Bonnie Newsom

Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2017
M.S., Quarternary Studies, University of Maine, 1999
B.A., Anthropology, University of Maine, 1995

Address: Department of Anthropology, University of Maine, 5773 S. Stevens Hall, Orono, Maine 04469-5773

Tel: 207.581.2174  |  Fax: 207.581.1823


Professional Interests:

Dr. Bonnie Newsom is a citizen of the Penobscot Nation and an archaeologist interested in the pre-contact lifeways of Maine’s Native peoples. Through her research, Dr. Newsom seeks to humanize past peoples by exploring concepts of identity and human agency. Her current research centers on community-engaged archaeologies, aboriginal ceramic technologies, and Maine’s shell bearing coastal sites. Dr. Newsom’s professional history includes serving as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Penobscot Indian Nation and as Assistant Director for UMaine’s Wabanaki Center. She has a strong public service record which includes serving as Chair of the Repatriation Review Committee for the National Museum of Natural History, a member of the Maine Indian Tribal-State Commission, and a Trustee for the University of Maine System. She currently serves as a commissioner for the Maine State Museum and is a board member for the Forest Society of Maine. Dr. Newsom holds a B.A. in Anthropology and an M.S. in Quaternary Studies from the University of Maine and she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She and her husband Les are both military veterans and they live in Eddington, Maine. They have four children and two grandsons.


Select Publications

Newsom, Bonnie D. (2022) The Past is Exactly How it Should Be: Lessons in Indigenous Archaeology from a Birch Bark Biter, in Being Indigenous Archaeologists: Reckoning New Paths Between Past and Present Lives, edited by George Nicholas and Joe Watkins; Indigenous Archaeology Series, Routledge (Under Editor Review).

Wheeler, Ryan and Bonnie D. Newsom (2022) Sacred Places and Contested Spaces in Maine: The Long Shadow of Colonial Science in the Light of Repatriation, in Sins of Our Ancestors (and of Ourselves): Confronting America’s Archaeological Legacies, edited by April Beisaw, David E. Witt, Katie Kirakosian, and Ryan J. Wheeler by the Archaeology Division of the American Anthropological Association for their AP3A series, Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association. (Under Revision)

Newsom, Bonnie D. 2022 Book Review; The Archaeology of the Atlantic Northeast. Matthew W. Betts and M. Gabriel Hrynick 2021. University of Toronto Press, Toronto. xix+ 383 pp. 47.95 (PDF), ISBN 978-1-4875-8797-0. American Antiquity, pp.1-2.

Reeder-Myers, L.A., T.J. Braje, C.A. Hofman, E.A. Elliott Smith, C. Garland, M. Grone, C.S. Hadden, M. Hatch, T. Hunt, A. Kelley, M.J. LeFebvre, M. Lockman, I. McKechnie, I.J. McNiven, B. Newsom, T. Pluckhahn, G. Sanchez, M. Schwadron, K. Smith, T. Smith, A. Spiess, G. Tayac, V.D. Thompson, T. Vollman, E.M. Weitzel, and T.C. Rick. 2022. Indigenous oyster fisheries persisted for millennia and should inform future management. Nature Communications, 13(1), pp.1-13.\

Newsom, Bonnie D. (2022) Variation Amid Homogeneity: An Examination of Early Ceramic Period Technologies in the Penobscot River Valley of Maine, in The Far Northeast: 3000 BP to Contact, edited by Kenneth Holyoke and M. Gabriel Hrynick, Mercury Series, Canadian Museum of History, University of Ottawa Press, Ottawa.

Newsom, Bonnie D. (2022) From THPO to PhD: Indigenous archaeologies, shifting social positioning, and the gray space between emic and etic approaches, in The Community-Based PhD: Complexities, Triumphs, Missteps, and Joys of Community-based & Participatory Action Research as Graduate Students edited by Alexandra Mcleary and Sonya Atalay, University of Arizona Press, Tucson

Newsom, Bonnie D., Natalie Dana-Lolar and Isaac St. John 2021. In Conversation with the Ancestors: Indigenizing Archaeological Narratives at Acadia National Park, Maine, Special Issue edited by Darren Ranco and Jamie Haverkamp, Genealogy 5, no. 4: 96.

St. Amand, Frankie, Terry Childs, Elizabeth J. Reitz, Sky Heller, Bonnie Newsom, Torben C. Rick, Daniel Sandweiss, Ryan Wheeler, (2020) Leveraging legacy archaeological collections as proxies for climate and environmental research. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(15), pp.8287-8294.

Newsom, Bonnie D. and Matthew James (2019) Beyond Grit and Shell: Evidence of Conifer Needle Temper in Archaeological Ceramics from Maine in Archaeology of Eastern North America Volume 47:135-155, October).

Newsom, Bonnie D. (2018) Book Review, We come for good: archaeology and tribal historic preservation at the Seminole tribe of Florida: edited by Paul N. Backhouse, Brent R. Weisman, and Mary Beth Rosebrough, Gainesville, University Press of Florida, 2017, xvi+ 381 pp., 29.95 (paperback), ISBN 13: 978 0813064000. Heritage and Society, V11, 2018

Newsom, Bonnie D. Julie Woods, H. Martin Wobst, and Penobscot Intellectual Property Working Group, (2014) Developing Policies and Protocols for the Culturally Sensitive Intellectual Properties of the Penobscot Nation of Maine. Final Report, Community Based Initiative, Intellectual Property in Cultural Heritage Project, Simon Fraser University.

Newsom, Bonnie D. and Jamie Bissonette-Lewey (2012) Wabanaki Resistance and Healing: An Exploration of the Contemporary Role of an Eighteenth-Century Bounty Proclamation in an Indigenous Decolonization Process. Landscapes of Violence, 2(1), pp.1-8 (Peer Reviewed).

Spiess, Arthur, Bonnie D. Newsom and Leon Cranmer (2008) Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site in American Indian Places: A Historical Guidebook edited by Francis Kennedy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, MA.

Newsom, Bonnie D. (2007) Afterword to Life and Traditions of the Red Man by Joseph Nicolar (reprint) edited by Annette Kolodny, Duke University Press.

Sanger, David and Bonnie D. Newsom (2000) Middle Archaic in the Lower Piscataquis River, and its Relationship to the Laurentian Tradition in Central Maine Maine Archaeological Society Bulletin, Volume 40:1, 1-22.



Newsom, Bonnie D., (2017) Potters on the Penobscot: An Archaeological Case Study Exploring Human Agency, Identity, and Technological Choice. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst,


Recent Presentations:

Kelley, Alice and Bonnie Newsom (2021) “Maine’s Archaeological Shell Heaps: A Conversation with the Midden Minders,” Frenchman’s Bay Conservancy (Zoom presentation)

Newsom, Bonnie and Alice Kelley, (2021) DONOP: Making Spaces for Indigenous Voices in Climate Change Research, European Archaeological Association.

Newsom, Bonnie, Natalie Dana-Lolar, Isaac St. John, Rebecca Cole-Will, Catherine Schmitt, (2021) In Conversation with the Ancestors; Wabanaki Archaeology at Acadia National Park, Canadian Archaeological Association

Newsom, Bonnie, (2021) POW’s in Passamaquoddy Forests: The story and backstory of a WWII German POW camp at Motahkokmikuk (Indian Township), Maine. Abbe Museum, Indigenous Methodologies Speaker Series, Bar Harbor, ME.

Newsom, Bonnie (2021) “Reaching Back to Go Forward: Wabanaki Archaeology at Acadia National Park, Maine,” Women and Gender Studies Lecture, University of Maine, Orono,

Newsom, Bonnie, Natalie Dana-Lolar, Isaac St. John, Catherine Schmitt. (2021) “Old Collections, New Analyses: Indigenizing Shell Heap Research in Acadia National Park, Maine, 3 Minute Climate Story Video, Society for Historical Archaeology Meetings.

Keynote Speaker: Newsom, Bonnie, (2020) Indigenous Archaeologies and Climate Change Resilience: Lessons from Passamaquoddy Homeland; Indigenous Archaeology and Community Engaged Research Speaker Series, Boston University

Kelley, Alice and Bonnie Newsom (2020) Maine Midden Minders: Racing the Clock to Document Cultural and Environmental Archives; Society for Historical Archaeology Conference, Boston, Massachusetts

Wheeler, Ryan and Bonnie Newsom (2019) Sacred Places and Contested Spaces in Maine: The Long Shadow of Science in the Light of Repatriation; Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Kelley, Alice, Bonnie Newsom and Arthur Spiess (2019) Climate Change and Shell Middens, Creating Baselines for Future Decisions; Geological Society of America, Northeastern Section, Portland, Maine, March 2019


Recent Poster Sessions:

Kelley, Alice R., Bonnie Newsom, Kristin Schild, (April 2021) “So Many Sites, So Little Time: Shell Heaps on the Maine Coast” Society for American Archaeology

Kelley, Alice, Bonnie Newsom, Arthur Spiess, Anne Spezia, Kate Pontbriand (2019) Maine Midden Minder Network: Collaborating to Save a Cultural Resource. Society for American Archaeology Meetings, Albuquerque, New Mexico