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Katelyn J. Bishop

Assistant Professor


I am an anthropological archaeologist (and zooarchaeologist) who studies human-animal relationships throughout the Americas, with a specific focus in the North American Southwest. My research has spanned the last 4,000 years of the human past, ranging geographically from New Mexico, Arizona, California, Guatemala, and Mexico. The majority of my research has focused on the non-"economic" relationships between people and animals, the active role that living animals and animal products played in maintaining or negotiating social organization and status, and the importance of birds in past societies.

My current research examines the value of birds in the Pueblo region of the Southwest, specifically in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico between 800 and 1150 CE. I approach my research from a zoontological perspective, acknowledging the mutually-influential nature of human-animal interactions in the past. Consequently, I have also explored the ways in which animal agency constrained and affected human-bird interactions.

I work extensively with museum collections, archival documents, and legacy data. My research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society.

I am fortunate to be involved in many collaborative projects, on such topics as agricultural strategies, soil salinity, and water control in Chaco Canyon; the value of historic legacy collections and archival data in archaeological research; the pan-Southwest significance of macaws; and the Agricultural Demographic Transition in the New World.


I supervise the Zooarchaeology Laboratory, which provides opportunities and space for undergraduate and graduate research.


Research Interests

Zooarchaeology; Social Zooarchaeology; North American Southwest; Mesoamerican archaeology; human-animal relationships; animal agency; avifauna; social and ceremonial organization; diet; collections-based research, legacy collections, archival research.



B.A., University of Virginia, 2011

M.A. University of California, Los Angeles, 2014

Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, 2019


Courses Taught

ANTH 105- World Archaeology

ANTH 220 Introduction to Archaeology

ANTH 310 Archaeology of Food

ANTH 315- Archaeology of the American Southwest

ANTH 450 - Zooarchaeology


Additional Campus Affiliations

Assistant Professor, Anthropology
Affiliate, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Recent Publications

Hanson, K. E., Fladd, S. G., Oas, S. E., & Bishop, K. J. (2024). The Social Construction of Backdirt in Chaco Archaeology. Journal of Field Archaeology, 49(2), 129-139.

Lesure, R. G., Sinensky, R. J., Schachner, G., Wake, T. A., & Bishop, K. J. (2021). Large-Scale Patterns in the Agricultural Demographic Transition of Mesoamerica and Southwestern North America. American Antiquity, 86(3), 593-612.

Bishop, K. J., Wake, T. A., & Blake, M. (2018). Early Formative Period Bird Use at Paso de la Amada, Mexico. Latin American Antiquity, 29(2), 311-330.

Bishop, K. J., & Fladd, S. G. (2018). Ritual Fauna and Social Organization at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon. KIVA, 84(3), 293-316.

McCool, J. P. P., Fladd, S. G., Scarborough, V. L., Plog, S., Dunning, N. P., Owen, L. A., Watson, A. S., Bishop, K. J., Crowley, B. E., Haussner, E. A., Tankersley, K. B., Lentz, D., Carr, C., & Thress, J. L. (2018). Soil analysis in discussions of agricultural feasibility for ancient civilizations: A critical review and reanalysis of the data and debate from Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. PloS one, 13(6), Article e0198290.

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