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


Timothy James Scarlett grew up in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He joined the faculty in the Industrial Heritage and Archaeology (IH&A) Program in the Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Technological University in 2001. Tim is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology, active in the IH&A's interdisciplinary community of practice, and works collaboratively with others in Energy and Environmental Policy, as well as students and faculty in Michigan Tech's departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemical Sciences and Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, and the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Sciences.

Dr. Scarlett is deeply committed to a dramatically interdisciplinary, public archaeology. In his personal research, he examines how individuals creatively solved problems at work as they adapted to new physical landscapes and social environments. He uses diverse methods in his studies, employing techniques from chemistry and physics to theology 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 Alfred P. Sloan 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. Besides Michigan's Copper Country, he has conducted research at sites in the Great Basin and Intermountain West, Southwest, Interior Alaska, Great Lakes, New England, and the Mid-Atlantic regions of North America.

Dr. Scarlett is committed to collaborative and inclusive public archaeology. He has worked to develop best-practice models for archaeological fieldwork that integrate field and lab research with community-based collaboration, education, heritage tourism, and traditional and new media documentary production. Among his current interests, Tim is exploring ways that industrial archaeological fieldwork can create spaces for participatory engagement in planning, helping communities discuss issues of social and energy justice.

Dr. Scarlett is also the founder of the Historical Archaeology interest group on LinkedIn.com. With more than 12,500 international members, this is one of the largest academic archaeological communities on the web. Tim serves as the primary co-owner and co-monitor of this public and moderated community asset.

Research Interests

  • Historical and Industrial Archaeologies
  • Heritage and Energy Systems, Sustainability and Development
  • Creativity and Work Process
  • Remote Sensing, Survey, and Geospatial Sciences
  • Heritage, Placemaking, and Culture Building
  • Archaeometry and Conservation Sciences
  • Community-based scholarship, public science/humanities