Anna Shoemaker

Post-doctoral researcher

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I am an environmental archaeologist with a special interest in late Holocene archaeology in eastern Africa. I completed my BA in archaeology at Simon Fraser University in Canada, and my MSc in environmental archaeology at University College London. During my doctoral studies I was a member of the Resilience in East African Landscapes (REAL) project, a European Commission Marie Curie Skłodowska ITN. I re-examined narratives of Amboseli, Kenya having been an ecosystem shaped by narrow and ahistorical models of subsistence-based pastoralism. Inspired by the interdisciplinary approach of historical ecology, I integrated the results of my own archaeological surveys and excavations with archival, paleoenvironmental, linguistic and local knowledge sources dating from the mid-Holocene to the colonial period to demonstrate how the current socio-ecological landscape of Amboseli emerged in response to a multitude of livelihood practices.

My research has always considered cultural signatures that go beyond conventional archaeological approaches and views purportedly ‘natural’ environments as culturally influenced landscapes. I collaborate frequently with ecologists and palaeoecologists in combining varied archaeological, historical and palaeoenvironmental datasets to understand change and continuity in land cover and land use practices. In my role as post-doctoral researcher with the Adaptation & Resilience to Climate Change (ARCC) in eastern Africa project (funded by the Swedish Research Council, Sida and Formas), I am continuing to pursue this brand of interdisciplinary research in north-western Tanzania. I am currently directing field projects in Tanzania focusing on the last 300 years of human settlement and landuse in the western Serengeti/Mara ecosystem.

Recent publications include:

2019 Ekblom A, Shoemaker A, Gillson L, Lane P, Lindholm K-L. Conservation through Biocultural Heritage, examples from Sub-Saharan Africa. Land. 8, 5.

2018 Marchant R, Richer S, Boles O, Capitani C, Courtney Mustaphi CJ, Lane P, Prendergast ME, Stump D, De Cort G, Kaplan JO, Phelps L, Kay A, Olago D, Petek N, Platts PJ, Punwong P, Widgren M, Wynne-Jones S, Ferro-Vázquez C, Benard J, Boivin N, Crowther A, Cuní-Sanchez A, Deere NJ, Ekblom A, Farmer J, Finch J, Fuller D, Gaillard-Lemdahl MJ, Gillson L, Githumbi E, Kabora T, Kariuki R, Kinyanjui R, Kyazike E, Lang C, Lejju J, Morrison KD, Muiruri M, Mumbi C, Muthoni R, Muzuka A, Ndiema E, Kabonyi Nzabandora C, Onjala I, Pas Schrijver A, Rucina S, Shoemaker A, Thornton-Barnett S, van der Plas G, Watson EE, Williamson D, Wright D. Drivers and trajectories of land cover change in East Africa: human and environmental interactions from 6000 years ago to present. Earth Sciences Review. 178: 322-378.

2018 Githumbi E, Kariuki R, Shoemaker A, Courtney Mustaphi C, Chuhila M, Richer S, Lane P, Marchant R. Pollen, People and Place: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Ecosystem Change at Amboseli, Kenya. Frontiers in Earth Science. DOI:10.3389/feart.2017.00113

2017  Lane P. and Shoemaker A. Interdisciplinary perspectives on precolonial African farming and herding communities. In White D, and Davies, MIJ (ed) Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History. Oxford University Press. DOI:10.1093/acrefore/9780190277734.013.70

2017  Shoemaker A, Davies, M.I.J., Moore, H.L. Back to the grindstone? The archaeological potential of grinding-stone studies in Africa with reference to ethnographic grinding practices in Marakwet, northwest Kenya. African Archaeological Review. 34(3): 415-435.

2017 Armstrong CG*, Shoemaker A*, Boles O, McAlvay AC, Petek N, Gibbons KS, Morales E, McKechnie I, Sazbo P, Anderson EN, Ekblom A, LeCompte J, Vamosi JC, Marks-Block, T, Awâsis S, Nabess C, Lane P, Crumley C. Emerging Research Directions in Historical Ecology: 50 Questions, Infinite Prospects. PLoS one. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171883 *equal contribution