Kat Hayes

My research, based in various North American colonial contexts, stems from a challenge to the dominant narratives about the inevitability of colonial outcomes. In particular I am interested in issues of agency, negotiation, resistance, and opportunistic power demonstrated by peoples who history once popularly regarded as having been totally powerless in contexts of European colonization, like indigenous communities and enslaved Africans and African Americans. I have pursued these issues, most recently at sites in New York and Minnesota, by examining the often silent materiality of social relations which were not controlled by European settlers. This arena has led me to work in the productive tension between history and archaeology, the curated and the abandoned, memory and forgetting, and most importantly in conflicting notions of heritage.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: University of California, Berkeley, 2008.


  • Historical archaeology
  • Memory, forgetting, history, heritage
  • Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Studies
  • XR (extended reality) in heritage interpretation
  • Archaeological ethics and repatriation
Courses Taught
  • Historical Archaeology (Anth 3028/5028)
  • Foundations of Anthropological Archaeology (Anth 8004)
  • Decolonizing Archives (Anth 4101/8510)
  • Archaeologies of Colonialism (Anth 4103)
  • Archaeological Ceramics (Anth 5444)
  • Field Methods in Archaeology (Anth 3221/8220)
  • Archaeology and Native Americans (Anth 3601/5601 and AMIN 3602/5602)
  • Who Owns the Past? (HSPH 8001)
  • Race and Indigeneity in Heritage Representation (HSPH 8003)
Research & Professional Activities


  • A Carceral Landscape? Re-interpreting the place and material culture of Historic Fort Snelling though the lens of incarceration: With this project I am seeking to highlight various states of incarceration, including those which shape the borders of citizenship, at the historic site of Fort Snelling at Bdote in Minnesota. Through landscapes, buildings (present and absent), and artifacts, I seek to bring new public interpretations of the site through embodied perspectives on exclusion, segregation, and relocation. I am currently exploring how XR platforms can intervene in the narratives materialized by the reconstructed site.
  • Tsim D. Schneider and Katherine Hayes (2020). Epistemic Colonialism: Is It Possible to Decolonize Archaeology? American Indian Quarterly 44(2): 127-148.
  • 2018 The Carceral Side of Freedom. International Journal of Heritage Studies thematic issue “Heritages Haunting the American Narrative” (K. Hayes, B. Little, and P. Shackel, guest editors) 25(7): 641-655. Online, DOI: 0.1080/13527258.2018.1531903.
  • Craig Cipolla and Katherine Hayes, editors (2015). Rethinking Colonialism: Comparative Archaeological Approaches. University Press of Florida.
  • Slavery Before Race: Europeans, Africans, and Indians at Long Island's Sylvester Manor Plantation, 1651-1884. New York University Press, New York (2013).
  • Parameters in the use of pXRF for archaeological site prospection: a case study at the Reaume Fort Site, Central Minnesota. Journal of Archaeological Science 40 (August 2013): 3193-3211.
  • "Small Beginnings: Experimental Technologies and Implications for Hybridity." In The Archaeology of Hybrid Material Culture (ed. J. Card), Center for Archaeological Investigation Occasional Paper No. 39, pp.425-448. Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. 2013.
  • Occulting the Past: Conceptualizing forgetting in the history and archaeology of Sylvester Manor. Archaeological Dialogues 18(2): 197-221. (2011) Download
  • Memory's Materiality. SAA Archaeological Record 8(1):22-25. (2008)
  • Katherine Hayes and Stephen A. Mrozowski, eds. (2007) The Historical Archaeology of Sylvester Manor (Special Issue). Northeast Historical Archaeology 36(1).
  • Laurie A. Wilkie and Katherine Howlett Hayes (2006). Engendered and Feminist Archaeologies of the Recent and Documented Pasts. Journal of Archaeological Research 14: 243-264.