Anthropology Department Directory


Kacy Hollenback

Assistant Professor

Ph.D. 2012 University of Arizona
Heroy Hall 443

  • Disaster and Hazard Research
  • Long-term Impacts of Disaster
  • Collaborative and Indigenous Archaeologies
  • Archaeology and Anthropology of the American Great Plains
  • Technological Change and Continuity
  • Culture Contact
  • Ceramic Analysis
Courses Taught

ANTH 2301 - Introductory Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 2302 - People of the Earth: Humanity's First Five Million Years
ANTH 3331 - Special Topics: Catastrophe and Culture: The Anthropology of Disaster


I am an anthropologically trained archaeologist with interests in hazards and disaster research. As an archaeologist, my research emphasis is on potential disruptions to traditional technological systems and the roles of traditional technologies in post-disaster coping. Most often my work examines the long-term legacies of disaster—over the course of decades or generations. I received my Ph.D. from the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona (UA) in 2012. I have taught at the University of Arizona and Eckerd College.

My current regional expertise is Northern Plains archaeology and anthropology. However, I maintain interests in the American Southwest. Over the last decade, I have conducted archaeological and anthropological research in North Dakota and Montana in collaboration with the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, State Historical Society of North Dakota, National Park Service, and numerous Plains tribes.


My current research explores the long-term legacies of disaster among Northern Plains indigenous populations—specifically how Hidatsa crafting communities changed or maintained production, use, and discard practices related to pottery after the smallpox epidemics of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. More broadly this research seeks to understand the social and cultural implications of the loss of skilled knowledge holders for contemporary indigenous communities. In addition to my doctoral research, I am presently engaged in collaborative archaeometric, technological, and soil chemistry studies to explore activity areas inside earthlodges as well as extramural thermal features with the State Historical Society of North Dakota and National Park Service. My work has appeared in American Antiquity (2001) and American Ethnologist (2011) as well as The Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies (2010), Behavioral Archaeology: Principles and Practice (2010), and Landscapes of Movement: The Anthropology of Paths, Trails, and Roads (2009).

Selected Publications, Journal Articles, and Book Chapters

Hollenback, Kacy L.
2012 Disaster, Technology, and Community: Measuring Responses to Smallpox Epidemics in Historic Hidatsa Villages, North Dakota. Unpublished PhD dissertation. School of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson.

Hollenback, Kacy L. and Christopher I. Roos
2012 Activity Areas, Soil Chemistry, and Earthlodges: Examining Changes in the Use of Space in 15th through 19th century Mandan Dwellings. North Dakota Archaeological Association Newsletter 9.

Murray, Wendi F., Maria Nieves Zedeño, Kacy L. Hollenback, Calvin Grinnell, and Elgin Crows Breast 2011 The Re-Making of Lake Sakakawea: Locating Cultural Viability in "Negative Heritage" on the Missouri River. American Ethnologist 38(3): 468-483.

Hollenback, Kacy L.
2010 Ritual and Religion. In Behavioral Archaeology: Principles and Practice, by M. B. Schiffer, pp. 156-163. Equinox, London.

Hollenback, Kacy L.
2010 Landscapes. In Behavioral Archaeology: Principles and Practice, by M. B. Schiffer, pp. 186-193. Equinox, London.

Hollenback, Kacy L. and Michael Brian Schiffer
2010 Material Life and Technology. In The Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies, edited by D. Hicks and M. C. Beaudry, pp. 313-332. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Zedeño, Maria Nieves, Kacy L. Hollenback, and Calvin Grinnell
2009 From Path to Myth: Journeys and the Naturalization of Territorial Identity along the Missouri River. In Landscapes of Movement: The Anthropology of Paths, Trails, and Roads, edited by James Snead, Andrew Darling, and Clark Ericsson, pp. 106-132. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

Zedeño, Maria Nieves, Kacy L. Hollenback, R. Christopher Basaldú, Vania Fletcher, and Samrat Miller
2006 Cultural Affiliation and Ethnographic Assessment for Knife River Villages National Historic Site, Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota. Prepared for the National Park Service, Midwest Region. Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson.

Schiffer, Michael B., Kacy L. Hollenback, and Carrie L. Bell
2003 Draw the Lightning Down: Benjamin Franklin and Electrical Technology in the Age of Enlightenment. University of California Press, Berkeley.

Schiffer, Michael B., James M. Skibo, Janet L. Griffitts, Kacy L. Hollenback, and William A. Longacre
2001 Behavioral Archaeology and the Study of Technology. American Antiquity 66(4): 729-737.