Vergil Noble
Adjunct Faculty Member Anthropology


Dr. Vergil Noble is an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, Supervisory Archeologist, Advisor for National Historic Landmarks in the Midwest Region, and contact for National Historic Landmarks at the the Midwest Archaeological Center.

Before joining the National Park Service in 1987, Dr. Noble was on the anthropology faculty at Illinois State University, where he served as Director of the Midwestern Archeological Research Center. Currently his NPS duties include administration of the National Historic Landmark program for 70 archaeological NHL properties in the 13-state Midwest Region. In that capacity he monitors the condition of non-Federally managed landmark sites, such as Cahokia Mounds in Illinois, and works with consulting archaeologists to develop nominations for other significant sites with the potential for NHL designation.

His primary academic interest revolves about the colonial fur trade in North America, and his management focus is on the interplay of archaeology and heritage tourism. He has field experience on historic sites in ten U.S. states, ranging from Marquette’s Mission among the Ojibwe in northern Michigan to the Harry S Truman Home in Missouri. He has also worked on various prehistoric projects, including a cooperative research program with UNL to inventory and evaluate archaeological sites at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in the panhandle of Nebraska.

Vergil has been active in the governance of several archaeological organizations, most recently serving as a Director of the Register of Professional Archaeologists (1998-2000) and President of the Society for Historical Archaeology (2002). In addition, he has held several volunteer editorial positions, including Memorials Editor (1994-1997) and Reviews Editor (1997-2001) for the journal Historical Archaeology. 

In 2011, he received the Carol V. Ruppé Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Historical Archaeology "for exceptional and sustained service to the programs, professionalism, and governance of the society."

Selected Publications

"Magnetometry for Archaeological Exploration of Historical Sites". Historical Archaeology 18(2):38-53 (with Ralph R.B. von Frese). 1984. 

"Methodological Approaches to Assessing Significance in Historical Archae­ology". Historical Archaeology 24(2):9-56 (editor with William B. Lees). 1990. 

"Other Questions that Count: Introductory Comments on Assessing Significance in Historical Archaeology". Historical Archaeology 24(2):10-13 (with William B. Lees). 1990. 

"The Archaeology of American Canals". The Michigan Archaeologist 37(1):35-44. 1991. 

"Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: A Plea for Change in the Practice of Historical Archaeology". Historical Archaeology 30(2):74-84. 1996. 

"Eighteenth-Century Ceramics from Fort de Chartres III". Illinois Archaeology 9(1-2):36-78. 1997. 

"British Ceramics on the American Colonial Frontier, 1760-1800", in Old and New Worlds: Historical/Post Medieval Archaeology Papers from the Societies Joint Conference at Williamsburg and London 1997 to Mark Thirty Years of Work and Achievement, edited by G. Egan and R. L. Michael, pp. 299-309 (with Teresita Majewski). Oxbow Books, Oxford, England, and David Brown Book Co., Oakville, CT. 1999. 

"J. C. Harrington Medal in Historical Archaeology: Charles E. Cleland 2002". Historical Archaeology36(4):1-9. 2002. 

"The Value of Reconstructions: An Archaeologist's Perspective", in The Reconstructed Past: The Role of Reconstructions in the Public Interpretation of Archaeology and History, edited by J. H. Jameson , Jr., pp. 273-286. AltaMira Press, Walnut Creek, CA. 2004. 

"Charles E. Cleland: A Retrospective", in An Upper Great Lakes Archaeological Odyssey: Essays in Honor of Charles E. Cleland, edited by W. A. Lovis, pp. 1-13 (with William A. Lovis). Cranbrook Institute of Science and Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI. 2004. 

"Memorial: George Irving Quimby, 1913-2003". Historical Archaeology 38(2):124-132 (with Charles E. Cleland). 2004.

Under White Haven: An Archaeological Overview and Assessment of Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, St. Louis, Missouri. The Missouri Archaeologist 67:50-124 (with D. Scott and K. Roberts). 2006.

Making Connections: Beyond the Confines of Compliance. Historical Archaeology 41(2):67-71. 2007. 

When the Legend Becomes Fact: Reconciling Hollywood Realism and Archaeological Realities, in Box Office Archaeology: Refining Hollywood’s Portrayal of the Past, edited by J. Schablitsky, pp. 223-244. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, CA. 2007.

Contact Period Culture Change, Population Decline, and Movement, in Archaeology in America: An Encyclopedia, Volume 2: Midwest and Great Plains/Rocky Mountains, edited by F. P. McManamon, pp. 52-56. Greenwood Publishing, Westport, CT. 2009. 

A Conversation with Charles E. Cleland. Historical Archaeology 45(2):113-131. 2011.

Post-Contact Cultural Dynamics in the Upper Great Lakes Region, in The Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology, edited by T. Pauketat, pp. 422-433. Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K., and New York. 2012. 


  • Ph.D. Michigan State, 1983
  • M.A. Michigan State, 1979
  • B.S. Michigan State, 1974

Research Interests

Historical archaeology, 18th-century French fur trade, 19th-century settlement and transportation systems, Great Lakes and Mississippi River valley, cultural resource management and heritage tourism

Links and Contact Information

Curriculum Vitae

Office: National Park Service Midwest Archeological Center Federal Bldg., Room 474 100 Centennial Mall North Lincoln, NE 68508-6873

Phone: (402) 437-5392, ext. 108
Fax: (402) 437-5098