Ellen Chapman

Cultural Resources Specialist


Dr. Ellen Chapman is an archaeologist especially focused on improving archaeological stewardship and approaches at the intersection of public policy, cultural resource management, and academic archaeology. Ellen provides clients with guidance on government affairs, cultural resources, and historic preservation issues. With a background in public archaeology and archaeological human remains, she is particularly interested in how projects engage communities, preserve our shared heritage, and respect the dignity of human burial sites.

Section 106 Consultation

Ellen helps clients navigate substantive issues within the National Historic Preservation Act’s Section 106 consultation process. She reviews cultural resources reports and documentation, recommends strategies for addressing client needs, and participates in developing creative win-win outcomes for challenging projects.

Indigenous Heritage

At Cultural Heritage Partners we recognize that indigenous heritage must be defined by each community and guided by its values. Ellen provides tribe-specific cultural resources review for Section 106 projects, guidance and policies to improve tribal consultation with federal and state agencies, and strategy to improve stewardship of tribal heritage impacted by federal projects.


Ellen develops research, tools, and analysis used to advocate for increased support for the national historic preservation program, including support for preservation funding, advocacy for specific legislation, and comments for federal rulemakings.

About Ellen

Ellen graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a Bachelor of Art degree in Archaeology, from Durham University with a Master in Science in Paleopathology, and from the College of William & Mary with a PhD in Anthropology. Ellen has conducted archaeological research in Alabama, California, Missouri, Nevada, Virginia, the United Kingdom, India, and Bermuda. She is currently writing a book based on her dissertation, examining the stewardship and community value of archaeology in Richmond, Virginia. In 2015, she consulted with Colonial Williamsburg to design and build a replica of an 18th century articulated skeleton. She likes spending her free time gardening and perfecting new cocktail recipes.


  • For a federally recognized American Indian tribe, secure rights to meaningful consultation with a federal agency and oppose plans by a municipal board to construct water pumping facilities on the historic capital city of the tribe–to prevent disturbing ancestral burials and cultural resources.
  • For a real estate developer, advise on strategies for compliance with historic preservation regulations to ensure success of historic rehabilitation tax project.
  • For an American Indian tribe, recommend strategies for ensuring the tribe is consulted in federal permitting decisions that affect their cultural resources, environment, and members.
  • For more than 350,000 heritage professionals, scholars, small businesses, nonprofit groups, and history-lovers from across the U.S., empower, inform and train advocates to support and promote the nation’s commitment to historic preservation.
  • For a national association of cultural resource management (CRM) professionals and small business owners, represent their interests to Congress and federal agencies to ensure the continued growth and success of the CRM industry.
  • For a consortium of leading national preservation organizations, develop a distance learning leadership program to facilitate skill-building and position emerging historic preservation leaders for success.


  • Presenter, Towards a “Conciliatory Archaeology”: Developing Approaches for Restorative Justice and Reparations in Archaeology, Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Conference (Boston, MA; January 2020).
  • Presenter, Digging Out after Decades of Fast Capitalism: Addressing Richmond’s Incomplete Archaeological Legacy Through Community-Based Projects and Advocacy, Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Conference (Boston, MA; January 2020).
  • Presenter, “A Monumental Blunder”: The Challenging History and Uncertain Future of the Virginia State Penitentiary Collection, Society of Historical Archaeology Annual Conference (St. Charles, MO; January 2019).
  • Presenter, Industrial Heritage as Community Amenity: The Integration of Industrial Fabric within the James River Park System in Richmond, Virginia, Society for Industrial Archaeology Annual Conference, (Richmond, VA; June 2018).
  • Presenter, Making Urban Archaeology Municipal: Mapping Archaeological Sensitivity in Richmond, Virginia, Society of Historical Archaeology Annual Conference, (New Orleans, LA; January 5, 2018).
  • Invited Panelist, “Meet Me in the Bottom: Film Viewing and Panel Discussion.” Created Equal Film Series at the Virginia Historical Society, (Richmond, VA; June 2015).
  • Invited Presenter, “Under the River City: Exploring the History and Promise of Richmond’s Archaeology.” Public Session of the Archaeological Society of Virginia Annual Meeting, (Richmond, VA; October 2014).


  • Author, A Monumental Absence: Race, Politics, and the Archaeology of Richmond, University of Alabama Press (Forthcoming in 2022).
  • Co-Author, “Bones in Stasis: The Challenging History and Uncertain Future of the Virginia State Penitentiary Collection.” Journal of North American Anthropology. With Ana Edwards and Elizabeth Cook. 2020.
  • Author, “‘Useful Ornaments to His Cabinet’: Analysis of Anatomical Study and Display in Colonial Williamsburg,” in Archaeology in Williamsburg: Embodying Space and Creating Works of Consequence (2020).
  • Co-Author, “Heritage in the Global Economy: Protecting Cultural Heritage through Nongovernmental and Voluntary Practices,” in Relevance and Application of Heritage in Contemporary Society (2018).
  • Author, Archaeological Survey and Testing at Chimborazo Park (44HE0997), Richmond, Virginia, for Richmond National Battlefield Park (2017).
  • Co-Author, “A Dissection at the Coffeehouse? The Performance of Anatomical Expertise in Colonial America,” in Bioarchaeology of Dissection and Autopsy in the United States (2016).
  • Author, “Richmond’s Archaeology of the African Diaspora: Unseen Knowledge, Untapped Potential,” in Historic Black Lives Matter: Archaeology as Activism in the 21st Century (2015).
  • Author, “Book review of The Archaeology of American Cities,” Journal of Mid-Atlantic Archaeology (2015).
  • Author, “Preliminary Analysis of Human Remains Recovered from St Peter’s Church, St George’s, Bermuda,” submitted to the Bermuda National Trust (2012).
  • Author, “Bell/Dickinson Cemetery – Brief Summary Report of Investigations in June 2011,” (2012).


  • Society for Historical Archaeology
  • Council for Northeast Historical Archaeologists
  • Council of Virginia Archaeologists, Legislative Affairs Committee