student works at archeological dig

Faculty Laboratories

SDSU Anthropology faculty manage the SDSU Archeological Collections Facility, the South Coastal Information Center, and nine laboratories. The laboratories are organized into two subdisciplinary hubs, a biological anthropology hub located on the second floor of Storm Hall and an archaeological hub located in Hardy Tower that is also adjacent to our collections facility.

Biological Hub

Human Osteology Resource Lab

Locations: Storm Hall 227 Director: Arion Mayes
The Human Osteology Resource Lab is biocultural-focused lab with an emphasis on the biohistory of past populations, disease processes, the anthropogenic impact on the environment, and the biofeedback between them. This is examined through the osteological lens and the impact left through skeletal and dental evidence across paleopathology, forensic anthropology, dental anthropology, and historical bioarchaeology. Additional areas of focus are human rights, ethics in anthropology, working in collaboration with descendent communities, and repatriation. On-site equipment includes anthropometric kits, digitizer, histology equipment including grinders, saws, and imbedding materials, portable x-ray machine and supportive equipment, two digital microscopes, and a surgery scope are supported.

Biological Anthropology Research and Teaching Lab

Location: Storm Hall 229, 231 Co-Directors: Arion Mayes, Erin Riley, Casey Roulette, Oliver Paine
The Biological Anthropology Research and Teaching Lab includes a teaching classroom/lab, a working/preparation lab for graduate research and data analysis, and a wet lab. Representative of a wide range of expertise within the larger umbrella of biological anthropology including but not limited to paleoanthropology, primate paleontology, primate behavior and conservation ecology, human biology, human adaptation, human variation, bioarchaeology, and forensic anthropology. Teaching collections allow for beginning and advanced methods in the above areas, collections housed in the lab represent one of the most comprehensive in the region. This set includes a human anatomy collection; paleopathology casts; forensic anthropology casts depicting trauma, malnutrition, disease, aging and sexing; a faunal collection used to compare human and nonhuman morphology; a human origins collection that includes a replica of the Laetoli footprints, more than 50 hominin casts including tools, articulated replicas of "Lucy," Homo ergaster, and Neandertal skeletons; and, an extensive nonhuman primate collection of six articulated skeletons and >30 skulls and casts. The lab also houses PC and Mac computers with GIS, Adobe, and SPSS software, a TV for behavioral coding, and key research equipment including an x-ray machine for radiographic analysis, anthropometric equipment, and electronic microscopes.

Human Behavior and Biology Lab (HBB)

Location: SH 225 Director: Casey Roulette
The Human Behavior and Biology (HBB) Lab is a biocultural research lab focused on topics related to human health and behavior. The lab houses equipment to conduct enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) of human biological materials (i.e., saliva, urine, blood). The HBB Lab also stores standard anthropometric equipment for use in research. Members of the lab also engage in comparative cross-cultural and cross-national research, primarily using secondary source data. The HBB Lab's primary area of research is recreational drug use with secondary emphases on stress, diet, immunity, and life histories. Recent HBB Lab projects include one exploring Patterns of drug use in the ethnographic record and, during COVID-19, a project assessing college students' experiences of environmental adversity, food insecurity, diet, and drug use.

Nutritional Ecology Lab

Location: Storm Hall 223 and GMCS 145 (planned) Director: Oliver Paine
The Nutritional Ecology Lab is a wet laboratory designed to analyze the nutritional and mechanical properties of organic materials. While my primary research focuses on building models of early hominin dietary ecology using the wild plants collected from African savanna habitats, the lab can provide valuable data for a broad range of ecological and anthropological questions. The lab equipment is regularly used by agribusiness and the USDA, so it is designed for maximum efficiency and ease of use. This enables quick training for researchers and students who may not have strong backgrounds in traditional chemistry methods, creating an accessible resource for cross-disciplinary work. 

Primate Behavior Ecology Lab

Location: Storm Hall 223 Director: Erin Riley
The Primate Behavior Ecology Lab allows for teaching and data analysis of field materials, including behavioral videos, representing multiple projects and field sites looking at primate behavioral and ecological flexibility in human-modified landscapes, ethnoprimatology and the study of human and primate interconnectedness through ecological and social impacts of human and primate interactions, primate conservation, and ethics of field primatology.  The current research programs provide both graduate and advanced undergraduate international research and training opportunities in Indonesia. 

Archaeological Hub

The Computational Archaeology Lab

Location: Hardy Tower 62/66 Director: Isaac Ullah
The main focus of the lab is on research into the origins of coupled human and natural systems using open-science computational approaches such as Open Source GIS, Agent Based Modeling, Imagery Analysis, and Statistical Computing. The second focus of the lab is on geoarchaeology, micro-refuse analysis, and sediment analysis. Facilities include six Ubuntu Linux computer workstations with installations of GRASS GIS, QGIS, Image-J, R, Scientific Python, Open Drone Map, Meshlab, NetLogo, RePast, PyABM, and much more. Additional resources include a Puget Systems "Peak" HPC workstation for parallel and high-performance computing, an aerial drone with multispectral camera, an artifact photography/photgrammetry station, high precision Bluetooth GPS units, mobile tablets for field data collection, a full set of nesting geologic sieves, a mechanical sieve shaker, a precision balance, USB microscopes, wacom digitizing tablets, and other geoarchaeological, archaeological, and computational lab tools.

Environmental Anthropology & Archaeology Lab (EAAL)

Location: Hardy Tower 135 and 137 Directors: Todd Braje and Matthew Lauer
The lab is devoted to understanding human-environmental relationships through time and space. Facilities include an HP Designjet 510 48in large-format plotter, two PCs that have GIS, remote sensing, and statistical software including ArcGIS and SPSS, and three Trimble Geoexplorer GPS receivers. The EAL shares facilities with the geography department's Center for Earth Systems Analysis Research (HUCESARUH) lab. CESAR has extensive resources such as graphics (Adobe Photoshop), remote sensing, and modeling software, large format color plotters (HP 5500ps Designjet), and mapping-grade scanners and digitizers.

Historical Archaeology/Maya Research Lab (HAMR)

Location: Hardy Tower 70 and 70A Directors: Seth Mallios and Joseph Ball
The Historical Archaeology/Maya Research Lab is a dual teaching/research workspace for studies in Historical and Maya Archaeology. The Historical Archaeology Lab contains collections from the Nate Harrison (2004-08) and Whaley House (2007-11) excavations as well as material from the San Diego Gravestone Project and the Archaeology of SDSU Project. The Maya Research Lab houses several extensive reference and study collections of archaeological ceramics and lithic artifacts from southeastern Mexico (Campeche and Yucatan), northern Belize, and western Belize available both for comparative purposes and for individual independent research projects. There is also an ethnographic collection of Maya domestic pottery, incensarios, and other material culture made in the late 1960s and early 1970s. On site equipment includes two computer setups with accompanying scanners and printers, both computers with Access and Paradox database software and standard Office applications, and both holding the extensive artifactual and contextual catalogues and databases from the 1984-1994 and 1997-2000 SDSU Belize archaeological programs and the 2003-2005 SDSU-Universidad Autónoma de Campeche archaeological field program.

Zooarchaeology Research Lab

Location: Hardy Tower 64 Director: Nicole Mathwich
The Zooarchaeology Research Lab is a research and teaching space for studies in zooarchaeology and the study of animal remains at archaeological sites. The lab contains reference specimens and collections used for student research, and students will find support for their work in training and lab resources. Facilities include modern reference skeletons, microscope, scales, calipers, micro-drill, osteology reference books, photography equipment, and a computer workstation with Image-J, R, Adobe Creative Suite, and SPSS. As the newest archaeology lab space, the Zooarchaeology Research Lab is eminently adaptable to student interests in zooarchaeology.

Collections and Centers

SDSU Archeology Collections Management Program

Location: Hardy Tower 69 and 71 Director: Jaime Lennox
The mission of the collections management program is to preserve and curate artifacts and their associated documents for academic research, public education, and use by Native Americans and others. Archaeological collections curated at SDSU represent a significant resource for research and education. Collections Management has an active research program with opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to undertake independent studies and internships. Opportunities to learn about local archaeology, artifact identification, exhibitions, curation, and federal and state regulations are abundant. The collections management program also has an active education outreach program where experienced graduate students bring artifacts to the classroom for an interactive hands-on experience.

South Coastal Information Center

Location: Arts and Letters 106 Director: Seth Mallios
SCIC operates under contract with the State Office of Historic Preservation in response to federal (National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act) and state legislation (California Environmental Quality Act) enacted to provide for the preservation of historic resources. The major function of the SCIC is to accumulate and distribute archaeological and historical information in the form of archaeological site records, maps, reports, and electronic data for the San Diego and Imperial counties