sepb.jpg Dr. Suzanne Pilaar Birch, Director

I joined UGA in the fall of 2014 and have a joint appointment in the departments of Anthropology and Geography. In addition, I am the director of the Quaternary Isotope Paleoecology Laboratory and an adjunct curator at the Georgia Museum of Natural History. 

My academic research is focused on human adaptation and resilience to climate change and natural resource unpredictability in prehistory, and how our understanding of past human response to environmental change informs current thinking about these issues. 

I combine archaeology and biogeochemistry to investigate changes in diet, mobility, and settlement systems in the period spanning the end of the last ice age to the arrival of farming. 

I am an active advocate of open access publishing and online data and research sharing and am co-editor-in-chief of the journal Open Quaternary. I also co-founded and moderate the blog TrowelBlazers, which highlights women in the fields of archaeology, paleontology, and geology. 

My other research interests include the initial domestication of livestock, diffusion of domesticates across Eurasia, the transition from hunting to herding, seasonality and human mobility, multispecies archaeology, and advancing methodologies in zooarchaeology and stable isotope analysis. 

Questions? Get in touch!
Email: sepbirch [at]
Twitter: @suzie_birch

Graduate Students

medium_profile pic1.jpg Katharine Napora, Ph.D., Anthropology. Advisor: Dr. Victor Thompson

I am an environmental archaeologist whose research focuses on human-ecosystem interactions along both the European and North American coastlines of the Atlantic. I combine analyses of tree rings, shells and other faunal remains, and coastal palaeohydrology in order to better understand the localized manifestations of climate change episodes in the ancient past and how these shifts intersected with cultural trajectories.

medium_10377264_10103504333354710_2897815949758007364_n.jpg Danielle Haskett, Ph.D. Geography. Advisor: Dr. David Porinchu

Danielle Haskett received her B.S. in Geology in 2004 from the University of Georgia.  She spent the next six years as a gemologist studying diamonds with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). During this time she lived in New Orleans, New York, and Atlanta where she experienced three dramatic weather events that informed her decision to go to graduate school: Hurricane Katrina in 2005; a massive NYC storm in 2007 that flooded the subways and spawned tornadoes; and a 500-year flood in Atlanta in 2009.   Having experienced such dramatic influences of a warming climate first hand, she was determined to contribute to the science on global climate change.  She earned her Master’s degree in geography at the University of Georgia in 2013 and included work on a famous fossil find known as the Snowmastadon Site. She is currently working on the third year of her PhD in the geography.  She studies climatic and environmental change of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. These environments are particularly sensitive to climate change and she is interested in how glacial meltwater will affect aquatic benthic ecosystems. She is very excited that she gets to travel to high elevation lakes for research and gets to look at the microscopic remains of insects every day.

Isabelle Lulewicz, Ph.D. Anthropology. Advisor: Dr. Victor Thompson

Kelly Cronin, Ph.D. Geology. Advisor: Dr. Sally Walker

Cullen Lapointe, M.Sc. Geology. Advisor:Dr. Sally Walker


medium_maria.png  María José Rivera Araya, M.Sc. Geography 2017. Advisor: Dr. Suzanne Pilaar Birch

Education: B.A. Anthropology (Honors), B.S. Chemistry, Universidad de Costa Rica
Awards: Fulbright Foreign Student Program 2015-2016, Delta Kappa Gamma World Fellowship 2015-2016


Undergraduate Students



small_josh.jpg Josh Glass, B.A. Anthropology 2017


small_janae_0.jpg Janae Lunsford, B.A. Anthropology and History 2017

small_morrison.jpg Morrison Nolan, B.Sc. Geology and Chemistry 2017

small_laura.jpg Laura Dupont, B.Sc. Geology and Anthropology 2017

small_hannah working.jpg Hannah Trader, B.A. Anthropology 2017

small_jonah conference.jpg Jonah Buxton, B.A. Anthropology 2017


small_onyale.jpg Onyale Donloe, B.S. Biology/B.A. Anthropology 2016

small_kelly.jpg Kelly Brown, B.A. Anthropology 2015