Who Are We?
We are the students and lab directors working on ancient materials, using archaeological science to make sense of our collective past, and we rely on the resources available through the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. The Cotsen Institute is a premier research organization dedicated to the creation, dissemination, and conservation of archaeological knowledge and heritage, and it's in the archaeological science labs where much of this work takes place.
The labs are dedicated to conducting scientific research to help answer questions about past cultures and understand how people lived and how they interacted with their environment and each other. We specialize in areas such as ancient technology, experimental archaeology, materials analysis, ancient agriculture, paleoethnobotany, and zooarchaeology.
The work we do requires the use of the latest scientific equipment to answer our research questions. With these technologies in our tool kit we have the potential to revolutionize archaeological research. Your donation will help us purchase the equipment we need to continue this important research and train the next generation of archaeological scientists.
The Challenges Facing our Students
The effects of COVID on the UCLA community and the safety measures put in place for the reopening of our labs, have presented many challenges to our research. The closure of the campus earlier this year and the current restricted access to the labs has had a huge impact on graduate student research resulting in some students not being able to complete their degrees on time. In addition, several labs do not have enough equipment available for everyone's research needs. Not having the resources we need to conduct our research, coupled with restricted access due to COVID mitigation, means some projects have been put on hold or research has been severely slowed down.
The archaeological science labs need to be equipped with the latest equipment so that we can conduct our research. We also need to have enough of these lab resources available so that graduate students and researchers have what they need to to continue their work. Having additional equipment that can be taken home so that students can conduct their research off campus is essential during this time when access is limited and resources are scarce due to the current public health crisis.
By helping the labs stay up to date with the latest technology used in archaeological science, we can make UCLA a leader in this field and provide numerous research and educational opportunities for our fellow Bruins.
How YOU Can Help
Archaeology helps us understand the rich complexity of how humans have balanced natural and social environments through time. These data and methods can be used to help meet the many challenges currently facing the world. We have much to learn from the human past and with your support, you will help us do just that!
Your generous gift will help us buy equipment that will be used to continue and improve our archaeological research. No donation is too small!
The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology is a research unit which provides collaborative space for 10 UCLA departments (Anthropology, Art History, Asian Languages and Cultures, Chicana/o Studies, Classics, Conservation, Information Studies, Materials Science and Engineering, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior). The Institute is home to 21 distinct laboratories, 32 graduate students and 35 faculty, researchers, and innovators who come together to explore and understand our common past. We aim to use this knowledge to help us answer modern-day problems. We are a large and diverse group of people with our particular interests but we are all united by our love for archaeology and appreciation of our global cultural heritage. But we don't just study the past, we also actively engage in conservation and preservation of these sites and artifacts, and we share our work through presentations, lectures, and community outreach!
Our graduate students and researchers actively participate in outreach activities around the greater Los Angeles area, visiting K-12 students to promote archaeological sciences. We are a strong advocate for not only archaeology (and Social Sciences as a whole) but also STEM fields, as so many of us use STEM driven methods to learn about past societies and human behavior. We hold annual Open House events for the general public during which our labs showcase the type of research we do and how we do it, but we also take our labs to various schools for youth outreach events. All our efforts always combine two things everyone loves - artifacts and food!
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