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Matt's Anthropological Research and Teaching

Matthew C. Curtis, Ph.D.
Anthropological Archaeologist
 
Email:                                      

matthew-curtis@sbcglobal.net

Department of Anthropology

    University of California, Santa Barbara

Department of Anthropology

    College of the Canyons

UCLA Extension

    University of California, Los Angeles

Department of Anthropology

    Ventura College

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

    Osher Institute at CSU Channel Islands

 
 
 Matt in "Bazen's" Tomb, Aksum, Ethiopia, July 2008
Photo © M.C.Curtis                                             
 
Matt's Primary Research Interests
 
I am a broadly trained anthropological archaeologist with a specialization in the Holocene archaeology of eastern Africa. My particular research interests include: the origins and development of ancient complex societies and urbanism in the Horn of Africa, East Africa, and the southern Red Sea area; surface archaeology; landscape archaeology; ethnoarchaeology; origins of food production; culture contact and inter-regional interaction studies; household archaeology; rock art; African historical archaeology and anthropology; cultural resource management and heritage conservation in Africa, and California archaeology.
               
 
 
 
 
 
 UCSB Campus from Davidson Library, January, 2008
 Photos © M.C. Curtis                                                
 
Courses Taught
 
African Archaeology
 
African Experience: Introduction to African Studies
 
Archaeological Field School
 
The Americas Before Columbus: An Archaeological Journey Across the Millennia   
 
Biological Anthropology
 
Biological Anthropology Lab
 
Clash of Cultures
 
Cultural Anthropology
 
Culture and Communication
 
Culture and Society
 
Development of World Civilization 
 
Ethnoarchaeology

 

Foragers to Farmers: A Survey of Global Archaeology from the

   Stone Age to the World's First Towns

 
History of Archaeology
 
Introduction to Archaeology and Prehistory
 
Introduction to Biological Anthropology
 
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology for Non-Majors
 
Kingdoms and Empires of Africa's Past
 
Laboratory Methods in Archaeology
 
Law and Warfare in Non-Western Societies
 
Lost Cities and Ancient States: Archaeology of Complex Societies From a Global Perspective (4000 BC – 1500 AD)
 
Out of Africa: The Evolution of Homo sapiens and the Peopling of the
   Old World during the Late Pleistocene
 
Physical Anthropology
 
Physical Anthropology Laboratory
 
 
Peoples of the Pueblos: Archaeology and Ethnography of the American Southwest
 
Practicum in Archaeology
 
Prehistory of Eritrea and the Horn of Africa
 
The African Diaspora
 
Topics in African History: Prehistoric Africa- Technological and Cultural Traditions
 
Understanding Africa
 
 

Links to Matt's UCSB nfomedia course sites

Anthropology 156 Understanding Africa

Anthropology 197 Ethnoarchaeology

Anthropology 101 African Archaeology

Anthropology 165 History of Archaeology

Anthropology 187 Clash of Cultures

Anthropology 165 Law and Warfare in Non-Western Societies

 

Links to Matt's UCLA Extension nfomedia course sites

XL 33 Culture and Communication 

  
 
 
Education
 
Ph.D. in anthropology, University of Florida
 
M.A. in anthropology, University of Florida
 
Certificate in African studies, University of Florida
 
B.A. in anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara (Highest Honors - Summa Cum Laude)
 
 
Current and Recent Research Projects
 
 
Gamo Ethnoarchaeological Project Research Team and Team Family Members in Chencha, Ethiopia, July 2011, June 2008
 
Since 2005 I have been engaged in ethnoarchaeological research in southern Ethiopia, studying the origins and development of caste groups and craft specialization within Gamo society as a senior member of the Gamo Ethnoarchaeological Project, a National Science Foundation- and National Endowment for the Humanities-funded project.  Currently, I am a co-principal investigator (with Kathryn Arthur and John W. Arthur) of the project's current (2011-2013) National Science Foundation-funded archaeological research component.
 
 
 
 
 
Gamo house near Chileshe, Ethiopia
                                                                                                    
Photo © M. C. Curtis
 
I co-edited (with Peter R. Schmidt and Zelalem Teka) a book concerning the archaeology of Eritrea published in 2008 by the Red Sea PressAlso over the last several years I have continued investigating ancient complex societies in northern Ethiopia and Eritrea, bringing together various archaeological and environmental data from the Horn of Africa and southern Red Sea region in the effort to explore issues concerning regional and inter-regional interaction during the Pre-Aksumite and early Aksumite culture periods (first millennium BCE and first millennium CE).
 
Past Research Projects
 
In 1994 I was awarded a Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship for Kiswahili language study and conducted research in the National Museums of Kenya, earning a Master of Arts in anthropology and certificate in African Studies from the University of Florida in 1995. During 1997 I co-directed (with Yosief Libsekal) an intensive archaeological survey of the Adi Qayeh Plateau adjacent to the ancient Aksumite urban center of Qohaito in the central highlands of Eritrea.
 
 
 
 
Ancient elite building at Matara, Eritrea, June 1997
Photo © M.C. Curtis        
 
 
During 1999-2000 I served as a U. S. Fulbright Fellow in Eritrea, where I taught archaeology as a visiting lecturer at the University of Asmara, co-directed the University of Asmara's archaeology field school (with Peter R. Schmidt), and directed the Greater Asmara Regional Archaeological Survey Project (GARASP)--the first regional archaeological survey and excavation project to be conducted in Eritrea and one of only a few systematic regional-scale archaeological projects to have focused on Holocene archaeology and the development of complex society in the Horn of Africa.  The GARASP research formed the basis of my Ph.D. dissertation and has provided important new insights into the development of ancient agropastoral food producing traditions and the origins of sedentary village communities and complex society in the northern Horn of Africa during the early first millennium BCE.  In 2001 I returned to Eritrea to co-direct (with Peter R. Schmidt) the University of Asmara's 2001 archaeology field school.  During 2002-2003 the GARASP survey area was expanded by the University of Asmara's regional survey and test excavation project (Regional Inventory of Heritage Resources in the Greater Asmara Area), producing one of the largest and most intensively surveyed archaeological landscapes in Africa (see Schmidt, Curtis, and Teka 2008).
 
 
 
                     
 
Bulls' heads figurines, Asmara area, Eritrea        

Photo © M.C. Curtis                          

 

 

 Ibex frieze in church exterior, Yeha, Ethiopia

Photo © M.C. Curtis         

 

 

 

 

                                

                               

 

 

Copyright © 2008-2011 by Matthew C. Curtis.  All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEW ARTICLE by Matt Curtis:
 
Relating the Ancient Ona Culture to the Wider Northern Horn: Discerning Patterns and Problems in the Archaeology of the First Millennium BC
 
African Archaeological Review 26: 327-350.
 

 

NEW BOOK by Amanuel Beyin:

Prehistoric Settlement on the Red Sea Coast of Eritrea: Archaeological Investigation of the Buri Peninsula and Gulf of Zula.
 

                                                                                          

 
The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea is the Winner of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists (SAfA) 2008 Book Prize

Edited by Peter R. Schmidt, Matthew C. Curtis, and Zelalem Teka
 
 

 
Ceramic market, Yeha, Ethiopia, July 2008
Photo © M.C. Curtis                                             

                            
Matt's Publications and Reports
 
Curtis, M. C. 2014.  Review of David W. Phillipson's Foundations of an African Civilisation: Aksum & the Northern Horn 1000 BC – AD 1300.  In Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa 49(1):119-122.

Curtis, M. C.   2013.  Archaeological evidence for the emergence of food production in the Horn of Africa.  The Oxford Handbook of African Archaeology, edited by P. Mitchell and P. Lane.  Pp. 571-584.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.
 
Curtis, M. C.  2010.  Ona Gudo, Ona Hašel, Qarora, Sämbäl.  Encyclopedia articles in Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, Volume 4, pp. 27-28, 262, 506, edited by S. Uhlig. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.
 
Curtis, M. C.  2010.  Review of Laurel Phillipson's Using Stone Tools: the Evidence from Aksum, Ethiopia.  In African Archaeological Review 27(2):173-176.
 
Arthur, K. W., J. W. Arthur, M. C. Curtis, B. Lakew, J. Lesur-Gebremariam, and Y. Ethiopia  2010.  Fire on the Mountain: Dignity and Prestige in the History and Archaeology of the Borada Highlands in Southern Ethiopia.  The SAA Archaeological Record 10(1):17-21.
 
Curtis, M. C.   2009.  Relating the Ancient Ona Culture to the Wider Northern Horn: Discerning Patterns and Problems in the Archaeology of the First Millennium BC.    African Archaeological Review 26(4): 327-350.
 
Arthur, K. W., J. W. Arthur, M. C. Curtis, B. Lakew, J. Lesur-Gebremariam, and Y. Ethiopia.  2009.  Historical Archaeology in the Highlands of Southern Ethiopia: Preliminary Findings.  Nyame Akuma 72:3-11.

 

Curtis, M. C.  2009.  Preliminary Archaeological Survey of Small Portion of the Kentucky Springs Canyon Area,  Angeles National Forest.  Archaeological Reconnaissance Report on file at the Angeles National Forest Heritage Resources Section, Arcadia, California.

 
Arthur, J. W., K. J. Weedman Arthur, and M. Curtis. 2008.   Gamo Ethnoarchaeology Project Report of the 2008 Field Season and Summary of Gamo Historical Research 2005-2008.   Report on file at the Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
 
Schmidt, P. R., M. C. Curtis, and Z. Teka (editors) 2008. The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea. Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press

Curtis, M. C.
2008.  Review of Joseph W. Michels' Changing Settlement Patterns in the Aksum-Yeha Region, Ethiopia 700 BC-AD 850, in International Journal of African Historical Studies 41:123-126.
 
Curtis, M. C. 2008.  New Perspectives for Examining Change and Complexity in the Northern Horn of Africa During the First Millennium BCE.  In The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea, edited by P.R. Schmidt, M. C. Curtis, and Z. Teka. Pp. 329-348.  Trenton, NJ:  Red Sea Press, Inc.

Curtis, M. C. and P. R. Schmidt 2008.  Landscape, People, and Places on the Ancient Asmara Plateau.  In The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea, edited by P. R. Schmidt, M. C. Curtis, and Z. Teka.  Pp.  65-108.  Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press, Inc.

Curtis, M. C. and D. Habtemichael  2008.  Matara, Keskese, and the Classical Period Archaeology of the Akele Guzay Highlands: A Brief Overview.  In The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea, edited by P. R. Schmidt, M. C. Curtis, and Z. Teka.  Pp. 311-327.  Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press.

Schmidt, P. R., and M. C. Curtis.  2008.  The Development of Archaeology in Eritrea.  In The Archaeology of  Ancient Eritrea, edited by P. R. Schmidt, M. C. Curtis, and Z. Teka.  Pp. 1-17.  Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press, Inc.

Schmidt, P. R. and M. C. Curtis with a contribution from M. S. Ascunce, A. Kitchen, P. R. Schmidt, M. Myomato, and C. Mulligan.  2008.  The Second Millennium AD: Settlement, Economy, and Ritual Life.  In The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea, edited by P. R. Schmidt, M. C. Curtis, and Z. Teka.  Pp. 265-284.  Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press, Inc.

Wenig, S. and M. C. Curtis  2008.  Qohaito: An Ancient Highland Urban Center.  In The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea, edited by P. R. Schmidt, M. C. Curtis, and Z. Teka.  Pp. 287-300.  Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press, Inc.

Schmidt, P. R., M. C. Curtis, and Z. Teka  2008.  The Ancient Ona Communities of the First Millennium BCE: Urban Precursors and Independent Development on the Asmara Plateau.  In The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea, edited by P. R. Schmidt, M. C. Curtis, and Z. Teka.  Pp. 109-161.  Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press.

D’Andrea, A. C.,  P. R. Schmidt, and M. C. Curtis  2008.  Paleoethnobotanical Analysis and Agricultural Economy in Early First Millennium BCE Sites around Asmara.  In The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea, edited by P. R. Schmidt, M. C. Curtis, and Z. Teka.  Pp. 207-216.  Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press, Inc.

Schmidt, P. R., D. Habtemichael, and M. C. Curtis  2008.  Ancient Gold Mining North of Asmara: A Focus on Hara Hot.  In The Archaeology of Ancient Eritrea, edited by P. R. Schmidt, M. C. Curtis, and Z. Teka.  Pp. 179-187.  Trenton, NJ: Red Sea Press.

Curtis, M. C.  2007.  Hesmele, Konso-Gardula, Kuhi, Lagä Oda, Lalibäla, Malazo, Malka Qunture, May Ayni, May Husa.  Encyclopedia articles in Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, Volume 3, pp. 21-23, 427, 447, 473-474, 489-490, 694-695, 698-699, 881-882, 885-886, edited by S. Uhlig. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

 

Curtis, M. C. 2006. Brief Background and Overview of Qohaito Archaeological Sites Area and Adjacent Adi Qayeh Area, Eritrea. Report prepared for Cultural Site Research and Management (CSRM), Baltimore, Maryland, USA, February 12, 2006.

Curtis, M. C. 2005. Archaeological Investigations in the Greater Asmara Area: A Regional Approach in the Central Highlands of Eritrea. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida.

Curtis, M. C. 2005. Däqämhare, Dungur, Edäga Hamus, Enda Kaleb, Enda Maryam Mägdälawit, Enda Mikael, Enda Səmcon, Fəyqa, Gash Group, Gobədra, Gona, Gulo Mäkäda, Hadar, Ham, and Hawəlti. Encyclopedia articles in Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, Volume 2, pp. 93-94, pp. 206-207, 223-224, 287-288, 290, 290-291, 293, 524-525, 712, 820-821, 837-838, 911-912, 958, 980-981, 1051-1052, edited by S. Uhlig. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Curtis, M. C. 2004. Ancient Interaction across the southern Red Sea: new suggestions for cultural exchange and complex societies during the first millennium BC. In Trade and Travel in the Red Sea Region, edited by P. Lunde and A. Porter. Pp. 57-70. Oxford: Archaeopress.

Schmidt, P. R., C. Naeser, Z. Teka, D. Habtemichael, M. C. Curtis, Y. Mobae, A. G. Mehari, and M. Weldai 2004.  The Antiquity of Settlement in the Southern Eritrean Highlands An Eritro-American-German Collaborative Project. A research design submitted to the University of Asmara.

Curtis, M. C. 2003. Abdur, Addi Qäyyəh, Agula, Aksumite Culture, and Bäsaka. Encyclopedia articles in Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, Volume 1, pp. 39, 77-78, 153, 186-188, 493, edited by S. Uhlig. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.

Schmidt, P. R. and M. C. Curtis 2001 Urban Precursors in the Horn: Early 1st Millennium BC Communities in Eritrea. Antiquity 75(290): 849-859.

Schmidt, P. R. and M. C. Curtis 2001.  Saving Asmara’s Ancient Heritage: Executive Summary. Report and proposal on file in United States Embassy, Asmara and the National Museum of Eritrea, Asmara, Eritrea.

Walz, J. R. and M. C. Curtis 2001. Engaging Archaeology Overseas as Students. The SAA Archaeological Record 1(5):10-12

Walz, J. R. and M. C. Curtis 2001. Promoting Archaeologies Abroad, Anthropology News 42(5):41.

Curtis, M. C. and Y. Libsekal 1999. Archaeological Survey in the Adi Qeyeh Area, Eritrea, Nyame Akuma 51:25-35.

Curtis, M. C.  1998.  1997 Adi Qeyeh Archaeological Survey Project Report.  Report on File in the National Museum of Eritrea.

Curtis, M. C. 1997. Subsurface and Electromagnetic Survey of Ocean Avenue Empty Lot: a Component of the 1997 Nombre de Dios (8-SJ-34) Archaeological Investigations. Report on file in the Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, Florida.

Curtis, M. C.  1995.  Paradigms and Pottery:  Triangular Incised Ware and the Archaeology of the East African Littoral.  Unpublished Master of Arts thesis paper.  On file in the Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
 
 
 
 
 



 
                                                       Giant Fallen Stela at Aksum 

                                                       Photo © M. C. Curtis


 









 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Matthew Curtis,
May 3, 2010, 12:38 PM
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