Promoting Academic Excellence and Social Responsibility

About The Society of Black Archaeologists

Aaron Douglas, “An Idyll of the Deep South,” 1934
Society of Black Archaeologists history

Our History

The Society of Black Archaeologists was created in 2011 with five goals in mind:

  1. To lobby on behalf and ensure the proper treatment of African and African Diaspora material culture
  2. To encourage more people of African descent to enter the field of archaeology
  3. To raise and address concerns related to African peoples worldwide
  4. To highlight the past and present achievements and contributions that people of African descent have made to the field of archaeology
  5. To ensure the communities affected by archaeological work act not just as objects of study or informants but are active makers and/or participants in the unearthing of their own history
SBA Members at SHA 2017 in Dallas, Texas.
SBA Members at SHA 2017 in Dallas, Texas. (from left) Row 1: Dr. Alexandra Jones, Dr. Whitney Battle-Baptiste, Dr. Ayana Flewellen, Dr. Peggy Brunache, Dr. Nedra Lee, Row 3: Dr. Lewis Jones, Dr. William White, Dr. Jerry Howard, Dr. Justin Dunnavant, and Khadene Harris.

Our Mission

The Society The Society of Black Archaeologists (SBA) centers the histories and material cultures of global Black and African communities in archaeological research. By providing a strong network, mentorship, and educational access, the SBA works to resolve the ongoing systemic exclusion of Black and African scholars and communities from the field of archaeology. The SBA aims to provide avenues of engagement and training that will prepare Black and African scholars and communities to be active participants in the documentation, excavation, preservation, and interpretation of Black and African heritage.

Our Vision

The vision of the Society of Black Archaeologists (SBA) is to create a strong network of archaeologists that advocates to ensure the proper treatment of African and African diaspora material culture, promotes more people of African descent to enter the field of archaeology, ensures community collaborations, raises and addresses concerns related to African peoples worldwide, and highlights the past and present achievements and contributions people of African descent have made to the field of archaeology.

SBA Members at SHA 2016 in Washington, DC.
SBA Members at SHA 2016 in Washington, DC. (from left) Row 1: Jarre Hamilton, Tiffany Momon Row 2: Cheryl LaRoche, Alexandra Jones, Tiffany Cain, Mia Carey, Kamau Sadiki, Michael Blakey, Teresa Singleton Row 3: Ayana Flewellen, Terry Weik, Lewis Jones, Bill White, Justin Dunnavant

The Society of Black Archaeologists
Board Members

SBA Board Member: Justin Dunnavant, Ph.D.


Justin Dunnavant, Ph.D.

Dr. Justin Dunnavant is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UCLA. His current research in the US Virgin Islands investigates the relationship between ecology and enslavement in the former Danish West Indies. In addition to his archaeological research, Justin is co-founder and President of the Society of Black Archaeologists and an AAUS Scientific SCUBA Diver. In 2021, he was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and inducted into The Explorers Club as one of “Fifty People Changing the World that You Need Know About.” He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. His research has been featured on Netflix’s “Explained,” Hulu’s “Your Attention Please” and in print in American Archaeology and Science Magazine.


Ph.D., 2017

B.A., History and Anthropology, 2009

SBA Board Member: Ayana Omilade Flewellen, Ph.D.


Ayana Omilade Flewellen, Ph.D.

Ayana Omilade Flewellen (they/she) is a Black Feminist, an archaeologist, a storyteller, and an artist. As a scholar of anthropology and African and African Diaspora Studies, Flewellen’s intellectual genealogy is shaped by critical theory rooted in Black feminist epistemology and pedagogy. This epistemological backdrop not only constructs the way she designs, conducts and produces her scholarship but acts as foundational to how she advocates for greater diversity within the field of archaeology and within the broader scope of academia. Flewellen is the co-founder and current President-Elect of the Society of Black Archaeologists and sits on the Board of Diving With A Purpose. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Riverside. Her research and teaching interests address Black Feminist Theory, historical archaeology, maritime heritage conservation, public and community-engaged archaeology, processes of identity formations, and representations of slavery. Flewellen has been featured in National Geographic, Science Magazine and PBS; and regularly presents her work at institutions including The National Museum for Women in the Arts.


Ph.D., 2018

B.A., Anthropology, 2011

SBA Board Member: Alexandra Jones, Ph.D.


Alexandra Jones, Ph.D.

Alexandra Jones, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Archaeology in the Community, is an education leader focused on community outreach and service. Dr. Jones has been an educator for more than 16 years; she has taught in multiple educational environments from primary schools to museums. She obtained dual Bachelors of Arts degrees from Howard University in History and Anthropology in 2001. She obtained a Master’s degree in History from Howard University in 2003 and then attending University of California, Berkeley to obtain a Ph.D. in Historical Archaeology in 2010. Dr. Jones worked for PBS’s television show Time Team America as the Archaeology Field School Director, where she directed field schools for junior high and high school students at each of the sites for the 2013 season. She is currently Assistant Professor of Archaeology at Goucher College. Dr. Jones serves on the District of Columbia’s Historic Preservation Review Board, Board of Directors for the Society of Black Archaeologists, the Board of Directors of the St. Croix Archaeological Society and is an Academic Trustee for the Archaeological Institute of America.


Ph.D., 2010

B.A., History and Anthropology, 2001

SBA Board Member: Cheryl LaRoche, Ph.D.

Board Member

Cheryl LaRoche, Ph.D.

Cheryl LaRoche, a founding member of SBA, holds a PhD in American Studies with a concentration in archaeology and African American history. She received the Society for Historical Archaeology’s John L. Cotter award in 2011 and contributed to the edited volume, “Tales of Gotham: Historical Archaeology, Ethnohistory and Microhistory of New York City” which won the James Deetz Book Award in 2015. Her book “Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: The Geography of Resistance” examines the relationship between five mid-western archaeological sites and the Underground Railroad. She has consulted for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Park Service and numerous museums and historical sites.


University of Maryland
Ph.D., 2004, American Studies

Board Member

Jay Haigler

Jay V. Haigler is an American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS) scientific diving instructor, a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Master Scuba Diver Trainer, and Scuba Diving International (SDI) Open Water Instructor. Jay has over a dozen specialty instructor ratings including archaeology survey diver, coral reef conservation, and heritage awareness diving. A graduate of the Catholic University of America, with a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering, Jay loves the technical aspects of underwater archaeology. Jay received his initial open water scuba certification from renowned International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame inductee, Dr. Albert José Jones. Mr. Haigler is a current board member with AAUS and the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology. He is a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Sanctuary Advisory Committee for the Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Mr. Haigler is a founding board member of Diving With a Purpose. Diving With a Purpose (DWP) is a leading international non-profit organization that provides education and training programs, mission leadership, and project support services for submerged heritage preservation and conservation projects worldwide with a focus on the African Diaspora. Mr. Haigler is the author of numerous publications, speeches, and symposia presentations. He has been a contributing author with NOAA’s signature publication, The Earth Is Blue Magazine. He has published in academic journals such as, Advances in Archaeological Practices. Mr. Haigler along with Dr. Albert José Jones have lectured at Harvard University’s Museums of Science & Culture. and the History of Diving Museum.

Yoli Ngandali


Yoli Ngandali

Yoli Ngandali is a member of the Ngbaka Tribe from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a Ronald E. McNair Fellow and Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Washington. Her background in video, audio, and animation complements her dedication to community-based archaeology today. Her research interests span Archaeologies of colonialism, Indigenous archaeology, Archaeologies of Central Africa, Trans-Indigenous traditions of culture sharing, Black & Indigenous futurity, digital conservation science, remote sensing, and multi-spectral imaging. Her doctoral dissertation develops digital and community-based participatory research approaches to Indigenous art revitalization within museum settings and highlights long-standing carving traditions on the Lower Columbia River.


University of Washington
M.A. Anthropology, 2017

University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse
B.S. Archaeological Studies, 2014

Minneapolis Community and Technical College
A.A. Audio/Video Digital Media, 2009

Jordan Davis

Student Representative

Jordan Davis

Jordan Davis (he/his) is a second year MA student in Anthropology (Archaeology) at the University of South Carolina. His thesis research explores nineteenth century landscapes of marronage, forced removal, and African-Native American interaction in the southeastern United States, specifically Florida. Jordan has participated in archaeological projects in the United States, the Caribbean (Nevis), and in Senegal, West Africa. He joined the SBA in 2018.

Craig Stevens

Communications Chair

Craig Stevens

Craig Stevens is a Doctoral Student at Northwestern University and co-founder of the Black and African Solidarity Show (B.A.S.S.). As an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, his research investigates the placemaking processes of nineteenth-century Black American and Caribbean settlers in West Africa. During his tenure as a Marshall Scholar in the United Kingdom, Craig completed an MA in Archaeology at the UCL Institute of Archaeology and an MA in Museums, Heritage & Material Culture Studies at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).


UCL: Institute of Archaeology
M.A. Archaeology, 2019

American University
B.A. Anthropology, 2017

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