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Kelly J. Knudson
University of Wisconsin at Madison, Ph.D., 2004
Assistant Professor

SHESC Themes: Societies and Their Natural Environments; Urban Societies; Culture, Heritage and Identity; Global Dynamics and Regional Interactions

Field specializations: archaeology, bioarchaeology, complex societies, core-periphery interactions, ethnoarchaeology, identity and differentiation, human environment interaction, material science, migration, physical anthropology, quantitative methods

Regional focus: North America: Northwest, North America: Southwest


About Research
In her Andean Residential Mobility through Bone Chemistry project, Kelly J. Knudson combines archaeological chemistry and bioarchaeology to investigate Andean political integration and expansion during the Middle Horizon (AD 500-1000). By analyzing chemical signatures of migration in human tooth enamel and bone, she and her colleagues have elucidated the role of residential mobility in the Tiwanaku polity. She is currently examining expansion and colonization in the contemporaneous Wari polity of the Central Andes. In addition to her work with political integration and expansion, she uses bone chemistry in life history studies of individuals from the Tiwanaku and Wari polities as well as the Inka empire (AD 1400-1532). By identifying the geographic origin and life histories of individuals interred as dedicatory offerings, human sacrifices, and trophy heads in the Andes, the role of ritual activity in political integration can be elucidated. Finally, she is examining the relationship between identity, geographic origin and material culture at Tiwanaku-affiliated sites.

In addition, she investigates long-term changes in subsistence behavior and human-environment interactions in western Alaska. In this research project, Alaskan Activity Area Analysis: Combining Archaeological Chemistry and Ethnoarchaeology, she is investigating changing subsistence practices at contemporary and archaeological seasonal subsistence camps with her colleague, Lisa Frink. More specifically, Knudson uses multi-element analysis of soils that have been anthropogenically altered in order to document the soil signatures of specific activities and then identify those activities in archaeological soil samples.

Knudson completed her graduate work in the Anthropology Department at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where her dissertation was entitled, “Tiwanaku Residential Mobility in the South Central Andes: Identifying Archaeological Human Migration through Strontium Isotope Analysis”. In addition, she has taught archaeology and physical anthropology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the University of Wisconsin at Fond du Lac, and Ripon College.

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About Teaching
Knudsonís transdisciplinary approach to anthropology is reflected in her approach to undergraduate and graduate teaching. Her teaching philosophy is also heavily influenced by her experiences as a liberal arts student at Beloit College and educator at Ripon College, as well as her work teaching in the University of Wisconsin system. Knudson generally teaches courses in Andean archaeology as well as archaeological chemistry, particularly bone chemistry. Her courses are academically rigorous and are designed to encourage students of a variety of backgrounds and learning styles to actively participate in their learning process. Whenever possible, she emphasizes hands-on learning experiences in archaeology and physical anthropology.

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Select Publications
Knudson, K.J., T. Tung, K.C. Nystrom, T.D. Price & P.D. Fullagar (2005)
The Origin of the Juch'uypampa Cave Mummies: Strontium Isotope Analysis of Archaeological Human Remains from Bolivia. Journal of Archaeological Science 32, 903-913. (Download pdf)

Knudson, K.J., L. Frink, B.W. Hoffman & T.D. Price (2004)
Chemical Characterization of Arctic Soils: Activity Area Analysis in Contemporary Yup'ik Fish Camps Using ICP-AES. Journal of Archaeological Science 31, 443-456. (Download pdf)

Knudson, K.J., T.D. Price, J.E. Buikstra & D.E. Blom (2004)
The Use of Strontium Isotope Analysis to Investigate Tiwanaku Migration and Mortuary Ritual in Bolivia and Peru. Archaeometry 46, 5-18. (Download pdf)

Meiggs, D.C. & K.J. Knudson (2004)
Introductory Comments to Special Section: Resolution and Refinement: Recent Advances in Archaeological Chemistry. Archaeometry 46, 1-4. (Download pdf)

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Curriculum Vitae: Download PDF

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Contact: Kelly J. Knudson

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