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Areas of Interest:

Bioarchaeology, paleopathology, archaeology of China and Inner Asia, human ecology, resilience theory, human adaptation to climate change


B.A. in Archaeology and Linguistics, Columbia University, 2009
M.A. in Anthropology, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2013


My research uses paleoapathological and paleodemographic indicators to examine the diet, health, and population structure of early pastoralists and agropastoralists in Northwest China. The Bronze and Iron Ages on the Eurasian steppe saw the rise of specialized animal husbandry practices. In my dissertation research, I test the hypothesis that this change did not constitute a collapse and reorganization of the human subsistence system, precipitated by climate change; but rather represents the persistence of a resilient, complex human-environment system that was able to weather the climate changes of the mid-Holocene.

NSF Graduate Research Fellow

National Geographic Young Explorer


Selected publications:

Berger, E, Wang J. In preparation. Report on the paleopathology and paleodemography of human remains from the Huoshaogou cemetery. To be included in excavation report produced by the Gansu Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology. (in Chinese)

Li, F, Berger E. 2014. Intra-site Organization in the Late Bronze Age: The Application of Full-Coverage Survey Methods at Guicheng, Shandong Province, China. Asian Archaeology.

Selected Presentations:

Berger, E. (May 2015). Examining the human in human-animal relationships: towards a bioarchaeology of Eurasian pastoralism. Presented at the Stanford Humanities Center as part of the workshop “The Bestial and the Beastly: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human-Animal Relationships”.

Berger, E. (April 2015) Bioarchaeology, human ecology, and subsistence change in ancient China. Panel: New Perspectives on the Archaeology of Economics in China. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Berger, E. (February 2015) Health Consequences of the Transition to Pastoralism in Northwest China. Invited talk at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, DC.

Berger, E. (August 2014) Human Health and the Rise of Agro-Pastoralism in Xibei. Podium presentation at the Huoshaogou and Yumen International Symposium on History and Culture, Yumen, Gansu Province, China. (in Chinese)

Berger, E, Wei D, Zhu H. (April 2014) Caries calibration methods in a Bronze Age Inner Asian skeletal sample. Poster presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.