student works at archeological dig

Faculty Laboratories


Biological Anthropology Lab
Location: Storm Hall 225, 227, 229 and 231; AL 463 (Primate Wing) Directors: Arion Mayes, Erin Riley,and Casey Roulette

The biological anthropology lab serves as the primary location for teaching and research in biological anthropology at SDSU. The set of collections housed in the lab represents one of the best in the region. This set includes: a human anatomy collection of 15 articulated and 20-25 unarticulated skeletons; paleopathology casts; forensic casts depicting trauma, malnutrition, 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 30 hominin casts, and articulated “Lucy,” Homo erectus, 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 and processor for radiographic analysis of bone and artifacts, anthropometric equipment used in skeletal analysis, an electronic microscope, a skeletal digitizer, and a centrifuge.


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. A 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 a 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 work space 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.


San Diego State University 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 and Jaime Lennox (Coordinator)

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.


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 computer work station 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.