Marcia-Anne Dobres

Lecturer of Anthropology

Office Location

300 Bailey Hall


207 780-5321

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of California-Berkeley
  • M.A. in Anthropology, State University of New York at Binghamton
  • B.A. in Anthropology, Summa cum Laude with University Honors, New York University


Courses taught:


ANT 101 - Anthropology: The Cultural View

ANT 201 - Human Origins

ANT 202 - Origins of Civilizations

ANT 232 - Anthropology of Sex and Gender

ANT 280 - Prehistoric Art

ANT 320/TAH 399 - Anthropology and the Museum


Research Interests

My research focuses on the materiality of identity; on gender, agency,  
and technology; on Ice Age art; and on the history and sociopolitics  
of archaeology. These interests came together in my dissertation on  
the engendering of Magdalenian technology and personhood in the  
French Pyrénées, ca. 14,000 years ago. Another facet of my work  
explores the intersection of archaeology, anthropology, and pop  
culture (for example in Hollywood films, cartoons, fiction, and even  
museum gift shops) and with how cultures (past and present) are  
portrayed in museums of natural history. In this regard, I use the  
lens of philosophy and critical theory to understand how the  
technoscientific project of capitalism shapes our understandings and  
our representations of the past. My archaeological research has been  
conducted primarily in France and South Africa, while my museum  
research allows me travel the world.

Recent Publications



under contract Fifty Key Twentieth Century Archaeologists. Routledge: London.

2000 Technology and Social Agency: Outlining a Practice Framework for  
Archaeology. Blackwell: Oxford.

2000 Agency in Archaeology. Routledge: London. (editor)

1999 The Social Dynamics of Technology: Practice, Politics, and World  
Views. Smithsonian Institution Press: Washington, D.C. (editor)

Articles & Book Chapters

in press Agency. In Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology. R. Preucel and  
C. Gnecco, eds. Springer: New York.

2010 Archaeologies of Technology. Cambridge Journal of Economics  

2010 The Phenomenal Promise of Chaîne Opératoire: Mindfully Engaged  
Bodies and the Manufacture of Personhood in a Regional Perspective. In  
The Archaeology of Regional Technologies. R. Barndon, A. Engevik, and  
I. Øye, eds., pp. 51-67. Edwin Mellon Press: Lampeter (UK).

2009 Technologies. In The Oxford Handbook of Archaeology. B. Cunliffe,  
C. Gosden, and R. Joyce, eds., pp. 115-141. Oxford University Press:  

2008 Gender in Prehistory. In Encyclopedia of Women in World History.  
B. G. Smith, ed., pp. 501-508. Oxford University Press: Oxford.

2006 Gender in the Formation of the First Human Societies. In The  
Blackwell Companion to Gender History, M. Wiesner-Hanks and T. Meade,  
eds., pp. 211-226. Blackwell: Oxford

2005 Guest Editor. Thematic Issue on "Doing Agency in Archaeology."  
Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. Vol. 12, Issues 3 & 4.

2001 Meaning in the Making: Agency and the Social Embodiment of  
Technology and Art. In Anthropological Perspectives on Technology. M.  
B. Schiffer, ed., pp. 47-76. University of New Mexico Press: