Special Facilities and Resources

UC San Diego and the Department of Anthropology have several facilities on campus which provide faculty and students with the space and equipment to engage in research across several fields of study.

Archaeological Anthropology Labs

South American Archaeology Laboratory

The South American Archaeology Laboratory houses the field and laboratory archives of the Moquegua Archeological Survey (1993-2000) and the Rio Muerto (2006-2009) and Omo archaeological projects (2010-2014) in Peru, and the Azapa Valley Archaeological survey in Chile (1991-92). The lab is affiliated with the Museo Contisuyo of Moquegua Peru and the Museo San Miguel de Azapa of Arica, Chile, where complete archaeological collections are housed for analysis. South American lab research focuses on regional, intersite and intrasite spatial analysis, artifact analysis, paleoclimate studies, and cartography, architectural reconstruction, and 3D visualization in association with the Geisel library GIS lab. The lab coordinates sample export and specialized student training in affiliated labs on ceramic sourcing, textile analysis. paleoethnobotany, archaeozoology, fluvial and groundwater geomorphology, isotopic paleodiet and migration studies, biological distance and paleopathology and radiocarbon dating.

The lab is the UC San Diego base for graduate student research, the UC San Diego Archaeological Field School in Peru and the “Archaeological Workshop” undergraduate research courses. Undergraduates also participate in lab research as volunteers, and through the McNair fellowship, Faculty Mentor and Anthropology Honors programs.

For more information please contact Lab Director, Dr. Paul Goldstein.

Location: Social Sciences Research Building (SSRB) Room 343

Mesoamerican Archaeology Laboratory


The Mesoamerican Archaeology Laboratory is a special facility with microscopes for analyzing use-wear patterns on stone tools and an analytical balance equipped for making density measurements used to source obsidian artifacts. Other equipment includes printers, scanners, and computers with special software for high definition digital video editing.

For more information please contact Dr. Geoffrey E. Braswell.

Location: Social Sciences Research Building (SSRB) Rooms 315B and 348

Levantine and Cyber-Archaeology Laboratory


The Levantine and Cyber-Archaeology Laboratory focuses on archaeological investigations concerning the evolution of societies in the southern Levant from the Neolithic to Islamic periods. Most of the data we analyze comes from our own excavations in Jordan, Israel and Greece. However, some exciting contemporary ethnoarchaeology is being done in India to help build models for the past. Currently, the Lab's main field activities focus on the role of ancient mining and metallurgy on social change in southern Jordan's Faynan district during the Iron Age (c. 1200 - 500 BCE), with other work focused on the Medieval Islamic periods.

Through our partnership with CALIT2 and the Center for Cyber-Archaeology and Sustainability,  we are able to employ some of the most cutting edge information technology and computer-based visualization tools to our laboratory research. This includes three dimensional artifact scanning, immersive virtualization of excavations, and ultra-high resolution imaging in order to facilitate our research aims.

For more information, contact the Lab Director, Dr. Thomas E. Levy.

Graduate Students and Data Processing: Social Sciences Building (SSB) Room 130
Pottery Lab: Social Sciences Research Building (SSRB) Room 314
Osteology Lab: Social Sciences Research Building (SSRB) Room 315

Center for Cyber-Archaeology and Sustainability (CCAS)

The Center for Cyber-Archaeology and Sustainability (CCAS) explores new digital approaches to research, conservation and teaching for world cultural heritage through development of innovative data capture, curation, analyses, and dissemination over the Internet and scientific visualization facilities.  Student oriented, research focused, the center aims to be a data repository for cultural heritage research around the world.  This project is in line with UC San Diego’s new Strategic Plan (Goal 3) – Nurturing and supporting a collaborative and interdisciplinary research culture that advances the frontiers of knowledge, shapes new fields, and disseminates discoveries that transform lives.  This is especially related to the grand research theme of understanding and protecting the planet because cultural resources, like natural resources, are limited and must be conserved.  Cyber-archaeology (the marriage of archaeology, computer science, engineering, and the natural sciences) offers 21st century solutions for helping to solve these problems.

Theoretical Agenda: Study relationship between human behavior and material culture in all times and all places.  Takes a transdisciplinary perspective that goes beyond the confines of archaeology and contributes to all aspects of the Behavioral Sciences, other fields, and society in general.  Using information technology and telecommunications, develop sustainable models for conservation of world cultural heritage.

Mission: Student centered, research driven, the Center for Cyber-Archaeology and Sustainability will be housed at the Qualcomm Institute, which is poised to share, adopt, and develop new technologies for domain driven projects from Social Science and other fields focused on studies of material culture. 

For more information, contact the Center Director, Dr. Thomas E. Levy.

Location: 2nd Floor, Atkinson Hall, Qualcomm Institute

Linguistic Anthropology Labs

Linguistic Anthropology Laboratory


The Linguistic Anthropology Laboratory is a research facility, established in 2006, providing equipment and a research environment for state of the art analysis of language, culture, and society, especially using audio, video, and photographic recordings of natural interaction. The laboratory has a variety of workstations, both PC and Mac, for multimodal editing and analysis, as well as a high speed network and large capacity server for storing and sharing high quality digitized materials. The lab also has excellent projection and sound facilities and thus can serve as a seminar room for classes and group discussions. Anthropology students and faculty with interest in multimodal recording and analysis are encouraged to use the laboratory, which has lockable individual storage spaces, and also a small kitchen facility.

For more information please contact Dr. John B. Haviland.

The Tuzin Archive for Melanesian Anthropology

The Tuzin Archive for Melanesian Anthropology is an internationally-known research collection, founded in 1982 by professors, Donald F. Tuzin (1945-2007) and Fitz John Porter Poole (1941-2002), in partnership with the UC San Diego Library. Early co-funding for the Archive was provided under the Title II-C program of the U.S. Department of Education, with additional funding from the Wenner-Gren Foundation.  On-going support is provided by the Library.  The Archive is curated by librarian Cristela Garcia-Spitz.

The Tuzin Archive is comprised primarily of unpublished materials from individual anthropologists, documenting research on the cultures of the southwest Pacific Islands. Formats in the component collections include manuscripts, photographs, sound recordings, film and video, correspondence, and other supporting documentation, comprising over 300 linear feet of materials.  It is housed in and administered through the Special Collections & Archives, located in the Geisel Library building.   

Digitization of images from the Tuzin Archive has been a priority in recent years, with the work being carried out under the auspices of the Library’s Digital Library Development Program. The results, over 10,000 images, texts, and videos (with more items being added all the time), may be viewed through the Digital Collections website

The UC San Diego Library also makes an ongoing effort to sustain an in-depth and comprehensive library collection of monographs, dissertations, government documents, and journals on Melanesia.  This collection is also an important research resource and is used by scholars from across the globe. 

For more information please contact Librarian Cristela Garcia-Spitz.

Biological Anthropology Labs

Paleodiet Laboratory

Human Comparative Neuroanatomy Laboratory

For more information about the Human Comparative Neuroanatomy Laboratory, please contact Dr. Semendeferi.

Ugalla Primate Project Laboratory

For more information about the Ugalla Primate Project Laboratory, please contact Dr. Moore.

Genetic Anthropology Lab

The genetic anthropology lab includes general genetic anthropology lab equipment, for the purpose of extracting, amplifying, and sequencing DNA to answer questions of anthropological interest. The lab also contains a Pyromark Q24 and all accessory equipment for the primary purpose of assaying DNA methylation levels. Pyrosequencing is a technique which enables sensitive quantification of methylation status at individual nucleotides, though the technique can also be used for other purposes, eg. genotyping, obtaining ploidy levels, and mixed genotypes in heterogeneous samples (e.g. tumor and normal cells).

For more information, contact Dr. Amy Non.

Location: Social Science Research Building 339 (SSRB 339)

 Psychological-Medical Anthropology Labs

Psychological-Medical Anthropology Laboratory

Psychological-Medical Anthropology seeks to understand the psychological dimension of being human as an integral and dynamic part of social and cultural life.

For more information and an overview of our activities and of research and training opportunities, please visit The Psychological-Medical Anthropology Lab.