Anthropology Professor Kent Lightfoot receives the Society for American Archaeology’s 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award

Anthropology Professor Kent Lightfoot accepting the Society for American Archaeology's 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award.

May 28, 2024

UC Berkeley Anthropology Professor Kent G. Lightfoot received the 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for American Archaeology for his innovative approach to combining archaeology with contemporary social justice issues which contributes new understandings of the Anthropocene era. 

Professor Lightfoot’s research explores the interactions between Indigenous peoples and European settlers, highlighting the history and effects of settler colonialism. He works closely with Native Californian tribes, helping to develop new ways to understand and preserve their history and heritage. This collaboration laid the groundwork for what is known as Indigenous Archaeology.

“I am truly honored to receive this prestigious award from the Society for American Archaeology,” he said. “I have been privileged throughout my career to be affiliated with wonderful people. I have been blessed to work with amazing undergraduate and graduate students and an awesome group of supportive faculty and staff over the 37 years I have taught at UC Berkeley.”  

Lightfoot also mentors emerging Native American archaeologists, boosting their presence and impact in the field. His ongoing efforts are reshaping American archaeology, making it more ethical and meaningful, especially to the communities most affected by archaeological studies.

“I greatly appreciate the mentorship and support of tribal leaders from various areas of California,” he said. “I am also deeply indebted to dedicated colleagues at California State Parks, the National Park Service and other resource agencies, who facilitated and often participated in collaborative archaeological and ecological work on public lands involving many tribal members, students, faculty, and a variety of specialists from other institutions.” 

Learn more about Professor Lightfoot’s work: