STEPHEN ACABADO co-authors “Indigenous Archaeology in the Philippines”

Stephen Acabado, associate professor of anthropology, director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and the incoming chair of the Archaeology program of the Cotsen Institute, is one of the co-authors of Indigenous Archaeology in the Philippines: Decolonizing Ifugao History,” together with Marlon Martin. This book was published by the University of Arizona Press in April and highlights how collaborative archaeology and indigenous knowledge among the Ifugao contested enduring colonial narratives. The authors explain how the Ifugao made decisions and undertook strategies that benefited them during colonial times. The archaeological record shows how the Ifugao successfully resisted the Spanish conquest and subsequently accommodated American empire building. This book illustrates how descendant communities can take control of their history and heritage through active collaboration with archaeologists. Drawing on the experiences in the Cordillera region of the Philippines, the authors demonstrate how changing historical narratives facilitate empowering peoples who are traditionally ignored in national histories.

STELLA NAIR helps in repatriation of Peruvian artifacts

Stella Nair, associate professor of art history and a core faculty member of the Cotsen Institute, was part of a repatriation ceremony held in Los Angeles on April 22 during which the FBI returned sixteen cultural items to representatives of the Peruvian government. The repatriated cultural property includes two paintings, ten historical documents, and four stone axes. Nair represented UCLA at the event. She was one of the specialists who evaluated the paintings for the FBI.


The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) has named Becoming Hopi: A History the recipient of its 2022 Scholarly Book Award. The book, published by the University of Arizona Press, is co-edited by Wesley Bernardini, Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa, Gregson Schachner, and Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma. Schachner, an associate professor of anthropology and chair of the Interdepartmental Archaeology Program; Reuven Sinensky, a doctoral student in anthropology at UCLA; and Katelyn Bishop, who received her PhD in anthropology in 2019 and is assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, co-authored multiple chapters in the volume. The award will be presented on April 1, at the Annual Meeting of the SAA in Chicago.


The SAA announcement commended the book as follows: “Becoming Hopi shows a masterful interwoven collective work of conventional archaeological data and Hopi traditional knowledge to carefully study the Hopi Mesas of Arizona. In this volume, the voices of the Hopi are integrated with archaeological and ethnographic work conducted over two decades to show an important Indigenous group of the American Southwest with its rich and diverse historical tradition dating back more than 2,000 years. This tradition is deeply rooted in time, and the voices of the Hopi can be heard by scholars and non-experts. In addition, the collaborative effort resulted in a book that can be used by members of the Hopi community to learn about their own past.”

WILLEKE WENDRICH and DEIDRE BRIN contribute to book on digital preservation of cultural heritage

Willeke Wendrich, director of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, is the co-editor of Preserving Cultural Heritage in the Digital Age: Sending Out an S.O.S., a volume in the Equinox series “New Directions in Anthropological Archaeology,” published in February, 2022. Wendrich also co-authored the book’s introduction titled “A Sense of Urgency,” and wrote the chapter “At-Risk Cultural Heritage, Open Communication and Stealth Archaeology.”


Deidre Brin, Digital Archaeology Lab and Data Publication director of the Cotsen Institute, wrote a chapter on “Data as At-Risk Cultural Heritage: The DIG Publication Initiative.”  DIG Data Publication Initiative is the Cotsen Institute’s new effort to establish an archaeological digital data publication service.


The book is the result of Research Catalyst Grant CA-16-376911 from the Office of the President of the University of California, which funded research at four UC campuses (Berkeley, UCLA, Merced and UCSD). DIG was also partially supported by the Catalyst project.




JUSTIN DUNNAVANT talks on NPR about marine archaeology and technology

Justin Dunnavant, assistant professor of anthropology and a core faculty member of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, discussed the use of advanced technology in marine archaeology in the episode of “Marketplace,” National Public Radio, February 22. A podcast of the episode can be found here.

KARA COONEY speaks on “When Women Ruled the World” for National Geographic LIVE

Kara Cooney, chair of the department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and core faculty member of the Cotsen Institute, will speak on “When Women Ruled The World” in six cities for National Geographic LIVE. She is the author of “When Women Ruled the World: Six Queens of Egypt,” which was published by National Geographic in 2018.

Cooney will appear on March 6 in Denver, CO; on March 13-14 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; March 24 in Benton Harbor, MI; and on March 27 in San Antonio, TX. In addition, she will be  in Princeton, NJ on April 3, and in Victoria, BC, Canada on May 4. For those unable to attend, she also discusses the topic in a Facebook Live recording.

JUSTIN DUNNAVANT featured in Underground Railroad episode

Justin Dunnavant, assistant professor of anthropology and a core faculty member of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, will be featured in an upcoming episode  of “Underground Railroad: The Secret History” on the Discovery+ channel.

KARA COONEY publishes two articles in Sapiens

Kara Cooney, chair in the department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and a core faculty member of the Cotsen Institute, has two articles in the February issue of the online journal Sapiens. The first is an excerpt from her book The Good Kings: Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World (National Geographic, 2021), and the second is an op-ed on responses to her book.

JUSTIN DUNNAVANT featured in National Geographic

Justin Dunnavant, assistant professor of anthropology and a core faculty member of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, is the subject of an article in the February issue of National Geographic magazine. Dunnavant is a National Geographic Explorer, one of a group of individuals who“seek to build a community reflecting the diversity of our world, chosen from around the globe. National Geographic Explorers are “exceptional individuals in their fields who receive funding and support from the Society to illuminate and protect our world through their work in science, exploration, education, and storytelling.” 

In conjunction with the article, National Geographic is releasing a weekly six-part podcast series - Into the Depths.

Cotsen affiliates share research at AIA Annual Meeting 2022

Students, faculty, and recent alumni from the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology shared their research at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, which was held online January 5-8, 2022.
  • "Shifting Landscapes: Mosaics in Late Antique North Africa" by Taylor Carr-Howard, graduate student in archaeology.
  • "Archaeological Materials and Ancient Technologies Inspire the Design of Novel Materials Applications" by Ioanna Kakoulli, professor, Materials Science and Engineering Department and Co-Director Molecular and Nano Archaeology Laboratory.
  • "Urban Appropriations: The Villa in the Late Antiquity" by Sarah Beckmann, assistant professor of classics and core faculty at Cotsen Institute.
  • "Decorated Pottery and the Intercommunity Intra-actions in the Late Neolithic Balkans: A Perspective from Southeastern Albania" by Gazmend Elezi, 2021 alum and postdoctoral researcher in the Pasarow Mass Spectrometry Laboratory at UCLA.
  • "The Creation of Worked Animal Objects at Ancient Methone" by Adam DiBattista, 2021 alum and visiting scholar at The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University.
  • "An Experiment in Design: An Archaic Cross-draft Kiln at Ancient Methone (Pieria)" by Debby Sneed, 2018 graduate of the Cotsen Institute and lecturer in classics at California State University, Long Beach.