Kidder’s research applies archaeology and geology to the study of how human populations have adapted to climate and environmental change. His field research includes ongoing studies of the ancient dynamics of human settlements along the Yellow River in China and the Mississippi River in the United States.
His archaeological research focuses on the evolution of human societies in the Southeastern United States, including the emergence of social ranking and development of domesticated food crops. His interest in geoarchaeology includes studies of the evolution and chronology of the Holocene Mississippi River using archaeological data.
He has a long-term interest is the nature of social evolution in Native American societies with the goal of understanding the circumstances that led to periods of greater or lesser social and political complexity, such as the emergence and decline of mound building in Eastern North America. He is working at several Middle to Late Archaic mound sites in the Lower Mississippi Valley, including the well-known Poverty Point site in northeast Louisiana.
Anthropologist T.R. Kidder in Arts & Sciences published new research that shows that aridification in the central plains of China during the early Bronze Age did not cause population collapse. The results highlight the importance of social resilience to climate change.
Nearly five years after his death, colleagues of Washington University in St. Louis anthropologist David “Tab” Rasmussen are recognizing his contributions by listing him as first author on a primate evolution paper published March 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A new collaborative research and teaching agreement between anthropology and archaeology programs at Washington University in St. Louis and Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, will expand student and faculty exchanges and increase cooperation in field and laboratory research, according to a memo of understanding signed April 25 by University Provost Holden Thorp.
Lately it’s been fashionable to say that hunter-gatherers lived better than we do. They had more free time, they followed more natural sleep cycles, and so on. But is our picture of hunter-gatherer society right? A giant earth mound in Louisiana suggests we know less than we think. Washington University anthropologist Tristram R. Kidder explains.