Russell Greaves

Curriculum Vitae

Russell Greaves portrait
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Anthropology Department


Research Summary

My training and research interests are in the comparative archaeology and ethnoarchaeologyy of hunter-gatherers and small-scale agricultural societies. I have archaeological experience in the American west. My ethnoarchaeological research includes foragers of Venezuela, agriculturalists in Mexico, and Native Americans of the Southwest. My research is multi-disciplinary, focusing on human ecology, material culture, and behavioral variability among modern and past subsistence peoples.

Research Statement


I have extensive experience in American archaeology of hunting and gathering, small scale agriculture, complex societies, and historic archaeology. I have performed CRM and research archaeology of an array of Paleoindian, Archaic, and Late Prehistoric archaeological records. I also have worked on many projects examining 17th-20th century historic period Native American, Euro-American, and African-American sites in the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, Southwest, Great Plains, and other regions. The broad geographic and temporal extent of my archaeological fieldwork gives me a strong comparative perspective on archaeological research and cultural variability. My research interests highlight technological adaptations, linking material culture to subsistence practices, and using broad comparative approaches to better understand the archaeological record. I have training and experience in lithic analysis, geoarchaeology, ethnoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, ethnobotany and paleoethnobotany, ceramic analysis, spatial analysis, and settlement studies. I have developed a vigorously interdisciplinary approach and bring a unique breadth of experience to significant ecologically based cross-cultural study of human behavior and material culture.

I have conducted long-term ethnoarchaeological and ethnographic research with the Pumé, a group of hunter-gatherers living in the savannas of Venezuela. This research is multi-disciplinary adding empirical data on the design and use of technology in relation to resource acquisition and environmental variability. I am currently engaged in ongoing ethnoarchaeological, ethnographic, and museum research. I am a senior consultant on a multiple year research project with Dr. Karen Kramer in a Yucatec Maya community in Mexico. Dr. Kramer and I also continue to collaborate on longitudinal investigations among the Pumé, comparing technology, subsistence activities, health, and demography. I also have performed ethnoarchaeological fieldwork with Navajo pastoralists in Arizona, the Hopi Tribe, the Pueblo of Acoma, the Pueblo of Laguna, the Pueblo of Santo Domingo, the Pueblo of San Felipe, and the Pueblo of Santa Ana. 

My research involves ongoing museum collections studies. I have donated a comprehensive and thoroughly documented collection of Pumé material culture to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. I also maintain research relationships with the American Museum of Natural History, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, the Smithsonian Institution, the Museo de Ciencias Naturales in Venezuela, the Musée du quai Branley in Paris, and the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève in Switzerland. I have conducted comparative analyses of collections from these institutions. I am updating detailed catalog information for all these Pumé collections, including construction details, raw material identification, native artifact names, uses, and cross-listing cross-listing each example in these museum collections. I am expanding these comparisons to collections from adjacent groups to address regional patterns of material culture variation. My research on Pumé museum collections combines data from behavior observation, archival documentation, multiple ethnographies, historic information, and material studies to address technology and cultural variability within nineteenth-twenty-first century Pumé adaptations. My research program combines the detailed observations from ethnoarchaeological research with comparisons of collections at larger temporal and geographic scales to provide perspectives on technological organization, cultural variation, and behavioral ecology unavailable from any single ethnographer’s fieldwork opportunities. This links ethnographic data with the deeper temporal resolution of the archaeological record. 

Research Keywords

  • Hunters and gatherers, Interest Level: 1
  • Small-scale agricultural societies, Interest Level: 2
  • Technology, Interest Level: 1
  • Subsistence, Interest Level: 1
  • Human evolutionary ecology, Interest Level: 1
  • Ethnoarchaeology, Interest Level: 1
  • Geoarchaeology, Interest Level: 1
  • Ethnobotany and paleoethnobotany, Interest Level: 2
  • Zooarchaeology, Interest Level: 2
  • American archaeology, Interest Level: 1
  • Ethnology, Interest Level: 1
  • Museum studies, Interest Level: 1