Mississippi University Archaeology Expert Named 2024 William Winter Scholar

Mississippi State’s Shawn P. Lambert, an assistant professor of archaeology, will represent the university as the 2024 William Winter Scholar at the 35th Annual Natchez Trace Literary and Cinema Conference in Natchez this week, Feb. 22-24.


Lambert was chosen by MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences to present on life and death experiences, including religious traditions, burial rituals, cemetery history, mourning practices, and historic holidays, under the theme “Rites, Rituals, and Religion in the Deep South.”

“I’d want to thank everyone who nominated me for this amazing honor. This award demonstrates the deepest appreciation for the humanities and the value of community-engaged work, as we all work together to better understand our past and present for the future,” said Lambert, a fellow at MSU’s Cobb Institute of Archaeology. “Our community-engaged research and fieldwork in the Brush Arbor Cemetery would not have been possible without the hard work of our community partners, students, and faculty research team, which included Drs. Jesse Goliath, Anna Osterholtz, and Jordan Lynton-Cox. We are quite appreciative for this scholarship and very pleased about the next stage of our research.”

Lambert earned his Ph.D. and master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Oklahoma in 2017 and 2013, respectively. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama in 2011.

His principal research area is the early Mississippian period (ca. A.D. 800-1200). Lambert specializes in remote sensing and ceramics analysis, including design style, trace elements analysis, and iconography, in order to uncover rich histories of community development, transformation, ritual integration, and migration across networks.

He has been involved in recent initiatives in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana that investigate the function of ceramics in establishing and maintaining interregional community interactions. In 2020, he received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct research on avoiding sexual harassment in undergraduate field-based courses.

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