Linda S. Cordell

Senior Scholar


Linda S. Cordell was appointed a Senior Scholar at SAR in July 2006. No stranger to SAR, Linda has been a participant at several advanced seminars, was an NEH resident scholar in 1981–1982, held Arroyo Hondo Summer scholarships in 2003 and 2004, and served on the Staley Prize Committee and an SAR Planning Committee prior to joining SAR. Linda is an archaeologist whose primary research is in the U.S. Southwest with an emphasis on the14th and 15th century northern and central Rio Grande Valley Ancestral Pueblo peoples. Her research interests include archaeological method and theory, the archaeology of settlement dynamics in agricultural communities, and human responses to climate change in arid regions. Linda is author of Prehistory of the Southwest (1984), Archaeology of the Southwest, second edition (1997), Archaeology of the Southwest, third edition (2012), Ancient Pueblo Peoples (1994), Before Pecos: Settlement Aggregation in the Upper Pecos Valley, New Mexico (1998), and co-author with Beatriz Braniff-C. and others of La Gran Chichimeca, el Lugar de las Rocas Secas (2001). She is also editor of Tijeras Canyon, Analyses of the Past (1980); co-editor with George Gumerman of Dynamics of Southwest Prehistory (1989); co-editor with Nelson Foster of Chilies to Chocolate, Foods the Americas Gave the World (1992); and co-editor with Don D. Fowler of Southwest Archaeology in the Twentieth Century (2005); among many other books and innumerable articles.

Linda earned her B.A. at George Washington University, her M.A. at the University of Oregon, and her Ph.D. at the University of California Santa Barbara. She taught at the University of New Mexico from 1971–1987, as an Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor and served a term as chair of the Department of Anthropology. Linda then spent four years at the California Academy of Sciences, in San Francisco, as Irvine Curator and Chair of the Department of Anthropology. In 1992, Linda joined the faculty of the University of Colorado, Boulder as Director of the University of Colorado Museum, a comprehensive natural history museum, and Professor of Anthropology. She served at Colorado until June 2005, and holds emeritus status in the Department of Anthropology and the Museum. More recently, she was appointed to the External Faculty at the Santa Fe Institute in 2010 and was a keynote speaker at their Spring Science Council Meeting in April 2011.

Linda was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 2005. She has been awarded the A. V. Kidder medal for eminence in American Archaeology by the American Anthropological Association—the second woman to have won the Kidder medal in its 60 years of existence. Linda was also awarded the Byron S. Cummings Award by the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society in 2004, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at George Washington University.

Always active in the profession of anthropology, Linda has been elected to terms as a member of the Board of Directors of the Society for American Archaeology and Board Member and President of the Southwest Symposium, and as a representative of Section H (Anthropology) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Throughout her career, Linda has enjoyed teaching undergraduate and graduate students, directing archaeological field schools, developing museum exhibitions, and conducting collaborative research. Her current projects include being available to SAR Resident Scholars, visitors, and members; consulting on exhibitions for the National Museum of the American Indian; and continuing collaborative research on 14th-century Ancestral Pueblo society, ceramics, and maize agriculture.