Allison Jaqua

UCSB Alumna


  • Coastal and Santa Barbara Channel Island archaeology, California
  • Paleoethnobotany, foodways
  • Paleoenvironmental reconstruction through wood charcoal identification
  • Culture contact


2013             M.A. in Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara

2010             B.A. in Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara


My general research interests include coastal hunter-gatherer societies in prehistory through post contact periods. Employing a diachronic approach to long-term culture change and persistence among Natives in coastal California. Using paleoethnobotanical evidence to study the changes in food-ways to access whether or not Natives persisted in their traditional wild food consumption.


I am currently analyzing four Early Period prehistoric sites on Santa Cruz Island.  The analysis of paleoethnobotanical remains will be used to better understand the use of terrestrial resources and whether interior sites articulated with the coast and whether foraging strategies were similar or different between the coast and the interior.

My dissertation project will investigate whether in several contexts, social identity was reproduced in the face of colonial encounters and whether Natives were able to maintain traditions in settlement, subsistence practices and/or technological choice. A central strategy for this project will be to incorporate ethnography, ethnohistoric and archaeological methods along with paleoethnobotanical data to analyze Native lifeways during contact in the context of both cultural continuity and change. Part of the research design is to investigate several multi-component domestic sites spanning protohistoric and historic periods on the coastal mainland as well as extant historic habitation assemblages associated with missionized Natives to identify material correlates of native-colonizer interactions. Of particular interest is the frequency of native foods within the mission context, particularly within neophyte living spaces.

Research over the past few decades provides strong evidence that during periods of colonization, food is more resilient than most other aspects of indigenous culture. For this reason food can be an important agent in the continuation of cultural identity even during periods of disruption. Archaeologists have increasingly begun to distance themselves from the terminal narratives that follow a trajectory from assimilation to cultural extinction after colonialism and instead to view native identity and culture as more dynamic. This archaeology of persistence is the theoretical basis of this research.


2015   New World Paleoethnobotany in the New Millennium. Journal of Archaeological Research. In Press. (VanDerwarker, Bardolph, Hoppa, Thakar, Martin, Jaqua, Biwer, Gill).         

2012   Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction, Forest Succession and Weeds in the Maya Milpa. Research Reports in Belize Archaeology 9:279-288 (Anabel Ford, Allison Jaqua, Ronald Nigh)


Courses TA'd

ANTH 2: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (UCSB)
ANTH 3: Introduction to Archaeology (UCSB)