University of Denver

Sarah Milledge Nelson


University of Denver
Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences
2130 S. Race Street
Denver, Colorado 80208

Phone: (303) 871-2682
Fax: (303) 871-2201

Position: Professor

Previous Appointments:

Past Positions:

1979-1985, University of Denver, Associate Professor;
1974-1979, University of Denver, Assistant Professor;
1974, University of Colorado, Boulder, Visiting Assistant Professor;
1971, University of Maryland, Far East Division, (Korea), Instructor;
1970, University of Denver, Part-time Instructor

Educational Background:

B.A., Biblical History, Wellesley College, 1953;
M.A., Anthropology, University of Michigan, 1969;
Ph.D., Anthropology (Archaeology), University of Michigan, 1973

Professional Organizations:

Sigma Xi;
American Anthropological Association;
Society for American Archaeology;
Association for Asian Studies;
Society for East Asian Archaeology;

About My Research

My field is archaeology. For more than two decades I have done research in Korea and for 10 years in China. I am interested in the explanation of culture change from the appearance of pottery to the formation of the state, especially the problems of the origins of agriculture (in my area this is more millets than rice) and the distribution of the knowledge of bronze technology I also research gender issues. also research gender issued (e.g. when, how, and why did division of labor by gender become status differentiation?). To explore gender I have researched the paleolithic figurines in Europe, the queens of the Silla kingdom of early Korea, and the "goddess temple" in northeastern China. Other regions where I have done archaeological research include south-eastern Utah and the Colorado high plains. In these areas I have examined diverse problems, such as the sedentism/mobility indicated by archaeological sites, and the distribution of site types on the landscapes. Along these lines, I have create or adapted several computer spatial programs for use in both regional and site research. Foreign interests: Korea China Japan Cross-departmental interests: gender issues, archaeo-astronomy Northeast Asia.


Nelson, Sarah Milledge, editor, The Archaeology of Northeast China. Routledge Press, London, England, 1995;
Nelson, Margaret, Sarah M. Nelson and Alison Wylie, editors, Equity Issues for Women in Archaeology, American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC, 1994;
1993, Archaeology of Korea. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, England;
1990, "Diversity of the Upper Paleolithic "Venus" Figurines and Archaeological Mythology," in Powers of Observation, Alternative Views in Archaeology. S.M. Nelson and Alice B. Kehoe, eds., pp. 11-22;
1990, "Neolithic Sites in Northeastern China and Korea," Antiquity, 64: 234-48. (also translated into Chinese)

Professional Activities

Academic Experience:

Editorial boards: Korean Studies, International Journal of Historical Archaeology, Encyclopedia of Archaeology

I have had experience with the following funding agencies:




Center for Field Research, Earthwatch;

Canadian Social Science Council;

Committee on Scholarly Communication with the People's Republic of China(NAS);

Colorado Humanities;

International Cultural Society of Korea;

Dept. of Defense


Spanish: fluent reading, basic writing, basic speaking.

French: fluent reading, basic writing, basic speaking.

German: intermediate reading, intermediate writing, fluent speaking.

Chinese: intermediate reading, basic writing, intermediate speaking.

Korean: intermediate reading, basic writing, intermediate speaking.

Teaching Interests:

My current teaching interests and areas include:

Archaology of Gender
East Asian Archaeology
European Archaeology

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Revised or reviewed: January 31, 1997