Bell Tower

Labs, Internships, and Working Groups


Archaeological Research Laboratory

PI: Dr. Nawa Sugiyama

About Us

The Archaeological Research Laboratory (ARCH Lab) was established by the UCR Anthropology Department in 2019 to explore human social systems from the archaeological perspective. PI Sugiyama heads diverse research projects based in Mesoamerica and has an avid fondness for deciphering the narratives of our shared legacy, encoded in the bones and teeth of humans and animals. The lab is equipped with a comparative modern zoological collection; wet lab geochemical facilities for processing carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen isotopes; as well as GIS spatial analysis workstations. The lab shares the space with the Human Evolution Lab (led by Sang-Hee Lee), housing an extensive hominin fossil cast collection.

Sugiyama has active projects related to ancient urbanism, animal domestication and translocation, urban foodways, human-environmental interactions, interregional exchange, and Mesoamerican cosmologies. She is director of Project Plaza of the Columns Complex, a civic-administrative compound in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Teotihuacan, Mexico. You can visit her project website here. In the lab, she is working with students on zooarchaeological, isotopic, GIS/LiDAR, and iconographic analysis of materials sourced primarily from her project in Teotihuacan.

Research and Teaching

At the Arch Lab, we engage in multidisciplinary approaches to understand the past, and the challenges we approach are diverse. The wet lab work centers on stable isotope preparation and analysis of archaeological (and modern) specimens of bone and teeth from humans and animals. In collaboration with other labs, we perform analysis using isotopes of three biologically significant elements: carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. These isotopes tell us about the diet, mobility, and environment of past humans and animals.  

Sugiyama is currently accepting undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing zooarchaeological and/or stable isotopic analysis during their archaeological or physical anthropological training. She is also looking for students interested in learning how GIS methods are applied in archaeology using LiDAR mapping technology.  

Students interested in joining the lab, or curious about archaeological or biological anthropology, are encouraged to follow the links below. We welcome collaborations;  if you are interested please contact the PIs directly.

  • Zooarchaeological comparative and teaching collection of 1000+ specimens
  • Desktop and laptop workstations for ArcGIS analysis, including LiDAR mapping
  • Wacom tabletop drawing tablet for digitizing drawings
  • Fume hood with wet lab chemistry space
  • Other equipment necessary for bone/teeth processing for isotope analysis

Eastern Information Center (EIC)

Director: Dr. Matthew Hall
Assistant Director: Eulices Lopez
For information, contact or (951) 827-5745

The EIC coordinates materials and documents from Riverside, Mono, and Inyo for the California Historical Resources Information System.

The EIC engages in contractual and grant research projects related to the archaeology and prehistory of inland southern California and the Great Basin. Inquiries concerning employment and research opportunities should be directed to Eulices Lopez at or (951) 827-5745.

Ethno Lab

Director: Dr. Anthony Jerry

The Ethnography Laboratory (Ethno Lab) is a collaborative space to promote dialogue and innovation through training in ethnographic methodologies and hands-on experience with ethnographic research. The purpose of the Ethno Lab is to engage with the practical aspects of ethnographic fieldwork and the utilization of ethnographic tools and methods to create a bridge between UC Riverside and the surrounding communities of Southern California. 

The Ethno Lab engages with a variety of dissemination methods such as podcasts, visual/photographic essays, audio essays, and ethno-poetry in order to complement traditional forms of ethnographic documentation. Currently, our group is involved in a narrative project on Youth Citizenship (The Youth Citizenship Narrative Project).  As part of this project, we are documenting experiences of Coming Out, First Generation Citizenship, First Time Hearing the N-word, and Police Brutality.  We are currently working on several podcasts including “Unconditional Love,” “The First Time I Heard the Word,” and “Remaking LA.”

Human Osteology Lab

Directors: Dr. Sara Becker and Dr. Elizabeth Berger
Contact: and

The Human Osteology Lab is a teaching and research space with an extensive collection of human skeletal material, both bone and cast material, for instruction in the anatomy and pathology of the human skeleton. Ongoing research areas that students can get involved in include 3D scanning and printing of specimens, data processing and statistical analysis of bioarchaeology data, and motion capture analysis of human biomechanics.

Statement Concerning Our Human Osteological Collections

The Department of Anthropology is unequivocally committed to the ethical treatment and stewardship of human remains, and the rejection of all practices within the discipline of anthropology that marginalize or brutalize oppressed groups. The human skeletal remains housed within our laboratory at UCR, which are used for classroom teaching and not research, have been evaluated and inventoried within the last five years. All of the bones present are anatomical in origin, having been purchased recently from anatomical companies with ethical practices who note provenience, were obtained from other anatomical skeletal collections, or were inherited from prior faculty where the remains were purchased as teaching materials. Nothing in our skeletal collection originates from the archaeological Americas, and we strongly feel that teaching with First Nations/Native American collections is inappropriate. While we are not actively involved in forensic anthropology research at our laboratory, we do not believe that forensic cases should be used in teaching human osteology to introductory students. We also want to emphasize that we understand there are ethical concerns with using even modern anatomical collections. However, it is essential to use real human remains to learn about human bone, and currently, there is no equivalent substitute.

In our classes, we stress what a privilege it is to learn from the remains of the deceased and that working with these individuals carries ethical responsibilities. We set the example that the dead are always treated with respect in any class or research performed within our laboratory, outside of the laboratory, or in any real-world research setting. We also have laboratory guidelines that students must strictly adhere to, or they are not permitted in the lab and could be dismissed from our courses.