Ethan Watrall

  • Associate Professor, Anthropology
  • Director, Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative
  • Director, Digital Heritage Innovation Lab
  • Curator of Archaeology, Michigan State University Museum


McDonel Hall E-37

Research Interests

    Digital Archaeology & Heritage
    Digitization and Digital Collections
    Heritage Studies
    Egyptian Archaeology (Predynastic)
    Public & Community Archaeology & Heritage

Biographical Info

An anthropological archaeologist who has worked in Canada, the United States, Egypt, and the Sudan, Ethan Watrall is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State University. He is Director of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative and Director of the Digital Heritage Innovation Lab (which is a partnership between the Department of Anthropology and The Lab for the Education and Advancement in Digital Research). Ethan is Head of Tangible Heritage & Archaeology Projects at Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences, where he served as Associate Director from 2009-2020. Ethan also serves as Adjunct Curator of Archaeology at the Michigan State University Museum. Ethan’s scholarship focuses on the application of digital methods and computational approaches within archaeology and heritage. This focus expresses itself broadly in three domains: (1) publicly engaged digital heritage and archaeology; (2) digital documentation and preservation of tangible heritage and archaeological materials; and (3) building capacity and communities of practice in digital heritage and archaeology. The thematic thread that binds these domains together is one of preservation and access – leveraging digital methods and computational approaches to preserve and provide access to archaeological and heritage materials, collections, knowledge, and data in order to facilitate research, advance knowledge, fuel interpretation, and democratize understanding and appreciation of the past.


  • 2022, Watrall, E., Lynne Goldstein (eds.), Digital Heritage and Archaeology in Practice: Data, Ethics, and Professionalism, University Press of Florida
  • 2022, Watrall, E., Lynne Goldstein (eds.), Digital Heritage and Archaeology in Practice: Presentation, Teaching, and Engagement, University Press of Florida
  • 2020 Cogan Shimizua, Pascal Hitzlera, Quinn Hirt, Dean Rehberger, Seila Gonzalez Estrecha, Catherine Foley, Alicia M. Sheill, Walter Hawthorne, Jeff Mixter, Ethan Watrall, Ryan Carty, Duncan Tarr. The Enslaved Ontology: Peoples of the Historic Slave Trade, Web Semantics.
  • 2020 Townsend, R., Sampeck, K., Watrall, E. et al. Digital Archaeology and the Living Cherokee Landscape. International Journal of Historic Archaeology
  • 2019 Watrall, E. Building Scholars and Communities of Practice in Digital Archaeology & Heritage, Advances in Archaeological Practice
  • 2017 Watrall, E. Public Heritage at Scale: Building Tools for Authoring Mobile Digital Heritage & Archaeology Experiences, Journal of Community Archaeology & Heritage 5(2)
  • 2017, Marwick B, d’Alpoim Guedes J, Barton CM, Bates LA, Baxter M, Bevan A, et al. Open science in archaeology. The SAA Archaeological Record 17(4)
  • 2016 Watrall, E. Archaeology, The Digital Humanities, and the “Big Tent” in Debates in Digital Humanities 2016, Matt Gold & Lauren Klein (Eds.), Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • 2014 Watrall, E. Red Land/Black Land: Teaching Ancient Egyptian Archaeology Through Digital Game-Based Learning, Society for American Archaeology Advances in Archaeological Practice 2(1)
  • 2013 Tegtmeyer, R. E. Watrall, D. Rehberger, KORA: A Digital Repository and Publishing Platform, Journal of Digital Humanities 2(3)
  • 2011, Witcher-Kansa, Sarah, Ethan Watrall, Eric Kansa (eds.), Archaeology 2.0: New Tools for Archaeological Collaboration and Communication, Cotsen Institute Press
  • Dept. of Anthropology