Anna Shoemaker

Name: Dr. Anna Shoemaker.

Title: Post-doctoral researcher.

Nationality: Swedish.


Dr. Anna Shoemaker, researches late Holocene archaeology in eastern Africa at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University. She collaborates closely with ecologists in combining varied archaeological, historical and palaeoenvironmental datasets to understand change and continuity in land cover and land use practices. In her role as post-doctoral researcher with the Adaptation & Resilience to Climate Change (ARCC) in eastern Africa project (funded by the Swedish Research Council, Sida and Formas), she is continuing to pursue this brand of interdisciplinary research in north-western Tanzania.

Dr. Shoemaker is currently directing field projects in Tanzania focusing on the last 300 years of human settlement and land use in the western Serengeti/Mara ecosystem. Dr Shoemaker is also consulting for National Geographic in their development of an ancient sustainability research node.

Before coming to NM-AIST, she undertook archaeological research in a range of locations across Kenya with the British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi and with the Resilience in East African Landscapes (REAL) project, a European Commission Marie Curie Skłodowska ITN. For her doctoral research she re-examined narratives of Amboseli, Kenya having been an ecosystem shaped by narrow and ahistorical models of subsistence-based pastoralism. Inspired by the interdisciplinary approach of historical ecology, she integrated the results of her own archaeological surveys and excavations with archival, paleoenvironmental, linguistic and local knowledge sources dating from the mid-Holocene to the colonial period to demonstrate how the current socio-ecological landscape of Amboseli emerged in response to a multitude of livelihood practices. She completed her BA in the Department of Archaeology at Simon Fraser University, Canada and her MSc at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.

Recent publications include:

2019 Shoemaker A, Davies MIJ. Grinding-stone implements in the eastern African Pastoral Neolithic. Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa. 54, 2: 203-220.

2019 Boles JC, Shoemaker A, Courtney Mustaphi CJ, Petek N, Ekblom A, Lane PJ. Historical Ecologies of Pastoralist Overgrazing in Kenya: Long-Term Perspectives on Cause and Effect. Human Ecology. 47, 3: 419-434.

2019 Ekblom A, Shoemaker A, Gillson L, Lane P, Lindholm K-L. Conservation through Biocultural Heritage, examples from Sub-Saharan Africa. Land. 8, 5.

2018 Shoemaker A. Pastoral pasts in the Amboseli landscape: An archaeological exploration of the Amboseli ecosystem from the later Holocene to the colonial period. Uppsala University.

2018 Marchant R, Richer S, Boles O, Capitani C, Courtney Mustaphi CJ, Lane P, Prendergast ME, Stump D, De Cort G, Kaplan JO, Phelps L, Kay A, Olago D, Petek N, Platts PJ, Punwong P, Widgren M, Wynne-Jones S, Ferro-Vázquez C, Benard J, Boivin N, Crowther A, Cuní-Sanchez A, Deere NJ, Ekblom A, Farmer J, Finch J, Fuller D, Gaillard-Lemdahl MJ, Gillson L, Githumbi E, Kabora T, Kariuki R, Kinyanjui R, Kyazike E, Lang C, Lejju J, Morrison KD, Muiruri M, Mumbi C, Muthoni R, Muzuka A, Ndiema E, Kabonyi Nzabandora C, Onjala I, Pas Schrijver A, Rucina S, Shoemaker A, Thornton-Barnett S, van der Plas G, Watson EE, Williamson D, Wright D. Drivers and trajectories of land cover change in East Africa: human and environmental interactions from 6000 years ago to present. Earth Sciences Review. 178: 322-378.

2018 Githumbi E, Kariuki R, Shoemaker A, Courtney Mustaphi C, Chuhila M, Richer S, Lane P, Marchant R. Pollen, People and Place: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Ecosystem Change at Amboseli, Kenya. Frontiers in Earth Science. DOI:10.3389/feart.2017.00113

2017  Lane P. and Shoemaker A. Interdisciplinary perspectives on precolonial African farming and herding communities. In White D, and Davies, MIJ (ed) Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History. Oxford University Press. DOI:10.1093/acrefore/9780190277734.013.70

2017  Shoemaker A, Davies, M.I.J., Moore, H.L. Back to the grindstone? The archaeological potential of grinding-stone studies in Africa with reference to ethnographic grinding practices in Marakwet, northwest Kenya. African Archaeological Review. 34(3): 415-435.

2017 Armstrong CG*, Shoemaker A*, Boles O, McAlvay AC, Petek N, Gibbons KS, Morales E, McKechnie I, Sazbo P, Anderson EN, Ekblom A, LeCompte J, Vamosi JC, Marks-Block, T, Awâsis S, Nabess C, Lane P, Crumley C. Emerging Research Directions in Historical Ecology: 50 Questions, Infinite Prospects. PLoS one. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171883 *equal contribution

Related websites



Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University


Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE)