Assistant Curator of Asian Archaeology, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Research Interests: Ancient diet and mobility, pastoral lifeways and social complexity, rise of urban economies, dairying and domestication; Central Asia, Inner Asia, Siberia.
As a researcher, I apply biomolecular techniques to investigate how shifts in food production intersect with the emergence of complex societies. As part of a multi-species anthropological approach, I explore the mechanisms fueling urbanization including residential mobility, settlement provisioning, and the adoption of domesticates such as millet and livestock. Although focused on Central and Inner Asia, my work has global implications as it integrates science and anthropology to intercede in narratives that consider pastoralists inherently nomadic and lacking urbanization. Through novel isotopic and proteomic methods, my work provides nuanced answers to questions on domestication and urbanization in the past. I have an active laboratory program that combines archaeology and chemistry to study ancient cuisines and human mobility. My current fieldwork focuses on a proto-urban site in central Kazakhstan and salvaging a looted Mongol era cemetery in northern Mongolia.
Mongol Northern Realms: Centering the Northern Realms: Integrating Histories and Archaeologies of the Mongol Empire (1200 to 1500 CE)
Humanities Collaboratory: Centering the Northern Realms
Sustenance in the Hungry Steppe: The emergence of proto-urban centers in central
Agricultural Intensification, Exchange, and Complexity in Ancient Eurasia
Mobility in the Age of Nomads: How grains and horses transformed the steppe
Life under the Mongol Empire: Transmission of commodities, cuisine, and disease
2021 Shevan Wilkin, Alicia Ventresca Miller, Ricardo Fernandes, Robert Spengler, William Taylor, Dorcas R. Brown, David Reich, Douglas Kennett, Laura Kunz, Claudia Fortes, Aleksandra Kitova, Nina Morgunova, Pavel Kuznetsov, Andrey Epimakhov, Alan Outram, Egor Kitov, Aleksandr Khokhlov, David Anthony, Nicole Boivin. Dairying enabled Early Bronze Age Yamnaya steppe expansions. Nature, in press.
2021 Bullion, Elissa, Zhuldyz Tashmanbetova and Alicia Ventresca Miller. Bioarchaeology in Central Asia: Growing from Legacies to Enhance Future Research. Asian Perspectives, in press.
2021 Clark, Julia, Jamsranjav Bayarsaikhan, Alicia Ventresca Miller, Sandra Vanderwarf, Isaac Hart, Gino Caspari, William Timothy Treal Taylor. Mongolia’s Frozen Heritage: A Summary of the Archaeology of the Cultural Cryosphere. Journal of Glacial Archaeology, 5: 103-120.
2021 Hoggarth, J.A., S. Batty, V. Bondura, E. Creamer, C.E. Ebert, K. Green-Mink, C.L. Kieffer, H. Miller, C.V. Ngonadi, S.E. Pilaar Birch, C. Pritchard, K. Vacca, T.B. Watkins, E. Zavodny, A. R. Ventresca Miller. Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Women and Early Career Archaeologists. Heritage, 4(3): 1681-1702.
2021 Spengler, R. N. III, A. R. Ventresca Miller, T. Schmaus, G. Motuzaite-Matuzevicuite, B. Miller, S. Wilkin, T. Taylor, A. Haruda, P. Roberts, N. Boivin. An Imagined History? Circular Arguments of Nomadism in Central Eurasian Archaeology. Current Anthropology, 62(3): 251-286.
2021 Kradin, N.N., Khubanova A.M., Bazarov B.A., Miyagaschev D.A.*, Khubanov V.B. Konovalov P.B., Klementiev A.M., Posokhov V.F., Ventresca Miller, A. R.*. Iron Age Societies of Western Transbaikalia: Reconstruction of Diet and Lifeways. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 38: 102973.
2021 Wordsworth, Paul, Ashleigh F. Haruda, Alicia R. Ventresca Miller, Samantha Brown. The earliest water buffalo in the Caucasus: shifting animals and people in the medieval Islamic world. Antiquity, 95(383): 1231-1247.
2021 Ventresca Miller, A., J. Johnson, S. Makhortykh, S. Andrukh, G. Toschev, L. Litvinova, C. Gerling, P. LeRoux, C. Makarewicz, N. Boivin, P. Roberts. Re-evaluating Scythian nomadism: Isotopic analysis of diet and mobility in Iron Age Ukraine. PLOS ONE, 16(3): e0245996