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Justin Cramb

UGA Arch

I am a doctoral candidate (ABD) working with Victor Thompson here at UGA. I specialize in the areas of Island and Coastal Archaeology, Historical Ecology, and the Cultures of the South Pacific. I have studied Oceanic Societies for over seven years, including as an undergraduate working with Dr. Carmen White at Central Michigan University. Since 2011, I have worked on archaeological field projects in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and South Carolina as well as in Fiji, French Polynesia, and the Cook Islands. This includes pre-dissertation (2015) and dissertation (2017) research on the remote atolls of Manihiki and Rakahanga in the northern Cook Islands where I conducted archaeological survey and excavation as well as ethnographic interviews. My laboratory experience includes two years as a research assistant at the UGA Laboratory of Archaeology and training in zooarchaeological methods from dissertation committee member Dr. Elizabeth Reitz. I have also worked/volunteered in museums and with museum collections in Michigan, Georgia, French Polynesia, and the Cook Islands. Additionally, I have assisted in teaching numerous in-class courses at UGA and I have assisted with three archaeological field schools both domestic and in Fiji. I have also been involved in public outreach projects aimed at educating children and communities (both domestic and abroad) about archaeology and its purpose (e.g., Speakman et al. 2016).

I recently returned from a seven-month field project in the northern Cook Islands and I am now working to complete the analysis of the materials and data recovered on the Atolls of Manihiki and Rakahanga. This includes artifact analysis of shell tools, zooarchaeological analysis, analysis of ethnogaphic data, and AMS dating coupled with Bayesian statistical analysis. 

Manihiki and Rakahanga
Manihiki and Rakahanga
Archaeology Day on Rakahanga Atoll
Archaeology Day on Rakahanga Atoll


Traditional Stone Fish Traps on Manihiki
Traditional Stone Fish Traps on Manihiki


A Meeting with Prime Minister Henry Puna
Meeting the Cook Islands' Prime Minister Henry Puna



Research Projects:
Manihiki and Rakahanga: Persistence on the Margins of Oceania (PhD Dissertation Project)

This research aims to answer the question: How have humans transformed and managed marginal and emerging environments to create resilient cultural landscapes? To address this question I incorporate methods from archaeology, zooarchaeology, cultural anthropology, and oral history as well as the theoretical perspectives of historical ecology and resilience theory.

I worked closely with the communities of two small atolls, Manihiki and Rakahanga, in the Northern Cook Islands of East Polynesia to conduct this dissertation project. I am now working to complete the analysis of artifacts, animal remains, ethnographic data, and datable materials from the atolls. Completion of this project will create a multifaceted deep-time understanding of the ways that humans have, and can continue to, create sustainability through landscape transformation and innovative subsistence practices. 


Of note:


Lambda Alpha Honors Society, Member

Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, Alumni (2011 CMU Cohort)

The Society for American Archaeology, Member

The Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Member

Research Areas:
Research Interests:

Island and Coastal Archaeology; The Cultures of Oceania; Collaborative Indigenous Archaeology; Zooarchaeology; Collections Analysis; Ethnoarcheology; Oral Tradition; Historical Ecology; Resilience Theory; Marginal and Emerging Environments; Landscape Construction; Resource Conservation; Subsistence; Human/Environmental Interaction


Selected Publications:

Journal Articles 

Jones, Sharyn and Justin Cramb
In Review. Dating a Small-Island Settlement in Fiji: Bayesian Modeling of the Nukubalalvu Site on Vanua Levu. The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, in review.

Thompson Victor, Chester DePratter, Jacob Lulewicz, Isabelle Lulewicz, Amanda Thompson, Justin Cramb, Brandon Ritchison, Matt Colvin
In Review. The Archaeology and Remote Sensing of Santa Elena’s Four Millennia of Occupation. Remote Sensing, in review.

Robert J. Speakman, Carla S. Hadden, Matthew H. Colvin, Justin Cramb, K.C. Jones, Travis W. Jones, Corbin L. Kling, Isabelle Lulewicz, Katharine G. Napora, Katherine L. Reinberger, Brandon T. Ritchison, Maria Jose Rivera-Araya, April K. Smith, Victor D. Thompson.
2018 Choosing a Path to the Ancient World in a Modern Market: The Reality of Faculty Jobs In Archaeology. American Antiquity 83(1):1-12.

Lulewicz Isabelle, Victor Thompson, Justin Cramb, and Bryan Tucker
2017 Oyster Paleoecology and Native America Subsistence Practices on Ossabaw Island, Georgia, U.S.A. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 15:282-289.

Thompson, Victor D., Thomas J. Pluckhahn, Matt Colvin, Justin Cramb, Katherine Napora, J. Jacob Lulewicz, and Brandon Ritchison.
2017 Plummets, Public Ceremonies, and Interaction Networks during the Woodland Period in Florida.  Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 48:193-206.

Cramb, Justin E.
2011 The Darrah Creek Site (20MC78): An Archaeological Investigation and Collection Analysis. The Michigan Archaeologist 57:33-58.



Cramb, Justin
2016 Manihiki and Rakahanga: Persistence on the Margins of Oceania (Progress Report to the Government of the Cook Islands). Manuscript on File, Office of the Prime Minister, Avarua.



Speakman, R. Jeff, Matthew Colvin, Justin Cramb, Alice Hunt, K.C. Jones, Travis Jones, Isabelle Lulewicz, Katharine Napora, Katie Reinberger, Brandon Ritchison, and Victor Thompson
2016 UGA Junior Archaeologist: An Explorer’s Guide to Georgia’s Past. University of Georgia, Athens. 



National Science Foundation: Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Award, Recipient 

Norman Herz Small Grants for Student Research, Recipient 

University of Georgia, Department of Anthropology, Steingruber Award, Recipient 


The National Science Foundation: Graduate Research Fellowship Program, Honorable Mention

The University of Georgia Department of Anthropology Janis Faith Steingruber Award, Recipient

The University of Georgia Graduate School Dean’s Award, Recipient

The Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research Award, Recipient


The National Science Foundation: Graduate Research Fellowship Program, Honorable Mention


The University of Georgia Graduate Recruitment Opportunities Assistantship, Recipient

Summa cum Laude Graduate, Central Michigan University



The University of Georgia

Doctorate of Philosophy, Environmental Anthropology: Anticipated Graduation Dec., 2018

Central Michigan University

Bachelors of Science, Anthropology: Graduated Summa cum Laude May, 2013


Articles Featuring Justin Cramb

With Fall semester right around the corner, we would like to extend a special congratulations to our Spring and Summer 2020 PhD graduates!

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