Curator Emeritus David R. Watters
412.665.2751 (fax)

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Academic Training
PhD 1980, University of Pittsburgh
MA 1976, University of Nevada, Reno
BA 1969, Wake Forest University

General Research Interests 

  • The Caribbean region
  • Insular area maritime adaptations
  • Oceanography and archaeology
  • Island cultural ecology
  • Costa Rican archaeological collections
  • History of museum

Research Emphases 

  • Saladoid colonization: The onset and attributes of the colonization of the Lesser Antilles by ceramic-producing Amerindians originating in South America
  • Stone beads: Forms, materials, distribution, and production of prehistoric stone beads and their social implications (trade, craft specialization, prestige goods, etc.) in the Caribbean origins
  • Archaeofaunas and biogeography: Implications of vertebrate and invertebrate remains from archaeological contexts for island biogeographic issues (extinctions and extirpations, endemism, introduction of alien species, ranges, etc.)
  • Historical archaeology: Main interests include Afro-Caribbean archaeology and the historic sites of Barbuda
  • Costa Rican Collections: Analysis of the archaeological collections, photographs, and archives assembled by Curator Carl Vilhelm Hartman (1903-1908)
  • Kay-Rial Utah expeditions (1940s)

Selected Publications 

Dacal Moure, Ramón and David R. Watters

  • 2005 Three Stages in the History of Cuban Archaeology. Pp.29-40, in Dialogues in Cuban Archaeology (L. Antonio Curet, Shannon Dawdy, and Gabina La Rosa Corzo, eds.). Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama Press.

Gardner, Joan S., D. R. Watters, and J. A. Brown

  • 2001 Conservation treatment of encrusted sherds. Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology, vol. 1:75-90. Guadeloupe, French West Indies.

Petersen, James B., Robert N. Bartone, and David R. Watters

  • 1999 Pyroclastic, Storm-Surge and Saladoid Villager Deposits: The Archaeological and Geological Stratigraphy of the Trants site, Montserrat. Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology, vol. 2:40-51. Guadeloupe, French West Indies.

Petersen, James B., David R. Watters, and Desmond V. Nicholson

  • 1999 Prehistoric basketry from Antigua and Montserrat, Northern Lesser Antilles, West Indies. Proceedings of the Seventeenth International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology: 63-76. Rockville Centre, Molloy College.

  • 1999 Continuity and Syncretism in Afro-Caribbean Ceramics from the northern Lesser Antilles. Pp 157-195, in African Sites Archaeology in the Caribbean (J. B. Haviser, ed.). Princeton, Markus Wiener.

Pregill, G. K., D. W. Steadman, and D. R. Watters

  • 1994 Late Quaternary vertebrate faunas of the Lesser Antilles: Historical components of Caribbean biogeography. Bulletin of Carnegie Museum of Natural History No. 30.

Watters, David R.

  • 2010 Supplementary sources of archaeological data for Montserrat. Proceedings of the Twenty-second Congress of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology, pp. 778-788. Kingston: Jamaica National Heritage Trust.

  • 2009 Petroglyphs Opposite Millsboro historic photograph. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 79(1):78.

  • 2008 W. J. Holland’s 1902 lecture about the Smith’s Ferry Petroglyphs (36BV7) and western Pennsylvania archaeology. Pennsylvania Archaeologist 78(2):1-10.

  • 2008 Madrid 1892 Exposición Histórico-Americana. In Encyclopedia of World’s Fairs and Expositions, edited by J. E. Findling and K. D. Pelle, pp. 112-115. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co.

  • 2006 Arqueología Histórica en las islas caribeñas con culturas diversas. Gabinete de Arqueología Boletín 5: 126-136. La Habana, Cuba.

  • 2005 Deterioration of Historic Structures on Barbuda. Proceedings of the 20th International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology, 2:751-758. Santo Domingo: Museo del Hombre Dominicano.

  • 2003 Preliminary report on the correlation of Archaic-Age localities with a paleoshoreline on Barbuda. Proceedings of the Nineteenth International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology 1:102-109. Publications of the Archaeological Museum Aruba, 9.

  • 2002 Arqueología historica en las culturalmente diversas islas Caribeñas. Arqueología de Panamá La Vieja 2002:39-62.

  • 2002 W. J. Holland's Roles in the 1902 Meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Anthropological Association. Annals of Carnegie Museum 71:215-232.

  • 2002 W. J. Holland's Speech at the International Congress of Americanists, 13th Session, in 1902. Annals of Carnegie Museum 71:131-141.

  • 2001 Historical Archaeology in the British Caribbean. In Island Lives: Historical Archaeologies of the Caribbean, edited by Paul Farnsworth, pp. 82-99. Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama Press.

  • 1999 Composition of the Molluscan Fauna at the Gravenor Bay Shell Ridge, Barbuda. Proceedings of the Seventeenth International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology: 181-195. Rockville Centre, Molloy College.

  • 1999 Exotic lithics confirm human presence at stranded paleoshoreline, Barbuda, West Indies. Current Research in the Pleistocene 16:81-83.

  • 1998 Maritime adaptive strategies in the Antilles archipelago. Journal of American Archaeology 15:7-31.

  • 1997 Maritime trade in the Prehistoric Eastern Caribbean. In The Indigenous People of the Caribbean, edited by S. M. Wilson, pp. 89-99. Gainesville: FL: University Press of Florida.

  • 1997 Historical documentation and archaeological investigation of Codrington Castle, Barbuda, West Indies. Annals of Carnegie Museum 66:229-288.

  • 1997 Stone beads in the prehistoric Caribbean. Bead Study Trust Newsletter 29:7-8. [UK].

  • 1994 Mortuary patterns at the Harney site slave cemetery, Montserrat, in Caribbean perspective. Historical Archaeology 23(3):56-73.

  • 1994 Archaeology of Trants, Montserrat. Part 1. Field methods and artifact density distributions. Annals of Carnegie Museum 63:265-295.

Watters, David R. and Jennifer A. Brown

  • 2001 New data from old Caribbean collections at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Proceedings of the Eighteenth International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology, vol. 2:291-303. Guadeloupe, French West Indies.

Watters, David R. and Regis B. Miller

  • 2000 Wood identification from historic sites: Inferences for colonial trade and modification of vegetation on Barbuda. Caribbean Journal of Science 26:19-30.

Watters, David R. and Gillian E. Norton

  • 2007 Volcanically induced loss of archaeological sites in Montserrat. Proceedings of the Twenty-first Congress of the International Associaiton for Caribbean Archaeology, 1:48-55. St. Augustine, Trinidad: University of the West Indies.

Watters, David R. and Oscar Fonseca Zamora


  • 2005 World’s Fairs and Latin American Archaeology: Costa Rica at the 1892 Madrid Exposition. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology 15(1):4-11.

  • 2004 Becoming a Museum Anthropologist: C. V. Hartman’s International Networking a Century Ago. Museum Anthropology 26(2):63-80.

  • 2003 C. V. Hartman's Letter of May 27, 1907 to C. C. Mellor. Annals of Carnegie Museum 72:109-136.

  • 2003 W. J. Holland's Instructions to C. V. Hartman for the 1903 Costa Rica Expedition. Annals of Carnegie Museum 72:263-271.

  • 2003 Archaeological Landscapes in Costa Rica's Cartago Valley. Antiquity 77(297), Project Gallery URL:  

  • 2002 Expeditions, Expositions, Associations, and Museums in the Anthropological Career of C. V. Hartman. Annals of Carnegie Museum 71:261-299.

  • 2002 C. V. Hartman and Museum Anthropology a Century Ago. Bulletin of the History of Archaeology 12(2):21-24.

  • 2001 C. V. Hartman's Letter of February 20, 1903, to W. J. Holland. Annals of Carnegie Museum 70:263-268.

  • 2001 An excavation in Guanacaste province, Costa Rica. Annals of Carnegie Museum 70:237-238.

Watters, David R. and D. D. Fowler

  • 2002 The AAA's Place(s) of Emergence. Anthropology News 43(5):13-14.

Watters, David R. and James B. Petersen

  • 1999 Trants, Montserrat: The 1995 Field Season. Proceedings of the Sixteenth International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology, vol. 2:27-39. Guadeloupe, French West Indies.

  • 1999 Is La Hueca style pottery present at Trants? Pp. 299-301, in Archaeological Investigations on St. Martin (Lesser Antilles) (C. L. Hofman and M. Hoogland, eds.). Archaeological Studies Leiden University 4.

Watters, David R., Edward J. Petuch, and Nathalie Serrand

  • 1999 Anomalous Distributions of Vasum globulus: Discordant Records of an Endemic Gastropod in Archaeological and Modern Contexts. Caribbean Journal of Science 35:83-92.

Watters, David R., and R. Scaglion

  • 1994 Beads and pendants from Trants, Montserrat: Implications for the prehistoric lapidary industry of the Caribbean. Annals of Carnegie Museum 63:215-237.

Publications by Cuban scholars:
Watters and Daniel H. Sandweiss have facilitated publications by Cuban archaeologists and museologists in order to make important scholarly research in Cuba available to a wider audience. These publications are:

Dacal Moure, Ramón, and Manuel Rivero de la Calle

  • 1996 Art and Archaeology of Pre-Columbian Cuba. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh. [Translated by Sandweiss and edited by Sandweiss and Watters].

Rangel Rivero, Armando

  • 1994 Historical aspects of the Montané Anthropological Museum of the University of Havana. Museum Anthropology 18(1):61-64. [Edited by Watters and Sandweiss].