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David Orr, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor (Teaching) and adjunct Graduate Faculty member

Email: daveorr@temple.edu
Office telephone: 215-204-9372


My teaching and research interests are varied and have evolved throughout my career. Trained as a classical archaeologist, I received my Ph.D. degree from the University of Maryland and then won the Prix-de-Rome at the American Academy in Rome where I was in residence from 1971-73. As an undergraduate I had worked two summer field schools with the River Basin Surveys (Smithsonian Institution) in prehistoric sites in Iowa and South Dakota.

As a member of the American Civilization Department at the University of Pennsylvania from 1973-78, I was able to hone my American Historical Archaeological and Material Culture Theory interests. I assisted in two field schools in Historical Archaeology with John Cotter and taught courses in Vernacular Architecture, Material Culture, Industrial Archaeology, and Popular Culture. I wrote a major Exhibit staged at Penn on Political Material Culture and later co-wrote another major Exhibit at the Academy of Natural History on the Delaware River Waterman emphasizing wildfowl decoys.

From 1978-2003 I was a Supervisory Archaeologist, mostly as the Regional Archaeologist for the Mid-Atlantic area, and developed enduring interests in battlefield archaeology. My work took me to Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, Valley Forge, Fort McHenry, City Point, Petersburg, and other parks, where I excavated and interpreted in various media. Among my awards was the Crystal Owl, a national award which recognizes excellence in interpretation.

I came to Temple as part of a cooperative agreement between the University and the National Park Service and began to involve my students in historical archaeological interests and projects. This trend accelerated after 2006 when I retired from the government and devoted myself full time to academic matters. I have been extremely successful in funding my students with numerous grants and research projects. For example, this year (2009) I worked to get the funding from Northampton Township in New Jersey to conduct work at the archaeological site of a large African-American community called Timbuktoo (founded 1826). My students have been active here for two years and opportunities exist for major research. I organized a research project at Valley Forge for three Temple students and also received a grant to assist the Temple Field School in archaeology at Valley Forge. Many of my recent students have given major papers at national conferences in both historical archaeology and cultural anthropology. Some have been recognized for their efforts; this year one was awarded the best graduate paper at the national meeting of CNEHA. Two will be appearing in a major University Press volume to be published soon.

My research interests include military archaeology, in which I have coedited two volumes, and the archaeology of Philadelphia, where I continue to conduct active research and publish discoveries. I am also interested in historical ceramics, the management of archaeological and historic sites, material culture theory, the archaeology of Roman Pompeii and Roman religion, and popular culture. All of these subjects are reflected in my teaching at Temple. I firmly subscribe to the holistic approach to cultural history and research and the ancillary idea that excavation should be done publicly and interpreted aggressively.


Selected publications:

"Pear Valley et al.: An Excursion into the Analysis of Southern Vernacular Architecture" w/Bernard Herman. Southern Folklore Quarterly. Dec. 1975.

"Roman Domestic Religion: The Evidence of the Household Shrines". In Aufstieg und Niedergang der Romischen Welt, II,16,2, 1978.

"The People of Minisink" w/ Douglas Campana National Park Service 1981

"The Ethnography of Big Mac" in Ronald Revisited, edited by Marshall Fishwick, Popular Press, Bowling Green University. 1983.

The Scope of Historical Archaeology, co-edited with Daniel Crozier, Laboratory of Anthropology, Temple University, 1984.

"The Archaeology of Trauma: An Introduction to the Archaeology of the American Civil War" in Look to the Earth: Historical Archaeology and the American Civil War, edited by Clarence Geier and Susan Winter, University of Tennessee press, 1994.

"Snakes on Pompeian House Shrines" in The Natural History of Pompeii, edited by Wilhelmina Jashemski and Frederick Meyer. Cambridge University Press, 2002.

"Pompeii: a Site for All Seasons" in Ancient Muses: Archaeology and the Arts. edited by John Jameson, University press of Florida. 2003.

"Samuel Malchin in Philadelphia" Ceramics in America, edited by Rob Hunter, New England University Press, 2003.

"Cabin in Command: the Headquarters Cabin of Ulysses S. Grant at City Point" in Huts and History: the Historical Archaeology of American Military Encampment During the Civil War, Clarence Geier and David G. Orr editors, University Press of Florida, 2006.

"Witness to the Past" co-edited with Daniel Roberts, SAA Press, 2007.

"Historical Archaeology of War: Topics and Methods in the Analysis of Military Sites" co-edited with C.Geier, L.Babits, and Douglas Scott. Texas A&M Press, October 1, 2009.

"The Aurelian Wall in Rome: Renaissance Fortification Theory and Practice" in Proto-Colonial Fortifications, edited by Eric Klingelhofer, Brill, December 2009.

Department of Anthropology | Gladfelter Hall, second floor | 1115 West Berks Street | Philadelphia, PA 19122
Voice mail: 215-204-7577 Fax: 215-204-1410