LuAnn Wandsnider
Professor and Associate Director of SGIS Anthropology


I am an anthropologically trained archaeologist and methodologist. I have researched how archaeologists interpret time–averaged assemblages. I am also interested in how individual-family-group interactions affect individual, family, and group successes in different contexts, such as Hellenistic-Roman southern Turkey and the historic Central Plains.

These interests have led me to attempt to develop explore how supra-generational social processes unfold, so as to probe the conditions under which material expressions for these processes become archaeologically visible. In this light, I have assembled geospatially linked historical documents to create a laboratory for late 19th C Custer County, Nebraska. Questions currently under consideration include:

  • Which social conditions and processes affect resiliency in historic Central Plains human populations? What are the material consequences of these processes?
  • Under what conditions might individuals and groups use material culture, e.g., houses, to project identity and competency and how do these affect community formation?
  • When confronted by environmental and social challenges, what responses do we see and what are their material manifestations?

Related research focuses on how humans register and interpret material signals. I use signaling theory and understandings of materiality and perception to explore this topic.

Research and Current Projects

  • Big House on the Prairie: Domestic architecture signals settler competence in 19th C Custer County, Nebraska
  • With Matthew Douglass and Simon Holdaway: Interpreting Surface Archaeology
  • With Michael Hoff: Hellenistic community formation in Western Rough Cilicia (southern Turkey)

I welcome student involvement in any of these projects.


  • ANTH 432/832 History and Philosophy of Archaeology
  • ANTH 481/881 Landscape Archaeology
  • ANTH 484/884 Data Analysis in Archaeology

Selected Publications

2019 Napier, Tiffany, Mathew Douglass, LuAnn Wandsnider and Ronald Goble
The Sand Hills Cultural Landscape in Response to a Fluctuating Environment during and after the Medieval Climate Anomaly. Plains Anthropologist 63(245): 46-66. (

2017 Field, Sean, Matt Waite, and LuAnn Wandsnider
The Utility of UAVs for Archaeological Surface Survey: A Comparative Study. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 13:577-582.

2015 Wandsnider, LuAnn
On Complementarity of Practice, Scale, and Structure: Scalar Aspects of Social/Material Space in Anatolian Peri-Urban Contexts in Antiquity. Solicited as part of a dialogue on social practice theory and urban formation. Archaeological Dialogues 22(2):149-156.

2015 Wandsnider, LuAnn and Lauren Nelson
Monumental Civic Architecture Signals Group Identity, Affiliation, and Effective Collective Action: Prospects for Investigation in the Greek Cities of Late Hellenistic and Early Roman Asia Minor as Explored for Roman Aphrodisias. In Landscape and Identity, edited by Kurt Springs, pp. 55-69. Oxford, BAR International Series 2709.

2015 Wandsnider, LuAnn
“Fighting over a Shadow?”: Hellenistic Greek cities and Greco-Roman cities as Fora and Media for Multi-level Social Signaling. In Urban Dreams, Urban Realities, edited by Adam Kemezis, pp. 69-98. Leiden, Brill.

2014 Wandsnider, LuAnn
Lewis Roberts Binford. Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology (on-line and print). Springer, New York.

2013 Douglass, Matthew A. and LuAnn Wandsnider
Fragmentation Resistant Measures of Chipped Stone Abundance and Size: Results of an Experimental Investigation of the Impact of Cattle Trampling Surface Chipped Stone Scatters. Plains Anthropologist 226:13-25.

2013 Wandsnider, LuAnn
Public Benefactions in Western Rough Cilicia: Insights from Signaling Theory. In Current Research in Western Rough Cilicia, edited by M. Hoff and R. Townsend, pp. 170-181. Oxbow Press, Oxford.

2008 Rauh, N.K., R. F. Townsend, M. C. Hoff, M. Dillon, M. W. Doyle, C. A. Ward, R. M. Rothaus, H. Caner, U. Akkemik, L. Wandsnider, F. S. Ozaner, C. D. Dore
Life in the Truck Lane: Urban Development in Western Rough Cilicia. Jahreshefte des Österreichischen Archäologischen Institutes in Wien 78: 253-312.

2008 Holdaway, Simon J. and LuAnn Wandsnider (editors)
Time in Archaeology: Time Perspectivism Revisited. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

2008 Holdaway, Simon J. and LuAnn Wandsnider
Introduction. In Time in Archaeology: Time Perspectivism Revisited, edited by S. Holdaway and L. Wandsnider, pp. 1-12. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

2008 Wandsnider, LuAnn
Time-Averaged Deposits and Multi-temporal Processes in the Wyoming Basin, Intermontane North America: A Preliminary Consideration of Land Tenure in Terms of Occupation Frequency and Integration. In Time in Archaeology: Time Perspectivism Revisited, edited by S. Holdaway and L. Wandsnider, pp. 61-93. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. University of New Mexico (Albuquerque), 1989
  • M.S. Anthropology, University of New Mexico (Albuquerque), 1981
  • B.S. Anthropology, Geology, University of Wisconsin (Madison), 1979

Research Interests

Archaeological method and theory; Pre-Columbian Archaeology of the North American Central and High Plains; Hellenistic-Roman Asia Minor; time in archaeology; costly signaling in Hellenistic-Roman Asia Minor and historic homesteading Nebraska.


Curriculum Vitae