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As a program, we encourage graduate students to engage in guided individual research projects.

Our approach is to use theory and methods as tools for understanding the past rather than as ends in themselves. Consequently, research design is an integral part of every student’s program. We generally advocate syntheses of existing data and/or innovative collections analysis, augmented, where appropriate, with field research. Faculty research interests cover a range of societies, including hunter-fisher-gatherers, Neolithic village societies, and pre-industrial states. We incorporate an array of topical interests, methods, and theoretical orientations in our work. We support graduate student research that incorporates elements of all these interests and approaches. The primary areas of faculty research expertise are in the areas of Mesoamerica, Andean South America, the Pacific Northwest Coast, and the Eastern Mediterranean, but we supervise graduate student research that complements our topical interests in a wide range of geographic locations.


Associate Faculty:

Go to James Conolly profile

James Conolly

PhD Institute of Archaeology, UCL1998

Professor (Trent University)

Adjunct Faculty:

Christopher Ellis (Western Ontario) - Associate Professor (PhD Simon Fraser, 1984)

Andrew Martindale (U of British Columbia) - Assistant Professor (U of Toronto, 1999)

Robert W. Park (Waterloo) - Associate Professor (PhD Alberta, 1989)

Michael Spence (Western Ontario) - Professor (PhD Illinois, 1971)

Gary Warrick (Wilred Laurier U) - Associate Professor (PhD McGill)


  • soils analysis lab
  • fisheries archaeology lab
  • thin-sectioning equipment
  • paleoethnobotany laboratory
  • botanical reference collections
  • microscopy and image analysis equipment
  • GIS facilities, available in Geography
  • LIRAC - Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Research on Archaeological Ceramics
  • MAX Lab - McMaster Archaeological XRF Lab

Topical Areas of Study:

  • characterization analyses
  • coastal and fisheries studies
  • early hominid studies
  • political and economic organization
  • social identities
  • social interaction
  • social technologies
  • foodways
  • resilience studies
  • socio-environmental history and ethnoecology
  • applied archaeology


  • ceramic technology
  • compositional analysis
  • faunal analysis
  • lithic technology
  • mortuary archaeology
  • paleoethnobotanical analysis
  • GIS applications
  • regional and landscape archaeology

Theoretical Orientations:

  • agency and theories of practice
  • archaeology as history
  • archaeology as political practice
  • cognitive and linguistic approaches
  • multi-scalar analysis and interpretation