Research & Collections


Our lab is equipped with an excellent set-up for the identification and analysis of macrobotanical remains.  We have six high-end binocular stereoscopes (6-40X), one of which has a camera attachment with measurement imaging software. In addition to the high-end scopes and light sources, we also have seven “student” microscopes that are used as part of teaching ANTH 186 (Lab Course in Paleoethnobotany).  These “student” scopes can also be “checked out” by grad students for use in the field on a limited basis.  Our macro comparative collection boasts 600+ species from the New World, with a focus on the American Eastern Woodlands, Mexico/Central America, California, and Peru (although we have limited accessions of plants native to the Southwest and throughout South America as well).  All of our macro comparative specimens have been photographed, and we are in the process of setting up our image database for accessibility through the website.



We began setting up the microbotany lab in 2010, through the combined efforts of Dr. Kristin Hoppa and Dr. Amber VanDerwarker.  The microbot lab is located adjacent to the macrobotany lab in an annex that houses the fume hood.  In addition to two high-magnification polarizing binocular scopes (40-1000X), we have three centrifuges, a sonicator, shaker, water distillation system, vortexer, and a variety of other supplies, chemicals, and equipment needed to extract and identify phytoliths and starch grains. Along with current graduate student Mallory Melton, we are in the process of building the comparative image collections for starch grains and phytoliths for the plants that exist in the macrobotanical comparative collection.  Once this image database is complete, we will be adding a digital database of this comparative collection to the website as well.



The ISL faunal lab shares space with the macrobotanical lab. My lab houses a limited comparative vertebrate collection, which primarily includes mammals from the Eastern Woodlands.  A few doors down from the main lab is a broader comparative vertebrate collection maintained by the UCSB Anthropology Department – this collection primarily includes native California species, and boasts a decent representation of mammals (including sea mammals), birds, and fish.  Students interested in zooarchaeology can use both labs to conduct a thorough rough sort of their collection(s), followed by travel to more substantial comparative collections relevant to their region(s) of interest.