Archaeological Research Facility

The mission of the Archaeological Research Facility (ARF) is to encourage and carry out archaeological field and laboratory research conducted by U.C. Berkeley archaeologists and related specialists. As a field of research, archaeology is inherently interdisciplinary and collaborative; not only are there intimate research collaborations among natural scientists, social scientists and/or humanities scholars, but archaeology is practiced by scholars who expectedly hold faculty and/or research positions in a variety of departments, ranging from Classics to the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.

Currently, 36 U.C. Berkeley faculty members from 10 departments and Organized Research Units are active participants in the Facility that is located in the 2251 College Building on the U.C. Berkeley campus. Thus, as an Organized Research Unit, the Archaeological Research Facility (ARF) has as its mission to make efficient use of resources, including laboratory facilities, to practitioners across campus; to develop resources and programs that benefit numerous scholars and their students, and thus to minimize duplication while being able to expand the requisite support - laboratory, equipment, funding - for an active, international field discipline such as archaeology.

Archaeological Research Facility image

The Archaeological Research Facility has experienced growth and increasing health, particularly over the past 8 years. A newsletter has been developed; the mailing list is well over 1000; guidelines and committees to oversee the administration of over $1,000,000.00 in endowments have been established; the publications income has been doubling, external grant totals have continued to increase and graduate student research can now be facilitated and supported through extramural grants and endowments; an educational outreach program has been initiated; new collaborative teaching and research relationships have been established among Berkeley and wider University of California archaeologists and researchers; and scholars of international repute, drawing crowds of over 400, have been among the sponsored lectures. We are particularly pleased that we have been able to develop such an expanded repertoire of scholarship and research, given what is without question a "bare bones" budget.

The Director of the Archeological Research Facility is Anthropology Professor Christine Hastorf. The Facility is supported by Nico Tripcevich (Laboratory Manager) and Sarah Kansa (Program Associate).

The Facility is governed by an Advisory Committee, appointed annually by the Vice Chancellor for Research's office upon the recommendation of the Director which consists of at least 5 members, to be drawn from a variety of departments or units on campus. There is a 3-person Publications Committee, to work with the Editor and oversee publications decisions and plans; and a Stahl Endowment Review Committee.

Christine Hastorf
(510) 664-4498
Mailing address

2251 College Building, Berkeley, CA 94720-1076

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the campus.
May 7, 2019
Diane Samson
A team of archaeologists has discovered a 1,000-year-old leather bag, believed to belong to a shaman, in a cave in the Bolivian Andes, and chemical analysis has determined that it contained at least five powerful hallucinogens. The chemical analysis was led by Melanie Miller, a researcher at Berkeley's Archaeological Research Facility. Inside the bag was a smaller pouch made from three fox snouts, and it contained cocaine, benzoylecgonine, harmine, bufotenine, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and psilocin. Harmine and DMT are the key ingredients of what is now consumed as ayahuasca, an enormously powerful and emetic drink that originated in the Amazon jungle and is now trendy among people seeking spiritual awakening. Other paraphernalia inside the bag included snuffing tablets for crushing plants, and a snuffing tube to smoke them. The leather bag's age was determined through accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dating, and the substances were analyzed by liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. The discovery provides the first evidence that ancient peoples in South America used different plants to produce hallucinogenic effects, and it adds to the evidence that people have used psychotropic drugs ritualistically for at least 1,000 years. For more on this, see our press release at Berkeley News. Stories on this topic have appeared in dozens of sources around the world, including the Independent (UK), Daily Mail (UK), Indian Express, Rio Times (Brazil), Mirror (UK), New Atlas, Newstrotteur (France), Satoshi Nakamoto Blog, and Inverse.