skip to content

Virginia Popper

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 26-163
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 287-6866

Visiting Scientist

University of Massachusetts, Boston
Andrew Fiske Memorial Center for Archaeological Research
Department of Anthropology
100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125
(617) 287-6866

Research Associate

Virginia Popper was Director of the Paleoethnobotany Laboratory at the UCLA Cotsen Institute of Archaeology until 2007. She is co-editor of the Journal of Ethnobiology. Dr. Popper specializes in palaeoethnobotany, studying the interactions of people with the plant world through the analysis of archaeological plant remains. Her research includes investigations of agricultural intensification, looking at the development of chinampa agriculture in the Basin of Mexico. She also examines ethnic and social differences in plant use at a number of historic sites in California, including San Bernardino's Chinatown, the Mission Vieja de la Purisima, and the Presidio of San Francisco. She has analyzed plant remains from sites in Alaska, California, the Southwest US, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, and Chile.

Selected Publications

Frederick, C., B. Winsborough, and V. S. Popper. 2005 Geoarchaeological Investigations in the Northern Basin of Mexico. In Production and Power at Postclassic Xaltocan, Arqueología de México, No. 6, E. Brumfiel (Ed.), pp. 71-115. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, Latin American Archaeology Publications and Mexico, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia.

Martin, S. and V. Popper. 2001 Paleoethnobotanical Investigations of Archaeological Sites on Santa Cruz Island, California. In Origins of a Pacific Coast Chiefdom, J. E. Arnold (Ed.), pp. 145-159. Salt lake City: University of Utah Press.

Hastorf, C. and V. Popper, editors. 1988 Current Paleoethnobotany: Analytical Methods and Cultural Interpretations of Archaeological Plant Remains. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Parsons, J. R., M. H. Parsons, V. Popper and M. Taft. 1985 Chinampa Agriculture and Aztec Urbanization in the Valley of Mexico. In Prehistoric Intensive Agriculture in the Tropics, I. S. Farrington (Ed.), pp. 49-96. Oxford: BAR International Series 232.