Corina M. Kellner, PhD

Corina M. Kellner Associate Professor, Undergraduate Coordinator
Northern Arizona University
Blg 65 Rm #235


  • biological anthropology
  • stable isotopes
  • Peruvian archaeology


Corina M. Kellner received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2002, with the late Dr. Phillip L. Walker as her advisor. She was a lecturer and NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, San Diego until 2007, with Dr. Margaret Schoeninger as her Postdoctoral Advisor.

She specializes in Bioarchaeology, which is the study of human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts. Her dissertation dealt with the health and violence effects of various environmental and cultural shifts in a diachronic population of Nasca people living in ancient southern Peru (A.D. 1-750). Through this project, Corina has also interrogated the relationship of the Nasca to the Wari Empire of the Ayacucho Basin (A.D. 750-1000).

Her research focuses on the biocultural effects of social interaction, especially how local communities and states are affected by each other. Skeletal tissues such as bones and teeth incorporate the chemical signature of the water and food you ingest; basically, “you are what you eat (and drink )”! To that end, she studies diet through stable isotope analyses of carbon and nitrogen and migration patterns through strontium isotope values within bones and teeth. She also studies past health and disease patterns and cultural behaviors such as cranial vault modification, interpersonal trauma, and “trophy” head taking.

Her current collaborative projects include the excavation of Pataraya, one of the only Wari cemeteries in the Nasca drainage with Dr. Katharina Schreiber and Dr. Matt Edwards of UCSB, the analysis of human skeletal remains from Cotahuasi, Peru during Wari imperial influence, with Dr. Justin Jennings, Curator of the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada, and dietary analysis of human remains Cochabamba, Bolivia during Inka influence, with Karen Anderson of UCSB. Her current projects include collaborations with NAU’s Dr. Perez Rodriguez at the site of Cerro Jazmin, Oaxaca, Mexico, funded by the National Science Foundation, and with Kevin Vaughn at Purdue University on a Late Nasca site of Cocahuischo, which was funded by National Geographic.

Dr. Kellner has been awarded two NAU Faculty Grants for her Peruvian research and two of her undergraduate advisees, Cristina Watson and Amanda (Sal) Webber, have been awarded Hooper Undergraduate Research Awards to analyze diet and migration patterns in Peru. Currently, Dr. Kellner has four graduate students: Katharine Compton-Gore, Cristin Lucas, KKerri Bastin, and Stacey Whitman.

Anthropology paleodiet laboratory 


2011 Froehle, A, Kellner, CM, and Schoeninger MJ. Multivariate Carbon and Nitrogen Stable Isotope Model for the Reconstruction of Prehistoric Human Diet. Accepted for publication in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, August 2011.

2011 Kellner, CM. Somerville, A and Schoeninger, MJ. Strontium analyses of human bone reveal no Wari state emissaries in the Nasca region of south coastal Peru (750-1000 A.D.). Poster accepted for the annual meetings of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, April 13-16, 2011, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

2010 Kellner, CM, Spielmann, K, Moore, K and Schoeninger, MJ. Stable isotope data show temporal stability in diet at Pecos Pueblo and diet variation among Southwest pueblos. In Morgan, M (ed.): Pecos Pueblo Revisited: The Biological and Social Context, Papers of the Peabody Museum No. 85, pp. 79-92. Harvard University Press.

2010 Froehle, A, Schoeninger, MJ, and Kellner, CM. FOCUS: Effect of dietary protein source on δ13Ccollagen: follow up to Warinner and Tuross (2009). Journal of Archaeological Science 37:2662-2670.

2008 Kellner, CM. and Schoeninger, MJ. Waris imperial influence on local Nasca diet: The stable isotope evidence. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 27: 226-243. 2007

Kellner, CM, Schoeninger, MJ. A simple carbon isotope model for reconstructing prehistoric diet. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 133: 1112-1127.

2006 Kellner, CM. Wari Imperial influence on Nasca head taking practices. In: Skull Collection, Modification, and Decoration, ed. Bonogofsky, M. British Archaeological Reports, v. 1539: 103-112. 2005

Jennings, J, Yepez Alvarez, W, Kellner, CM. Tumbas de Tenahaha: Notas Preliminares sobre Contextos Funerarios del Horizonte Medio en el Valle de Cotahuasi. Andes 6: 93-108.

2002 Kellner, CM. Coping with Environmental and Social Challenges in Prehistoric Peru: Bioarchaeological analyses of Nasca Populations. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara.

1999 Walker, PL, Miller, KWP, Kerr, S, Kellner, CM. Human Remains from CA-SBA-485 (UCSB Accession 158). University of California, Santa Barbara. Report prepared for the California Bureau of Reclamation.