Skip To Content

Athabasca University

Vandy Bowyer, Ph.D.




  • Ph.D. (Anthropology) University of Alberta
  • M.Sc. (Archaeology) University of Toronto
  • B.A. (Honors, Archaeology) Simon Fraser University


In 2013 I joined the Anthropology Program as study tutor at Athabasca University. I am an Environmental Archaeologist with a regional focus in western North America. As an undergraduate I attended Simon Fraser University where I received my B.A. degree from the Department of Archaeology.  I received my M.Sc. in Archaeology at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, and completed my PhD from the Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta in 2011. In between my graduate work I was a research intern in the Environmental Archaeology Program at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Colorado. Currently, I am a Research Associate in the Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta. I also tutor courses in Environmental Studies at Athabasca University.

My research broadly focuses on understanding the interrelationships between humans and their environments. Precontact people developed a deep understanding of their natural surroundings including a detailed knowledge of the resources upon which they survived. My research focuses on learning more about the range of strategies people used to acquire resources at various times and places across the regional landscape. I incorporate a diverse range of methodological approaches to my research including paleoecological studies, regional surveys, ethnobiology, traditional environmental knowledge, and paleoethnobotany. My research is especially well-suited to multidisciplinary projects and my work has been greatly enhanced by collaborations with other archaeologists, paleoenvironmentalists, cultural anthropologists, First Nations communities, geologists, botanists and wildlife biologists.

My current research is on the Promontory Caves Project located along the shore of Great Salt Lake, Utah. The main goal of this research is to better understand prehistoric bison populations and their relation to the Promontory Cave occupation.  Bison dominates in Promontory culture even though herd populations in the region fluctuated significantly over time. It is unclear whether intensive human hunting, climate change, or a combination of both is responsible for the changes in bison populations. Through various lines of investigation more can be learned about environmental change, prehistoric bison, and the impacts of intensive human hunting around Promontory Point.

Recent Publications

2014 Pollen Analysis of Caribou Dung from Ice Patches in Southwest Yukon. Journal of Glacial Archaeology 1(1):117-139.

2012 Past Food Habits for Mountain Woodland Caribou Inferred from Plant Fragments and Pollen in Dung Preserved in 5000-year old Alpine Ice in the Selwyn Mountains, Northwest Territories, Canada.  Arctic 65 Supp. 1:59-79. Galloway, J.M, J. Adamczewski, T. D. Andrews, G. MacKay, D.M. Schock, T. Meulendyk, and V.E. Bowyer, C. Venables, B. Moorman, S.J. Kutz

Updated March 10 2016 by Student & Academic Services

AU, CANADA'S OPEN UNIVERSITY, is an internationally recognized leader in online and distance learning.