Christopher Carr is an archaeologist with primary interest in the prehistory of eastern North America, especially the social organizations and religious rituals and knowledge of tribal peoples of the Midwest from about 1000 B.C. to Contact. To reconstruct these aspects of their lives, he focuses on their mortuary practices and art. His research makes strong use of the ethnohistorical records of Woodland and Plains Native Americans, as well as anthropological theories about the causes of development of tribal and rank social organizations from prior social forms. It also has involved the development of archaeological theory about how mortuary practices and artistic style reflect social and political structures and processes.
Within this range of subjects, Carr's work over the past two decade has aimed particularly at revealing the nature of Hopewell societies, rituals, and religious concepts in the Ohio area, between 50 B.C. and A.D. 350. He and a team of colleagues have made very fine-grained descriptions of the social and religious lives of Hopewell peoples, which are published in his coauthored books, Gathering Hopewell (2005) and The Scioto Hopewell and Their Neighbors (2008). His most recent work focuses on Ohio Hopewellian peoples' notions of personhood and on the plots and functions of the ritual dramas that they performed within their ceremonial centers. These studies are published in Being Scioto Hopewell (2021).
Carr works extensively with the analytical technologies of material science in studying the art and artifacts of Hopewellian peoples in order to infer their social and religious lives. He has played a leading role in adapting some technologies to archaeology. The techniques and materials include electron microprobe, X-radiography, petrography and AMS carbon dating of ceramics; EDX spectrometry, microprobe, and Raman microspectrometry of metals and pigments; and color and infrared digital imaging and image enhancement of art works. He has spent considerable time restoring the details of portraits of Hopewell leaders and images of creatures that Hopewell artists patinated on copper artifacts.
Continuing Education of Christopher Carr in digital image processing. Photoshop, Basics. (2012).
Case, D. Troy, and Christopher Carrr (2008, 2011). The Scioto Hopewell and Their Neighbors: Bioarchaeological Documentation and Cultural Understanding. Springer, New York.
Carr, C. & Case, D. T. (2005, 2006). Gathering Hopewell: Society, Ritual, and Ritual interaction. Kluwer Academic Press and Springer, New York.
Carr, Christopher, and Anna C. Novotny (2014). Arrangement of Human Remains and Artifacts in Scioto Hopewell Burials: Some Dramatic Rituals and Ritual Dramas. In Redefining Death: The Ritual Use of Bone, edited by E. Hargrave. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, AL.
Carr, Christopher, and Robert McCord (2013, 2014). Ohio Hopewell Depictions of Composite Creatures: Part 1 -- Biological Identification and Ethnohistorical Insights. Part 2 -- Archaeological Context and a Journey to an Afterlife. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, vol. 38(1):5-82; vol. 39: in press.
Cotkin, S. J. & Carr, C. (1999). Analysis of slips and other inorganic surface materials on woodland and early fort ancient vessels. American Antiquity, 64(2), 316-343.
Carr, C. (1995). Mortuary practices: Their social, philosophical-religious, circumstantial, and physical determinants. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 2(2), 105-200.
Carr, C. & Komorowski, J. C. (1995). Identifying the mineralogy of rock temper in ceramics with x-radiography. American Antiquity, 60(4), 723-749.
Carr, Christopher & Jill E. Neitzel, J. E. (1995). Style, Society, and Person: Archaeological and Eethnological Perspectives. Plenum Publishing Corporation, New York.
Carr,Christopher*. Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant: Estimating Midewiwin Antiquity with Radiocarbon Dates from Canadian Shield Rock Paintings. NSF-SBE(8/1/2007 - 7/31/2010).
Carr,Christopher*. DOCTORAL DISSERTATION IMPROVEMENT GRANT: MODELING SOMERSET MONONGAHELA VILLAGE ORGANIZATION WITHIN A CHRONOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK DEVELOPED. NSF-SBE(9/1/2002 - 6/30/2005).
Carr,Christopher*. DEVELOPMENT OF HIGH-RESOLUTION, DIGITAL, COLOR AND INFRARED PHOTOGRAPHIC METHODS FOR PRESERVING IMAGERY ON HOPEWELLIAN COPPER ARTIFACTS. DOI-NPS-NCPTT(9/1/2000 - 6/30/2003).
Carr,Christopher*. RECONSTRUCTING THE COSMOLOGY OF PREHISTORIC OHIO HOPEWELL PEOPLES, & ITS ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SUPRALOCAL LEADERSHIP. WENNER-GREN FDN(7/1/1996 - 1/20/1998).