Lara Homsey Messer is a geoarchaeologist who is interested in how changes in the geologic environment (such as natural hazards and climate change) affected prehistoric populations.
Messer received an MS in geology (2003) and PhD in archaeology (2004), both from the University of Pittsburgh. She is returning to her home state of Pennsylvania after teaching for nine years in the Geosciences Department at Murray State University. Ongoing
research projects focus on the application of geologic and microscopic approaches to answering archaeological questions, such as using soil micromorphology to investigate mound building technologies at the Coles Creek
Raffman Site, microartifacts to investigate household organization at the Mississippian Wickliffe Mounds
Site, geochemistry and SEM microscopy to
“fingerprint” rhyolite quarries in Michaux State Park, and GIS and remote sensing applications to look at settlement patterning and
river migration in the Cache Valley of Illinois.
She has published peer-reviewed articles in journals such as American Antiquity, Geoarchaeology, and Southeastern Archaeology and recently published an archaeology laboratory manual titled Experiencing Archaeology: a Laboratory Manual of Classroom Activities,
Demonstrations, and Minilabs for Introductory Archaeology. She serves as the associate editor of the Journal of Kentucky Archaeology and serves on the editorial board of American
Messer also has experience in applied archaeology, having worked in both the private and public sectors, including serving as a cultural resource manager for the US Army Environmental Center at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. She is a member of the Register
of Professional Archaeologists, the Society for American Archaeology, and the Geological Society of America.
Messer teaches undergraduate courses in Contemporary Anthropology, Geoarchaeology, Environmental Archaeology, Soils, and Cultural Resource Management as well as graduate seminars in Pre-Columbian Archaeology, Archaeological Interpretation, and Public
Many of Messer’s publications can
be read here.