Ellery Frahm

Director, Yale Initiative for the
Study of Ancient Pyrotechnology

About Me

I am an anthropological archaeologist with a scientific bent, using materials characterization in the lab and in the field to study otherwise unobservable behaviors in the past. I have conducted and published research on four continents – Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America – spanning almost half a million years of human history.

A unifying theme of my work is elucidating how different human groups made use of natural resources distributed across the landscape, how they responded to challenges within their environments, and how the resulting behaviors influenced opportunities for the spread of technological innovations and social changes.


Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Minnesota — 2010
M.S., Archaeology, University of Minnesota — 2002
B.A., Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa — 1999


  • Faculty Research Scientist, Lecturer, and Director, Yale Initiative for the Study of Ancient Pyrotechnology, Yale University – 2017-Present
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Anthropology Department, University of Minnesota – 2016
  • Research Fellow, Anthropology Department, Harvard University - 2015-2016
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Anthropology & Earth Sciences, University of Minnesota - 2014-2016
  • Marie Curie Experienced Research Fellow, Archaeology, University of Sheffield - 2012-2014
  • Lecturer and Graduate Faculty, Anthropology Department, University of Minnesota – 2011

Please see my CV for additional academic positions.


Yale University

  • Introduction to Archaeological Lab Sciences
  • Introduction to Experimental Archaeology
  • Archaeology of Death (reading course)
  • Geoarchaeology*

University of Minnesota

  • Introduction to Archaeology
  • Analysis of Stone Tool Technology
  • Anthropology of the Modern Middle East
  • Electron Microprobe Theory & Practice*
  • Geoarchaeology*

*Class cross-listed between two departments.

Please see my CV for additional teaching experience, including workshops, guest lectures, and field schools.


My research examines how human cultures, from Pleistocene hunter-gatherers to Bronze Age farmers, adapted to and made use of the landscape and natural resources, especially during periods of environmental, technological, and/or cultural change.

Identifying the geographic origins of stone tools (and other artifacts) allows me to access behaviors linked to humans' movements across the landscape and how they met their daily subsistence and technological needs.

Research in different times and places permits me to contrast regions and cultures, recognize convergent and divergent trends, and identify critical factors that shaped how different human (and hominin) groups interacted with their environments as well as each other.

Please see my CV for additional research experience.


Postal address:
Yale University
P.O. Box 208277
New Haven, CT 06520-8277

Courier (FedEx, UPS, etc.):
Yale University
10 Sachem Street
New Haven, CT 06511-3707

Office: 51 Hillhouse Avenue, Room 303
Email: ellery.frahm@yale.edu

Yale Initiative for the Study of Ancient Pyrotechnology:

Yale Archaeological XRF ExoLab: