University of Manitoba - Faculty of Arts - Anthropology - Dr. Kent Fowler
Dr. Kent Fowler

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Dr. Kent Fowler

Associate Professor
Office: 246 St. John's College
Phone: (204) 272-1504


PhD, University of Alberta
MA, University of Manitoba
BA, University of Manitoba


Recent Courses:

  • ANTH 1210 - Human Origins and Antiquity 
  • ANTH 2100 - Introduction to Archaeology
  • ANTH 3950 - Artifact Analysis
  • ANTH 4790/7410 - Anthropology of Things / Anthropology of Death

Areas of Specialization:

My research examines social complexity in food producing societies. My particular interest is in how we use pottery function, style and technology to understand past lifeways.

Current Research:

My main current project examines the fiscal foundation of precolonial autocratic African states through a multidisciplinary study of the nineteenth century Zulu kingdom in South Africa (Zulu Kingdom Archaeology Project). A second project investigates fingerprints on ancient pottery to identify the age and sex of pottery makers and inform us about the organization of labour and learning crafts in ancient societies (Ancient Prints Project). A range of other projects are being conducted in the Ceramic Technology Laboratory (CTL). CTL was founded in my research on precolonial pottery in southern Africa and my ethnographic and materials science research on modern Zulu and Swazi pottery. Research at CTL pursues interdisciplinary approaches to the study of pottery through combinations of ethnoarchaeology, ethnography, experimental archaeology, geochemistry, in addition to conventional pottery analysis methods to improve inferences about social behaviour through the study of pottery function, style and technology. Recent work has been focused geographically in South Africa, the Near East and central Canada, which is highlighted in the recent publication below.


Recent Publications:

  • Ross, J., Greenfield, H. J., Fowler, K. D., & Maeir, A. M. (2020, in press). In search of Early Bronze Age potters at Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi/ Gath: A new perspective on vessel manufacture for discriminating chaînes opératoires. Archaeological Review from Cambridge, 35(1).    
  • Fowler, Kent D., Ross, J., Walker, E., Barritt-Cleary, C., Greenfield, H. J., & Maeir, A. M. (2020). Fingerprint evidence for the division of labour and learning pottery-making at Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi/Gath, Israel. PlosOne, 15(4), e0231046.
  • Fowler, Kent D., Yang, Panseok, & Halden, Norman M. (2020). The provisioning of nineteenth century Zulu capitals, South Africa: Insights from strontium isotope analysis of cattle remains. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 31. DOI: 10.1016/j.jasrep.2020.102306.
  • Fowler, Kent D., Walker, Elizabeth, Ross, Jon, Greenfield, Haskel J., and Aren Maier (2019) The identity of potters in early states: Determining the age and sex of fingerprints on Early Bronze Age pottery from Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi/Gath, Israel. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 26, 1470-1512.
  • Fowler, Kent D., Brandi Shabaga, Kevin Brownlee, Mostafa Fayek. (2019). Identifying pre-contact pottery resource areas in Manitoba, Canada. North American Archaeologist, 40(1):1-33.
  • Fowler, Kent D., Middleton, E. & Fayek, M. (2017). The human element: Discerning the effects of potter's behavior on the chemical composition of ceramics. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 11:171-198.
  • Ross, Jon, Fowler, Kent D., Greenfield, Haskel J., and Aren Maier (2018). A scanning method for the identification of pottery forming techniques at the mesoscopic scale: A pilot study in the manufacture of Early Bronze Age III holemouth jars and platters from Tell es-Safi/Gath. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 18:551-561.
  • Fowler, Kent D., Örjan Sandred and Autumn Whiteway (2017). Acoustic perceptions of vessel fitness in southern Africa. Journal of Material Culture. DOI: 10.1177/1359183517701301.
  • Fowler, Kent D., Basco, Kate, and Mostafa Fayek (2017) Pre-contact pottery tempering practices at Sipiwesk Lake, Manitoba: The effects of grit tempering on drying and firing. Canadian Journal of Archaeology 41, 97-116.
  • Fowler, Kent D. (2017) Ethnography. In Oxford Handbook of Archaeological Ceramic Analysis, edited by Alice M. W. Hunt. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 469-486.
  • Fowler, Kent D. and Derek Johnson (2017). Given a choice: Integrating approaches to choice and wellbeing in present and past societies, in These thin partitions: Bridging the growing divide between Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology, edited by Joshua D. Englehardt and Ivy A. Rieger. Boulder: University Press Colorado, pp. 225-25.

Other Outputs:

Recent Papers Presented
  • Fowler, Kent D. (2019). Keynote: Containing culture: The dynamic foundation of contemporary Zulu ceramics. 1000 Miles Apart Ceramic Conference, School of Art, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Sept. 26-29, 2019.
  • Fowler, Kent D., Ross, Jon, Walker, Elizabeth, Barritt-Cleary, Christian, Greenfield, Haskel J., and Aren M. Maier (2019). The identity of potters in early states: Determining the age and sex of fingerprints on Early Bronze Age pottery from Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi/Gath, Israel. Paper presented at “Ceramic Ecology XXXIII: Advances in Ceramic Research” at the 2019 American Anthropological Association, Vancouver, BC, November 20-24, 2019.
  • Jon Ross, Kent D. Fowler, Haskel J. Greenfield, Aren Maeir. (2019). Reconnecting pots with potters at Early Bronze Age Tell es-Safi/Gath: a new perspective on vessel manufacture for identifying production groups. American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 2019, San Diego, November 20-23.
  • Fowler, K.D., Yang, P. & Halden, N.M. (2019) The provisioning of 19th century Zulu capitals: Insights from the strontium analysis of cattle remains. Paper presented at Advances in Stable Isotope Techniques and Applications (ASITA), University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB Canada, June 9-12, 2019.
  •  Ross, Jon, Kent D. Fowler, Haskel J. Greenfield and Aren Maeir (2019). In search of Early Bronze Age potters at Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi/Gath: A new scanning method for identifying shaping techniques and production groups. Paper presented at the Annual Conference for the British Association of Near Eastern Archaeology (BANEA), University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK, February 22-24, 2019.
  • Fowler, Kent D., Mostafa Fayek, Panseok Yang, Norman Halden. (2018). Designing archaeological projects through archaeometry: The Zulu Kingdom Archaeological Project. Paper presented at the symposium Archaeometry in the service of African archaeology, Society of Africanist Archaeologists (SAfA) conference, 18-21 June, 2018, Toronto.
  • Fowler, Kent D., Brandi Shabaga and Panseok Yang. (2018). Preliminary results of optical petrography analysis of pre-contact pottery from the Lockport site (EaLf-1). Paper presented at the 51 Annual Canadian Archaeological Association conference, Winnipeg, MB, May 2-6, 2018.
  • Fowler, Kent D., Elizabeth Walker, Haskel Greenfield, Aren Maier. (2018). Determining the age and sex of Early Bronze Age potters from Tell es-Safi/Gath, Israel. Paper presented in the session Engendering Near Eastern Archaeology, International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (ICAANE) conference, Munich, Germany, April 3-7, 2018.

Creative Works:

  • Fowler, Kent D. and Grace Nickel, Curators (2019). Traditions and Allusions: Anderson, Fowler and 10 Zulu Potters. Gallery Exhibition, School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba, Sept 4-29, 2019.