College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Anthropology

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  • Dr. Tim A. Kohler

    Ph.D., University of Florida
    Regents Professor and Graduate Coordinator
    Archaeology and Evolutionary Anthropology

    Kohler applies method and theory from the study of complex adaptive systems to the study of prehistoric societies. He received his A.B. in General Studies from New College of Sarasota, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Anthropology from the University of Florida. His dissertation research on Weeden Island societies involved sampling the McKeithen village in North Florida. Since arriving at WSU, he has increasingly specialized in Southwestern archaeology. In the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, he collaborated with William D. Lipe on the Dolores Archaeological Program in southwestern Colorado. Since then, he has directed excavations in Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico, and coordinates the interdisciplinary NSF Coupled Natural & Human Systems-funded "Village Ecodynamics Project" to understand the causes for changes in settlement systems in the eastern Southwest between A.D. 600 and 1760. He is a Research Associate at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Cortez, and an External Professor and member of the Science Board at the Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico.

    Much of his work involves quantitative analysis of archaeological data or simulation of aspects of prehistoric behavior. He is especially interested in cooperative behavior, reciprocity, and other processes with evolutionary implications in Neolithic societies, and large-scale patterning in prehistoric societies. At the graduate level he regularly teaches ANTH 530 (Archaeological Method and Theory). In April 2004 he completed a four-year term as editor of American Antiquity. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Digital Antiquity, an initiative to aggregate and preserve archaeological digital data and make it broadly accessible.

    He is the only scholar ever to have been recognized with both the Alfred Vincent Kidder Award for Eminence in the Field of American Archaeology (AAA, 2014) and the SAA's Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis (2010).


    Representative Publications

    2014 (first author, with Scott G. Ortman, Katie E. Grundtisch, Carly M. Fitzpatrick, and Sarah M. Cole) The Better Angels of Their Nature: Declining Violence Through Time among Prehispanic Farmers of the Pueblo Southwest. American Antiquity 79(3): 444–464.

    2014 (first author, with Kelsey M. Reese) A Long and Spatially Variable Neolithic Demographic Transition in the North American Southwest. PNAS (early edition).

    2013 How the Pueblos got their Sprachbund. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 20:212-234.

    2012 (first author, with Denton Cockburn, Paul L. Hooper, R. Kyle Bocinsky, and Ziad Kobti) The Coevolution of Group Size and Leadership: An Agent-Based Public Goods Model for Prehispanic Pueblo Societies. Advances in Complex Systems 15(1&2):1150007.

    2012 (first editor, with Mark D. Varien) Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages: Models of Central Mesa Verde Archaeology. University of California Press, Berkeley

    Leaving Mesa Verde Cover2010 (first editor, with Mark Varien and Aaron Wright) Leaving Mesa Verde: Peril and Change in the Thirteenth-century Southwest. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

    2008 (with Matt Glaude, Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel, and Brian M. Kemp) The Neolithic Demographic Transition in the U.S. Southwest. American Antiquity 73:645-669.

    2008 (with Mark Varien, Aaron Wright, and Kristin Kuckleman) Mesa Verde Migrations. American Scientist 96: 146-153.

    MBA text cover2007 (editor, with Sander van der Leeuw) Model-Based Archaeology of Socionatural Systems. SAR Press, Santa Fe.Ancient Footsteps text cover

    2006 (editor with R.G. Matson) Tracking Ancient Footsteps: William D. Lipe's Contributions to Southwestern Prehistory and Public Archaeology. Washington State University Press.

    2005 (with George Gumerman and Robert Reynolds) Simulating Ancient Societies: Computer Modeling is Helping to Unravel the Archaeological Mysteries of the American Southwest. Scientific American. July:76-83.

    2004 (with Stephanie VanBuskirk and Samantha Ruscavage-Barz) Vessels and Villages: Evidence for Conformist Transmission in Early Village Aggregations on the Pajarito Plateau, New Mexico. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. 23:100-118.

    2004 (editor) Archaeology of Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico: Village Formation on the Pajarito Plateau, New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

    2000 (editor, with G. Gumerman) Dynamics in Human and Primate Societies: Agent-based Modeling of Social and Spatial Presses. Santa Fe Institute Studies in the Sciences of Complexity. Oxford University Press, New York.

    1996 (with Carla Van West) The Calculus of Self Interest in the Development of Cooperation: Sociopolitical Development and Risk Among the Northern Anasazi. In Evolving Complexity and Environment: Risk in the Prehistoric Southwest, edited by Joseph A. and Bonnie Bagley Tainter, pp. 171–198. Santa Fe Institute Studies in the Sciences of Complexity, Proceedings Vol. XXVI. Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA.

    1992 Fieldhouses, Villages, and the Tragedy of the Commons in the Early Northern Anasazi Southwest. American Antiquity 57:617–635.

    1984 (with J. T. Milanich and others) McKeithen Weeden Island: The Culture of Northern Florida, A.D. 200–900. Academic Press, New York.

    Meet Dr. Kohler's Recent and Current Graduate Students


    Kyle Bocinsky
    Post-Doctoral Researcher


    Stefani Crabtree
    Ph.D. Student


    Dr. Tim A. Kohler

    College Hall 396


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