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Christyann M. Darwent


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Missouri–Columbia, 2001
  • M.A., Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, Canada, 1995
  • B.Sc., Archaeology, University of Calgary, Canada, 1992


Christyann Darwent is a zooarchaeologist interested in how humans adapt to arid, high arctic environments and coastal ecosystems. She is currently editor of the journal Arctic Anthropology, manages the Zooarchaeology Lab and comparative skeletal collections, is a member of the Forensic Science graduate program, and is chair of the SAA Dienje Kenyon Fellowship in Zooarchaeology

Research Focus

Professor Darwent’s interests lie primarily in animal skeletal remains from archaeological sites and how these remains can shed light on past human subsistence economies and past environments. Over the past 25 years her arctic field research has taken her to western Alaska, northwestern Greenland, and the high arctic islands of Nunavut. In collaboration with Bowdoin College and the Greenland National Museum, research continued at the site of Iita in northwestern Greenland with support of the National Science Foundation in 2016. Since 2013, graduate students at UC Davis have been working in collaboration with the community of Shaktoolik, Alaska, to investigate archaeological sites in this part of Norton Sound. 

Selected Publications

  • Szpak, P., Buckley, M., Darwent,C. M. & Richards, M. P.  (2018) Long-term Ecological Changes in Marine Mammals Driven by Recent Warming in NW Alaska. Global Change Biology 24:490–503. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13880  

  • Darwent, J.,  Darwent, C. M., Eldridge, K. A. & Miszaniec J. I. (2016) Recent Archaeological Investigations near the Native Village of Shaktoolik, Norton Sound, Alaska. Arctic 69(5, Suppl. 1):1–12 http://dx.doi.org/10.14430/arctic4677

  • Brown, S. K., Darwent, C. M., Wictum, E. J., & Sacks, B. N. (2015) Using multiple markers to elucidate the ancient, historical, and modern relationships among North American Arctic dog breeds. Heredity DOI:10.1038/hdy.2015.49

  • Darwent, J., & Darwent, C. M. (2014) Scales of violence across the North American Arctic. In Violence and Warfare among Hunter-Gatherers: Re-examining a Pacified Past, Mark W. Allen and Terry L. Jones (eds.), pp. 182–203. Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, CA.
  • Brown, S. K., Darwent, C. M., & Sacks, B. N. (2013) Ancient DNA evidence for genetic continuity in Arctic dogs. Journal of Archaeological Science 40(2): 1279–1288.
  • LeMoine, G. M., & Darwent, C. M. (2013) Furs and satin: Understanding Inughuit women’s role in culture contact through clothing. North by Degree: New Perspectives on Arctic, Susan A. Kaplan and Robert McCracken Peck (eds.), pp. 211–238. American Philosophical Society, Volume 8. Lightening Rod Press, Philadelphia.


Christyann Darwent teaches upper, lower and graduate level courses in Anthropology including Introduction to Archaeology, Vikings, World Prehistory, Peoples of the Arctic, Zooarchaeology, Colonization of Ice Age America, Archaeological Theory and Method, Laboratory Methods, Research Design, and Personal Identification in Forensic Science.


Division of Social Sciences Dean’s Leadership Award, 2015. Co-Organizer with Jessica Bissett-Perea (Native American Studies) of the 2015 workshop Arctic Indigeneities, Media and Social Justice with funds from the UC Center for New Racial Studies. Various research grants from NSF Polar Programs (n= 9, 2003present), and one from the National Geographic Society.