Andrea Yankowski earned her M.A. in Anthropology from San Francisco State University in 2005. Her thesis research was carried out in the Philippines under the auspices of a Fulbright Scholarship and focused on trade, technologies and burial traditions during the Metal Age in the Central Philippines. Current research interests include: Southeast Asian prehistory, the early political -economy of Southeast Asia, ethnoarchaeology, material culture studies, traditional salt production and trade, ceramic analysis and Californian archaeology.
A list of publications can be found by clicking here.
Current & Past Research Projects Include (click on links below):
An archaeologist is someone whose career lies in ruins. —Source Unknown
Anthropology demands the open-mindedness with which one must look and listen, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess. —Margaret Mead
All an archaeologist is, is a glorified and educated garbage picker. —Source Unknown
The limitations of archaeology are galling. It collects phenomena, but hardly ever can isolate them so as to interpret scientifically; it can frame any number of hypotheses, but rarely, if ever, scientifically prove. —David George Hogarth
Salt Production in the Khorat Plateau, Northeast Thailand - Past & Present
Salt has been an important natural resource in Northeast Thailand from as early as the Iron Age up until the present. The unique geology and climate of the region ensures that salt resources are widely available during the dry season. Recent research and interviews with local salt makers have provided important information about this traditional technology and the economics of this seasonal activity. This data will help us identify and interpret archaeological features and artifacts associated with salt-making, and the salt working mound sites, which are widespread throughout the region.
The island of Bohol has a long and rich tradition of using and producing earthenware pottery. Earthenware pottery has been recovered from archaeological sites dating from the Metal Age (500 BC to 960 AD), and earlier, in various regions of the island. Much of this pottery shows similarities in style and form with pottery recovered from neighboring islands in the Central Philippines and beyond. This suggests that there was either an active trade in pottery between the islands, or the movement of people or ideas that manifested itself archaeologically as regional pottery styles.
Recent ethnographic research identified four towns in Bohol that still produce earthenware "market" pottery - the towns of Taliban, Calape, Alburquerque and Valencia. Most of this pottery is made using traditional methods, i.e, it is hand-made and open-air fired.
An Ethnoarchaeological Study of the Traditional Salt Manufacturing and Pottery Production Industries in Bohol, Central Philippines
Salt was an important commodity in many of the world's early economies. It was widely produced, traded, used and consumed. Traditionally, salt was procured from a variety of sources including salt rock, brine springs and seawater. Areas rich in these resources developed ways to exploit them, and those without the natural resources found ways to obtain it through trade.
Trade, Technologies and Traditions: The Analysis of Materials Recovered from the Metal Age Burial Site in Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Central Philippines
In August 1998 a Metal Age burial site was discovered during a construction project in District Ubujan, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Central Philippines. The site was destroyed but many of the artifacts were recovered and donated to the provincial museum in Tagbilaran City. This included over 1800 earthenware sherds, 78 earthenware vessels, 130 glass beads, 31 fragments of iron tools, 96 human teeth, and a few glass bracelets and shell and stone artifacts.
Tuyom Clay Source: Comparative Studies of Ceramics in the Central Visayas
By John A. Peterson, Andrea Yankowski, Grazyna Badowski, and Eric De Carlo
The Tuyom clay source has been used by modern market potters in the area of Carcar, Cebu, for many years. This study compares the elemental characterization of the clay with archaeological sherds from the nearby Salug convento site, pre-Spanish sites in the area, ethnographic and archaeological sherds from Bohol, and from the Abugon - Sibonga potters near Carcar. Elemental analysis was conducted using Inductively Coupled Plasmolysis - Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) at the University of Hawaii. The technique is simple and inexpensive, and has provided replicable data from two separate studies using ceramics from this area. The first study focused on the local ceramics, and the results indicated that there were significant groupings of elemental signatures in the assemblage. This study expanded the sampling and also enhanced the Tuyom clay source characterization with additional samples. The clay source appears as a paleosol at the Salug site excavation dating to AD 1000-1200. The results of statistical analysis demonstrate distinctly different groups with several interesting patterns relative to this age range and distribution. The sherds from Lubong (Aleonar Site) clustered separately from all others and from the source, as expected since the clay source was formed circa AD 1000-1200 and the Lubong site to 2,000 ybp. Sherds from the Salug site above floor level in the AD1599-1622 site did not cluster with the clay source, while some of the archaeological sherds from Bohol do. None of the ethnographic sherds from Bohol matched either the Tuyom source or any of the pre-Spanish pottery from either Bohol or Cebu. These patterns suggest that the pottery from the early Spanish settlement was brought to the site, reflective of reducción patterns instituted by the Church, and also that there might have been cross-strait relations or exchange in the pre-Spanish period. If this is accurate, the occupation of the Ubujan Site in Bohol may be later than thought, challenging the terminal range of the Philippine "iron age". Additional sampling is recommended to further test these patterns in the Central Visayas.
Salt Production in the Mun River Valley Past and Present
Salt has been an important natural resource in Northeast Thailand from as early as the Iron Age up until the present. The unique geology and climate of the region ensures that salt resources are widely available during the dry season. Recent research and interviews with local salt makers have provided important information about this traditional technology and the economics of this seasonal activity. This data will be used to help us identify and interpret archaeological features and artifacts associated with salt making, and the salt working mound sites, which are widespread throughout the region.
Salt & Salt Pots: A study of premodern salt production in Southeast Asia
This paper presents the results of recent ethnoarchaeological and historical research on traditional salt production in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. It highlights the local technologies used and ways in which earthenware pots are used in this process. Moreover, it contributes to our growing body of knowledge on the economic and cultural importance of salt in premodern societies of Asia.
Earthenware production and trade: Using ethnographic data and petrographic analyses to compare prehistoric and contemporary pottery traditions from the Island of Bohol, Philippines.
The Island of Bohol has a rich tradition of earthenware pottery production. This is noted from archaeological sites, as well as today, by the presence of a number of pottery producing centers throughout the island. The Ubujan site, located in Tagbilaran City, is a Metal Age burial site that contained a large quantity earthenware pottery. Pottery from this site was compared with ethnographic data to assess possible similarities and/or continuities of traditions. A small sample of sherds (thin sections) was also analyzed to determine if similar technologies or clay sources were used. The aim of this study is to assess the usefulness of using comparative ethnographic data to help us understand early pottery production and trade in the region.
Traditional Technologies & Ancient Commodities: An Ethnoarchaeological Study of the Salt Manufacturing and Pottery Production Industries in Bohol, Central Philippines
Ethnoarchaeological studies play an important role in archaeological interpretations of the past. They provide analogies and direct historical evidence for the ways in which material culture is made, used, traded and valued in societies. A recent ethnoarchaeological study of the salt manufacturing and pottery production industries in the Central Philippines demonstrates the value of combining ethnographic, archaeological and historical data to understand the past. In particular, this study highlights the regional characteristics of traditional technologies and industries, including product standardization and specialization; the development of lowland-highland and maritime trade networks; and the relationship between material culture and social identify.
Interpreting the Function and Meaning of Pottery: An Ethnoarchaeological Study in Bohol, Central Philippines
Ethnoarchaeological studies play an important role in archaeological interpretations of the past. They provide analogies and direct historical evidence for the ways in which material culture is made, used, discarded and valued in society. A recent ethnoarchaeological study of pottery and salt production in Bohol, Central Philippines provides an example of the function and meaning of pottery in a historical context. This study highlights the regional characteristics of craft production, standardization and specialization; the development of upland-lowland and martime trade networks; and the relationship between material culture and social identity.
Premodern salt production in Thailand: Some preliminary research and thoughts
A number of prehistoric salt “mounds” have been identified in the Korat Plateau, Northeast Thailand. , dating to as early as the late 1st millennium B.C. These mounds are often strewn with pottery sherds, indicating a long history of salt production using pottery in the region. Additionally, families in this region continue to make salt using traditional methods. Using archaeological, historical and ethnoarchaeological research, this paper presents some preliminary research, data and thoughts on salt production and trade in the early economy of Thailand and the broader Southeast Asian region.
Salt Production in Southeast Asia - A Comparative Approach
Using archaeological, ethnographic, historical and experimental data, this paper explores salt making in three Southeast Asian communities - one located in the Mun River Valley of Northeast Thailand, one in the Mang River Valley in the Northern mountains of Thailand near the Lao border, and the last one on the Island of Bohol in the Central Philippines. I examine the local technologies adapted in each of these communities and the environmental and social factors that have shaped the industries. I also explore the impact of these technological choices on the types of archaeological sites and artifacts we find related to salt making in Southeast Asia, and explore the social and economic impact of this industry to the development of the region.
"Please pass the salt" - An ethnoarchaeological study of salt production, use and trade in Northeast Thailand.
Using an ethnoarchaeological approach, this paper explores the production, processing, storage and consumption of salt and salt fermented fish products in the Mun River Valley of Northeast Thailand and the greater Southeast Asian region, today and in the past.
Presented in Siam Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia, 2014.
"Salt Exploitation in Southeast Asia – An Ethnoarchaeological Study comparing three salt producing communities.
Using ethnographic, ethnoarchaeological and historical studies, this paper compares traditional salt making in three communities in Southeast Asia. It highlights the sources of salt, methods of salt-making, organization of production, and the material culture, as well as the unique environmental factors that have shaped each of the local industries. The archaeological implications of this research are also discussed.