Christina Giovas

Associate Professor

Areas of interest

Zooarchaeology; environmental archaeology; historical ecology; foraging theory; island and coastal archaeology; sustainable fisheries; species introductions; migration and island settlement; Caribbean; Oceania; stable isotope analysis; zooarchaeological methodology and quantification


  • PhD, University of Washington
  • MA, University of Washington
  • BA (honours), McGill University


I am an environmental archaeologist specializing in zooarchaeology—the study of animal remains from archaeological sites. My research focuses on ancient fisheries, non-native species introductions, and the human paleoecology of island and coastal settings, particularly the Caribbean and Oceania. I am especially interested in the dynamic interaction between culture and environment and how this has shaped biodiversity, human migration, and landscape history through time. I have conducted fieldwork in the Lesser Antilles, ABC islands, Polynesia, France, the Pacific Northwest, and Ontario.

My current research program draws on behavioral ecology and historical ecology to document long-term social-ecological relationships and the legacy effects of human environmental impacts from the deep past. As a director of the Curaçao Cultural Landscape Project (CCLP), I am collaborating with an international research team to investigate the evolution of cultural landscapes on the Caribbean island of Curaçao since first settlement more than five millennia ago. Our field program draws together zooarchaeology, paleoecology, geoarchaeology, and geophysical survey to document biodiversity and environmental change, its relationship to human land use history, and identify conservation lessons. Through the CCitRes citizen science initiative, the CCLP is working to build local research capacity by training Curaçaoan community members in archaeological techniques.

An allied research priority is the introduction of non-native species to the island Caribbean. Here, I am investigating the introduction of South American mammals to the Lesser Antilles during the pre-Columbian era, employing isotopic and zooarchaeological analyses to reconstruct animal management strategies and dispersal networks and the ecological legacy of these activities. In addition, I maintain ongoing research interests in the impact of methodology and analytic protocols on zooarchaeological interpretation and co-edited a volume on this subject, Zooarchaeology in Practice: Case Studies in Methodology and Interpretation in Archaeofaunal Analysis.

I serve as Co-Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology and sit on the editorial board of Archaeology in Oceania.


Future courses may be subject to change.