Christine Hastorf, Professor

Closed (1) Imperial past foodways: working with plant distributions at the early imperial city of Huari in the central Andes

Check back for status


For this URAP experience, you will be working in the McCown Archaeobotany Laboratory with Dr. Christine Hastorf and PhD student Geoffrey Taylor, assisting with the analysis of carbonized plant remains for the Huari Urban Prehistory Archaeological Project. Huari is a large urban archaeological settlement in the central highlands of Peru, with occupations dating from approximately AD 400 – AD 1150. Huari is understood to be the capital of one of what is possibly the first empire of the Americas (the Wari Empire). Materials being analyzed are plant remains excavated from domestic compounds near the ceremonial core of the city in 2017. The project is attempting to understand the daily lives and foodways of the people at the center of the political, artistic, and ceremonial phenomenon of Wari.




Student will be working with the archaeological plant remains studying them under a microscope and what questions we can learn what they tell us about past food use, trade and cooking. The undergraduate researcher will learn about the archaeological sub-discipline of paleoethnobotany and get first-hand lab experience sorting and identifying carbonized plant remains under microscope. The appointment begins Spring 2018, but preference is for students who may be available or interested in continuing the following academic year.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Geoffrey Taylor, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: An interest in archaeology and or plants Some experience with microscopes

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Closed (2) Ancient Andean plants and their diversity

Check back for status

Our archaeobotanical laboratory completes a range of archaeological analyses and research. Holding a series of archaeological samples, plant type collections as well as visual images of plants used to help identify archaeobotanical material. This autumn project will work on the laboratory archaeobotanical collections, and our visual database, organizing them into curational order, recording them in our computer data base, with a focus on tubers, quinoa (Chenopodium) and chile peppers Capsicum from South America.


Organizing laboratory data sets, adding to and editing the filemaker pro database, Picasa image database, scanning, and working with plant specimens within the UC Berkeley McCown Archaeobotanical Laboratory in the Anthropology Department.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Christine Hastorf

Qualifications: An interest in plants would be helpful to gain more from this experience. Previous work with databases or picasa would be helpful.

Weekly Hours: 3-6 hrs

Closed (3) Examining Ancient Mobility and Trade with Obsidian Geochemistry

Check back for status

An undergraduate research apprentice is sought to assist in conducting XRF geochemical analysis of obsidian source samples from the Americas and associated archaeological artifacts during fall and spring semesters. The research is working with the newly installed XRF in the Archaeological Research Facility on campus.




This project will involve pulling materials from a collection, running samples in an X-Ray Fluorescence machine, gathering and appending results into a database, and reviewing the patterns noted in the geochemistry of obsidian source samples and obsidian cultural artifacts.


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Nicholas Tripcevich, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: At least one archaeology course, a college level chemistry course, and some experience with database and spreadsheet software. This is a year long project.

Weekly Hours: 6-9 hrs

Closed (4) The making of pottery in the past: archaeological photographic research on ancient Andean ceramics

Check back for status

This URAP apprentice will assist with the investigation of how ceramic pottery was produced from their fragments. The creation of a reference database of archaeological ceramic surface techniques. The apprentice will be trained in a photogrammetry technique called Reflectance Transformation Imaging (or RTI), as well as the FileMaker database that we will use for organizing these documents. Additionally, the apprentice will help with an experimental archaeology component, creating and firing ceramic samples of various surfacing techniques and photographing these objects for inclusion in the reference database. The apprentice may also be asked to help with the assembly of a domed light array and automatic photography system, which will be built at the Makerspace on campus. Students interested in digital documentation techniques, experimental archaeology, and the study of traditional craft-technologies are encouraged to apply.


This apprenticeship will entail processing digital photographs of archaeological ceramics from Chiripa, Bolivia, and from the Hearst Museum of Anthropology, photographing ceramic fragments from Kotosh, Peru. Creating and firing ceramic samples, and also assembling a portable photographic system.


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Kat Huggins, Graduate Student

Qualifications: An interest in ceramics and or photography is desirable. This is a year long project.

Weekly Hours: 3-6 hrs