Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Mallory Melton

Mallory Melton


B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.A., University of California, Santa Barbara
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara

Contact Information:

(570) 321-4433

Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology
Areas of Expertise: Archaeology of Sociopolitical Change/Crisis, Paleoethnobotanical Analysis, Food Security, Culture Contact, Early Urbanism, Middle-Range and Complex Societies, North, Central, and South America

Dr. Mallory Melton is an anthropological archaeologist who uses plant remains—macrobotanicals, starches, and phytoliths—to study the impacts of sociopolitical change/crisis on daily life. Her research has explored topics such as early urbanization on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala, captive taking in the Colonial North Carolina Piedmont, tradition/innovation in indigenous foodways of nineteenth-century San Diego, and camelid tending practices in the Middle Horizon Peruvian Andes. Currently, she has active research projects in Eastern North America, Mesoamerica, and the Andes.

In addition to her research and teaching, Dr. Melton is passionate about mentoring students, with special focus on empowering those from underrepresented backgrounds. She is also committed to enhancing inclusivity in academia through working to make hands-on and field-based aspects of higher education more accessible to individuals with disabilities. As a result, she has been involved in organizing workshops and participating in conference panels on this topic.

Dr. Melton joined the Department of Anthropology/Sociology and the Archaeology Program in 2023 after completing her graduate work at UCSB and a subsequent one-year fellowship in Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.

Selected Publications

Melton, Mallory A., Aleksa K. Alaica, Matthew E. Biwer, Luis Manuel González La Rosa, Gwyneth Gordon, Kelly J. Knudson, Amber M. VanDerwarker, and Justin Jennings (2023) Reconstructing Middle Horizon Camelid Diets and Foddering Practices: Microbotanical and Isotope Analyses of Dental Remains from Quilcapampa, Peru. Latin American Antiquity. DOI: 10.1017/laq.2022.80.

Nelson, Erin Stevens, Ashley Peles, and Mallory A. Melton (2023) A Mississippian Example of Harvest Renewal Ceremonialism. In Ancient Foodways: Integrative Approaches to Understanding Subsistence and Society in the Past, edited by C. Margaret Scarry, Benjamin S. Arbuckle, and Dale L. Hutchinson, pp. 152-182. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Biwer, Matthew E., and Mallory A. Melton (2022) Starch Granule Evidence for the Presence of Chuño at the Middle Horizon (A.D. 600-1000) Site Quilcapampa La Antigua, Sihuas Valley, Peru. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 45(3):103604. DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2022.103604.

Melton, Mallory A., Matthew E. Biwer, and Rita Panjarjian (2020) Differentiating Chuño Blanco and Chuño Negro in Archaeological Samples Based on Metrics and Morphological Attributes. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 34:102650. DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102650.

Melton, Mallory A., Gregory D. Wilson, and Amber M. VanDerwarker (2020) Spoon River Culture and Chronology. In Orendorf Settlement D: A Burned Fortified Mississippian Town in the Central Illinois River Valley, edited by Lawrence A. Conrad, Kjersti E. Emerson, Thomas E. Emerson, and Duane E. Esarey, pp. 119-128. Illinois State Archaeological Survey Research Report No. 50, University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois.

Melton, Mallory A. (2018) Cropping in an Age of Captive Taking: Exploring Evidence for Uncertainty and Food Insecurity in the Seventeenth-Century North Carolina Piedmont. American Antiquity 83(2):204-223. DOI: 10.1017/aaq.2017.63.

Wilson, Gregory D., Mallory A. Melton, and Amber M. VanDerwarker (2018) Reassessing the Chronology of the Mississippian Central Illinois River Valley Using Bayesian Analysis. Southeastern Archaeology 37(1):22-38. DOI: 10.1080/0734578X.2017.1377510.