Kate Magargal portrait
  • Assistant Professor (Lecturer), Honors College


  • BA, Anthropology, University of Arizona
  • MS, Anthropology, University of Utah
  • PhD, Anthropology, University of Utah. Project: Subsistence fires mediate human ecological relationships.

Current Research

Interests: Archaeology, paleoecology, ethnoarchaeology, palynology, Behavioral Ecology, ecological disturbance, anthropogenic fire, science outreach and education.


Firewood Harvesting and Traditional Livelihoods

The collection and use of biomass fuels is part of humaity's global ecological legacy. Today, a third of the world's population still relies of this fuel source for daily energy needs. This project examines the specific cultural, economic, and ecological relationships between traditional firewood collectors and nearby woodlands in the four-corners region.


This research is part of CNH-L: Dynamic Impacts of Environmental Change and Biomass Harvesting on Woodland Ecosystems and Traditional Livelihoods.



Intermountain Foraging Strategies

The Intermountain West was occupied by speakers of Numic languages who lived small sociopolitical groups called bands. These populations thrived by adopting a unique strategy that included intensive pine nut processing, private property, and the management of resources with fire.

For more, see Magargal et al. (2017) The ecology of population dispersal: Modeling alternative basin-plateau foraging strategies to explain the Numic expansionAmerican Journal of Human Biology. DOI: 10.1002/ajhb.23000.


Research Summary

My goal is to apply the tools of human behavioral ecology to better understand the past in a way that helps addresses contemporary social and environmental issues. I do this with a particular focus on current and ancient land management regimes, Indigenous ecological knowledge, and land tenure.