David Killick

About David Killick

I have taught at the University of Arizona since 1991. I was the first hire in W. David Kingery's Culture, Science and Technology Program and taught the history and sociology of technology in both the College of Social Sciences and the College of Engineering. At that time I did mostly ethnoarchaeological and archaeological research on African iron smelting technology. From 2003 to 2008 I coordinated the NSF/University of Arizona IGERT Program in Archaeological Sciences, which has so far produced 28 PhDs. Since 2009 my research has mostly moved away from archaeometallurgy. I provide the expertise in optical petrography for studies of the provenance of low-fired pottery in Botswana, New Caledonia and the southwestern USA, and collaborate with isotope geochemist Joaquin Ruiz and a bunch of talented current and former advisees to use lead and strontium isotopes for provenance of non-ferrous metals, turquoise, and lead glazes in the southwestern USA and in Africa.  I am an Advisory Editor of the Journal of Archaeological Science, and a member of the Editorial Boards of American Anthropologist, Archaeometry, Journal of African Archaeology, Advances in Archaeological Practice and Ethnoarchaeology. I am strongly influenced by the World History movement, and apply its comparative perspective to the history and prehistory of technology worldwide. I am also an Adjunct Professor in Materials Science and Engineering and a contributing faculty member to their program in Conservation Science.

Selected Publications

David Killick (2019). Edwin Wilmsen's contributions to ethnoarchaeology. Ethnoarchaeology https://doi.org/10.1080/19442890.2019.1573288

Phenyo Thebe, Anne Griffiths, , Goitseone Molatlhegi, Edwin Wilmsen and David Killick (2018). Making pots in Manaledi: people, material and history.  Botswana Notes and Records 50:44-58.

Brunella Santarelli, Shelia Goff, David Killick, Kari Schleher and David Gonzales (2018). Lead isotope ratios of Pueblo I lead-glazed ceramics from Colorado and Pueblo II galena from Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 23:634-645.

Esther Echenique, Emily Stovel and David Killick (2018). Exploring operatonal chains and technological styles in the production of domestic polished wares from San Pedro de Atacama, Chile. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 21:771-782.

Alyson M. Thibodeau, Leonardo López Luján, David J. Killick, Frances F. Berdan, Joaquin Ruiz (2018). Was Aztec and MIxtec Turquoise Mined in the American Southwest? Science Advances 2018 (4) eaas9370 - open access here

Liu Siran, Chen Kunlong, Thilo Rehren, Mei Jianjun, Chen Jianli, Liu Yu and David Killick (2018). Lead isotopes and metal source of Shang bronzes: A response to Sun et al.’s comments Archaeometry 60:1040-1044.
Liu Siran, Chen Kunlong, Thilo Rehren, Mei Jianjun, Chen Jianli, Liu Yu and David Killick (2018). Did China import metals from Africa in the Bronze Age? Archaeometry 60(1):105-117.
Saul Hedquist, Alyson Thibodeau, John Welch and David Killick (2017). Canyon Creek revisited: new investigations of a Late Prehispanic turquoise mine (Arizona, USA).  Journal of Archaeological Science 87:44-58.
David Killick  (2017).  Tracing Ingombe Ilede's trade connections. Antiquity 91(358):1087-1088. (Invited comment on Susan Keech McIntosh and Brian Fagan, Redating the Ingombe Ilede burials, pp. 1069-1077.)


Courses Taught

I will be on leave from May 2019 until January 2020.

ANTH 637. Archaeological Methods. Next: Spring 2020. (Co-ordinator for seminars led by many of the archaeology faculty).

ANTH/CLAS/NES/MSE 474/574. Archaeometry.  Next: Fall 2020. (Survey of a wide range of scientific methods in archaeology).

ANTH/AFAS 329. Peoples and Cultures of Africa. Next: Currently being taught. (Introduction to African Sudies - prehistory, history, politics, economics, health, arts, etc.).

ANTH 160A1. Patterns in Prehistory. Next: Fall 2020 (General Education - survey of world prehistory).

Optical Petrography - as Special Topics in Archaeology (ANTH 495/595A) on demand. Prerequisite: a course on mineralogy (such as MNE 510A or GEOS 306, both taught every Fall). Currently being taught.

Optical Metallography - as Special Topics in Archaeology (ANTH 495/595A) for seniors or graduate students from Anthropology and from Materials Science and Engineering. On demand.

Archaeometallurgy -  as Special Topics in Archaeology (ANTH595A) on demand.  This is a reading course: for technical training, take Optical Metallography.

Industrial Archaeology - on demand as a seminar (ANTH 696b).

African Archaeology - on demand, as independent study.

Visiting Scholars

None at present

Current PhD supervisees

Dana Drake Rosenstein - historical archaeology of southern Africa; single grain OSL dating of recent sites (< 500 years; with Jim Feathers, University of Washington); ceramic technology and provenance; archaeometric methods.  Her PhD research was partly supported by NSF Grant 0542135. She will defend her dissertation in April 2019.

Esther Echenique - Esther's doctoral dissertation research is on changes in pottery production and distribution in southern Bolivia and northern Argentina as these regions were incorporated into the Inca Empire, and is funded by a Doctoral Dissertation Grant from the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. She will defend her dissertation in April 2019.

Jay Stephens. His MA thesis constructed  a database of geological lead isotopic ratios for copper deposits in the southern half of Africa (from Katanga to central Namibia, Botswana and South Africa).  His PhD research will use this to trace the movement of copper and bronze throughout this region during the Iron Age.

Former PhD students, their dissertation topics and current locations

Brunella Santarelli (2015). Technological Analysis of Pueblo I Lead Glazed Ceramics from the Upper San Juan Basin, Colorado (ca. 700-850 CE). (Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering; co-supervised with Nancy Odegaard). Brunella's dissertation research was supported by NSF Grant 1419233.    She is now a Technical Specialist at STARC (Science and Technology in Archaeological Research Center) in the Cyprus Institute, Nicosia.

Fumie Iizuka (2013). Early Pottery in the Tropics of Panama (4500-3200 BC): Production Processes, Circulation and Diagenesis. (Co-supervised with Michael Schiffer).   Fumie is a visiting lecturer in archaeology at California State University, Merced.

Alyson Thibodeau (2012). Isotopic Evidence for the Provenance of Turquoise, Glaze Paints and Metals in the Southwestern USA. (PhD in Geosciences; co-supervised with Joaquin Ruiz). Her PhD research was funded by NSF Grant 0852270 and by the Lister Fellowship of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center. She is now an Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.

Thomas Fenn (2011). Applications of Heavy Isotope Research to Archaeological Problems of Provenance and Trade. (Co-supervised with Joaquin Ruiz).  His PhD research was funded by NSF Grant 0852270. He is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma.

Lesley Frame (2009).Technological Change in Southwestern Asia: Metallurgical Production Styles and Social Values during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age. Lesley's PhD was in Materials Science and Engineering, and was co-supervised by Pam Vandiver and myself. Her PhD research was funded by NSF Grant 0923714. She is an Assistant Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Connecticut.

Martha Morgan (2009) Reconstructing Early Islamic Maghribi Metallurgy. Martha was an Assistant Professor in the Sociology and Anthropology Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology from 2006 to 20013.

Sarah Cowie (2008) Industrial Capitalism and the Company Town: Structural Power, Biopower and Identity in Nineteenth-Century Fayette, Michigan. Her PhD research was funded by a grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Sarah is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Reno. In 2016 she was selected as a Presidential Early Career in Science and Engineering (PECASE) fellow, which will fund her research for 5 years.

Noah Thomas (2008) Seventeenth-Century Metallurgy on the Spanish Colonial Frontier: Transformations of Technology, Identity and Value. Noah lives in Ventura, California.  His PhD research was funded by NSF Grant 0606747 and by a predoctoral fellowship from the Mellon Foundation.  He published a monograph based on this research in 2018.

Khaled al-Bashaireh (2008) Chronology and Technological Styles of Nabataean and Roman Plasters at Petra (Jordan). (Co-supervised with Greg Hodgins, AMS Radiocarbon Laboratory). Khaled is a Vice Dean of the Faculty of Archaeology and Anthropology at Yarmouk University, Jordan. His PhD research was funded by NSF Grant 0808885.

Aniko Bezur (2003). Variability in Sican Copper Alloy Artifacts: Its Relation to Material Flow Patterns During the Middle Sican Period in Peru, AD 900-1100. Aniko's PhD was in Materials Science and Engineering, and was co-supervised by William Davenport, Izumi Shimada, Nancy Odegaard and myself after the death of her original supervisor, David Kingery. Her PhD research was funded by NSF Grant 9903215. Aniko is Director of Scientific Research in the Center for Conservation and Preservation, Yale University. 

Research Interests

Comparative history and prehistory of technology, with particular interest in early mining and metallurgy

African history and prehistory, with particular focus on early contacts between sub-Saharan African and the Muslim world

Provenance studies - tracing prehistoric movement of lithics, pottery, turquoise, glass and metals by geological and geochemical methods

Archaeological method and theory, with particular interest in the role of scientific methods in archaeology

David Killick's picture

Contact Information

Professor of Anthropology
Telephone: 520.621.8685
Fax: 520.621.2088
Office: Emil W. Haury Building, Room 310E
Office Hours: Fall 2018: Monday 3-4 pm, Tuesday 11-12 am


Ph.D. in Anthropology, Yale University
M.Phil in Anthropology, Yale University
B.A. (Honours) in Archaeology, University of Cape Town

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