Vance Holliday (Professor of Anthropology & Geosciences) is the 2018 recipient of the Society for American Archaeology Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research. The award is presented in recognition for interdisciplinary excellence of a scientist whose research has contributed significantly to American archaeology. The award cycles through zoological sciences, botanical sciences, earth sciences, physical sciences, and general interdisciplinary studies. The 2018 award is for earth science contributions in archaeology. It will be presented at the SAA annual meeting in Washington, D.C. next Spring. The first and only other UA recipient of the award is the other Vance – C. Vance Haynes – in 1978.
Holliday became interested in geoarchaeology early in his career as a result of training and work in archaeology (and digging through a lot of dirt). He received a PhD in Geological Sciences from the University of Colorado in 1982, focusing on soils, geomorphology, and Quaternary geology, but not leaving his roots in archaeology. His research began on the Great Plains of the U.S., focused on both Quaternary geology and on reconstructing and interpreting the landscapes and environments in which the first people of North America (Paleoindian hunters and gatherers) lived, and how those conditions evolved. Since arriving at the UA in 2002 (after 18 years at the University of Wisconsin) he became Director of the Argonaut Archaeological Research Fund (AARF), which is devoted to research on the archaeology and geoarchaeology of Paleoindians of the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico. He also worked in western Russia and Ukraine, reconstructing the landscape evolution and paleoenvironments of Upper Paleolithic (late Pleistocene hunters and gatherers) archaeological sites.
Holliday is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and recipient of the Kirk Bryan Award of the G.S.A. and the George R. “Rip” Rapp Archaeological Geology Career Award of the G.S.A.