Amy Margaris ’96

  • Associate Professor of Anthropology


  • BA, Oberlin College, 1996
  • MA, University of Arizona, 2000
  • PhD, University Arizona, 2006

I am an anthropological archaeologist interested in hunter-gatherer ecology, and especially the technological adaptations of foragers living in marine and cold climates.

My most recent research with archaeological collections has taken me to beautiful Kodiak, Alaska , home of Native Alutiiq peoples whose recent ancestors practiced a rich coastal economy. My work on skeletal technologies blends collections analysis with ethnohistory and materials science to better understand the links between technological choices (and change) and raw material properties.

I am also interested in museums and the history of ethnological collecting. Oberlin College houses a unique 19th century ethnological collection that contains roughly 1,600 objects acquired by missionaries and naturalists from a variety of regions, including southern Africa, Micronesia, Thailand, and the North American Arctic.

The following website/database provides background on the collection, images of its contents, and research resources.

At Oberlin, I teach courses on hunter-gatherers, colonialism, introductory archaeology, and human evolution.

I have published on these and related topics in such journals as Museum AnthropologyEthnoarchaeology, and the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory.

Fall 2024

Introduction to Archaeology — ANTH 203
Ecological Perspectives on Small-Scale Societies — ANTH 212
Senior Project — ACHS 300
Practicum in Anthropology - Full — ANTH 391F
Practicum in Anthropology - Half — ANTH 391H
Internships in Teaching - Full — ANTH 415F
Internships in Teaching - Half — ANTH 415H

Spring 2025

Human Origins — ANTH 102
Senior Project — ACHS 300
Archaeological Laboratory Methods — ANTH 382
Practicum in Anthropology - Full — ANTH 391F
Practicum in Anthropology - Half — ANTH 391H
Internships in Teaching - Full — ANTH 415F
Internships in Teaching - Half — ANTH 415H


Amy Margaris Essay Published by American Alliance of Museums

January 17, 2024

Associate Professor of Anthropology Amy Margaris and second-year student Isabel Handa published the joint essay “When the Ancestors Call to You” on the American Alliance of Museums’ Center for the Future of Museums blog. The essay reflects on their recent experience repatriating the skull of a Native Hawaiian kupuna (ancestor) that had been in Oberlin’s possession for a century and a half. Their piece addresses historical trauma associated with historic teaching collections, welcoming both Indigenous and Western forms of knowledge in the academy, and advice to other Indigenous individuals and collections stewards for successful collaboration.

Amy Margaris publishes

October 2, 2020

Amy Margaris published an article with Inupiaq activist Rosemary Ahtuangaruak on revitalizing Oberlin's historic Arctic ethnography collection in the Alaska Journal of Anthropology vol. 18, no. 1 (2020). 

Jason Haugen and Amy Margaris Present

January 8, 2020

Jason Haugen, associate professor of anthropology, and Amy Margaris, associate professor of anthropology, presented at the 2020 Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America in New Orleans, LA. Their poster was titled, “Faculty placements into Linguistics PhD programs across the US and Canada: Market share and gender distribution.”


All About Balance

July 31, 2023

Christopher Ayoub finds the sweet spot between his love of medicine and research.