Anthropological Archaeology seeks both to understand the human past—including cultural origins and evolution, human adaptations, inequality, agriculture, and urban life—and to link this past to the world that we inhabit today. Archaeologists at NYU conduct fieldwork in Africa, Asia, and Europe. We also focus on using laboratory methods and experimental research to better understand human behavioral variability, ancient technologies, and cultural evolution in the past. Through these multidisciplinary scientific approaches, we explore changes in the organization of human societies over time highlighting the importance of geological and environmental context for interpreting the archaeological record.
We have several openings for new doctoral students next year, and we are able to offer a number of excellent financial aid packages for incoming students of high academic caliber. The following message contains a brief summary of the pertinent information about our graduate program that you might find useful. Additional information on our research and resources is available on our departmental website http://anthropology.as.nyu.edu/object/anthro.faculty and the website for the Center for the Study of Human Origins at http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/anthro/programs/csho/
We currently have three faculty members in Anthropological Archaeology.
Professor Pam J. Crabtree is a zooarchaeologist who uses animal bone remains recovered from archaeological sites to study past hunting practices, animal husbandry patterns, and diets. Much of her research has focused on the early medieval period, and she is particularly interested in studying the development of early medieval towns and they ways in which they were provisioning with meat and other animal products. Crabtree is also interested in the transition from hunting and gathering to animal husbandry in the Middle East, and she is currently the zooarchaeologist for several projects in Turkey and Ukraine. Crabtree teaches graduate courses in Zooarchaeology, Medieval Archaeology, and Later European Prehistory. http://as.nyu.edu/content/nyu-as/as/faculty/pam-crabtree.html
Radu Iovita is a Paleolithic archaeologist whose research focuses on the geoarchaeology of human dispersal and adaptation to environmental change in Central Asia and on functional analysis of stone artifacts. He is the PI of the European Research Council-funded PALAEOSILKROAD project, which seeks to reconstruct settlement dynamics during the Late Pleistocene in the piedmonts of Kazakhstan. Projects in Iovita’s lab are currently focused on developing a controlled experimental use-wear research program in collaboration with Robotics at NYU Tandon. Iovita teaches graduate courses in Lithic Analysis (with Pargeter), Extinct Landscapes of Human Evolution, Experimental Archaeology (with Pargeter), and Stone Age of Eurasia and the Pacific. For more information visit https://wp.nyu.edu/faculty-iovita/.
Justin Pargeter is a Paleolithic archaeologist whose research focuses on human biocultural evolution tracked by the relationships between lithic technology, cognition, biological, and environmental changes in the archaeological record. His research asks the question, to what extent differences in human behavior can be explained as adaptive responses to specific habitats. His career focus has been on investigations of the middle and later Pleistocene evolution of hunter-gatherer behavior in sub-Saharan Africa, through experimental archaeology, lithic analysis and the recovery of new field data. He co-directs two Stone Age excavation projects in South Africa along the Indian Ocean coastline (P5 Pondoland Coastal Foraging and Lifeways project) and the southern Cape’s inter-montane region (Cango Valley Archaeology and Paleoscape Project). Pargeter’s lab is currently running several experimental programs investigating tool use and hominin kinematics, skill and learning in lithic technologies, and lithic technological variability in the southern African stone tool record. More on these research topics can found at http://as.nyu.edu/faculty/justin-pargeter.html and https://nyu.academia.edu/JustinPargeter
Plans are underway to hire a fourth archaeologist in 2020-2021.
NYU’s archaeologists work closely with the department’s biological anthropologists, as part of the Center for the Study of Human Origins, and often team-teach courses with them and co-supervise students. We have five faculty members in archaeology:
Professor Susan Antón studies the evolutionary history of the genus Homo from 2.5 Ma to present. She has broad interests in human osteology, craniofacial anatomy and functional morphology, the ecology and biogeography of Homo, and growth and development. Much of her recent work focuses on the evolution of early Homo, especially as it relates to size and scaling, and is in collaboration with the Koobi Fora Research Project (http://www.kfrp.com/). She has ongoing interests in the relationship between bone shape and behavior and in integrating datasets across the subdisciplines of biological anthropology (http://www.bonesandbehavior.org; http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/anthro/programs/biology/index.html). She is Co-Director of the MA program in Human Skeletal Biology (http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/anthro/programs/biology/index.html). For further information about the MA program contact Prof. Antón at email@example.com
Professor Shara Bailey specializes in dental perspectives on human evolution. Her research interests range from the phylogeny of early hominins to microevolution in recent humans, but she focuses primarily on the later stages of human evolution (Neanderthals and early modern humans). She is currently working on projects involving the new human species Homo naledi, Middle Pleistocene hominins in North Africa and the origins and peopling of South America. In addition to fossil and recent human morphological evolution, Professor Bailey is also interested in issues surrounding growth and development and morphological homoplasy in dental structures. For more information on her research go to http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/anthro/programs/csho/bailey.html
Professor Terry Harrison conducts research on the biology and evolution of primates. His principal interest is in the systematics, evolutionary biology and paleobiology of the Miocene and Pliocene hominoids from Africa and Eurasia, including the earliest hominins (http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/anthro/programs/csho/harrison.html). He is currently directing a major field program at the mid-Pliocene locality of Laetoli in Tanzania, and is just starting new collaborative projects at Miocene and Plio-Pleistocene localities in China. He is also working on several projects involving fossil apes and Old World monkeys from Africa, Indo-Pakistan, and Europe. Professor Harrison is also Director of the Center for the Study of Human Origins (CSHO) at NYU (http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/anthro/programs/csho/index.html). Terry Harrison is retiring after the 20-21 academic year, but we expect to replace him with another biological anthropologist in the near future.
Professor James Higham specializes in primate behavior and socio-ecology, with broad research interests in life-history, sexual and social strategies and conflict, behavioral endocrinology, animal communication, and the conservation of biological diversity. His research combines field-based projects in Indonesia, Nigeria and Puerto Rico, with research in the Primate Reproductive Strategies Laboratory on non-invasive biological samples to study aspects of endocrinology in relation to behavior. Additional information about his research and publications can be found at https://files.nyu.edu/jph13/public/home.html
Professor Scott A. Williams studies the evolutionary morphology of the postcranial skeleton. His specific interests include the evolution of the vertebral column, fossil hominin functional morphology, and hominoid postcranial evolution in general. He leads the study of the epaxial skeleton of Australopithecus sediba and contributes to a team of researchers working to reconstruct the locomotor behavior and general paleobiology of this extinct species. He is Co-Director of the MA program in Human Skeletal Biology (http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/anthro/programs/biology/index.html). More on his work can be found at http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/anthro/programs/csho/pmwiki.php/Home/ScottWilliams
Plans are underway to hire a molecular anthropologist in 2020-2021.
In addition to the research interests of the faculty, we have several doctoral students in Anthropological Archaeology, who are currently working on a diversity of research topics. Further information about student research projects can be found on the CSHO website (https://wp.nyu.edu/csho/people/current_students/). The academic caliber of these students is first-rate, and their research is receiving support through competitive grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Leakey Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and the National Science Foundation, and they are publishing their results in leading peer-reviewed journals.
We teach a range of graduate courses in archaeology and biological anthropology covering all of the major areas of research, and we feel confident that we offer our students a rigorous, broad-based and well-balanced graduate program that will equip them with the necessary skills and expertise for a successful career as a professional archaeologist. We have a good record of placing our students in academic positions after they graduate. In addition, as you may know, the archaeology anthropology program at New York University is part of a wider graduate training consortium in evolutionary primatology (NYCEP), that includes City University of New York (CUNY), Columbia University, Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo and the American Museum of Natural History. The consortium provides an integrated training program that allows students to take courses, seminars, and internships at any of these institutions given by the more than fifty physical anthropologists and primatologists participating in the program. These courses provide our students with a unique ability to learn quantitative methods and to access fieldwork opportunities to offered at many other institutions. All applications are processed through each of the three participating universities. You can apply to one, two or all three of the programs. For further information on NYCEP visit http://www.nycep.org.
The Department of Anthropology and CSHO hosts a variety of conferences, lectures, and social events throughout the academic year. Recently, we co-hosted “Aurignacian Genius: Art, Technology and Society of the first Modern Humans in Europe”, an international conference that explored the socio-cultural complexity of the European Upper Paleolithic archaeological record. In addition, CSHO’s lecture series invites leading international scholars to give lectures and workshops at NYU (http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/anthro/programs/csho/pmwiki.php/Home/Events). As you can see, NYU and New York City offers an exciting and stimulating intellectual environment in which to study Anthropological Archaeology.
SPECIAL RESOURCES AND FACILITIES IN ANTHROPOLOGICAL ARCHAEOLOGY
Our department and the Center for the Study of Human Origins maintain excellent laboratory facilities for teaching and research in archaeology. An array of computer hardware and software, including 3D scanning, image analysis and storage capabilities, is available for graduate research projects. In addition, there is a state-of-the-art photographic laboratory, several wet lab facilities for thin section preparation and cleaning, as well as excellent microscopic equipment, including access to a confocal microscope and interferometer for surface analyses (SEM access is provided through several shared facilities on campus). A zooarchaeological reference collection is available for teaching and research purposes.
Students benefit from the close ties that exist between the department and other programs and institutions. These include the Smithsonian Institution, the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of the City of New York, the New Jersey State Museum, the Center for American Archaeology, and many museums, laboratories, and agencies in South Africa, Kazakhstan, Britain, Germany, and Ireland.