Archaeology & Biological Anthropology Laboratories

The Archaeology and Biological Anthropology Laboratories are dedicated to teaching and research in both anthropological archaeology and biological anthropology. Within the labs are spaces for the study of ceramics, lithics, spatial archaeology (GIS), zooarchaeology, comparative anatomy and osteology, paleogenemics, isotope ecology, and forensic anthropology. The laboratories maintain collections related to local Monterey Bay archaeology, as well as comparative vertebrate osteology and taphonomic specimens. The laboratories are overseen by Professors Alison Galloway (currently on leave), Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, Judith Habicht-Mauche, Cameron Monroe, Viktoria Oelze, Chelsea Blackmore, Jon Daehnke, Tsim Schneider, and Lars Fehren-Schmitz and are managed by Richard Baldwin.

The teaching laboratories’ mission is to provide students with hands-on training in the technical skills of archaeology and biological anthropology. Lab courses integrate theoretical frameworks with the detailed analysis of specimens and artifacts at the core of the disciplines. From comparative anatomy and osteology to micro-artifact and ceramic analysis, the labs facilitate student understanding in an environment of safety. These practical skills and experiences serve students well in the job market and in graduate research. Archaeology and biological anthropology courses are enhanced by a wide variety of interactive teaching materials and multi-media tools.

One of the most significant recent enhancements is in virtual anthropology. Using new 3D data acquisition and manipulation technology we facilitate widespread study of unique materials such as evolutionarily significant fossils, fragile bones or ancient artifacts. Students can interact with these materials in three dimensions through computational data sets while ensuring that the original specimens are preserved. These technologies also open new avenues of inquiry for graduate student and faculty research.

The Archaeology and Biological Anthropology Research Laboratories are used for faculty, staff and student projects. Faculty research includes work in zooarchaeology, ceramic analysis, micro artifact analysis, ancient DNA, landscape archaeology, cultural heritage management, comparative anatomy and forensic anthropology. The staff also cooperates with local wildlife management officials to monitor mountain lion and carnivore kills on the UCSC campus. Students gain valuable experience through observing or participating in these projects. Lab Manager Richard Baldwin supervises a corps of undergraduate volunteers who assist with a variety of collection and laboratory management tasks.