Campus Remembers Jamie Chad Brandon, Archeologist and Anthropology Professor
Archeologist and anthropology professor Jamie Chad Brandon (1971-2018) died during the winter break after a brief but courageous battle with cancer.
Brandon's career in archeology spanned three decades and involved fieldwork throughout the Southeastern United States. He focused on a wide range of topics, including adaptation to environmental change, land use through time, ethnicity, race relations and historical memory in the pre-industrial South.
In addition to producing an impressive record of scholarly research, Brandon is remembered for his unparalleled devotion to outreach activities to the general public about archeological discoveries and their relationship to understanding modern society. He was also a popular teacher and mentored a host of students through internships, theses and dissertation projects.
Following receipt of his bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Memphis, Brandon moved to Fayetteville in 1997 to enroll at the University of Arkansas and begin a long and productive career with the Arkansas Archeological Survey. He earned his master's in 1999, while also participating in several Survey projects, including directing excavations at the 19th century Van Winkle Mill site in present-day Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area, which became the subject of his 2004 doctoral dissertation at the University of Texas-Austin.
Returning to Arkansas, Brandon was appointed the Survey's research station archeologist at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia in 2006, where he pursued research on a variety of topics including development of Native American Caddoan cultures, Civil War history, cemetery preservation and the development of the antebellum town of Old Washington. He also maintained a vigorous schedule of teaching and service activities on the SAU campus.
In 2014, Brandon transferred to Fayetteville to take the post of research station archeologist at the University of Arkansas, where he taught in the Department of Anthropology. He continued his studies of Civil War history through projects at Prairie Grove State Park and Pea Ridge National Military Park. With his spouse Lydia Rees, Brandon also launched a series of research projects on archeological collections from Ozark bluff shelter sites, with a focus on important collections curated by the Survey and the University of Arkansas Museum. An enduring legacy of this effort is Rees's and Brandon's Bluff Shelters of the Arkansas Ozarks website.
Throughout his career with the Survey, Brandon contributed to a variety of organizational initiatives, including service for several terms on the personnel committee and leading the publications committee during a critical five-year period of reorganization and revitalization. He also supported both local and state-wide programs for the Arkansas Archeological Society.
Brandon advanced his profession through service as associate editor for Historical Archaeology, the journal of the Society for Historical Archaeology, and as associate editor for SAA Archaeological Record, newsletter for the Historical Archaeology for the Society for American Archaeology. He also served as vice-chairman of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and a term as president of Preserve Arkansas, a private organization devoted to historic preservation. Brandon was a board member of the Arkansas Historical Association. At the time of his death, he served as the chair of the Arkansas State Review Board for Historic Preservation and as a member of the board of directors of the Arkansas Humanities Council.
Jamie Brandon is survived by his wife, Lydia Rees. A celebration of Brandon's life is planned and will be announced at a future date.
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