Caleb Ranum

Degree Program: PhD


I am a doctoral student and Fulbright Fellow studying the plants and people of Central Europe in the Early Iron Age. My research focus is the foodways and cuisine of Eastern Hallstatt (Kalenderberg) and Scythian (Vekerzug) peoples in the Middle Danube Region. The aim of this work is to identify the plants that were grown and consumed as a proxy for the activities and choices of Iron Age people in the process of creating an everyday meal. This research will include archaeobotanical data from seven different sites from Central Europe and will highlight the similarities and differences in foodways across the region. I received my B.A., with a double major in biology and anthropology, from Pacific Lutheran University in 2017 and my M.A. in Anthropology from The University of Alabama in 2021. My masters research focused on the paleoethnobotany of Alto Pukara, a Middle Formative site in the Bolivian Altiplano. I also work in The University of Alabama Ancient People and Plants Laboratory with Dr. Katherine Chiou, studying chili pepper, Capsicum sp., using morphometric and genetic approaches with the ultimate goal of identifying the variety of chilies found in the archaeological record and am working on additional research projects involving plant and animal domestication.