Kurt Rademaker

  • Assistant Professor


McDonel Hall E-25

Curriculum vitae

Research Interests

    Settlement of the Americas
    Environmental archaeology
    Lithic technology and provenance
    Geographic information systems
    Quaternary studies
    Interdisciplinary collaboration and education

Biographical Info

I am an interdisciplinary archaeologist interested in human-environment dynamics, the initial settlement of South America, adaptations in extreme environments, and hunter-gatherers. I have carried out archaeological research and Quaternary studies, primarily in Peru, over the past 18 years. Before that I worked as an archaeologist in the Eastern Woodlands and Great Basin regions of the U.S. and in Mexico.

My current archaeological research in Peru is focused on a >12,000-year-old settlement system spanning the Pacific coast to the high Andes. My team and I are applying predictive models and searching for Late Pleistocene archaeological sites in unexplored areas. We are also re-excavating and re-dating Andean sites to improve chronologies and site-formation models and applying cutting-edge archaeological science methods to legacy collections. These projects involve collaboration with earth science colleagues to produce high-resolution paleoenvironmental records and with biological anthropologists and paleogeneticists to study how humans have adapted to live in high-elevation mountain regions, some of the most challenging environments on Earth.

More information on my working group's research is at: www.paleoandes.com.

If you are interested in joining my working group, please contact me in advance of applying to the Michigan State University graduate program.

Current Research Projects

“Recovery of Ancient Genomes from 8000-year-old Burials at Puerto Lomas, Pacific Coast of Peru” - MSU College of Social Science Faculty Initiatives Fund
"Social Adaptation in a Highly Varied Spatial Environment" - NSF Archaeology Grant #BCS-1659015.
"New Investigations of Human Ecology in the Puna of Junin" - MSU College of Social Science Faculty Initiatives Fund.
Graduate students:
Tori Schwarz, MSU
Emily Milton, MSU
Sarah Meinekat, U. of Tübingen
Brett Furlotte, U. of Saskatchewan
Daniela Osorio, U. College London:


+indicates graduate student
Reid, D., P.R. Williams, A. Cardona Rosas, R. Coleman Goldstein, L. Dussubieux, C. Banikazemi, and K. Rademaker, in review.  Obsidian procurement and exchange at the apogee of empire: Wari political economy in Arequipa, Peru. Latin American Antiquity
Menaker, A. and K. Rademaker, 2023 in press.  Obsidian in the Valley of Volcanoes, Peru. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports
+Meinekat, S., +E.B.P. Milton, B. Furlotte, S. Zarrillo, and *K. Rademaker, 2023. Fire as high-elevation cold adaptation: An evaluation of fuels and Terminal Pleistocene combustion in the central Andes. Quaternary Science Reviews 316: 108244. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2023.108244
Bromley, G.R.M., A. Putnam, B. Hall, K. Rademaker, H. Thomas, A. Balter-Kennedy, S. Barker, and D. Rice, 2023. Lateglacial shifts in seasonality reconcile conflicting North Atlantic temperature signals. Journal of Geophysical Research - Earth Surface 128, e2022JF006951. https://doi.org/10.1029/2022JF006951
Reid, D.A., P.R. Williams, K. Rademaker; N. Tripcevich, and M.D. Glascock, 2022. The characterization of small-sized obsidian debitage using p-XRF: A case study from Arequipa, Peru. In Obsidian Across the Americas, edited by G.M. Feinman and D.J. Riebe, pp. 124-147. Archaeopress.
Holcomb, J.A., R.D. Mandel, E. Otárola-Castillo, K. Rademaker, +R.L. Rosencrance, K.N. McDonough, S. Miller, and B.T. Wygal, 2022. Does the evidence at Arroyo del Vizcaíno (Uruguay) support the claim of human occupation 30,000 years ago? PaleoAmerica 8(4): 285-299. https://doi.org/10.1080/20555563.2022.2135476
Lovis, W.A., A.F. Arbogast, D.H. Carr, R.E. Donahue, K. Rademaker, and +K. McKeehan, 2022 The Parkhill Phase Middle Paleoindian Hipwater locale, southern lower Michigan, USA. PaleoAmerica 8(4): 315-329. https://doi.org/10.1080/20555563.2022.2135478
+Milton, E.B.P., N. Stansell, H. Bocherens, A. Brownlee, D. Chala-Aldana, and K. Rademaker, 2022. Examining surface water δ18O and δ2H values in the western central Andes: A watershed moment for anthropological mobility studies. Journal of Archaeological Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2022.105655
Burger, R.L., E. Tsurumi, M. Boulanger, K. Rademaker and M.D. Glascock, 2022. Sayrosa, a minor obsidian source in the puna of Arequipa. Ñawpa Pacha (Journal of the Institute of Andean Studies). https://doi.org/10.1080/00776297.2022.2029157
Rademaker, K., M.D. Glascock, D.A. Reid, E. Zuñiga, and G.R.M. Bromley, 2021. Comprehensive mapping and compositional analysis of the Alca obsidian source, Peru. Quaternary International 619: 56-71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2021.11.029
+Meinekat, S., C. Miller, and K. Rademaker, 2021. A site formation model for Cuncaicha rock shelter: Depositional and post-depositional processes at the high-altitude keysite in the Peruvian Andes. Geoarchaeology 37: 304–331. https://doi.org/10.1002/gea.21889
Chatters, J.C., B.A. Potter, A.M. Prentiss, S.J. Fiedel, G. Haynes, R.L. Kelly, J.D. Kilby, F. Lanoë, J. Holland-Lulewicz, D.S. Miller, J.E. Morrow, A.R. Perri, G. Politis, K.M. Rademaker, J.D. Reuther, B.T. Ritchison, G. Sanchez, I. Sánchez-Morales, M. Spivey-Faulkner, J.W. Tune, and C.V. Haynes. 2021.  Evaluating claims of early human occupation at Chiquihuite Cave, Mexico. PaleoAmerica 8(1): 1-16.
Potter, B.A., J.C. Chatters, A.M. Prentiss, S.J. Fiedel, G. Haynes, R.L. Kelly, J.D. Kilby, F. Lanoë, J. Holland-Lulewicz, D.S. Miller, J.E. Morrow, A.R. Perri, K.M. Rademaker, J.D. Reuther, B.T. Ritchison, G. Sanchez, I. Sánchez-Morales, M. Spivey-Faulkner, J.W. Tune, and C. Vance Haynes, 2021.  Current understanding of the earliest human occupations in the Americas: Evaluation of Valdivia-Becerra and Higham (2020). PaleoAmerica 8(1): 62-76.
Kocher, A., Papac, R. Barquera, F.M. Key, M.A. Spyrou, R. Hübler, A.B. Rohrlach, F. Aron, R. Stahl, A. Wissgott, F. van Bömmel, M. Pfefferkorn, A. Mittnik, V. Villalba-Mouco, G.U. Neumann, M. Rivollat, M.S. van de Loosdrecht, K. Majander, R.I. Tukhbatova, L. Musralina, A. Ghalichi, S. Penske, S. Sabin, M. Michel, J. Gretzinger, E.A. Nelson, T. Ferraz, K. Nägele, C. Parker, M. Keller, E.K. Guevara, M. Feldman, S. Eisenmann, E. Skourtanioti, K. Giffin, G.A. Gnecchi Ruscone, S. Friederich, V. Schimmenti, V. Khartanovich, M.K. Karapetian, M.S. Chaplygin, V.V. Kufterin, A.A. Khokhlov, A.A. Chizhevsky, D.A. Stashenkov, A.F. Kochkina, C. Tejedor-Rodríguez, Í. García-Martínez de Lagrán, H. Arcusa-Magallón, R. Garrido-Pena, J.I. Royo-Guillén, J. Nováček, S. Rottier, S. Kacki, S. Saintot, E. Kaverzneva, A.B. Belinskiy, P. Velemínský, P. Limburský, M. Kostka, L. Loe, E. Popescu, R. Clarke, A. Lyons, R. Mortimer, A. Sajantila, Y. Chinique de Armas, S.T. Hernandez Godoy, D.I. Hernández-Zaragoza, J. Pearson, D. Binder, P. Lefranc, A.R. Kantorovich, V.E. Maslov, L. Lai, M. Zoledziewska, J.F. Beckett, M. Langová, A. Danielisová, T. Ingman, G. García Atiénzar, M.P. de Miguel Ibánez, A. Romero, A. Sperduti, S. Beckett, S.J. Salter, E.D. Zilivinskaya, D.V. Vasil’ev, K. von Heyking, R.L. Burger, L.C. Salazar, L. Amkreutz, M. Navruzbekov, E. Rosenstock, C. Alonso-Fernández, V. Slavchev, A.A. Kalmykov, B.Ch. Atabiev, E. Batieva, M. Alvarez Calmet, B. Llamas, M. Schultz, R. Krauß, J. Jiménez-Echevarría, M. Francken, S. Shnaider, P. de Knijff, E. Altena, K. Van de Vijver, L. Fehren-Schmitz, T.A. Tung, S. Lösch, M. Dobrovolskaya, N. Makarov, C. Read, M. Van Twest, C. Sagona, P.C. Ramsl, M. Akar, K.A. Yener, E. Carmona Ballestero, F. Cucca, V. Mazzarello, P. Utrilla, K. Rademaker, E. Fernández-Domínguez, D. Baird, P. Semal, L. Márquez-Morfín, M. Roksandic, H. Steiner, D. Carlos Salazar-García, N. Shishlina, Y.S. Erdal, F. Hallgren, Y. Boyadzhiev, K. Boyadzhiev, M. Küßner, D. Sayer, P. Onkamo, R. Skeates, M. Rojo-Guerra, A. Buzhilova, E. Khussainova, L.B. Djansugurova, A.Z. Beisenov, Z. Samashev, K. Massy, M. Mannino, V. Moiseyev, K. Mannermaa, O. Balanovsky, M.-F. Deguilloux, S. Reinhold, S. Hansen, E.P. Kitov, M. Dobeš, M. Ernée, H. Meller, K.W. Alt, K. Prüfer, C. Warinner, S. Schiffels, P.W. Stockhammer, K. Bos, C. Posth, A. Herbig, W. Haak, J. Krause, and D. Kühnert, 2021. Ten millennia of hepatitis B virus evolution. Science 374: 182-188.
Karakostis, A., H. Reyes-Centeno, M. Francken, G. Hotz, K. Rademaker, and K. Harvati, 2020. Bio-cultural evidence of precise manual activities in an early Holocene individual of the high-altitude Peruvian Andes. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 174: 35-48.
Nakatsuka, N., I. Lazaridis, C. Barbieri, P. Skoglund, N. Rohland, S. Mallick, C. Posth, K. Harkins-Kinkaid, M. Ferry, É. Harney, M. Michel, K. Stewardson, J. Novak-Forst, J.M. Capriles, M.A. Durruty, K.A. Álvarez, D. Beresford-Jones, R. Burger, L. Cadwallader, R. Fujita, J. Isla, G. Lau, C. Lémuz Aguirre, S. LeBlanc, S. Calla Maldonado, F. Meddens, P.G. Messineo, B.J. Culleton, T.K. Harper, J. Quilter, G. Politis, K. Rademaker, M. Reindel, M. Rivera, L. Salazar, J.R. Sandoval, C.M. Santoro, N. Scheifler, V. Standen, M.I. Barreto, I. Flores Espinoza, E. Tomasto-Cagigao, G. Valverde, D.J. Kennett, A. Cooper, J. Krause, W. Haak, B. Llamas, D. Reich, and L. Fehren-Schmitz, 2020.    Paleogenomic reconstruction of the deep population history of the Andes. Cell 181: 1131-1135.
Menéndez, L. and K. Rademaker, 2020. Estudio ecomorfológico de la variación craneana en poblaciones prehistóricas de Perú. Revista del Museo de La Plata 5(1): 171-189.
Menéndez, L., K. Rademaker, and K. Harvati, 2019. Revisiting east-west skull patterns and the role of random factors in South America: Cranial reconstruction and morphometric analysis of the facial skeleton from Cuncaicha rock shelter (southern Peru). PaleoAmerica 6(1), DOI: 10.1080/20555563.2019.1703167
Bromley, G., J.-C. Thouret, I. Schimmelpfennig, J. Mariño, D. Valdivia, K. Rademaker, S.d.P. Vivanco Lopez, ASTER team, G. Aumaître, D. Bourlés, and K. Keddadouche, 2019. In situ cosmogenic 3He and 36Cl and radiocarbon dating of volcanic deposits refine the Pleistocene and Holocene eruption chronology of SW Peru. Bulletin of Volcanology 81: 64. DOI: 10.1007/s00445-019-1325-6
Putnam, A.E., G.R.M. Bromley, K. Rademaker, and J. Schaefer, 2019. An in situ 10Be production-rate calibration from a 14C-dated late-glacial moraine belt in Rannoch Moor, central Scottish highlands. Quaternary Geochronology 50: 105-125.
Rademaker, K. and G. Hodgins, 2018. Exploring the chronology of occupations and burials at Cuncaicha shelter, Peru. In New Perspectives on the Peopling of the Americas, edited by K. Harvati, G. Jäger, and H. Reyes-Centeno. Words Bones Genes Tools: DFG Center for Advanced Studies Series, Vol 1. Kerns Verlag: Tübingen.
Francken, M., J. Beier, H. Reyes-Centeno, K. Harvati, and K. Rademaker, 2018. The human skeletal remains from Cuncaicha rock shelter, Peru. In New Perspectives on the Peopling of the Americas, edited by K. Harvati, G. Jäger, and H. Reyes-Centeno. Words Bones Genes Tools: DFG Center for Advanced Studies Series, Vol 1. Kerns Verlag: Tübingen.
Rademaker, K. and K. Moore. 2018. Variation in the occupation intensity of early forager sites of the Andean puna: Implications for settlement and adaptation. In Foraging in the Past: Archaeological Studies of Hunter-Gatherer Diversity, edited by A.K. Lemke. University Press of Colorado: Boulder.
Posth, C., N. Nakatsuka, I. Lazaridis, P. Skoglund, S. Mallick, T.C. Lamnidis, N. Rohland, K. Nägele, N. Adamski, E. Bertolini, N. Broomandkhoshbacht, A. Cooper, B.J. Culleton, T. Ferraz, M. Ferry, A. Furtwängler, W. Haak, K. Harkins, T.K. Harper, T. Hünemeier, A.M. Lawson, B. Llamas, M. Michel, E. Nelson, J. Oppenheimer, N. Patterson, S. Schiffels, J. Sedig, K. Stewardson, S. Talamo, C.-C. Wang, J.-J. Hublin, M. Hubbe, K. Harvati, A. Nuevo Delaunay, J. Beier, M. Francken, P. Kaulicke, H. Reyes-Centeno, K. Rademaker, W.R. Trask, M. Robinson, S.M. Gutierrez, K.M. Prufer, D.C. Salazar-García, E.N. Chim, L. Müller Plumm Gomes, M.L. Alves, A. Liryo, M. Inglez, R.E. Oliveira, D.V. Bernardo, A. Barioni, V. Wesolowski, N.A. Scheifler, M.A. Rivera, C.R. Plens, P.G. Messineo, L. Figuti, D. Corach, C. Scabuzzo, S. Eggers, P. DeBlasis, M. Reindel, C. Méndez, G. Politis, E. Tomasto-Cagigao, D.J. Kennett, A. Strauss, L. Fehren-Schmitz, J. Krause, and D. Reich. 2018. Reconstructing the Deep Population History of Central and South America. Cell 175, 1–13.
+Chala-Aldana, D., H. Bocherens, C. Miller, K. Moore, G. Hodgins, and K. Rademaker, 2018. Investigating mobility and highland occupation strategies during the Early Holocene at the Cuncaicha rock shelter through strontium and oxygen isotopes. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 19: 811-827.
Pitblado, B. and K. Rademaker, 2017. Guest editorial: The peopling of high-altitude landscapes of the Americas. Quaternary International 461: 1-3.
Bromley, G.R.M., J.M. Schaefer, B.A. Hall, K.M. Rademaker, A.E. Putnam, C.E. Todd, M. Hegland, G. Winckler, M.S. Jackson, and P. Strand, 2016. A cosmogenic 10Be chronology for the local last glacial maximum and termination in the Cordillera Oriental, southern Peruvian Andes: Implications for the tropical role in global climate. Quaternary Science Reviews 148: 54-67.
Rademaker, K., G. Hodgins, K. Moore, S. Zarrillo, C. Miller, G.R.M. Bromley, +P. Leach, +D.A. Reid, W. Yépez Álvarez, and D.H. Sandweiss, 2016. Cuncaicha rockshelter, a key site for understanding colonization of the high Andes. Current Anthropology 57(1): 101-103.
Méndez, C., K. Rademaker, and V.G. Standen, 2015. Editorial: Early lithic technology in South America: Moving beyond regional projectile point typologies. Chungara Revista de Antropología Chilena 47: 3-5.
Rademaker, K., 2014. Late ice-age human settlement of the high-altitude Peruvian Andes. Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Urgeschichte 23: 13-35. Tübingen.
Rademaker, K., G. Hodgins, K. Moore, S. Zarrillo, C. Miller, G.R.M. Bromley, +P. Leach, +D.A. Reid, W. Yépez Álvarez, and D.H. Sandweiss, 2014. Paleoindian settlement of the high-altitude Peruvian Andes. Science 346: 466-469.
Bromley, G.R.M., A.E. Putnam, K.M. Rademaker, T.V. Lowell, J.M. Schaefer, B.L. Hall, G. Winckler, S. Birkel, and H. Borns, 2014. Younger Dryas deglaciation of Scotland driven by warming summers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(17): 6215-6219.
Rademaker, K., M.D. Glascock, B. Kaiser, D. Gibson, D.R. Lux, and M.G. Yates, 2013. Multi-technique geochemical characterization of the Alca obsidian source, Peruvian Andes. Geology 41(7): 779-782.
Sandweiss, D.H. and K.M. Rademaker, 2013. El poblamiento del sur peruano: Costa y sierra. Boletín de Arqueología PUCP 15: 274-294. Lima.
Rademaker, K., G.R.M. Bromley, and D.H. Sandweiss, 2013. Peru archaeological radiocarbon database, 13,000-7000 14C B.P. Quaternary International 30: 34-45.
Rademaker, K., +D.A. Reid, and G.R.M. Bromley, 2012. Connecting the dots: Least-cost analysis, paleogeography, and the search for Paleoindian sites in southern highland Peru. In Least Cost Analysis of Social Landscapes: Archaeological Case Studies, edited by D.A. White and S. Surface-Evans, pp. 32-45. University of Utah Press: Salt Lake City.
Bromley, G.R.M., B.L. Hall, K.M. Rademaker, C.E. Todd, and A.E. Racoviteanu, 2011. Late Pleistocene snowline fluctuations at Nevado Coropuna (15ºS), southern Peruvian Andes. Journal of Quaternary Science 26(3): 305-317.
Bromley, G.R.M., B.L. Hall, J.M. Schaefer, G. Winckler, C.E. Todd, and K.M. Rademaker, 2011. Glacier fluctuations in the southern Peruvian Andes during the late-glacial period, constrained with cosmogenic 3He. Journal of Quaternary Science 26(1): 37-43.
Sandweiss, D.H., A.R. Kelley, D.F. Belknap, J.T. Kelley, K.M. Rademaker, and D.A. Reid, 2009. GPR identification of an early monument at Los Morteros in the Peruvian coastal desert. Quaternary Research 73: 439-448.
Bromley, G.R.M., J.M. Schaefer, G. Winckler, B.L. Hall, C.E. Todd, and K.M. Rademaker, 2009. Relative timing of last glacial maximum and late-glacial events in the central tropical Andes. Quaternary Science Reviews 28: 2514–2526.
Perry, L., R. Dickau, S. Zarrillo, I. Holst, D.M. Pearsall, D.R. Piperno, M.J. Berman, R.G. Cooke, K. Rademaker, A.J. Ranere, J.S. Raymond, D.H. Sandweiss, F. Scaramelli, K. Tarble, and J.A. Zeidler, 2007.    Starch fossils and the domestication and dispersal of chili peppers (Capsicum spp.) in the Americas. Science 315: 986-988.
Perry, L., D.H. Sandweiss, D. Piperno, K. Rademaker, M.A. Malpass, A. Umire, and P. de la Vera, 2006. Early maize agriculture and interzonal interaction in southern Peru. Nature 440: 76-79.
Dept. of Anthropology