Professor of Anthropology, Professor and Chair of Women's & Gender Studies


Phone: (919) 962-3908

Office: 410C Alumni Building

Area of Interest:

Archaeological method and theory, history of archaeology.
Social and gender archaeology.
Archaeology and nationalism, the state, and politics.
Gender and science, women in scientific professions and society.
Old World prehistory, Paleolithic archaeology, Central and Eastern European archaeology.
Prehistoric imagery, theories of symbolic representation.
Stone tool analysis (low and high-power use-wear).


B.A. McGill University 1986

M.A. Yale University 1988

M.A. U.C. Berkeley 1990

Ph.D. U.C. Berkeley, 1995

Professional Background:

I hold a joint appointment in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies and the Department of Anthropology. I teach courses in both units and I direct a Women in Science program housed in Women’s and Gender Studies.

I am a member of the Archaeology and Gender in Europe Working Group.

Research & Activities:

Research Background:

I conducted my dissertation fieldwork at the sites of Dolni Vestonice/Pavlov in the former Czechoslovakia and Willendorf in Austria. I have also worked on projects in Quebec, France, Italy and in Eastern Slovakia where I co-directed a project at the Paleolithic sites of Nizny Hrabovec and Cejkov. I studied archival and museum collections in France, Germany, Israel and Siberia. Having crossed several borders in my life, I maintain an active interest in the historical context of scientific work in general.

One of my major on-going interests that weaves through all my research and teaching is the history of knowledge production, particularly in archaeology and anthropology. The principal focus of my work is participation and contribution of women and minorities in these fields.

My research has been funded by the American Council of Learned Societies, the Leakey Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the School for Advanced Research in Human Experience (SAR) in Santa Fe, NM, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada, the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the University of North Carolina.

Current Research

In the summer 2010 I began a new research project on the rock art in South Africa. Funded by a New Directions Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, I spent the 2010/2011 academic year in Cape Town, in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town, and visiting the Rock Art Research Institute at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. My immediate goal is to study the archaeology of South Africa, rock art of the area and begin a mapping project of rock engravings. My long term interest is in the practice of the making the engravings, the connection between the location of the site of representations and the techniques used to execute them.

My previous book project was a historical and theoretical research project tracing the emergence of the “shaman” as a standard figure in anthropological archaeology. Beginning with 17th and 18th century travel reports from Siberia as a part of a colonizing effort by the Russian Empire, the book Wayward Shamans: The Prehistory of an Idea addresses the portrayal of shamans as a universal, masculine category in anthropology and prehistoric archaeology, using both scholarly and popular literature. This research, funded by the American Council for Learned Societies and grants from UNC, took me to archives and museums in Siberia, Germany, France and the United States.

Courses taught regularly

  • Archaeology of Sex and Gender
  • Women and Science
  • Introduction to Women’s Studies
  • Prehistoric Art
  • Laboratory Analysis: Lithics
  • History and Theory in Archaeology
  • Landscape Archaeology
  • Archaeology of Identity

Selected Publications:

  • 2013. Wayward Shamans: The Prehistory of an Idea. University of California Press.
  • 2012. “From a materialist ethic to the spirit of prehistory.” Bender, C. and A. Taves (eds.) What Matters: Ethnographies of Value in a (Not So) Secular Age. Columbia University Press.
  • 2011a. “Archaeology in a middle country.” Lozny, L. (ed.) Comparative Archaeologies: A Sociological View of the Science of the Past. New York: Springer
  • 2011b. “Landscape for a good feminist. An archaeological review”. Archaeological Dialogues 18/1.
  • 2010. “Picture me dead: reimagining moral choices”. Archaeological Dialogues 17/1.
  • 2008a. “Nižný Hrabovec: A site with evolved Levallois technology in Eastern Slovakia”. (with L. Kaminska, P. Skrdla, J. K. Kozlowski). Journal of Eurasian Prehistory 6/1.
  • 2008b. “History of the Committee on the Status of Women in Archaeology (COSWA): Beginnings, Ruptures and Continuities”. SAA Archaeological Record 8/4.
  • 2007. “Post-processual archaeologies: through a stained glass (not darkly)”. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 17/2.
  • 2007. “Mapping a future: archaeology, feminism, and scientific practice”. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 14/2.
  • 2006. “Yes Virginia, there is gender. Archaeology’s many histories”. Bisson, M. and Williamson, R. (eds.) The Archaeology of Bruce Trigger: Theoretical Empiricism, pp. 81-113. Montreal: McGill-Queens University P.
  • 2006. “On being heard. Theory as an archaeological practice”. Archaeological Dialogues 13/2: 47-51.
  • 2006. “Next stop: gender. Women at Roman military forts in Germany”. Archaeological Dialogues 13/1: 20-27.
  • 2005. “What is a burin? Typology, technology and interregional comparison.” Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 12/2: 79-115.
  • 2005. “Central European Paleolithic settlement pattern: Cejkov, Slovakia in context” (with L. Kaminská, M. Hajnalová and D. Hudler). Journal of Eurasian Prehistory, 2/2:13-31
  • 2004. “Time space systematics of Gravettian finds from Cejkov I” (with L. Kaminská), in J. Svoboda and L. Sedlácková eds. The Gravettian Along the Danube, pp. 186-216. Dolni Vestonice Studies, Vol. 11.
  • 2003. “Nationalism, Local Histories and the Making of Data in Archaeology.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society, 9:3: 485-507
  • 2002. “The Exile of Anthropology.” (with P. Redfield), in Rebecca Saunders ed. The Concept of the Foreign, pp. 108-136. Lexington Books: Rowman and Littlefield
  • 2001 “Paleolithic survey of Eastern Slovak Location Nizny Hrabovec”, (with D. Hudler, L. Kaminská), Slovak Academy of Sciences Annual Reports 2001
  • 2000. The Nature of Difference: History and Lithics at Two Upper Paleolithic Sites in Central Europe. B.A.R. International Series, Archaeopress: Oxford

CV of Silvia Tomášková