Backdirt: Annual Review, which began as a newsletter in 1973, is the magazine of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology that highlights the recent news, research and activities of the Institute. The CIoA Press publishes the annual magazine each spring.

Our current and older issues can be downloaded from the links below.

Backdirt 2018

  • Read about celebrations and Lloyd Cotsen's legacy
  • Moche Festivals
  • Block-Printed Textiles Production in India
  • Cotsen student and alumni adventures outside of the Institute
  • And much more! download PDF

Backdirt 2017

  • Read about The Dragon Stones of Armenia
  • Museology and Egyptian Material Culture
  • Day in the Life of a Rural Indian Cowherd
  • And much more! download PDF

Backdirt 2016

  • Read about the work conducted in the CIoA Labs
  • Life of the Egyptian Coffin
  • Cave Temples of Dunhuang
  • The Achievements of Jane E. Buikstra
  • Using Stable Isotopes to Explore Ancient Wildebeest Biogeographies
  • And much more! download PDF

Backdirt 2015

  • Institute achievements in 2015
  • Extracting insights from the Southwest through computer modelings and large datasets
  • Reports from the field discuss coffin reuse in Egypt, community involvement in the Philippines and a mysterious line of holes in Peru
  • Marija Gimbutas: Old Europe, Goddesses and Gods, and the Transformation of Culture
  • The Field School Revolution
  • And much more! download PDF

Backdirt 2014

  • Recent awards and honors
  • The Tin Problem Reconsidered: Recent Archaeometallurgical Research on the Anatolian Plateau
  • Exploring Ancient Pastoral Mobility through Stable Isotope Analysis: A Case Study from Kenya
  • Prehistoric Urban Archaeology in the Americas: A View from Cusco, Peru
  • Researcher's Notebook
  • And much more! download PDF

Backdirt 2013

  • Reminiscences of directors
  • 40th Anniversary Exclusive
  • From Clay to Milk in Mediterranean Prehistory: Tracking a Special Vessel
  • Looting: Another Phase in the Social History of a Pre-Hispanic Cemetery in Southern Peru
  • Reports from the field
  • And much more! download PDF

Backdirt 2012

  • Ancient Maya Calendrics, Cosmology, and Creation
  • Coffin Reuse in the Twenty-First Dynasty
  • Surveying Landscapes
  • Conflict and Cooperation in the Northern Titicaca Basin
  • Little Lake Rock Art
  • And much more!

    Additional Backdirts are available on Scribd and For questions regarding subscriptions and submissions, e-mail the CIoA Press at