Ethan Watrall

  • Associate Professor, Anthropology
  • Associate Director, MATRIX: Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Director, Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative
  • Adjunct Curator of Anthropology, MSU Museum


Natural Sciences 412; McDonel Hall E-37

Research Interests

  • Digital Archaeology & Heritage
  • Heritage Studies
  • Egyptian Archaeology (Predynastic)
  • Pseudoarchaeology
  • Public & Community Archaeology

Biographical Info

An anthropological archaeologist who has worked in North America and North Africa, Ethan Watrall is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Associate Director of MATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State University. Ethan also serves as Adjunct Curator of Archaeology & Heritage at the Michigan State University Museum. In addition, Ethan is Director of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative and the Digital Heritage Fieldschool in the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State University. Currently, Ethan is Co-PI of Enslaved: People of the Historic Slave Trade, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project. Previously, he was Co-Director of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funded ARCS: Archaeological Resource Cataloguing System project, Co-Director of the NEH funded Digital Archive of Malian Photography project, and Director of the NEH funded Institute for Digital Archaeological Method and Practice. Ethan’s primarily scholarly interests lie in how digital methods and computational approaches can be leveraged 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 our collective understanding and appreciation of the past.


Under Review 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