Stanford University

Director's Welcome

Dear members of the Stanford Archaeology Center community,

Dear members of the Stanford Archaeology Center community, Welcome (back) to the Stanford Archaeology Center - to our new affiliates, to those who “arrived” remotely in 2020 and early 2021, to those of us returning from remote work and study - and a special virtual welcome to those who are still away from campus under a wide range of circumstances.

Autumn 2021 events

This fall we will resume in person events, beginning with our Welcome Party (September 22, 3:30 - 5:00pm) which will be held outdoors on the Center’s front patio.

In addition to the Archaeology Workshop, Archaeology Lunch Club, and Distinguished Lecture, this fall the Center is also co-sponsoring and hosting the Department of Anthropology colloquium. Currently, we plan to offer all talks in person, with some events also having hybrid (zoom) options for attendance when feasible. For all events, food and drink will be served prior to or after the event on the Center’s front patio.

Emily Bishop, the Stanford Archaeology Center Program Manager, will be emailing each of you a set of COVID-19 safety guidelines for in-person activities at the Center. Please follow these guidelines carefully so that everyone in our community feels confident in attending our classes and events and working in our offices and laboratories.

Stanford Archaeology Center turns 20!

In 2001, the Stanford Archaeology Center was established to facilitate collaboration among archaeologists located across the School of Humanities and Sciences. In those early years, the “Center” consisted of a small conference room that could barely hold a handful of faculty, one part-time staff member, and a fast-growing cohort of graduate students.

Very quickly, the Stanford Archaeology Center became widely known as one of the leading archaeology education and research programs in the world. We are recognized especially for our cutting-edge theoretical pluralism, for our methodological innovation and empirical rigor, for our leadership in archaeological ethics, and for our collaborations with contemporary stakeholder communities. We study the past for the past’s own sake, and we study the past to engage with the conditions of the present.

To commemorate this milestone, we are currently planning several retrospective events for spring quarter, with a special focus on our many accomplished alumni.

New Programs for 2021-2022

Archaeology’s capacity to study deep history and human-environment relations, our focus on the spatial and material dimensions of social life, and our commitment to ethical and just heritage practices, are needed now more than ever.

In 2021-2022, my first priority is to support Center affiliates in returning to research, which is the core of our excellence as an interdisciplinary center. While some projects have already resumed with minimal adjustments, many others have been significantly disrupted. Please consider me and the Center staff as resources and partners as you restart, redesign, and reorient your research programs throughout 2021-2022.

Throughout this year, I will also be conducting listening sessions with small groups of faculty, post-docs, students, and staff to solicit your input about how we can best orient the Stanford Archaeology Center towards its next 20 years. How can the Center expand its role as a leading center of theoretical and methodological innovation in our discipline? How can we continue to redress archaeology’s colonial foundations, and better advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in our discipline? What opportunities lie ahead for transformative impacts, both within archaeology itself and in response to 21st century social, environmental, and political crises?

I am especially pleased to announce a two-year Initiative in Transdisciplinary Archaeology, which will provide six seed grants for new workshops, conferences, courses, and projects that are jointly led by two or more faculty belonging to different Stanford schools (Humanities and Sciences; Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences; Engineering; Medicine; Law; Education; Business; and the new school focused on climate and sustainability).

In closing....

Amidst the anticipation of returning to campus in-person, it’s important to acknowledge that many of us are deeply impacted by the disruption of the past two years, as well as by continued strain and grief related to the pandemic, racism, climate change, and recent political and international events. It might be tempting to try to move forward as if the challenges of the past two years are over, but realistically, we’ll likely need to continue to adjust to new circumstances. Please stay in good communication with me and the Center staff. Let us know what can be done to support you and other members of the Center as 2021-2022 unfolds. We also want to hear your ideas for new programs and initiatives that will deepen and expand the Stanford Archaeology Center’s impact. You can email me directly at bvoss [at]

Wish best wishes for a great start to Autumn Quarter,

Barbara L. Voss (she/they)
Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University
Director, Stanford Archaeology Center