At Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research, we value the diverse interests and skills of our staff. As a full-service cultural resource management firm, TVAR strives to bring technology and research to the services we perform for our clients. The TVAR business has been serving clients throughout the southeastern United States for over ten years, but the collective experience of our people equates to so much more.
MEET THE TVAR TEAM
At Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research, we value the diverse interests and skills of our staff. As a full-service cultural resource management firm, TVAR strives to bring technology and research to the services we perform for our clients.The TVAR business has been serving clients throughout the southeastern United States for over ten years, but the collective experience of our people equates to so much more.
Executive & Administrative Team
Erin Johnson | CEO; Finance Director
Erin Johnson serves as TVAR’s Chief Executive Officer and finance director managing payroll, billing, and insurance. She also works in close coordination with the company President, staff, and certified public accountants in the day-to-day business aspects of the company. Erin is uniquely qualified for this position insofar as she has participated directly in archaeological field and laboratory projects and has also served in a banking management position.
Hunter Johnson, M.A., RPA | President; Senior Archaeologist
Hunter Johnson serves as company president, senior archaeologist, and director of cultural resource management studies for Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research (TVAR) projects. He received his M.A. in anthropology from the University of Alabama and is a member of numerous professional organizations. Hunter has directed projects throughout southeastern North America over the past twenty years and written articles published by the Journal of Alabama Archaeology, Mississippi Archaeology, Southeastern Archaeology, University of Tennessee Press, and University of Alabama Press, and he has written numerous cultural resource management reports.
Keith Little, Ph.D., RPA | Senior Archaeologist
Keith Little received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Alabama and has over 40 years of experience in all phases of archaeological investigation throughout southeastern North America. He serves as a Senior Archaeologist at TVAR. Keith has written scores of cultural resource management reports as well as articles published by Early Georgia, The Florida Anthropologist, Journal of Alabama Archaeology, Mississippi Archaeology, Southeastern Archaeology, University of Tennessee Press, and Smithsonian Institution Press. His research interests and specialties include late prehistoric and protohistoric archaeology of southeastern North America and paleoclimatology.
Heather Hutchason, B.A | Account Specialist
Heather Hutchason received a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism from the University of Kentucky. As Account Specialist, she assists the CEO in budgeting, billing, and payroll. Her background in managing a small, family-owned business makes her uniquely qualified for this position.
Scott C. Meeks, M.A., RPA | Senior Archaeologist
Scott Meeks received his M.A. in anthropology from the University of Alabama and is currently completing his Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Tennessee. He serves as a Senior Archaeologist and Principal Investigator at TVAR. Scott has over 20 years of experience in all phases of archaeological investigation throughout the southeastern United States and has worked with federal, state, and local governmental agencies as well as private businesses and individuals. Scott has written numerous cultural resource management reports, published articles in Journal of Alabama Archaeology, American Antiquity, Current Research in the Pleistocene, Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, and PNAS and has contributed chapters in edited volumes published by Texas A&M Press, University Press of Colorado, Left Coast Press, and University of Tennessee Press. His research interests include subsistence/settlement patterns and technologies of prehistoric hunter/gatherers in the Eastern Woodlands, environmental archaeology, natural and anthropogenic disturbance regimes, and human eco-dynamics of late prehistoric agricultural populations in the southeastern United States.
Erik Porth, Ph.D., RPA | Senior Archaeologist
Erik Porth received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Alabama and has over 10 years of experience in all levels of archaeological investigation in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
He serves as a senior archaeologist at TVAR. Erik has written numerous cultural resource management reports and published articles in Evolutionary Anthropology and Southeastern Archaeology. His research explores monumentality, materiality, ritual, and performance within ancient complex societies of the southeastern United States.
Travis Rael, M.S., RPA | Senior Archaeologist; Database Manager
Travis Rael received his M.S. in earth systems science with concentrations in geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, and archaeology at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has over ten years of experience in all phases of archaeology. Travis has written numerous cultural resource management reports and coauthored an article in Mississippi Archaeology. His research interests include remote sensing and the prehistory of southeastern North America.
Ashley Stewart, Ph.D., RPA | Senior Bioarchaeologist
Ashley Stewart received her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Alabama, where her research focused on bioarchaeology, dental anthropology, and mortuary analysis. She has over ten years of archaeological experience in all phases of archaeological investigation, with eight of those years dedicated to osteological and bioarchaeological analysis. In addition to her archaeological work, Ashley is passionate about community education and outreach, especially in regard to archaeological and anthropological topics.
Braden Dison, M.A., RPA | Archaeologist II
Braden Dison earned an M.A. in anthropology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). His primary research interests include the development of social complexity throughout the Southeast, with particular focus on the rise of monumentality and the cultural augmentation of landscape.
Kate Manning, M.A., RPA | Archaeologist II
Kate Manning earned her M.A. in anthropology from Mississippi State University. Kate has over a decade of experience on all phases of archaeological investigations in the southeast with extensive work in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. She is an FAA Part 107 sUAS licensed drone operator, with over six years of experience in drone photography and mapping. Kate’s primary research interests are lithic technologies, prehistory of the southeast with a focus along the Tennessee River Valley, and the application of GNSS and RTK mapping in Cultural Resource Management.
Kristen Koors, MLIS | Archaeologist and Technical Editor
Kristen Koors received her B.A. in Anthropology and a Master of Library Information Studies from The University of Alabama. Ms. Koors has 24 years of experience in the Cultural Resources Management field and has facilitated government-to-government consultations between 19 sovereign American Indian nations and tribes and various federal agencies (National Guard, Dept. of Defense, the Federal Highway Administration, and the Tennessee Valley Authority) since 2007. Ms. Koors has experience working with the National Park Service; the U.S. Corps of Engineers, Mobile and Savannah Districts; and the Alabama Department of Transportation, as well as managing cultural resources projects for the Army Environmental Command; Army Medical Command, Hampton Roads Naval Museum; Great Lakes Naval Museum; Fort Benning and Fort Stewart Military Installations; and several private engineering and environmental companies. She brings her experience, organizational skills, and reputation as a well- respected advocate for American Indian issues. She has also served as lead co-author on one of the first Traditional Cultural Properties (TCP) identification studies in the State of Alabama. The study resulted in the location and documentation of five TCPs along with a written record of the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century history of a little studied area in the state.
Josh Boone, M.A. | Field Director
Josh Boone received his M.A. in anthropology from George Mason University. His research focus is in bioarchaeology, specifically the gradual integration of 3D scanning and printing technologies into the discipline. Mr. Boone is a skilled flintknapper, applying his experience and knowledge into understanding and identifying stone tool technologies.
Evan Mann, M.A. | Archaeologist
Evan M. Mann received his B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Miami in 2017 and is currently completing his Ph.D. at the City University of New York. His dissertation research is focused on ceramic production and use by Algonquian speaking hunter-gatherers in the High Laurentian region of Quebec, Canada. He has 6 years of archaeological field experience, which was conducted in the Southeastern US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Chile. Additionally, he has received both National Science Foundation and Fulbright fellowships for his work on hunter-gatherer lifeways.
Ross Butz, M.A. | Archaeologist ; Field Director
Ross is an Afghanistan war veteran who served as an infantryman in the US Army. He received his B.A. and M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Ross has experience working on CRM projects in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia. His regional areas of interest include the Tennessee River Valley and the northern Gulf Coastal Plain. His topical areas of interest include Mississippian archaeology, social organization, geoarchaeology, lithic technology, political economy, and the history of archaeology.
James Roncki B.A. | Field Supervisor
James Roncki earned his B.A. in anthropology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He serves as a crew chief for TVAR. James has worked on archaeological projects of various phases across the southeastern United States.
Keenan Drake, B.A. | Field Supervisor
Keenan Drake received his B.A. in anthropology from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. Keenan has over two years of CRM experience in all levels of archaeological field work across the southeastern United States while working with TVAR. Keenan spends his summers in Greece on the Mochlos Archaeological Project and his primary interest is prehistoric Aegean civilizations.
Jonah Vitollo | Crew Chief
Jonah Vitollo has over three and a half years of CRM experience. He has worked on all levels of archaeological field work, including cave mapping and shoreline investigations, throughout the southeastern United States. Jonah’s interests include prehistory of the southeast and historical archaeology
Kassandra Ayala, B.A. | Field Technician II
Kassandra Ayala earned a B.A. in anthropology with minors in religious studies and Latin American & Caribbean studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Their interests include Mesoamerican history/ethnohistory and intersectionality in prehistoric, historical, and contemporary societies.
Riley Muncher, B.S. | Field Technician II
Riley Muncher received his B.S. in anthropology with a minor in history from Middle Tennessee State University. His interests include pre-Columbian fermentation and historical archaeology.
Logan Ostrom, B.A. | Field Technician II
Logan Ostrom earned a B.A. in anthropology with a minor in GIS at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He has an interest in the effects of climate change to prehistoric societies. He is also interested in historic archaeology from the 19th century.
Scott Shaw | Cave Specialist
Scott Shaw received a B.S. degree in geography from the University of North Alabama and completed numerous graduate courses in geography at the University of Alabama. He worked as an archaeologist between 1989 and 1995 on survey and excavation projects throughout the southeastern United States. Scott has been active in recording, mapping, photographing, and researching caves for over 30 years. He currently serves as cave file director and board member of the Alabama Cave Survey and is presently Archives Division Chief for the National Speleological Society.
Michael Lee | Archaeological Mechanical Excavator
Michael Lee worked for 30 years in construction before joining TVAR as an Archaeological Mechanical Excavator. He has eight years of experience in mechanical stripping and trenching at over 40 Native American, African American, and Euroamerican sites in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
Preservation & Research Team
Jillian Rael, M.A. | Senior Historian; Architectural Historian
Jillian Rael received a B.A. in Art History/Photography and a M.A. in History, concentrated in domestic architecture of the antebellum South, from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Jill is a Certified Archives Manager, awarded from the Tennessee State Library and Archives where she worked as Assistant Director of the Stones River Regional Library. She has a strong background in public service, providing a wide range of experience collaborating with government agencies and non-profits. Jill’s M.A. thesis and continued personal research centers on the relationship between architectural expression and class-identity in the South.
Brittney Carnell, M.A. | Historian
Brittney Carnell received a B.A. in international relations and global affairs with minors in French and anthropology from Eckerd College. She also received a M.A. in history with a concentration in secondary education from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and taught Advanced Placement world history prior to joining TVAR. Brittney’s research interests include southern history, historical archaeology, and mortuary practices.
Shanda Davidson, M.A. | Architectural Historian
Shanda Davidson received her M.A. in History with a concentration in public history and historic preservation from the University of West Georgia. Ms. Davidson was the Historic Programs Assistant at the Alabama Historical Commission before moving to the private sector of cultural resource management. Ms. Davidson’s professional experience covers an array of survey and Section 106 compliance projects for federal, state, and local entities as well as private sector clients. Ms. Davidson also worked as a docent at the Frank Lloyd Wright-Rosenbaum House in Florence, Alabama where she researched and studied the Usonian architectural style and the concept of organic architecture. Her other research interests include the development of Ranch house subdivisions after World War II and transportation architecture including buildings and structures related to both the automobile and railroads.
Tristram Evans, LL.M. | Preservation Planner
Tristram Evans has undergraduate and graduate level law degrees from both the United Kingdom and California. Mr. Evans is currently working towards an M.A. in Historic Preservation from Goucher College, Maryland, with an anticipated graduation of 2023. Prior to moving to the United States, Mr. Evans spent time as an officer in His Majesty’s Royal Navy and also worked as a consultant in London for several years. Mr. Evans has a particular interest in how heritage conservation efforts can be leveraged to address equity and inclusion issues in modern society.
Richard Krause, Ph.D., RPA | Research Affiliate
Richard Krause received his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and archaeology from Yale University in 1967. He serves as a Research Affiliate at TVAR. Dr. Krause has taught anthropology at the University of Nebraska, The Ohio State University, and University of Missouri as well as the University of Alabama where he chaired the anthropology department from 1974 to 1981. He has conducted field research in the Great Plains, Alaska, South Africa, Yucatán, and the southeastern United States. He has also done ethnographic research among American Indians and several South African Bantu speaking groups. Dr. Krause has served on the boards of directors of a number of scholarly associations, including the Plains Anthropological Society, the Council on Alabama Archaeology, and the Alabama Historical Commission. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Plains Archaeological Society in 2011. Dr. Krause receives infrastructure and staff support from TVAR while conducting his research in the Tennessee Valley, serves as a company advisor, and occasionally participates in cultural resource management projects for TVAR.
Heather Bass, B.A. | Laboratory Supervisor
Heather Bass received a B.A. in anthropology from Mississippi State University. Her interests center on the prehistory of southeastern North America with a primary focus on ceramics.
Mindy Rogers, M.A., RPA | Bioarchaeologist ; Laboratory Specialist
Mindy Rogers received her M.A. in anthropology from Texas State University. Mindy has five years of combined forensic and archaeological experience in both the field and lab in Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, and the Dutch Caribbean. Her research interests include biological anthropology with an emphasis in forensic and dental anthropology, as well as bioarchaeology. GIS, Remote Sensing &
GIS & Mapping Team
Katie Weis, B.S. | GIS Coordinator
Katie Weis received a B.S. in Anthropology from Troy University and minored in GIS. Her primary interests are GIS applications in anthropology.
Katie Breiding, B.S. | GIS Technician
Katie Breiding received a B.S. in Earth Systems Science with a concentration in Human Dimensions and Societal Impacts from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Her main interest is in the use of GIS technologies in monitoring resource management and the interactions between societies and their environments.