Celebrating the 2018-19 Academic Year

The Cotsen Institute is the nation’s premier academic organization for the study of archaeology and archaeological conservation. Home to both the Interdepartmental Archaeology Program and the UCLA/Getty Program in Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials, the Cotsen fosters a collaborative environment among archaeologists from nine different academic departments. With common interests, diverse skills and expertise, our faculty and students are engaged in pioneering research and multidisciplinary scholarship. 

Here are some of our achievements this past year:


Gregson Schachner, professor of Anthropology, has been appointed to chair the Interdepartmental Program in Archaeology, starting July 1. A member of the Anthropology Department for 12 years, he has been integral to the program throughout his time at UCLA.

Lothar von Falkenhausen, professor of Chinese Archaeology and Art History, has been awarded a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Thomas Wake, assistant adjunct professor of Anthropology and director of the Zooarchaeology Lab, has been appointed as a research associate of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Kara Cooney, professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture and chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, released her latest book, published by National Geographic, When Women Ruled the World: Six Egyptian Queens.

Jo Anne Van Tilburg, director of the UCLA Rock Art Archive, was interviewed by Anderson Cooper on Easter Island. It aired on Easter Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

Monica L. Smith, professor of Anthropology and professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, published a book on the growth of urban life in Cities: The First 6,000 Years. Smith holds the Navin and Pratima Doshi Chair in Indian Studies and serves as the director of the South Asian Archaeology Laboratory in the Cotsen.

Ellen Pearlstein, professor of Information Studies and the UCLA/Getty Program in the Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials, received a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation intended to help increase diversity in the study and practice of conservation of cultural collections.


Jacob Bongers, Rachel Moy, and Roselyn Campbell were awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy on June 13, 2019.

Vera Rondano received a Metropolitan Museum of Art Fellowship. Fellowship recipients can use the Museum as a place for exchange, research, and professional advancement.

Karime Castillo-Cardenas co-authored “Glass and Faience” in The Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences, Sandra Lopez Varela (ed.). Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, 2018.


Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, PhD ‘10, professor of Archaeology, Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, was elected to The National Academy of Sciences.

John M. Marston, PhD ‘10, received the AIA’s 2019 James R. Wiseman Book Award for Agricultural Sustainability and Environmental Change at Ancient Gordion.

New Faces at the Cotsen

Glenn Wharton will be joining the UCLA faculty of the Department of Art History and serving as chair of the UCLA/Getty Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials program on July 1, 2019.  Dr. Wharton is a scholar, teacher, and leader of international renown.  His appointment marks a new era for the program, including the inauguration of its PhD program, developed by Professor Ioanna Kakoulli.

Sarah Beckman joined the Classics Department in 2018. She is an archaeologist specializing in domestic art and archaeology of the Western Roman provinces.

Jason de León joins the Anthropology Department this fall. He directs the Undocumented Migration Project, a long-term study of clandestine border crossing that uses a combination of archaeological, ethnographic, visual, and forensic approaches to understand this phenomenon in a variety of geographic contexts.

Marina Gallinaro, PhD, is a Marie-Curie Researcher (a program of the European Union) who will be working with professors Richard Lesure and Willeke Wendrich for the next two years. Her project focuses on the interpretation of rock art in the Sahara Desert.

Sonia Zarrillo, PhD, director of the Ancient Agriculture and Paleoethnobotany Lab, has been awarded the Postdoctoral Fellowship in Archaeobotany. Her current work centers on the pre-Columbian history of cacao and the adoption and use of plants in the Andes.

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