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R.J. Sinensky

Contact Information

Email    rsinensky@ucla.edu
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I am a southwestern archaeologist and paleoethnobotanist with broad interests in environmental anthropology.

My current research investigates the inherited landscape use of early farmers in the greater American Southwest. I am particularly interested in mobile groups that incorporate agriculture into their subsistence strategy yet maintain a resilient low-level food producing economic system over an extended period of time.

My thesis research explored how San Pedro phase (1200-800 BC) farmer-foragers living in the early agricultural period village of Las Capas, located in the Tucson Basin, navigated stochastic environmental conditions. I investigated the resource procurement strategies of ancient farmers during time periods that were both conducive and unfavorable to irrigation agriculture in order to explore the risk management strategies employed by Las Capas residents. Investigating how early farmer-foragers in the American Southwest navigated climate change provides an important case study of how societies in secondary locales of domestication navigated the benefits and risks of agriculture and increasing sedentism. Maintaining a flexible subsistence strategy was key for the resiliency of early farming groups in the American Southwest.

Fields of Study



Paleoethnobotany; American Southwest; environmental anthropology; human-environment relationships; anthropogenic ecology; early agriculture; low-level food producing societies; domestication; neolithic demographic transitions; cultural resource management; resilience theory; niche construction theory; indigenous archaeology


2013 Condition Assessment and Photography of 18 Sites within Wupatki National Monument. Archaeological Report 1349, Northern Arizona University Anthropology Laboratories, Flagstaff.

2009 Cultural Resources Inventory of 9,170 Acres along Demetrie Wash, Pima County. Cultural Resources Report No. 2008-62. WestLand Resources Inc., Tucson.

2008 Cultural Resources Inventory of 2,035 Acres along Demetrie Wash, Pima County. Cultural Resources Report No. 2008-38. WestLand Resources Inc., Tucson. 

Grants and Awards

2014 UCLA Panunzio Social Sciences Fellowship

2014 UCLA Department of Anthropology Graduate Research Grant

2012 Northern Arizona University Department of Anthropology Graduate Scholarship

2011 Northern Arizona University Department of Anthropology Graduate Scholarship

2007 The University of Arizona Department of Anthropology Shandel Education Plus Scholarship

2006 The University of Arizona Department of Judaic Studies Florence Kaiserman Scholarship

2006 The University of Arizona Department of Judaic Studies Dorot Foundation Scholarship

Conference Presentations

2015 Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting, San Francisco
All Potted Up: A Pilot Study Exploring Seasonality and Resource Procurement at Small Pueblo II/Pueblo III Habitation Sites at Petrified Forest National Park

2015 UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Graduate Research Conference, Los Angeles
Farmer-Foragers in Transition? Flexibility as Key to the Longevity of Early Farming Groups in the American Southwest 

2014 Pecos Conference, Blanding, Utah
Creating a More Useful Pecos Chronology for the Colorado Plateau

2013 Society for American Archaeology, Annual Meeting, Austin Texas
Chew on This: Risk Management and Resource Procurement Strategies at the Early Agricultural Village of Las Capas

2013 American Anthropological Association, Annual Meeting, Chicago
Indigenous Collecting Rights and National Parks

2013 Pecos Conference, Flagstaff Arizona
Farmers and Shifting Trade Networks at Petrified Forest National Park 


Gregson Schachner 


M.A. Anthropology, Northern Arizona University (2013)
B.A. Anthropology, The University of Arizona (2007)