Kelsey Hanson

PhD Candidate

Kelsey Hanson

About Kelsey Hanson

Kelsey E. Hanson is a PhD Candidate specializing in the archaeology of the U.S. Southwest. Her work is dedicated to interdisciplinary and collaborative means of making the human past both accessible and relevant.

In her current work, she is particularly interested in how specialized knowledge is cultivated and circulated in communities and how this is encoded in material culture. Drawing from anthropological archaeology, Indigenous philosophy, and conservation science, Hanson’s dissertation research problematizes paint technology to understand the circulation of specialized knowledge in the rise and fall of the Chaco World of northern New Mexico (A.D. 850–1300). By treating paint technology as a material proxy for traditional knowledge, Hanson uses the circulation of paint technology to understand changing power relations through time. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, P.E.O. International, and the Getty Foundation.

Interested in learning more about Kelsey's developing dissertation research? Watch Hanson's recent Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society lecture titled: "Technologies of Capturing Color: Paint Practice and its Analysis in U.S. Southwest Material Culture" on Youtube!

Selected Publications

Hanson, Kelsey E., Steve Baumann, Theresa Pasqual, Octavius Seowtewa, and T. J. Ferguson. 2022. “This Place Belongs to Us”: Historic Contexts as a Mechanism for Multivocality in the National Register American Antiquity. DOI:

Hanson, Kelsey E. 2019. Constructing and Anchoring Waterscapes: Intersections of Post-Glacial Coastal Geomorphology, Archaeology, and Anishinaabe Ontologies in the Upper Great Lakes. The Wisconsin Archeologist 100(1&2):69–82. 

Hanson, Kelsey E., Paula L. Bryant, Autumn M. Painter, and James M. Skibo. 2019. Acorn Processing and Pottery Use in the Upper Great Lakes: An Experimental Comparison of Stone Boiling and Ceramic Technology. Ethnoarchaeology: Journal of Archaeological, Ethnographic, and Experimental Studies 11(2):1–16. DOI: 10.1080/19442890.2019.1642574

Courses Taught

Instructor of Record, School of Anthropology, University of Arizona:

  • ANTH LAS MAS 334A: Mesoamerican Civilizations: Maya, Summer 2021
  • ANTH AIS 346: Clovis to Coronado: Ancient Peoples of the Southwest, Spring 2021
  • ANTH 160A1: World Archaeology, Summer 2020

Teaching Associate, School of Anthropology, University of Arizona:

  • ANTH 160A1: World Archaeology, Fall 2019
  • ANTH 265: Human Evolution, Spring 2017
  • ANTH AIS 346: Clovis to Coronado: Ancient Peoples of the Southwest, Fall 2016

Teaching Assistant, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois State University:



2018–Present, Graduate Research Associate, cyberSW

2018–Present, Principal Investigator and Survey Director, Cave Creek Canyon Archaeological Cave SurveyFriends of Cave Creek Canyon

2019, Lithics Lab Director and Field Supervisor, Upper Gila Preservation Archaeology Field SchoolArchaeology Southwest

2017–2020, Graduate Research Associate, Inscription Rock Archaeological District National Register Nomination Team Lead, El Morro National Monument

2016–2017, Graduate Research Associate, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument National Register Nomrination Team Lead, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

2016, Field Intern, Basketmaker Communities Project, Crow Canyon Archaeological Center

2014–2016, Graduate Research Assistant, Grand Island Archaeological Program, Illinois State University and Hiawatha National Forest


Research Interests

North American archaeology (emphasis in the U.S. Southwest); Paint technology; Performance; Social inequality; Power dynamics; Experimental archaeology