Dr. Mark Leone has been awarded the title of Distinguished University Professor. This title is the highest academic honor that our university confers upon a faculty member and it is reserved for a small number of exceptionally distinguished scholars. Dr. Leone is being recognized for his outstanding achievements as a scholar, as well as his contributions to the university.
Dr. Leone was honored at the 36th annual Convocation on September 18th, 2019 along with 20 other faculty and staff members at the Memorial Chapel.
Read the Maryland Today featured story, here.
"An enterprising archaeologist known for his discoveries in Annapolis and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Mark P. Leone helped redefine historical archaeology through an unwavering commitment to social relevance.
Described by colleagues as a “defining force” in the field, Leone has spent decades studying the past of Maryland’s capital city through his Archaeology in Annapolis program, run by the university and city of Annapolis. He and his students also shed new light on where famed orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass was enslaved on the Eastern Shore.
“Professor Leone has an outstanding record for performing archaeology in Maryland, unearthing and answering questions related to race, labor and class,” say Paul Shackel, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology, and Michael Paolisso, associate chair.
Leone graduated with a B.A. from Tufts University and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Arizona. He was an assistant professor at Princeton University before coming to the University of Maryland in 1976, serving as chair of the department from 1993–2003 and the University Senate in 2000-01. His work has been cited more than 4,500 times, and his 1972 collection Contemporary Archaeology has gone through five printings.
Leone’s work in Annapolis has produced 15 Ph.D. graduates from UMD and other universities, with studies on baroque town planning and garden landscaping, dining habits, and working men and women. His team studied the impact of African diasporic faith and the lives of free African Americans before and after the Civil War, including the culture of enslaved people at the homes of Charles Carroll of Carrollton and William Paca, signers of the Declaration of Independence.
From 2005–14, Leone and his students excavated Wye House Plantation in Talbot County, where Douglass lived in the 1820s. Their discoveries became the basis of two exhibitions, and Leone worked with descendants of the enslaved to interpret the findings to the surrounding community.
Gregory Ball, who began his tenure as dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences in 2014, says he “was immediately impressed with the breadth and depth of (Leone’s) achievements.”
“He is a remarkable historical archaeologist who has transformed our understanding of the slave-owning culture on the Eastern Shore of Maryland,” Ball says.