Galaty named director of MSU’s Cobb Institute of Archaeology

February 06, 2017


Michael Galaty (Photo by Beth Wynn)
Michael Galaty (Photo by Beth Wynn)

Contact: Karyn Brown

STARKVILLE, Miss.— A Mississippi State University professor and department head is the new director of the Cobb Institute of Archaeology after serving as interim director for the past two years.


Michael Galaty will lead the institute founded in 1971 that serves as a research and service unit of MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences and supports innovative archaeological research around the world.

Galaty received his bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Grinnell College in Iowa, and holds master’s and doctoral degrees in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Galaty spent 13 years at Millsaps College in Jackson before coming to MSU in 2013. He has served as head of the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures for the past three and a half years, as well as published numerous books, articles, chapters and book reviews in his field. He also has served as one of nine academic trustees for the Archaeological Institute of America and directs archaeological field projects in Albania and Greece.


Galaty’s predecessor, Joe Seger, continues to be active in the field and personally interested in the institute. Rick Travis, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, acknowledged Seger’s impact on the Cobb Institute, and also recognized the expertise Galaty brings to this position.


“Dr. Joe Seger served as director of the Cobb Institute from 1988 until his retirement at the end of 2014. He was instrumental in growing the Cobb’s archaeological efforts in Israel,” Travis said.

“We are excited about Dr. Galaty taking over as institute director. He brings established leadership and a wealth of archaeological research expertise that will aid him in this role. There is little doubt he will continue to grow this invaluable research unit’s impact on our campus and the world.”


David Shaw, MSU vice president for research and economic development, spoke highly of the institute’s impact and of Galaty’s ability to lead it.

“The Cobb Institute has greatly enhanced the worldwide reputation of MSU’s research program,” Shaw said. “Dr. Galaty is ideally suited to continue its tradition of excellence in archaeology and expand its efforts in important new directions.”


The institute’s stated mission is to support archaeological research in the Middle East and in the Southeastern U.S.

“Mississippi is home to thousands of amazing archaeological sites … all of which are being studied by Cobb archaeologists,” Galaty said. Additionally, the institute supports a contract archaeology wing and hosts an archaeology museum.

“The Cobb Institute of Archaeology is one-of-a-kind in the country: an endowed archaeological research institute, with a stand-alone building, coupled with a top-notch anthropology department,” Galaty said. “Our staff, faculty and students are doing cutting-edge, interdisciplinary archaeological research here in the American Southeast, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean.”


As director, Galaty said that he is “looking forward to telling the Cobb story in Mississippi, throughout the country and the world.”

The College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,000 students, 300 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs and 24 academic majors offered in 14 departments. It also is home to the most diverse units for research and scholarly activities, including natural and physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities.


Natural and physical science research projects have been supported over the decades by the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.


Research expenditures in the humanities also are an important part of Mississippi State’s overall research portfolio. Additionally, the NSF has ranked MSU among the top 25 for research expenditures in the social sciences. For more information on MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences, visit


MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at