Researcher Spotlight: GeorgeAnn (Georgie) DeAntoni, UC Santa Cruz Ph.D. Candidate Anthropology.

Meet GeorgeAnn (Georgie) DeAntoni. Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz.

GeorgeAnn (Georgie) DeAntoni. Ph.D. Candidate


B.S. Anthropology and Native American Studies UC Berkeley 2015
M.A. in Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz 2018
Seeking Ph.D. Anthropology UC Santa Cruz


GeorgeAnn DeAntoni began studying archaeology in 2012 and participated in her first excavation in 2013. Currently, she is studying the plants that Native Californians used for food and medicine during the mission period in California (1769-1833). She uses Component Supply’s Nylon mesh for a seed project for her current research project. DeAntoni explains how she retrieves the plant materials to study, “To do this, I look for seeds and charcoal that can be found in the soils of an archaeological site. Using a process called flotation, which relies on moving water and a series of fine meshes, we separate charred plant matter- which floats because it is less dense than water- from artifacts and dirt. Once the botanicals are separated from the soils and artifacts, we look at them under the microscope to identify the different plant taxa found in the samples.”

She goes on to describe her current project, stating “The seed project that I’m using the mesh for is a small part of a larger effort to do some fully collaborative and community-based archaeological research. This means that I’ve been working very closely with California State Parks and multiple tribal communities- primarily the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and the Indian Canyon Mutsun Band of Costanoan Ohlone People- to make sure that this project centers their research goals and emphasizes their connection to the site. The California missions had and continue to have a major impact on many Indigenous Californian communities, and for a long time the missions were portrayed as a place where Native peoples acculturated or were effectively erased. However, it goes without saying that Native peoples are still thriving and very active at the site today, and we want to make sure that their relationship to the site and its history is told in a way that is reflective of their experiences.”

Fun Facts Q&A:

What’s your favorite food?

So many types of food, but I’m a real sucker for an asada burrito.

What’s your favorite song or music group?

This one changes a lot, but I’m super into Chris Stapleton, Tyler Childers and Sturgill Simpson at the moment. Just Let Go may be my current favorite song. Also love pretty much anything by ABBA, Dolly Parton or Marty Robbins.

What book do you recommend?

I just finished reading “Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law” by Mary Roach and couldn’t put it down! Super good and fun. “Tending the Wild” by M. Kat Anderson is also one that I think is really eye opening and important

What’s the coolest gadget you’ve ever seen?

This is a little archaeology-nerd of me, but I think a Ground-Penetrating Radar is pretty cool. It’s one of the geophysical methods I mentioned earlier that uses radar pulses to get an image of what is below the ground. In the case of archaeological sites, it can help locate clusters of artifacts, changes in soil density (that might be caused by something having been either dug up or buried on the site), or structural remains like house floors or buried walls.

What’s on your bucket list?

Someday I’d like to live in the woods with a donkey, a couple of goats and pigs. Not sure if that’s a bucket list item or just how I’d like my future to pan out.

Who is a person throughout history you’d most like to meet?

Not a person, but I might say Balto, one of the sled dogs from the final leg of the “Great Race of Mercy” in Alaska in 1925 who helped deliver a serum to treat diphtheria. The trek was over 650 miles and there were twenty dog sled teams, but Balto led the final leg of the journey. It was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and the fact that it was based on a true story is just really cool. Some would argue that Togo (the lead dog for the most hazardous and longest distance of the route) should be equally famous, and I’d have to agree. Yay for dogs!

What is the best trip or vacation you’ve ever taken?

After my first year of college my three roommates and I took a three-week cross country road trip in a Prius and went to 28 different states! Before then I had only been to California and Oregon, so it was a really awesome and eye-opening experience. Plus, we got to visit some really beautiful National Parks, Historic Landmarks and museums, which is just about an ideal vacation for me.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not in your lab?

When I’m not in the lab you can probably find me hiking out in the woods somewhere! Or maybe learning to roller skate.

What is one research discovery you’d like to see?

Archaeology is an inherently destructive discipline, which means for the most part we have to take something apart (effectively destroy it) in order to study it. There have been so many advances in the field to be as minimally invasive as possible (for example, using geophysical surveys to get a sense for archaeological features and artifacts below the ground before starting to dig), but I would be really interested to see how we can continue to do culturally relevant research while leaving an even smaller footprint at an archaeological site. One of the great things about paleoethnobotany (the archaeological study of plant use) is that you can get a fine-grained understanding of a site from only a small sample of soils, and so I think future advances in other methods where you can get high-resolution data from small sample sizes would be awesome!

Learn More:

Read more about a project DeAntoni volunteered on here: Rising from the ashes (

For products that have been useful to DeAntoni’s and other researchers around the world, visit

To share your research story, email Kristin at

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