Christine Hastorf, Professor

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

Applications for Spring 2019 are now closed for this project.

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.




The student will be working with the archaeological plant remains, studying them under a microscope to address 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. Preference will be for students who may be available and interested in continuing throughout the whole 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 is useful.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Closed (2) Visualizing the past: The 3D visual display of archaeological material from Formative settlements in the Lake Titicaca Basin

Applications for Spring 2019 are now closed for this project.

UC Berkeley's archaeobotanical laboratory completes a range of archaeological analyses and research. This project will focus on visualizing the archaeological plant and animal remains that have been excavated and distributed across a Formative site using ARC GIS to create three dimensional distribution maps. These images will help us to better understand subsistence and resiliency in the early farming times of a core location of domestication, the Titicaca Basin.


Adapting existing data sets from 2 dimensional GIS databases into 3 dimensional GIS databases. This entails performing analyses of the densities of archaeological materials through ARC GIS modeling, creating a sequence of plots that will visualize the material in three dimensions. This research will take place on a computer within the UC Berkeley McCown Archaeobotanical Laboratory in the Anthropology Department and will be presented at a national archaeology meeting in the spring.

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

Qualifications: Experience with ARC GIS to be able to create images of data points in three dimensions. An interest in archaeology, foodways, or plants and animals is desirable but not essential.

Weekly Hours: 3-5 hrs

Closed (3) Andean Archaeological Obsidian sourcing

Closed. This professor is continuing with Fall 2018 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Spring 2019.

This research apprenticeship project involves cataloging a collection of ancient obsidian source samples from South America. The project will compare the extant inventory at UC Berkeley with the results of analyses that have been conducted on these samples and on artifacts from the region.






This project will involve pulling materials from an Andean archaeological 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. The project will include training in X ray fluorescence.






This research apprenticeship project involves cataloging a collection of ancient obsidian source samples from South America. The project will compare the extant inventory at UC Berkeley with the results of analyses that have been conducted on these samples and on artifacts from the region.





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

Weekly Hours: 3-5 hrs

Closed (4) Central American Plant Use in the Past: Archaeobotanical Analysis of Resilient Foodways

Applications for Spring 2019 are now closed for this project.

For this URAP experience, the student will get first-hand research experience with archaeological plant remains in the McCown Archaeobotany Laboratory with Dr. Christine Hastorf and PhD student Venicia Slotten. The student will assist with the analysis of carbonized plant remains from an archaeological site, La Chiripa, that was preserved by the eruption of Arenal Volcano in the northern highlands of Costa Rica around 1450 BC. Settlements in this area are known for their long-term stability and resilience, and archaeobotanical evidence could explain the adaptability of these past peoples in terms of their food and resource procurement strategies. Materials to be analyzed were excavated in 2018 from a domestic structure.



The student will analyze archaeological plant samples with the use of a microscope. This will involve sorting of the samples along with identification and quantification of the plant species. The undergraduate researcher will also have the opportunity to learn scanning electron microscopy, which will aid in the identification of the plant remains. Preference will be for students who may be available and interested in continuing the work in subsequent semesters.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Venicia Slotten, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: An interest in botany, archaeology, and/or Latin America and the ability to work independently. Some experience with microscopes is useful.

Weekly Hours: 3-5 hrs