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Nichols College

Learn. Lead. Succeed

Joseph Mitchell

Dr. Mitchell is a North American archaeologist specializing in environmental geochemistry and mollusk paleoecology. He joined Nichols in 2018, having previously taught at Mississippi State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Worcester State University, and Fitchburg State University. As an archaeologist, Dr. Mitchell has worked in the field and conducted research at sites throughout the Southeastern US, and most recently in central Massachusetts. His primary area of research involves mollusk remains recovered from archaeological sites, which represent animals collected and eaten by native peoples from their local waterways. These deposits are then used to help better understand historic changes and trends in freshwater mussel communities with the goal of aiding conservation efforts of modern populations. Dr. Mitchell’s other research interests include taphonomy, petrography, biogeography, climate change, isotope geochemistry, carbonate diagenesis, evolutionary theory, prehistoric human settlement patterns, and interdisciplinary studies.

Courses taught:

HUM 254 Around the World
ESCI 233 The Environment
ESCI 271 Archaeology and the Ancient World
ESCI 270 Environmental Science Online Module


2018. Mitchell, J. Analysis of Mollusks from the Pruitt Shelter Archaeological Sites (3NW1308 & 3NW1309), Buffalo National River, Arkansas. Prepared for: Panamerican Consultants, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee.

2018. Hoffman, C. and J. Mitchell. Stone Rods from the Middleborough Little League Site. Bulletin of the Massachusetts Archaeological Society 79(2)74-84.

2017. Mitchell, J. Prehistoric Molluscan Faunas of the Yazoo River, Mississippi, USA: Archaeological Perspectives for Modern Conservation. Environmental Archaeology

2017. Peacock, E., Mitchell, J., and C.A. Buchner. Applied Zooarchaeology of Freshwater Mussel (Bivalvia: Unionidae) Shell from Golson (22HU508), a Deasonville-Period Site on the Yazoo River, Mississippi. Environmental Archaeology

2016. Peaock, E., Kirkland, B., and J. Mitchell. Investigating Freshwater Mussel (Unionidae) Shell Diagenesis at an Archaeological Site on the Tombigbee River, Mississippi, Southeastern U.S.A.: Report on Analysis Conducted on Shell from the Vaughn Mound Site, 22LO538. Report submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District, Mobile, Alabama.

2016. Peacock, E., Mitchell, J., and C. Jenkins. Pre-Columbian Freshwater Mussel Assemblages from the Tallahatchie River in the Lower Mississippi River Alluvial Basin, USA. American Malacological Bulletin 34(2):121-132.

2016. Mitchell, J., Peacock, E., and S. Myatt. Sampling to Redundancy in an Applied Zooarchaeology: a Case Study from a Freshwater Shell Ring in the Mississippi Delta, Southeastern USA. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 5:499-508.

2015. Peacock, E. and J. Mitchell. Analysis of Mollusk Shell. Pp. 123-130. In: Buchner et al., Data Recovery at the Golson Site (22HU508) Humphreys County, Mississippi. Panamerican Consultants, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee.

2014. Mitchell, J. and E. Peacock. A Prehistoric Freshwater Mussel Assemblage from the Big Sunflower River, Sunflower County, Mississippi. Southeastern Naturalist 13(3):626-638.


Dr. Mitchell enjoys trying new foods while traveling with his family, cooking, gardening, and watching classic films and college football.