Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Stony Brook University
Website URL
archaeology, bioarchaeology, anthropology, eastern africa, pastoralism, food production, Holocene, climate change, biological distance, population studies
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I study human remains from archaeological contexts to better understand what life was like in the past, how ancient people coped with periods of stress and transition, and what lessons we can learn from the dead. I hold a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Toronto and am currently a postdoctoral fellow at Stony Brook University in NY. My primary research focuses on how herding spread to Eastern Africa 5000 years ago, and how people living during this transition navigated issues of climate change, shifting economic and land use strategies, and contact with foreign groups. I work at a series of archaeological sites in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia as a specialist in bioarchaeology, dental morphology, biodistance, and mortuary archaeology. I also speak and write about the ethics of working with human remains, and the challenges anthropologists face ahead.

Recent Publications

Hildebrand EA, Grillo KM, Sawchuk EA, Pfeiffer S, Conyers L, Goldstein ST, Hill AC, Janzen A, Klehm C, Helper M, Kiura P, Ndiema E, Ngugi C, Shea J, Wang H. 2018. A monumental cemetery built by eastern Africa’s first herders near Lake Turkana, Kenya.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115(36): 8942-8947

Sawchuk EA, Goldstein ST, Grillo KM, Hildebrand EA. Cemeteries and the spread of pastoralism from the Sahara through eastern Africa. 2018. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 51: 187-205.

Miller JM†, Sawchuk EA†, Reedman A, Willoughby PR. Snail Shell Beads in sub- Saharan African Archaeological Record: When, Where and Why? African Archaeological Review 35(3): 347-378. († = authors contributed equally)

Prendergast ME†, Sawchuk EA†. Boots on the ground in Africa’s ancient DNA “revolution”: archaeologist perspectives on ethics and the need for best practices. Antiquity92(363): 803-815. († = authors contributed equally)

Goldstein ST, Hildebrand EA, Storozum MJ, Sawchuk EA, Lewis JE, Ngugi C, Robbins LH. New archaeological investigations at the Lothagam harpoon site at Lake Turkana.Antiquity 91 360, e5: 1-5.

2017 Biittner KM, Sawchuk EA, Miller JM, Werner JJ, Bushozi P, Willoughby PR. A Terminal Pleistocene Later Stone Age to Recent Iron Age Record at Mlambalasi Rock Shelter, Southern Tanzania. African Archaeological Review 34(2): 275-295.

2015 Sawchuk EA, Willoughby PR. 2015. Terminal Pleistocene Later Stone Age human remains from the Mlambalasi Rock Shelter, Iringa Region, Southern Tanzania.International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 25(5): 593-607.

Media Coverage
BBC, CNN, Atlas Obscura,, Discover Magazine, Ars Technica
Country Focus
Kenya, Tanzania
Expertise by Geography
Expertise by Chronology
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Environment, Local & Regional, Material Culture, Museums, Public History, Race, Science