archaeology, as a puzzle about the past, was perhaps the greatest mystery of all (okay – so it was the cool get-up archaeologists wore and their adventures in the sands of Egypt that also attracted me!).

When I was about thirteen or fourteen, I wrote to National Geographic and asked them “how do I become an archaeologist?” I got a letter back from the head of their research department – he wrote that the National Geographic didn’t have archeologists but they funded them and noted that I needed to go to college to get a degree in the field of archaeology. No one in my family had ever gone to college so I didn’t know about this thing called “college.”

I took my high school courses seriously after that and eventually went on to get my doctorate from the Ohio State University. Now some of my work has been featured in the National Geographic so I have just come full circle. In fact, what was really neat is during the interview for the National Geographic magazine for a story that featured our mastodon research in the 1992 issue (I analyzed the last meal of this creature who died 12,000 years ago) I told their writer about the influence from National Geographic had on my career.

She remembered my story and shortly after they created their new website I was featured on it as an example of a researcher whose career had been impacted by the National Geographic. They featured three individuals whose careers had been influenced by the National Geographic and I found my story on the website placed between the man who created the pink flamingo lawn ornaments and a Nobel Prize winner.

Neat! Ironically, although my major research has focused on Native American archaeology, my first love (generated by the stories in the National Geographic magazine) was that of Egyptology — especially the pyramids and mummies! So life has indeed come full circle, yet again, since I have been working on an expedition in Egypt over the past several summers and I plan to return in the upcoming summers as well."


May 2011 — Wymer, Ph.D., professor of anthropology, held a book signing at the Hopewell Culture National Park museum store, Chillicothe, Ohio, in June, for her book, “Hopewell Settlement Patterns, Subsistence, and Symbolic Landscapes” published by the University of Florida Press. The book, an edited volume by A. Martin Byers and Wymer in May, brings together leading researchers to create a new theoretical approach in archaeology to integrate scientific and cognitive studies to illuminate Moundbuilder archaeology.

August 2009 — Wymer, Ph.D., professor of anthropology, had the chapter, "The Paleoethnobotanical Assemblage from the 1971-1977 Excavations at the Seip Earthworks" published in Re-Interpretation of a Group of Hopewell Low Mounds and Structures, Seip Earthworks, Ross County, Ohio.

The publication is a special volume of the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, Volume 34 (1). The volume brings together a number of archaeologists and specialists to re-examine materials and original paperwork from earlier 1970s excavations and to offer new interpretations of this famous Ohio site.