Alicia R. Ventresca Miller

Alicia Ventresca Miller

Research Interests


  • Ancient diet and mobility
  • Pastoral lifeways and social complexity
  • Rise of urban economies
  • Dairying and domestication


  • Central Asia
  • Inner Asia
  • Siberia

Current Projects

Research Description

As a researcher, I apply biomolecular techniques to investigate how shifts in food production intersect with the emergence of complex societies. As part of a multi-species anthropological approach, I explore the mechanisms fueling urbanization including residential mobility, settlement provisioning, and the adoption of domesticates such as millet and livestock. Although focused on Central and Inner Asia, my work has global implications as it integrates science and anthropology to intercede in narratives that consider pastoralists inherently nomadic and lacking urbanization. Through novel isotopic and proteomic methods, my work provides nuanced answers to questions of domestication and urbanization in the past. I have an active laboratory program that combines archaeology and chemistry to study ancient cuisines and human mobility. My current fieldwork focuses on a proto-urban site in central Kazakhstan and salvaging a looted Mongol era cemetery in northern Mongolia.