Patrice L. Jeppson, Ph.D. is an historical archaeologist whose long-term research focuses on how and why different publics engage with archaeological evidence, especially when collectively creating new historical memory. This theory was presented in her dissertation work in South Africa (U. of Penn., 2005).
Toward this end, Dr. Jeppson has researched how and what the public learned about Benjamin Franklin via archaeological evidence for the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Commission (2005). She participated in 2007 excavations of the President’s House site at the Independence Park, in Philadelphia, PA where nine enslaved Africans lived and toiled during George Washington’s Presidential administration. She also undertook, 2009-2011, Digging in the Archives, one of the earliest blogs on archaeology that brought part of the park’s vast collection of archaeological site records forward for the public, and she wrote (in 2005) one of the earliest archaeology-themed podcasts (with K. Kris Hirst of firstname.lastname@example.org) on a mastodon tooth discovered at Franklin Court.
Between 2009 and 2011, she was a Co-Principal Researcher on an NSF grant-funded study bringing the Independence Park archaeological artifact collection together with Drexel University computer engineers, computer scientists, and media arts specialists. The work produced 3D scans and photogrammetry images that were also used to create short animated videos for Pennsylvania Archaeology Month as well as an interactive, virtual model based in the Oculus RiftÒ 3D headset technology that interprets the late 18th-century home of the African American coachman James Dexter
In 2010, in collaboration with the African American Burial Ground National Monument and a Wenner-Gren grant, Dr. Jeppson co-organized a workshop for international colleagues on the topic “Dynamics of Inclusion in Public Archaeology” which included a public event exploring how communities form in, around, and with the archaeology of New York City.
She has served as lead coordinator for several public-focused project including:
Archaeology for the public, (2005) a web-based, clearing-house for public archaeology information hosted by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), which earned the Society’s 2005 Presidential Award of Merit.
The Philadelphia Archaeological Forum’s annual “Explore Philadelphia’s Buried Past!”(2005-2009) celebration — a day-long, event co-sponsored by Independence National Historical Park and hosted by the National Constitution Center.
Between 2007 and 2019, Dr. Jeppson taught full time and later part time as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Cheyney University (CU), the nation’s oldest Historical Black University.
Her courses engaged students in hands-on, real life, learning experiences based on, and in, historical archaeology research – including at the Dennis Farm.
Previously, Dr. Jeppson taught both upper and lower division college courses as well as graduate level courses, while a Visiting Researcher at the University of Cape Town and at Rhodes University in South Africa, as a College Junior Lecturer at the University of Venda in South Africa, and as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at California State University, Bakersfield and at West Chester University of Pennsylvania (including dual enrollment courses bringing high school students into the college-level learning environment). Dr. Jeppson team-taught a computational archaeology course in the Drexel University Computer Science and Computer Engineering Departments.
Dr. Jeppson regularly reports on her research in scholarly publications such as: (In Final Review) “Public Archeology at the President’s House: The Peoples’ Platform above the Excavation” (P. Jeppson, et.al.); “Computational Science, Convergence Culture, and the Creation of Archaeological Knowledge and Understanding” (P. Jeppson, G. Muschio, J. Levin); Archaeology and the Public in the 21st Century: Increasing Heritage Awareness through Community Participation. Her most recent publicly directed articles published online include “Cats in the Past: Archaeological Evidence of Feline Epidemic Disease in Early America” (2018) and “Archaeology Supports African American History as American History”(2017).
Dr. Jeppson joined the Editorial Board of the Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage in 2013, and the Board of the Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust in 2017.