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.