Timothy J. Scarlett

Timothy J. Scarlett
"Whereas innovation, in the backwards reading of creativity, lies outside of time, improvisation, in a forward reading, is inherently temporal."
—Elizabeth Hallam and Tim Ingold (2007) Creativity and Cultural Improvisation. Berg, New York.


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Associate Professor of Archaeology

(on sabbatical 2015-16)

  • PhD, University of Nevada, 2002
  • MA, Boston University, 1994
  • BA, University of Arizona, 1991


Timothy James Scarlett grew up in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania. After working on his first dig as a 17-year-old high school student,  Tim dedicated his life to the archaeological study of American history. After taking degrees in anthropology and/or archaeology from the University of Arizona (BA, 1991), Boston University (MA, 1994), and the University of Nevada (Ph.D., 2002), he joined the faculty in the Industrial Heritage and Archaeology Program in the Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Technological University. He is now an Associate Professor and is the director of Graduate Studies in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology, overseeing both the Ph.D. and M.S. programs in the Department of Social Sciences at MTU.

Dr. Scarlett is deeply committed to a dramatically interdisciplinary, public archaeology. He examines how individuals creatively solved problems and adapted to new physical and social environments. He uses diverse methods in his studies, employing techniques from chemistry and physics to folklore and art history. Besides fieldwork, Dr. Scarlett relies upon experimental and experiential discovery in his scholarship. Eclectic organizations have supported his research and public programming, ranging from the National Science Foundation, The National Park Service, the Utah Humanities Council ,the Scenic Hudson Land Trust, Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission, Utah State Parks, and Earthwatch. He has conducted research at sites in the Great Basin and Intermountain West, Southwest, Interior Alaska, New England, and the Mid-Atlantic regions of North America, as well as in Michigan's Copper Country. He is the director of the Utah Pottery Project, co-director of the West Point Foundry Project, and now co-directs the Cliff Mine Archaeology Project.

Dr. Scarlett began teaching in 1992 and has been recognized for excellence by several institutions. His early experiences, as an educational docent for the Arizona State Museum and as a teacher for the John’s Hopkins University Center for Academically Talented Youth, provided him with educational training unusual for a University professor. He is among the most popular and highest-rated professors in Michigan Technological University’s core studies program.

Dr. Scarlett is committed to collaborative and inclusive public archaeology. He has worked to develop several best-practice models for archaeological fieldwork that will integrate research excavations with programs in community-based collaboration and education, heritage tourism development, and traditional and new media documentary production.

Tim and his wife, Sarah Fayen Scarlett, live with their son Warren in beautiful Houghton, Michigan, amid the historic copper-mining districts of the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Research Interests

  • Historical and Industrial Archaeologies
  • Ecobiography, Creativity and Work
  • Archaeological Sciences, Culture Theory
  • Ceramic Petrology, Neutron Activation Analysis
  • Community-based scholarship, public science/humanities

Recent Publications

  • Scarlett, Timothy James, Amy M. Bastion, Leslie G. Cecil, Christopher W. Merritt, and Michael Glascock. (2015). A Muddy Study: Historical Archaeology and Archaeometry for Societies in Contact. In Jaume Buxeda I Garrigós, Marisol Madrid i Fernández, and Javier G. Iñañez (eds.), GlobalPottery 1: Historical Archaeology and Archaeometry for Societies in Contact. British Archaeological Reports (BAR), International Series 2761, Archaeopress Press, Oxford, UK. pp. 397-409. Read More
  • Zhao, Shan, Bowen, Patrick. K., Drelich, Jaroslaw., and Scarlett, Timothy James. (2015). Modeling “Reproducibility in Rehydroxylation of Ceramic Artifacts.” Journal of the American Ceramic Society 98(10):3367–3372. Read More
  • Bowen, P. K., Drelich, J. D., and Scarlett, T. J. (2013). Modeling Rehydration/Rehydoxylation Mass-Gain Curves for Davenport Ceramics. Journal of the American Ceramic Society (2013):1-7. Read More
  • Drelich, Jaroslaw., Bowen, Patrick. K., and Scarlett, Timothy James. (2013). "Effect of Humidity Instability on Rehydroxylation in Fired Clay Ceramics" Journal of the American Ceramic Society 96(4):1047-1050. Read More
  • Scarlett, Timothy James and Samuel Sweitz. (2012). Constructing new knowledge in Industrial Archaeology. In Harold Mytum (ed.), Global Perspectives on Archaeological Field Schools. Springer Verlag, New York, pp. 119-145. Read More
  • Bowen, Patrick K., Helen J. Ranck, Timothy J. Scarlett, and Jaroslaw W. Drelich. (2011). Rehydration/Rehydroxylation Kinetics of Reheated XIX-Century Davenport (Utah) Ceramic. Journal of the American Ceramic Society 94(8):258-2591. Read More
  • Scarlett, Timothy James. (2010). What if the Local is Exotic and the Imported Mundane? Measuring Ceramic Exchanges in Mormon Utah. In Carolyn Dillan and Carolyn White (eds.), Trade and Exchange: Archaeological Studies from History and Prehistory. Springer Verlag, New York, pp. 165-178. Read More
  • Scarlett, Timothy James, Michael Deegan, and Renée Blackburn. (2009). Two Seasons of Excavation at the 1865 Office Building at Scenic Hudson's West Point Foundry Preserve. IA: the Journal of the Society for Industrial Archaeology 35(1-2):105-115.
  • Deegan, Michael and Timothy James Scarlett. (2008). The Conservation of Ferrous Metals from the West Point Foundry Site. Bulletin of the New York State Archaeological Association 124: 56-68.
  • Scarlett, Timothy James, Robert J. Speakman, and Michael D. Glascock. (2007). Pottery in the Mormon Economy: an Historical and Archaeometric Study. Historical Archaeology. 41(4):70-95. Read More
  • Scarlett, Timothy James, Jeremy Rahn, and Daniel Scott. (2006). Bricks and an Evolving Industrial Landscape: the West Point Foundry and New York's Hudson River Valley. Northeast Historical Archaeology 35:29-46. Read More
  • Scarlett, Timothy James. (2006). Flowscapes of Globalization in Mormon Pioneer Utah. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 10(2):109-134. Read More