Research Labs

Below is a list of active research laboratories in the UConn Department of Anthropology. For more information about a lab or to inquire about research opportunities for students, please contact the lab director.

Research in the Anthropological Genomics Laboratory integrates human population genomics and ancient DNA (aDNA) studies with archaeology; ethnohistory; Indigenous and community knowledge; bioethics; biocultural anthropology; and critical perspectives from the social sciences and humanities.

The Archaeobotany Laboratory focuses mostly on ancient agriculture, food and fuel use, and human interactions with the environment. Work is concentrated within Southwest Asia and spans the Palaeolithic, Epipalaeolithic, Ubaid, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age periods – and beyond.

The Community-Based Digital Heritage Laboratory conducts interdisciplinary, community-driven archaeological and anthropological research. Projects focus on macro/microscopic artifact analysis; X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis of geological and archaeological samples; quantitative Geographic Information System analysis; oral history collection; qualtiative geospatial data visualization; and digital artifact curation, photogrammetry, and 3D printing.

The Experimental Anthropology Laboratory focuses on cultural expressions that may at first glance appear bizarre or superfluous but help people across cultures find comfort, meaning, and connection. Research covers rituals, sports, music, dancing, and other things that make us truly human. As experimental anthropologists, the lab members are interested in both universal and local aspects of those experiences.

The Lithic Technology Laboratory provides study, research, and teaching space, and an area that is dedicated to stone tool replication and experimentation. It also houses a technology library, and archaeological and ethnographic collections.

Research in the New World Archaeology Laboratory examines the history of human occupation of North America, from the very earliest inhabitants to the later Colonial powers of Europe. The lab offers students the methodological and theoretical skills to address critical questions on human activity in the Americas.

The Paleoanthropology Laboratory offers multidisciplinary approaches to human history. The lab's research approaches draw especially on archaeology, geology, geography, and ecology, often centered around questions related to the origin, dispersal, and particularly the diversification of earlier populations of Homo sapiens in eastern Africa and the Mediterranean basin.

The Paleolithic Studies Laboratory educates students who are interested in understanding the behaviors and evolution of past hunter-gatherers, specifically those who occupied Eurasia during the Pleistocene. It provides meeting, study, research, and teaching space, and serves as a center for intellectual exchange.

Research in the SHIRE Lab is motivated by a desire to understand the human condition in all its complexity and messiness. Work in the lab is theoretically grounded in the evolutionary sciences, although we are also broadly committed to humanistic analyses of behavioral diversity. Much of our work, but not all, has focused on religious systems; their evolution, consequences, and myriad forms. We believe empirical and theoretical approaches that recognize the interconnectedness of all aspects of human lives offer the most promising understanding of humanity. Systems analyses, notably, relies on quantitative measurement, simulation, and modeling, while recognizing the importance of ethnographic detail, historical nuance, and contingency.

The Stable Isotope Preparation Laboratory supports interdisciplinary research in archaeology, biology, and geochemistry. Research is facilitated through the processing and preparation of various types of samples from soils to biominerals and organic tissues (e.g., bone collagen, feathers, plants) for isotopic analysis using different samplings and extraction techniques.

The Zooarchaeology Laboratory is devoted to the study of animal remains from archaeological sites. Our research projects include the analysis of animal bones and teeth from Paleolithic, Epipaleolithic, and Neolithic archaeological sites in Southwest Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean. This analysis allows us to reconstruct multiple dimensions of past human behavior, including subsistence, demography, social interaction, and ritual practice.