Dr. Jessica Cook Hale holds an AB in History and Anthropology, an MS in Geology, and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. U.S.A. Her research synthesizes geological methods alongside anthropological and archaeological theory to examine submerged landscapes, particularly those in formerly coastal settings. She has been a scientific diver for over 15 years and has worked on submerged landscapes dating from the terminal Pleistocene to the middle Holocene both off the Georgia and Florida coastlines and in freshwater contexts.
In addition to her offshore work, she was the first Research Fellow named to the University of Georgia’s Wormsloe Institute of Environmental History, where she carried out the first geophysical surveys of the Wormsloe Plantation in Savannah, Georgia along with limited excavation of both historic and prehistoric components on the island. She has been an associate scholar at the Aucilla Research Institute in Monticello, Florida since 2015 and has taught at both the University of Georgia and at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. She now works as a cultural heritage consultant in support off offshore wind energy development while maintaining visiting scholar status at the Department of Geology at the University of Georgia.
Her current portfolio of work spans the east coast from the New England Maritimes to the subtropical southeastern states’ Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts. Her specific research questions focus on coastal populations in drowned landscapes and their reactions to sea level rise and climate change. She has authored papers in multiple internationally recognized peer reviewed journals including geoarchaeological studies of lithics from submerged sites, geoarchaeological examinations of submerged shell middens, and applications of anthropological theory in offshore site prediction model formation.