Suzanne Pilaar Birch

Assistant Professor

Phone: 706-542-6828
Fax: 706-542-2388
Office: Geog-Geol Bldg, 210 Field Street, Athens, Georgia 30602, Room 107

Research Interests

Stable isotope analysis
Climate change
Paleoenvironmental reconstruction
Human paleoecology
Hunter-gatherer mobility and subsistence
Mesolithic/Neolithic transition
Balkan, Adriatic, Mediterranean, and Southwest Asian archaeology
Women in archaeology
Digital archaeology
Open access publication/open data




  • Ph. D. (2012), University of Cambridge
  • M. Phil. (2009), University of Cambridge
  • B. Sc. (2008), Rutgers University

Research Projects

I recently joined the University of Georgia as an Assistant Professor with a joint appointment in the departments of Anthropology and Geography.

My academic research is focused on human adaptation and resilience to climate change and natural resource unpredictability in prehistory, and how our understanding of past human response to environmental change informs current thinking about these issues.

I combine archaeology and biogeochemistry to investigate changes in diet, mobility, and settlement systems in the period spanning the end of the last ice age to the arrival of farming.

My other research interests include the initial domestication of livestock, diffusion of domesticates across Eurasia, the transition from hunting to herding, seasonality and human mobility, multispecies archaeology, and advancing methodologies in zooarchaeology and stable isotope analysis.

I am an active advocate of open access publishing and online data and research sharing. I co-founded and moderate the blog TrowelBlazers, which highlights women in the fields of archaeology, paleontology, and geology. I am also an editor-in-chief of the open access journal for Quaternary science, Open Quaternary.

Selected Publications

Pilaar Birch, S.E. (in press) "Neolithic subsistence at Vela Špilja on the island of Lošinj, Croatia" in P. Rowley-Conwy, P. Halstead, and D. Serjeanstson (ed.), Bones in a Landscape. Papers in memory of Tony Legge. Oxford: Oxbow.

Pilaar Birch, S.E. & P.T. Miracle. (in press) "Human response to climate change in the Northern Adriatic during the late Pleistocene and Early Holocene" in G. Monks (ed.), Climate Change and Past Human Responses: An Archaeozoological Perspective. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series. New York: Springer.

Çakırlar, C., Berthon, R., Pilaar Birch, S.E., & L. Gourichon. (in press) "Faunal remains from renewed excavations at Alalakh: the LBIIa contexts excavated between 2006 and 2011" in Alalakh/Tell Atchana, Volume II, LBA II. Istanbul: Koç University Press.

Pilaar Birch, S.E. & P.T. Miracle. (in press) "Subsistence Continuity, Change, and Environmental Adaptation at the site of Nugljanska, Istria, Croatia" Environmental Archaeology.

Pilaar Birch, S.E. (2013) "Stable isotopes in zooarchaeology" in Pilaar Birch, S.E. and K. Kirsanow, (ed.), Integrating Zooarchaeology and Stable Isotope Analyses. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 5: 81-83.

Pilaar Birch, S.E. (2013) "Using Social Media for Research Dissemination: The Digital Research Video Project" Internet Archaeology 35. Open access. Available at:].

Pilaar Birch, S.E. & K. Kirsanow. (ed.)(2013) Integrating Zooarchaeology and Stable Isotope Analyses. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 5(2).

Herridge, V., Wragg Sykes, R., Hassett, B. & S.E. Pilaar Birch. (2013) "A Splendid Regiment of Women: 20th century research networks among women scientists in archaeology and palaeontology" in S. Charman-Anderson (ed.), A Passion for Science: Stories of Discovery and Invention. London: Finding Ada.

Pilaar Birch, S.E. & R. Wallduck. (ed.)(2011) Archaeology and Economic Crises. Archaeological Review from Cambridge 26(1).

Zeder, M.A. & S.E. Pilaar. (2010) "Assessing the reliability of criteria used to identify mandibles and mandibular teeth in sheep, Ovis, and goats, Capra". Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 225-242.