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Jennifer Birch

UGA Arch
Associate Professor

The major impacts of my research have been developing approaches for understanding organizational complexity and diversity in Indigenous Pre-Columbian eastern North America and in non-state societies globally. My work as an archaeologist is inherently comparative and multi-scalar and has evolved from the study of settlement aggregation in eastern North America to the development of theories, models, and approaches that productively interrogate the nature of premodern social and political organization across the globe. My most recent contributions focus on the themes of Northern Iroquoian archaeology and radiocarbon chronology building, social network analysis and regional geopolitics, and institutional complexity and comparative governance in pre-modern societies.

A message to prospective graduate students: I am interested in recruiting graduate students who can articulate a clear problem orientation and understand the relevance of their research to key themes in anthropological archaeology. Students applying to work with me should reach out early so that we can discuss shared interests and their individual research goals. While I am always interested in recruiting students whose interests intersect with my own research on the Indigenous societies of the Eastern Woodlands, collective governance, social networks, and chronology-building, I am willing to supervise students interested in a wide range of areas and topics. 

My Google Scholar profile

My ORCID profile

Of note:
  • 2021    Richard B. Russell Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, UGA
  • 2019    Jacques Dalibard Award, ICOMOS Canada
  • 2013    Award for Excellence in Publishing, Ontario Archaeological Society
Research Areas:
Research Interests:
  • Archaeology of eastern North America
  • Settlement patterns
  • Archaeology of households and communities
  • Organizational complexity
  • Archaeology of warfare
  • Multi-scalar analyses
  • Social network analysis
  • Radiocarbon dating and chronological modeling
  • Geophysics
  • Social theory
  • Heritage
  • Cultural resource management
Selected Publications:

Birch, Jennifer, Turner Hunt, Louis Lesage, Jean-Francois Richard, Linda A. Sioui, and Victor D. Thompson. 2022. The role of radiocarbon dating in advancing Indigenous-led archaeological research agendas. Nature Humanities and Social Sciences Communications 9, 228.

Birch, Jennifer. 2022. Premodern Confederacies: Balancing Strategic Collective Action and Local Autonomy. Frontiers in Political Science 4: 807239.

Birch, Jennifer, Sturt W. Manning, Samantha Sanft, and Megan Anne Conger. 2021. Refined Radiocarbon Chronologies for Northern Iroquoian Site Sequences: Implications for coalescence, conflict, and the reception of European goods. American Antiquity 86(1): 61-89. doi:10.1017/aaq.2020.73

Birch, Jennifer and John P. Hart. 2018. Social Networks and Northern Iroquoian Confederacy Dynamics. American Antiquity 83(1): 13-33.


2023    Senior Research Grant, National Science Foundation, "Evaluating the Depopulation of the St. Lawrence Valley Integrating Radiocarbon Dating and Indigenous-centered Research Perspectives," PI: Jennifer Birch, Co-PIs: Sturt W. Manning and Brita Lorentzen, $365,726

2022    Riksbankens Jubileumsfond Research Initiation Grant, “Beyond ‘Barbarians': Premodern polities in comparative perspective.” Uppsala Sweden, $12,600

2017    Senior Research Grant, National Science Foundation, "Establishing a High-Resolution Framework for Age Determination," PI: Jennifer Birch, Co-PI: Sturt W. Manning, $200,794


PhD, Anthropology, McMaster University, 2010

Articles Featuring Jennifer Birch

Anthropology students at the University of Georgia recently presented their research at the annual CURO Symposium, organized by the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities. Given the opportunity to communicate their own research to our broader community…

Stemming from the collaboration between faculty, researchers, and current and former graduate students at the Department of Anthropology, a newly published article sheds light on the importance of radiocarbon dating in the American Southeast, emphasizing…

The Dating Iroquoia team is thrilled to announce the commencement of an exciting new phase of research, focused on exploring the sixteenth-century depopulation of the St. Lawrence River Valley.

Congratulations to PhD student, Jonathan Micon and Associate Professor, Dr. Jennifer Birch, along with Ronald F.

UGA Research spotlights the Lab of Archaeology in their recent article titled, "Keepers of history: UGA’s Archaeology Lab preserves relics of Georgia’s past." This feature highlights the lab's vast array of artifacts, their ability to transition during the…

Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Birch on receiving the 2021 Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching! This award was established during the 1991-1992 academic year to honor the late U.S. Sen. Richard B. Russell, and to recognize…

The UGA Today article, "How do people solve global problems?" quotes both Dr. Birch and Dr. Kowalewski as they discuss collaborative problem-solving methods and the archaeological evidence behind them.

We are excited to announce a new Double Dawgs program launching Fall 2020: the Anthropology AB/Historic Preservation MHP. This new program gives students the opportunity to earn both their Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Master of Historic…

The Department of Anthropology and the Laboratory of Archaeology's Dr. Stephen Kowalewski served as an editor on the newly published, The Evolution of Social Institutions-Interdisciplinary Perspectives. This book presents a novel and…

The SAA Archaeological Record featured the Dating Iroquoia project in their September issue. The issue features multiple articles by members of the Dating Iroquoia team, including Co-Principal Investigator, Dr. Jennifer Birch, and PhD candidates, Megan…

The Dating Iroquoia project is co-directed by Dr. Jennifer Birch and is made up of researchers at Cornell University, New York State Museum, and the University of Georgia, including Research Assistant, Megan Conger. The Conversation published an…

UGA Department of Anthropology's Jacob Holland-Lulewicz, Megan Conger, Travis Jones, Dr. Jennifer Birch, and Dr. Stephen Kowalewski published a recent paper in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.

The University of Georgia has joined the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium to facilitate scholarly exchange and academic collaboration. 

Title: Dating Iroquoia in American Antiquity

UGA’s Jennifer Birch and Cornell University’s Sturt Manning are investigators for a National Science Foundation grant, “Establishing a High-Resolution Framework for Age Determination.” A team including graduate assistant Megan Anne Conger works to…

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