Kent Lightfoot

Kent Lightfoot

Title
Professor
Department
Dept of Anthropology
Phone
(510) 642-1309
Research Expertise and Interest
California archaeology, coastal hunter-gatherers, North American archaeology, archaeology of colonialism, indigenous landscape management
Research Description

Kent Lightfoot is a North American archaeologist who has worked in New England, the American Southwest, and the Pacific Coast of North America. He specializes in the study of coastal hunter-gatherer peoples, culture contact research, and the archaeology of colonialism. Since joining the Berkeley faculty in 1987, his research has focused on Native Californian peoples and their encounters with early European explorers and colonists. He works primarily in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. His recent research projects include field work at Fort Ross State Historic Park, where a collaborative team of scholars are considering the long-term implications of multi-ethnic interactions between Russians, Native Alaskans, and Native Californians (primarily Kashaya Pomo and Coast Miwok) at Colony Ross (1812-1841). They are now in the process of working with California State Parks to develop and construct an interpretive trail that will highlight the indigenous and colonial histories of Fort Ross using archaeological studies, indigenous oral traditions, and ethnhohistorical sources. He is also involved in the reanalysis of archaeological collections housed in the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology from the impressive shell mounds of the bay area, which date back several thousand years. They are currently working with materials from the Ellis Landing Shell Mound (CA-CCO-295) and the West BerkeIey Shell Mound (CA-ALA-307). He is also participating in a collaborative research program with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and California State Parks on the Santa Cruz Coast that is evaluating archaeological and ecological evidence of indigenous landscape management practices, specifically the common use of prescribed burning to enhance the biodiversity, quantity, and sustainability of useful plants and animals in local habitats.

 

In the News

February 4, 2021

Indigenous archaeology plows forward, despite anthropology’s checkered past

Kent Lightfoot trained in archaeology when backhoes and front-end loaders tore through Native American sites. At the time, it didn’t occur to him that the land could actually feel pain — not until Kashaya Pomo tribal elders at Northern California’s Fort Ross Historic State Park set him straight.

In the News

February 4, 2021

Indigenous archaeology plows forward, despite anthropology’s checkered past

Kent Lightfoot trained in archaeology when backhoes and front-end loaders tore through Native American sites. At the time, it didn’t occur to him that the land could actually feel pain — not until Kashaya Pomo tribal elders at Northern California’s Fort Ross Historic State Park set him straight.
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