The Lab



We actively encourage engagement with the Integrative Anthropological Sciences unit, whose facilities include the Human Biodemography Laboratory and the Human Ecological Immunology Laboratory, directed by Dr. Michael Gurven and Prof. Aaron Blackwell. 

Bone Chemistry Prep Station

The BABLab has the facilities and attendant instrumentation to prepare bone and tooth samples for subsequent isotopic analysis at UCSB (Weldeab Stable Isotope LabLASS in Earth Science).  Human and faunal bone and dental samples derive from archaeological and contemporary contexts. We primarily extract dental apatite for carbon and oxygen isotope analysis, and bone collagen for sulfer, carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis. This approach is used to reconstruct ancient or unknown diets. It can also inform on weaning practices, trends in mobility, and paleoclimate modeling.  

isotope prephood room


Componential and Elemental Analysis


For geochemical and compositional analysis, the Lab uses a new Bruker Tracer III-SD portable XRF. This instrument allows us to conduct non-destructive surface analysis of ancient materials. While traditionally this approach has been used to assess obsidian, metals, and ceramics, group members are currently investigating is applicability for ancient human hard and soft tissue. The Lab has the capacity to assay materials on a fee-per-sample basis. Contact us to inquire.


UC Santa Barbara features dozens of facilities and hundreds of pieces of specialized instrumentation for aspiring investigators

bruker tracer III



The Lab is outfitted with an Olympus stereo boom microscope and a high-magnification Olympus polarizing binocular with gooseneck light sources, suitable for skeletal and histological studies. There are also several 'student' microscopes that are used for teaching  and field research. The Integrative Subsistence Lab, directed by Prof. Amber Vanderwarker, has the requisite infrastructure in place for those interested in using high-powered microscopy, micro- and macro-botanical techniques, and zooarchaeological analyses to enhance their bioarchaeological research. Finally,we have the requisite materials to create high quality, small plaster and resin casts (i.e., teeth, cut-marks, etc.) for research and teaching. These casts would be suitable for confocal microscopy.


Spatial and Morphometric Research

The Lab has the hardware and software needed to conduct morphometric analysis of bones and other materials. There are currently three NextEngine Scanners, and one Digital Microscribe available for use. Scholars can also access total stations and handheld GPS units for fieldwork. Students employing geo-spatial analysis as part of their bioarchaeological scholarship would benefit from collaborations with The Social Archaeology Research Group, directed by Prof. Greg Wilson.

next engineDr. Wilson directs a gradiometer survey

Osteology Teaching Lab

The Osteology Teaching Lab, which occupies part of HSSB 1021, houses medical human bones, anthropoid and other animal skeletons, and a robust collection of hominid and primate casts.  Equipment includes osteometric boards, a mandibulometer, sliding and spreading calipers, light boxes for viewing radiographs, non-metric dental casts, the Suchey-Brooks pubic symphysis casts, and a variety of high-quality resin replicas of bones exhibiting pathological lesions, traumatic fractures, and cultural modifications.

bone lab



Andahuaylas Field Research Station

In partnership with the Andahuaylas Bioarchaeology Project, and the Institute for Field Research, we maintain a large, fully furnished field research station in Peru open to visiting scholars year-round. The Field Station has ample lab space outfitted for sophisticated skeletal data collection as well as more specialized analyses. There is a comprehensive reference library and professional photography equipment and lighting. In addition, there are several deep sinks for washing artifacts and extensive collections storage space.