researcher researching

Research in Anthropology

Research Programs

Departmental faculty and graduate students fit into one or more research programs (sub-fields): archaeology, biological anthropology, sociocultural anthropology, and anthropology of health.

Research Clusters

While the department covers four main Research Programs (sub-fields) in Anthropology, we also integrate these Research Programs in six key areas of expertise and investigation: Art and New Materialisms; Ecologies, Resilience and Change; Embodiment, Health and Wellbeing; Foodways, Diet and Nutrition; Heritage, History and Memory; and Migrations, Displacements and Violence. To learn more each area, click on the titles below.

Our Latest Research

anthropology research

Research Centres, Institute, Labs & Facilities

Centre for Integrated Bioarcheological Research in Health, Diet, Disease & Migration (Bioarch-HDDM)

The centre enables comprehensive analysis of human remains in one location, using the most up-to-date technological equipment and provides an essential interface between field and lab-based research.


The portability of key equipment also permits access to otherwise inaccessible collections around the world.




Visit the Bioarch-HDDM Centre

Fisheries Archaeology Research Centre (FARC)

The Fisheries Archaeology Research Centre supports research into long-term trends in fisheries production resulting from environmental change and human exploitation of fish and shellfish populations.


The work helps to address current concerns with global climate and environmental change and the effects of over-fishing in many different parts of the world.



Visit the Fisheries Archaeology Research Centre

anthropology fossil

McMaster Ancient DNA Centre

The McMaster Ancient DNA Centre approaches a wide range of evolutionary and molecular biological questions using DNA and proteins from archeological, paleontological and forensic remains.


We use state-of-the-art techniques to extract and sequence these molecules, discerning origins and population histories of a wide range of species, both extinct and extant. This allows us to follow evolution in action, directly testing models based on modern theory and observation.




Visit the Ancient DNA Centre

rock mountain, old castle

Sustainable Archaeology McMaster

Sustainable Archaeology McMaster comprises an extensive archeological collections repository and laboratory stations and provides collections access and research space for consultant archeologists, researchers and descendant community members.


The Centre emphasises materials analyses, including petrographic, biogeochemical, zooarcheological and geoarcheological studies.




Visit Sustainable Archaeology McMaster

The Archaeology Teaching Lab

This Archaeology Teaching Lab is equipped with state-of-the-art audio visual aids to facilitate teaching and student presentations, as well as all the equipment required for analytical procedures in archaeology.


The classroom is also furnished with display cases that demonstrate the archeological process and highlight artifacts from the department’s archeological research collections.


Visit the Archaeology Teaching Lab

The Shelley R. Saunders Biological Anthropology Teaching Lab

The Shelley R. Saunders Biological Anthropology Teaching Lab represents a biocultural approach to understanding the human condition. The Lab houses the department’s comprehensive teaching collection with an emphasis on human skeletal biology, paleopathology and human evolution.


Teaching themes examine the study of human diversity, biological history and human evolution, and the biocultural factors that have shaped human biology and population in the present and the past.




Visit the Shelley R. Saunders Teaching Lab

The Archaeology Library Collection

The Archaeology Library Collection Catalogue.



anthropology relics

Lab for Interdisciplinary Research on Archaeological Ceramics (LIRAC)

The Lab for Interdisciplinary Research on Archeological Ceramics was founded by Dr. Kostalena Michelaki in 2004, and is currently directed by Dr. Andy Roddick.




Visit the Archeological Ceramics Lab

McMaster Archeological XRF Lab (MAX Lab)

At the MAX Lab all artifacts are analyzed whole and non-destructively on the Thermo Scientific ARL Quant’X energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectrometer, each piece having first been cleaned in an ultrasonic tank with distilled water for ten minutes. In attempting to provenance an artefact’s raw material, we compare its chemical signature with those of source samples run by the MAX Lab under the same conditions.


At present the lab has a large range of geological samples from obsidian sources across the Eastern Mediterranean and Mesoamerica, plus smaller quantities from the Western Mediterranean, Trans-Caucasia, Japan, Peru and the US.




Visit the MAX Lab

McMaster Paleoethnobotany Research Facility (MPERF)

Research at the MPERF focuses on foodways and ethnoecology. Through generous funding provided by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the MPERF laboratories house extraction materials and microscopy equipment for macrobotanical analysis, extraction materials and microscopy equipment for microbotanical analysis, and a portable NanoRam spectrometer for limited chemical analysis of uncharred botanical specimens. Active projects include work in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Scotland, and Ontario.


Visit the Paleoethnobotany Research Facility

Sensory Ethnography Research Lab at McMaster Innovation Park

More information coming soon!