People » Sarah Barber

Dr. Barber is an Associate Professor specializing in the archaeology of Mesoamerica. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2005 and joined the UCF faculty in 2007. The central goal of her research is to understand the various processes that enabled and constrained early political centralization. She focuses particularly on the ways that religion and long-distance economic interaction have shaped early complex societies in Oaxaca in southern Mexico. To that end, her research has included geospatial modeling of trade routes, music archaeology, geophysical remote sensing, and broader examinations of political change in ancient Oaxaca. She has an active research program examining these themes in the lower Río Verde valley and the Manialtepec basin, both located on Oaxaca’s western Pacific coast. Her fieldwork includes archaeological excavation, survey, mapping, and ground penetrating radar (GPR). Dr. Barber has received grant support from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and the Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs program to conduct her fieldwork.

Dr. Barber’s research has been published in both English and Spanish, in journals such as Ancient Mesoamerica, The Journal of Archaeological Science, and The International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, as well as in volumes published by the University Press of Colorado and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. She is co-editor of the Archaeology Section of the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition. She teaches Archaeology and the Rise of Human Culture, The Origins of Complex Societies, Archaeology in Popular Culture, The Americas Before Columbus, Archaeological Method and Theory, and Indians of the Southwest.

Archaeology of Mesoamerica, archaeology of the Greater Southwest, poststructural social theory, origins of complex societies, middle-range societies, household and community archaeology, ceremonial and ritual practices, near-in remote sensing, public education.

Please visit the News section for Dr. Barber to find the latest information on her accomplishments.

August 2013:

Congratulations to Dr. Sarah Barber on being promoted to the rank of Associate Professor effective Fall 2013!


Congratulations to Dr. Sarah Barber on receiving the Teaching Incentive Program Award.

October 2012:

Congratulations to Dr. Sarah Barber for her recent grant award “Religion and Political Innovation in Formative Mesoamerica.” This is a two year award on the study of the role of religion in Formative Period Mesoamerican political innovations. The research includes an archaeological field project and release time to write a book. The project has support from the Religion and Innovation in Human Affairs (RIHA) Program of the Historical Society funded by the John Templeton Foundation through the University of Colorado Boulder.


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Anthropology Ph.D. Program to Launch in 2018

by Zenaida Kotala UCF will begin offering a Ph.D. program in integrative anthropological sciences next fall, but it won’t be your traditional anthropology degree. Students who enter the program will benefit f... Read more

Excavating New Opportunities

University of Central Florida’s Department of Anthropology dug up a new Experiential Learning program last spring. Anthropology Associate Professor and Undergraduate Coordinator Sarah Barber, Ph.D., created t... Read more

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