Dana Bardolph

Graduate Student

Office Location

HSSB 1038


M.A., 2010 Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara

B.A. with High Honors 2007 Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley


Curriculum Vitae

Research Description

I am an archaeologist whose primary research interests include culture contact, foodways, and identity studies. I have worked on projects in the Southeastern U.S. and the Peruvian Andes, where I have used multiple lines of evidence to examine prehistoric domestic foodways, including macrobotanical data, ceramic assemblages, and pit feature data, to assess how cooking practices, agricultural production, and the spatial dimensions of foodways shape identity construction and social life.  I currently serve as the Lab Director for the Moche Origins Project (PIs Dr. Brian Billman, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Dr. Jesus Briceno Rosario, Ministry of Culture, Peru). My dissertation is aimed at exploring the roles that food played in the negotiation of power and identity of highland and coastal groups that occupied the Moche Valley of north coastal Peru just prior to the consolidation of the Southern Moche polity ca. A.D. 300. In addition to my archaeological research, I am interested in ethical issues in contemporary practice, including gender equity in academic representation and publication. 

Current Projects

Changes in Mississippian Plant Foodways in the Late Prehistoric Central Illinois River Valley

This project assesses early Mississippian period (A.D. 1100-1150) plant foodways in the Central Illinois River Valley (CIRV). Recent analysis of excavated material from the Lamb site in Schuyler County, IL by Dana Bardolph has been conducted in order to examine the dynamics of contact with Cahokia and emulation of American Bottom Mississippian traditions, with a particular focus on foodways. Macrobotanical data from the Lamb site are used to reconstruct local subsistence patterns in the early Mississippian CIRV, assess seasonality of the site’s occupation, and are contextualized within a broader temporal and regional framework in order to understand changes in plant food production that may have occurred in response to Mississippian interaction and influence. Comparative analyses (conducted in collaboration with Dr. Amber VanDerwarker and Dr. Gregory Wilson) indicate a dramatic increase in maize production by the early Mississippian period in comparison to the preceding Late Woodland period. In addition, the density of maize production at the Lamb site falls well within the range of variation of Stirling-phase American Bottom sites, indicating a level of production comparable to settlements within the Cahokia polity. These data shed new light on practical reorganizations of local CIRV inhabitants in response to influence from Cahokia. 


Reconstructing Identity, Foodways, and Migrant Experience in the Prehistoric Moche Valley, Peru

This project seeks to reconstruct household subsistence practices of coastal and highland groups that occupied the Moche Valley of north coastal Peru just prior to the consolidation of the Southern Moche polity ca. A.D. 300. The Gallinazo/Early Moche transition (A.D. 1-300) witnessed a dynamic period of interaction between local coastal occupants and settlers that migrated from neighboring highland regions into the Moche Valley; however, to date, the nature of this interaction is not well understood. Dana Bardolph currently serves as the Laboratory Director for the Moche Origins Project (PIs Dr. Brian Billman, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Dr. Jesus Briceno Rosario, Ministry of Culture, Peru), and has been conducting analysis of macrobotanical remains from recent excavations of large household compounds in order to assess: (1) what plant resources highland migrants were targeting upon their intrusion into the Moche Valley; (2) how subsistence practices by highland settlers were organized with respect to gender or status groups; and (3) how highland food procurement/production strategies differed from those of local coastal residents in the Moche Valley. The analysis of subsistence data from household settlements will complement the current, in-depth studies of political, economic, and ideological phenomena at larger ceremonial centers on the Peruvian north coast.  Funding for this research has been provided by competitive UCSB Anthropology Department summer stipend awards (2011-2013), the Leal Anne Kerry Mertes award for fieldwork (2012), a UCSB Humanities and Social Science Research Grant (2013), and funds from MOCHE, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to protecting archaeological sites through community heritage empowerment. 


2014  Sexuality: Ancient North America. In Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality, edited by Patricia Whelehan and Anne Bolin. Wiley-Blackwell, Malden, Massachusetts (In press; Dana Bardolph and Lynn Gamble).

2014   Evaluating Cahokian Contact and Mississippian Identity Politics in the Late Prehistoric Central Illinois River Valley. Accepted for publication in American Antiquity

2013   Maize Adoption and Intensification in the Central Illinois River Valley: An Analysis of Archaeobotanical Data from the Late Woodland through Early Mississippian Periods (AD 400-1200). Accepted for publication in Southeastern Archaeology. (In press; Amber VanDerwarker, Gregory Wilson, and Dana Bardolph)


Courses TA’d

ANTH 2: Introductory Cultural Anthropology (UCSB)

ANTH 3: Introduction to Archaeology (Head TA) (UCSB)

ANTH 111: Anthropology of Food (UCSB)

ANTH 131: North American Indians (UCSB)

ANTH 133: Cultural Development in Mesoamerica (UCSB)

Chicano/a Studies 1B: Introduction to Chicano/a Studies (UCSB)

Chicano/a Studies 149: Body, Culture, and Power (UCSB)


Courses Taught:

ANTH 194P: Archaeology Laboratory Practicum (UCSB)