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Dana Bardolph

Hirsch Postdoctoral Associate

photo of 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 primary research interests include culture contact and colonialism, foodways, and identity studies. 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). I have worked on various projects in the Southeastern U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and the Peruvian Andes, where I have used multiple lines of evidence to examine prehistoric domestic foodways, including paleoethnobotanical data, ceramic assemblages, and pit feature data, to assess how cooking practices, agricultural production, and the spatial dimensions of foodways shape identity construction and social life. My research and teaching interests also include ethical issues in contemporary practice, including gender equity in academic representation and publication. 


Culture Contact and Colonialism; Foodways; Paleoethnobotany; Gender Equity 


  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology Program


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.

A future collaborative project will involve the excavation and analysis of a colonial period sugar hacienda in southern Veracruz, to be conducted in collaboration with Sarah Lyon (Univeristy of Kentucky), Christoper Pool (University of Kentucky), and Marcie Venter (Murray State University) and in conjunction with the quincentennial of Hernán Cortés’ conquest of Mexico. This project will consider the negotiation of identity and survival of enslaved indigenous and African peoples through the analysis of spatial organization, foodways, and material culture in a plantation context.

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 links to my publications, please visit:


2018  Controlling the Narrative: A Comparative Examination of Gendered Publishing Trends in the SCA and Beyond. Manuscript to be published in a special issue of California Archaeology on Gender Equity, Mentorship, and Sexual Harassment in California Archaeology, in press.

2018  “A Song of Resilience”: Exploring Communities of Practice in Southern California Chumash Basket Weaving. Manuscript to be published in a special issue of Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology on Native American Persistence, in press (K. Brown, J. Timbrook, and D.N. Bardolph)

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)

2018  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)

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)


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