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Dana Bardolph

Hirsch Postdoctoral Associate

Dana Bardolph

Educational Background

2017  Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara

2010  M.A., Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara

2008  B.A. with High Honors, Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley   



I am an anthropological archaeologist whose research interests include political ecology, culture contact, foodways, and identity studies, which I approach through the lens of paleoethnobotany. I received my Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 2017 and am in the second year of my appointment as the Hirsch Postdoctoral Associate in the Cornell Institute for Archaeology and Material Studies (CIAMS). My archaeological research broadly revolves around the interaction between people and their environments through the lens of food-related activities. I employ a comparative, cross-cultural approach and have conducted field and laboratory research in multiple regions, including the Midwestern United States, Peru, Mexico, and the Caribbean, to examine the sociopolitical dynamics that underpin human-ecological interactions in New World agricultural societies, and I relate those interactions to issues of gender, labor, and identity in the ancient world. In addition to my archaeological research, I am interested in ethical issues in contemporary practice, including gender equity in academic representation and publication.


New World Archaeology; Culture Contact and Colonialism; Foodways; Environmental Archaeology; Paleoethnobotany; Gender Equity 


  • Archaeology Program
  • Anthropology


My dissertation explored the dynamics of food production, migration, and sociopolitical change during the consolidation of the Southern Moche state of north coastal Peru during the Early Intermediate Period (400 B.C. – A.D. 800), primarily through the lens of paleoethnobotany. This project incorporated archaeobotanical, environmental, and ethnohistorical evidence to address changes in food production, processing, and consumption over five cultural horizons to critically re-evaluate existing models of Moche sociopolitical development, with a bottom-up perspective of the laborers in rural households whose agricultural production supported the growth and florescence of this complex society.  

I am currently co-directing the Fandel Mounds Archaeological Project with Dr. Gregory Wilson (UCSB). An 11th century outpost located near Upper Lake Peoria in the Central Illinois River Valley (CIRV), Fandel represents an important site of Cahokia contact with the potential to reframe understandings of Mississippian beginnings in the region. Data from Fandel, along with other new datasets from Cahokia's hinterlands, has generated a large-scale comparative paleoethnobotanical analysis that examines regional variation in changes in plant foodways in response to Mississippianization in the greater Southeast and Midwest.

Parallel to my archaeological research, I am committed to an active research program on contemporary discipline sociopolitics, which I accomplish through rigorous analyses of large publication and survey datasets. Drawing on feminist theory and feminist critiques of science, I examine how gender imbalance and a lack of diversity continue to affect the work that archaeologists produce. The evaluation of publishing trends serves as a means to investigate knowledge valuation and validation in archaeology and lends insight into the control over archaeological narratives.

My research has been supported by the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (Dissertation Fieldwork Grant no. 8736), the National Science Foundation, the Leal Anne Kerry Mertes Fund, UC Santa Barbara Humanities and Social Science Research Grants, UC Santa Barbara Anthropology Graduate Student Research Grants, and funds from MOCHE, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to protecting archaeological sites through community heritage empowerment.

For more information and for links to my publications, please visit:


Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

2019 Fisherman, Farmer, Rich Man, Poor Man, Weaver, Parcialidad Chief? Household Archaeology at Cerro La Virgen, a Chimu Town Within the Hinterland of Chan Chan. In New Perspectives on the Social Dynamics and Economic Interactions of Andean Maritime Communities, edited by Oscar Prieto and Daniel Sandweiss, University Press of Florida, Gainesville, in press. (B.R. Billman, D.N. Bardolph, J. Hudson, and J. Briceño)

2018  Controlling the Narrative: A Comparative Examination of Gendered Publishing Trends in the SCA and Beyond. California Archaeology 10(2):159-186.

2018  “A Song of Resilience”: Exploring Communities of Practice in Southern California Chumash Basket Weaving. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology  38(2):143–168.

2018  Investigando Cerro León, una Colonia Altoandina del Periodo Intermedio Temprano en la Chaupiyunga del Valle de Moche, Perú. In Actas de la Primera Mesa Redonda de Trujillo, edited by O. Gabriel Prieto and Alicia M. Boswell, Universidad Nacional de Trujillo, Peru, in press. (B.R. Billman, J.E. Ringberg, D.N. Bardolph, and J.R. Briceño)

2017  Maize in Mississippian Beginnings. In Mississippian Beginnings, edited by Gregory D. Wilson, pp. 29–71. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. (A.M. VanDerwarker, D.N. Bardolph, and C.M. Scarry)

2016  Sociopolitics in Southeastern Archaeology: The Role of Gender in Scholarly Authorship. Southeastern Archaeology 35(3):175–193. (D.N. Bardolph and A.M. VanDerwarker)

2016  New World Paleoethnobotany in the New Millennium (2000-2013). Journal of Archaeological Research 24(2):125–177. (A.M. VanDerwarker, D.N. Bardolph, K. M. Hoppa, H.B. Thakar, L. Martin, A.  Jaqua, M. Biwer, and K. Gill)

2015  Lamb Site Archaeobotanical Remains: Reconstructing Early Mississippian Plant Collection and Cultivation in the Central Illinois River Valley. Illinois Archaeology 27:151–172. (D.N. Bardolph and A.M. VanDerwarker)

2015  Lamb Site Features: Clues to Cooking and Community Organization. Illinois Archaeology 27:150–173.

2015  The Lamb Site (11Sc24): Evidence of Cahokian Contact and Mississippianization in the Central Illinois River Valley. Illinois Archaeology 27:1–12. (D.N. Bardolph and G.D. Wilson)

2015  Sexuality: Ancient North America. In The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality, edited by Patricia Whelehan and Anne Bolin, pp. 1–6. Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, Massachusetts. (D.N. Bardolph and L. Gamble)

2014  A Critical Evaluation of Recent Gendered Publishing Trends in American Archaeology. American Antiquity 79(3):522–540.

2014  Evaluating Cahokian Contact and Mississippian Identity Politics in the Late Prehistoric Central Illinois River Valley. American Antiquity 79(1):69–89.

2013  Maize Adoption and Intensification in the Central Illinois River Valley: An Analysis of Archaeobotanical Data from the Late Woodland through Early Mississippian Periods (A.D. 400-1200). Southeastern Archaeology 32:147–168. (A.M VanDerwarker, G.D. Wilson, and D.N. Bardolph)

Society Newsletters:

2018  Making a Case for an Ethics-Centered Education in Archaeology. The SAA Archaeological Record 18(5): in press. (K. Chiou and D.N. Bardolph)

2017  Weaving Community: A Collaborative Basketweaving Event Co-Sponsored by the SCA. Society for California Archaeology Newsletter 51(3):14–15. (K. Brown, D.N. Bardolph, and J. Timbrook).