Claire Ebert Visiting Scholar


Claire Ebert (PhD, The Pennsylvania State University, 2017) is the Visiting Scholar in the Center for Comparative Archaeology at the University of Pittsburgh for 2017-2018. She is an anthropological archaeologist interested in the role of human-environment interactions in the emergence of cultural complexity. Her research integrates approaches from environmental archaeology, human ecology, and economic anthropology with radiocarbon dating, stable isotope geochemistry, and geochemical sourcing methods to understand local and regional trajectories of socio-economic development and the consequences of social inequality in the past. 

In conjunction with Loukas Barton, Dr. Ebert coordinates the annual Seminar in Comparative Archaeology. 

At the Center for Comparative Archaeology, Ebert’s work will focus on two projects in Belize and Croatia aimed at understanding the mechanisms driving growth of complexity among early agricultural communities. Her research in Belize examines the relationship between diet, climate change, and resilience among the ancient Maya through time. She will also be investigating the role of seasonal transhumance of livestock as a key economic development for Neolithic farming communities living on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia.

For a complete listing of research products and publications please see:

Claire Ebert @ Academia

Ebert, C. E., B. J. Culleton, J. J. Awe, and D. J. Kennett. (2016) AMS 14C dating of Preclassic to Classic Period household construction in the ancient Maya community of Cahal Pech, Belize. Radiocarbon 58(1):69-87.

Ebert, C. E., M. Dennison, K. G. Hirth, S. B. McClure, and D. J. Kennett.(2015) Formative Period obsidian exchange along the Pacific Coast of Mesoamerica. Archaeometry 57 (S1):54-73.

Ebert, C. E., K. M. Prufer, M. J. Macri, B. Winterhalder, and D. J. Kennett. (2014) Terminal long count dates and the disintegration of Classic Period Maya polities. Ancient Mesoamerica 25(2):337-356.

Seminar in Comparative Archaeology: Radiocarbon Dating

The introduction of radiocarbon dating as an analytical tool was one of the most significant advances in archaeology during the 20th century, leading to a revolution in how we think about time and social change in the past. The goal of the Comparative Seminar is to evaluate recent applications of radiocarbon dating to broader research questions about human behavior and cultural change in the archaeological record. Throughout the course, you will be introduced to a variety of approaches to radiocarbon data collection and analysis, both in theory and practice. Each seminar meeting will use case studies from the Old and New Worlds to frame discussions that address the advantages and limitations of different methodological approaches that can potentially affect the precision, accuracy, interpretation, and comparability of chronological datasets. The seminar will also cultivate your ability to apply these considerations to a range of relevant theoretical topics about site formation processes, settlement patterns, demography, and human-environment interactions. By the end of the seminar, you will have a good idea of how to apply different chronometric methods to answer your own research questions.