Thomas Emerson is a specialist in North American Eastern Woodlands archaeology, especially of the Upper Mississippi River Valley region. His research has generally centered on the archaeology, religious ideology, and political economy of late prehistoric Mississippian cultures. However, his interests are diverse and his work has included mortuary analyses, subsistence studies, archaeological ethnicity, archaeometric sourcing of raw materials, faunal analysis, Great Lakes maritime research, archaeological law and compliance, heritage management, and cultural resource management. He has conducted fieldwork throughout the USA in the Great Lakes region and the Plains (Missouri Trench), and in Norway. Emerson is currently Director of the Illinois State Survey at the University of Illinois and previously served at the Chief Archaeologist/State Archaeologist for the Illinois State Historic Preservation Agency.