The 2023-2024 AnthroGuide is the last print version. Edits for graduate programs are due July 31, 2023.

Christopher Wolff

Christopher B. Wolff

Primary Field
Chair, Undergraduate Advisory Committee
Associate Professor of Archaeology, SUNY, University at Albany, Department of Anthropology
Knowledge / Expertise
Interest/Specialty Areas Northern Cultures and Ecology, Coastal Hunter-Gatherers, Prehistoric Technology, Prehistoric Cultural Interaction, Arctic/Subarctic Drums, The Archaeology of Fear, Peopling of the Americas.

Dr. Christopher Wolff's main research interest is in the interactions between northern prehistoric coastal peoples and their ecosystems. Particularly, he is interested in examining the relationships between multiscalar ecological change and northern coastal hunter-gatherers. He believes a better understanding of the dynamics of climate change, sea conditions, the biogeography of marine and coastal resources, as well as of past northeastern cultures, may have broader implications for modern conservation efforts and environmental policies. The geographic focus of his research has been on the Eastern Subarctic/Arctic coast of Canada, but he also has research interests that span the North American Arctic, Subarctic, and adjacent regions, and the historical relationships between those regions. Over the last two decades Dr. Wolff has been conducting collaborative, multidisciplinary research in eastern across the island of Newfoundland and in New York. He is interested in examining the relationships various cultures had with the dynamic environment of the Northeastern region of North America. This includes examination of the rich lithic technology they created, settlement patterns, subsistence practices, and ecological data. Dr. Wolff also has more northern ranging research interests in the circumpolar north. During the past few years he has been investigating the importance of drums to Arctic and Subarctic cultures. Dr. Wolff also has been conducting research and compiling evidence concerning the influence of fear on cultures of the past. Every human group, past and present, has experienced collective and individual fears in some form, and many have devised ways to use it to their advantage against others, for good and evil, or have done what they could to evade it. To believe that fear influence in the ancient world was not as prevalent and powerful as we experience today is to deny the humanity of past societies. Yet, very little attention has been paid by archaeologists to the role of fear in the formation and development of cultural behavior.

Two recent publications by Dr. Wolff include:

2022      Wolff, Christopher B.

The Longhouses of the Maritime Archaic: Increasing Complexity or Regional Resistance. In More Than Shelter from the Storm: Hunter-Gatherer Houses and the Built Environment, edited by Danielle Macdonald and Brian Andrews. University of Florida Press.

2019- Wolff, Christopher B., and Donald H. Holly, Jr.

Sea Ice, Seals, and Settlement: On Climate and Culture in Newfoundland and Labrador. In Human-Environmental Dynamics and the Archaeology of the Atlantic Coast of North America, p.16-43. Edited by Leslie Reeder-Myers, John A. Turck, and Torben Rick, University of Florida Press.

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Geographic Areas of Expertise International
Western Hemisphere
Curriculum Vitae
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