Andrew Somerville

Assistant Professor of Anthropology


Dept:World Languages And Cultures
Office:3244 Pearson
505 Morrill Rd.
Ames IA

Area of expertise: bioarchaeology, environmental archaeology, human osteology, Mesoamerican archaeology, stable isotope analysis

Topics of interest: Anthropology of food and foodways, complex societies, origins of agriculture, origins of social inequality, resilience and sustainability


I am a biological anthropologist and archaeologist. I received a PhD in anthropology from the University of California, San Diego, and spent a year as a UCMEXUS postdoctoral research fellow at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City. Currently, I am an Assistant Professor of Anthropology in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at Iowa State University where I direct the Paleoecology Laboratory and serve as coordinator of the Forensic Science Certificate Program.

My research focuses on pre-Hispanic societies Mexico and explores long term patterns of social change in relation to the constraints and opportunities provided by environmental and climatic conditions. My studies employ multiple methods including stable isotope analysis and archaeological field excavations. Ongoing projects include a study of the origins of agriculture in the Tehuacan Valley of Puebla, Mexico and the "collapse" of the ancient city of Teotihuacan in central Mexico.

I am currently looking for motivated M.A. students for projects on Mesoamerican archaeology, bioarchaeology, stable isotope research, paleoenvironment, and paleodiet.

Recent / Major Publications

  • Somerville, Andrew D., Isabel Casar, Joaquin Arroyo-Cabrales (2021) New AMS radiocarbon ages from the Preceramic levels of Coxcatlan Cave, Puebla, Mexico: A Pleistocene occupation of the Tehuacan Valley? Latin American Antiquity Vol. 32(3).

  • Somerville, Andrew D. and Nawa Sugiyama (2021) Why Were New World Rabbits Not Domesticated? Animal Frontiers. Special issue: Animal domestications: from distant past to current development. Vol. 11(3): 62-68.

  • Fauvelle, Mikael and Andrew D. Somerville (2021) Spatial and temporal variation in fisher-hunter-gatherer diets in southern California: Bayesian modeling using new baseline stable isotope values. Quaternary International. Vol. 601(10): 36-48.

  • Somerville, Andrew D., Andrew W. Froehle, Margaret J. Schoeninger (2018) Environmental influences on rabbit and hare bone isotope abundances: implications for paleoenvironmental research. Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology, (497) 91-107.