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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cotsen Institute of Archaeology

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Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press

The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press publishes high quality peer-reviewed books on archaeological surveys and excavations world-wide, theoretical debates, and specialized themes discussed in the Advanced Cotsen Seminars. These publications are listed on our website and with the exception of those out of print, can be purchased through our distributor, ISD.

During the COVID 19 pandemic, the nature of research and obtaining information has shifted rapidly to online resources, and to make our publications more accessible, we are in the process of uploading pdfs of nearly 100 CIoA Press books that can be read online through eScholarship.

Our newer books will be available as read-only pdfs, while older books can be downloaded. We may reassess the temporary read-only status of the newer books within the year.

Print On Demand copies of a selection of CIOA Press books are available at:

Cover page of The Wari Enclave of Espíritu Pampa

The Wari Enclave of Espíritu Pampa


The Wari State was the first expansionistic power to develop in the Andean highlands.  Emerging in the area of modern Ayacucho (Peru) around AD 650, the Wari expanded to control much of the central Andes by the time of their collapse at AD 1000. This book describes the discovery and excavation (2010-2012) of a major new Wari site (Espíritu Pampa), located in the subtropical region of Vilcabamba (Department of Cusco). While it was long believed that the Wari established trade networks between their highland capital and the Amazonian lowlands, the identification of a large Wari site in the Vilcabamba region came as a surprise to most Wari specialists. This book covers the first three years of excavations at the Wari site of Espíritu Pampa. It describes the identification of a central plaza surrounded by a series of D-shaped structures that are believed to have been the loci of special activities for the Wari.  It also describes the contents of more than 30 burials, many of which contained finely crafted silver, gold, bronze, and ceramic objects.

Cover page of Landscape History of Hadramawt: The Roots of Agriculture in Southern Arabia (RASA Project 1998-2008)

Landscape History of Hadramawt: The Roots of Agriculture in Southern Arabia (RASA Project 1998-2008)


The rugged highlands of southern Yemen are one of the less archaeologically explored regions of the Near East. This final report of survey and excavations by the Roots of Agriculture in Southern Arabia (RASA) Project addresses the development of food production and human landscapes, topics of enduring interest as scholarly conceptualizations of the Anthropocene take shape. Along with data from Manayzah, site of the earliest dated remains of clearly domesticated animals in Arabia, the volume also documents some of the earliest water management technologies in Arabia, thereby anchoring regional dates for the beginnings of pastoralism and of potential farming.

 The authors argue that the initial Holocene inhabitants of Wadi Sana were Arabian hunters who adopted limited pastoral stock in small social groups, then expanded their social collectives through sacrifice and feasts in a sustained pastoral landscape. This volume will be of interest to a wide audience of archaeologists including not only those working in Arabia, but more broadly those interested in the ancient Near East, Africa, South Asia, and in Holocene landscape histories generally.

Series: Monumenta Archaeologica 43

Cover page of Early Athens: Settlements and Cemeteries in the Submycenaean, Geometric, and Archaic Periods

Early Athens: Settlements and Cemeteries in the Submycenaean, Geometric, and Archaic Periods


This volume is one of the most important works on ancient Athens in the last fifty years. The focus is on the early city, from the end of the Bronze Age—ca. 1200 BCE—to the Archaic period, when Athens became the largest city of the Classical period. From a systematic study of all the excavation reports and surveys in central Athens, the author has synthesized a detailed diachronic overview of the city from the Submycenaean period through the Archaic. It is a treasure-trove of information for archaeologists who work in this period. Of great value as well are the detailed maps included, which present features of ancient settlements and cemeteries, the repositories of the human physical record. Over eighty additional large-scale, interactive maps are available online to complement the book.

Series: Monumenta Archaeologica 42

Cover page of Images in Action: The Southern Andean Iconographic Series

Images in Action: The Southern Andean Iconographic Series


Emanating from a colloquium in pre-Columbian art and archaeology held at the University of Chile in Santiago, Images in Action presents interpretations of a large corpus of art and iconography from the Southern and South-Central Andes, bringing together some of the most esteemed scholars in the field. More than thirty authors, all with extensive experience in the Southern Andes, examine artifacts, artworks, textiles, archaeology and architecture to develop creative new insights on the cultural interactions between people in prehistoric western South America. The volume’s nearly 700 images are archived in an online database with metadata, fully referenced in the text, and searchable.

Series: Cotsen Advanced Seminar 6

Cover page of Unmasking Ideology in Imperial and Colonial Archaeology: Vocabulary, Symbols, and Legacy

Unmasking Ideology in Imperial and Colonial Archaeology: Vocabulary, Symbols, and Legacy


This volume addresses the entanglement between archaeology, imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, and war. Popular sentiment in the West has tended to embrace the adventure rather than ponder the legacy of archaeological explorers. Allegations by imperial powers of “discovering” archaeological sites or “saving” world heritage from neglect or destruction have often provided the pretext for expanding political might. Consequently, Indigenous populations often fell victim to imperialism, while seeing their lands confiscated, artifacts looted, and the ancient remains in their midst commodified. Spanning the globe with case studies from East Asia, Siberia, Australia, North and South America, Europe, and Africa, sixteen contributions written by archaeologists, art historians, and historians from four continents offer unusual breadth and depth in the assessment of various facets of claims to patrimonial heritage in the context of imperial and colonial ventures of the last two centuries, and their post-colonial legacy.

Series: Ideas, Debates, and Perspectives 8

Cover page of The History and Archaeology of Jaffa 2

The History and Archaeology of Jaffa 2


Since 2007 the Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project, under the direction of Aaron A. Burke and Martin Peilstöcker, has endeavored to bring to light the vast archaeological and historical record of the site of Jaffa, Israel. Continuing the effort begun with The History and Archaeology of Jaffa 1, this volume represents a decade of fieldwork and analysis by the Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project and the publication of several projects begun earlier. It consists of a collection of independent studies and final reports on smaller excavations that do not require individual book-length treatments. The volume’s content is arranged around overviews of archaeological research in Jaffa (Part I), historical and archaeological studies of Medieval and Ottoman Jaffa (Part II), reports on excavations by the Israel Antiquities Authority at both the Postal Compound between 2009 and 2011 (Part III) and at the Armenian Compound in 2006 and 2007 (Part IV), as well as discrete studies of the excavations of Jacob Kaplan and Haya Ritter-Kaplan in Jaffa on behalf of the Israel Department of Antiquities and Museums from 1955 to 1974 (Part V).

Series: Monumenta Archaeologica 41

Cover page of Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors

Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors


Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century cross-cuts the ranks of important books on social history, consumerism, contemporary culture, the meaning of material culture, domestic architecture, and household ethnoarchaeology. Far richer in information and more incisive than America at Home (Smolan and Erwitt), this innovative book also moves well beyond Rick Smolan's Day in the Life series. It is a distant cousin of Material World and Hungry Planet in content and style, but represents a blend of rigorous science and photography that none of these titles can claim. The authors are widely published scholars--archaeologists and anthropologists from UCLA--and a world-renowned photographer. Using archaeological approaches to human material culture, this volume offers unprecedented access to the middle-class American home through the kaleidoscopic lens of no-limits photography and many kinds of never-before acquired data about how people actually live their lives at home. Its foundation is a meticulous, 10-year study of 32 ordinary Californian middle-class families. Extensive media coverage shows it has strong appeal not only to scientists but also to the book-buying public, people who share intense curiosity about what goes on at home in their neighborhoods.

Many who read the book will see their own lives mirrored in these pages and can reflect on how other people cope with their mountains of possessions and other daily challenges. Readers abroad will be equally fascinated by the contrasts between their own kinds of materialism and the typical American experience, as a sample of Italians' and Swedes' responses to the photographs and findings have demonstrated. The book will interest a range of designers, builders, and architects as well as scholars and students who research various facets of U.S. and global consumerism, cultural history, and economic history.

Cover page of Tangatatau Rockshelter: The Evolution of an Eastern Polynesian Socio-Ecosystem

Tangatatau Rockshelter: The Evolution of an Eastern Polynesian Socio-Ecosystem


Tangatatau Rockshelter on Mangaia Island (Southern Cook Islands), excavated by a multi-disciplinary team in 1989-1991, produced one of the richest stratigraphic sequences of artifacts, faunal assemblages, and archaeobotanical materials in Eastern Polynesia. More than 70 radiocarbon dates provide a tight chronology from AD 1000 to European contact (ca. 1800). The faunal assemblage provides compelling evidence for dramatic reductions in indigenous bird life following Polynesian colonization, one of the best documented cases for human-induced impacts on island biota. 

Tangatatau is unique among Polynesian archaeological sites in the extent to which fishing was dominated by freshwater fishes and eels. The site also yielded an extensive suite of carbonized plant materials, including sweet potato tubers, demonstrating that this South American domesticate had reached Eastern Polynesia by AD 1400. Mangaia illustrates the often far-reaching consequences of human land use and resource exploitation on small and vulnerable islands.

Series: Monumenta Archaeologica 40

Cover page of The Desert Fayum Reinvestigated

The Desert Fayum Reinvestigated


The Neolithic in Egypt is thought to have arrived via diffusion from an origin in southwest Asia. In this volume, the authors advocate an alternative approach to understanding the development of food production in Egypt based on the results of new fieldwork in the Fayum. They present a detailed study of the Fayum archaeological landscape using an expanded version of low-level food production to organize observations concerning paleoenvironment, socioeconomy, settlement, and mobility.

While domestic plants and animals were indeed introduced to the Fayum from elsewhere, when a number of aspects of the archaeological record are compared, a settlement system is suggested that has no obvious analogues with the Neolithic in southwest Asia. The results obtained from the Fayum are used to assess other contemporary sites in Egypt.

Series: Monumenta Archaeologica 39

Cover page of Art: Authenticity, Restoration, Forgery 

Art: Authenticity, Restoration, Forgery 


This book presents a detailed account of authenticity in the visual arts from the Palaeolithic to the postmodern. The restoration of works of art can alter the perception of authenticity, and may result in the creation of fakes and forgeries. These interactions set the stage for the subject of this book, which initially examines the conservation perspective, then continues with a detailed discussion of notions of authenticity, and the philosophical background.  There is a disputed territory between those who view the present-day cult of authenticity as fundamentally flawed, and those who have analyzed its impact upon different cultural milieus, operating across performative, contested, and fragmented ground. Case studies that explore the ideas of conceptual, aesthetic, and material authenticity provide a informative discourse about art from the ancient to the contemporary, illuminating concerns relating to restoration and art forgery.