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Amanda Logan

Associate Professor, 2022 Carnegie Fellow

PhD Michigan 2012

Research and teaching interests

Archaeology, Inequality, Foodways, Food Security, Climate Change, Sustainability, Paleoethnobotany, Food Studies, Africa


Program of African Studies, Program in Environmental Policy and Culture


Amanda Logan’s research focuses on building usable pasts through the archaeology of food security. She has expertise in the archaeology of the last millennium in West Africa – a period that encompasses the rise and fall of trans-Saharan trade, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and colonialism. Her analytical focus is paleoethnobotany, or the study of people and plants in the past. Archaeological plant remains provide a critical source of empirical data that can illuminate past foodways and build new narratives about food security that challenge present-day assumptions.

Her book The Scarcity Slot: Excavating Histories of Food Security in Ghana (University of California Press, 2020) is the first to critically examine food security in Africa’s deep past. Logan argues that African foodways have been viewed through the lens of ‘the scarcity slot,’ a kind of Othering based on presumed differences in resources. Weaving together archaeological, historical, and environmental data with food ethnography, she advances a new approach to building long-term histories of food security on the continent in order to combat these stereotypes. Focusing on a case study in Banda, Ghana that spans the past six centuries, The Scarcity Slot reveals that people thrived during a severe, centuries-long drought just as Europeans arrived on the coast, with a major decline in food security emerging only recently. This narrative radically challenges how we think about African foodways in the past with major implications for the future. In 2021, The Scarcity Slot was recognized with the First Book Award from the Association for the Study of Food and Society.

Logan has published in numerous archaeology and anthropology journals, including a 2016 paper in American Anthropologist that was awarded the 2017 Gordon R. Willey Prize from the Archaeology Division of the American Anthropological Association. Her work has been featured by NPR, Archaeology magazine, and the Africa Report, and further accolades include the 2013 Society of American Archaeology Dissertation Award.

Most recently, Logan was named a 2022 Carnegie Fellow to support her work on a larger umbrella project called “Environmental Histories of Food Security in Africa.” Through analysis of plant remains from archaeological sites across West Africa, Logan hopes to develop a deeper, comparative history of how people achieved food security and food sovereignty in different environmental and political contexts over the last millennium.

Currently, her fieldwork focus is on the medieval urban center of Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in collaboration with Prof. Gerard Chouin (William and Mary) and Prof. Adisa Ogunfolakan (Obafemi Awolowo University). Logan is currently accepting graduate students with similar interests in African archaeology, archaeobotany, and the archaeology of food.


Courses Taught

290  Food and Culture

322  Introduction to Archaeological Research Design and Methods

325  Archaeology Lab Methods

390  Archaeologies of Africa for the 21st Century

390  Archaeology of Food and Drink

490  Archaeobotany: People, Plants, and the Past

490  Archaeologies, Communities, and Publics

490  Anthropology of Food



Logan, Amanda L. (2020). The Scarcity Slot: Excavating Histories of African Food Security. Food and Culture Series, University of California Press, Berkeley. Available in print and Open Access.

Edited Journal Issue

Logan, Amanda L., invited editor (2019) Critically Engaging Food Security. Inaugural Useable Pasts Forum, African Archaeological Review 36(3).

Logan, Amanda L., and Cameron Gokee, guest editors (2014) Comparing Craft and Culinary Practice in AfricaAfrican Archaeological Review 31(2).                                                                                                                                           

Selected Articles

Logan, Amanda L., and Katherine M. Grillo (forthcoming) How African Pasts Can Inspire Alternative Responses to Climate Change: A Creative Writing Experient. African Archaeological Review.

Logan, Amanda L., Daryl Stump, Steven T. Goldstein, Emuobosa Orijemie, and M.H. Schoeman (2019) Usable Pasts Forum: Critical Engaging Food Security. African Archaeological Review 36(3): 419-438.

Logan, Amanda L., and Ann B. Stahl (2017) Genealogies of Practice in and of the Environment in Banda, Ghana. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

Logan, Amanda L. (2017) Will Agricultural Technofixes Feed the World? Short- and Long-Term Tradeoffs

of Adopting High-Yielding Crops. In The Give and Take of Sustainability: Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives, edited by Michelle Hegmon. Cambridge University Press.

Logan, Amanda L. (2016) “Why Can’t People Feed Themselves?”: Archaeology as Alternative Archive of Food Security in Banda, Ghana. American Anthropologist 118 (3): 508-524. 

Logan, Amanda L. (2016) An Archaeology of Food Security in Banda, Ghana. Archeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 27: 106-119.  

Ball, Terry, Karol Chandler-Ezell, Neil Duncan, Ruth Dickau, Thomas C. Hart, Jose Iriarte, Carol Lentfer, Amanda Logan, Houyuan Lu, Marco Madella, Deborah M. Pearsall, Dolores Piperno, Arlene M. Rosen, Luc Vrydaghs, Alison Weisskopf, Jianping Zhang (2016) Phytoliths as a Tool for Studying Agricultural Origins and Dispersal around the WorldJournal of Archaeological Science 68: 32-45. 

Hamada, Shingo, Richard Wilk, Amanda Logan, Sara Minard, and Amy Trubek (2015) The Future of Food Studies. Food, Culture, and Society 18(1):167-186. 

Logan, Amanda L., and M. Dores Cruz (2014) Gendered Taskscapes: Food, Farming, and Craft Production in Banda, Ghana, in the 18th to 21st centuries. African Archaeological Review 31(2): 203-231. 

Gokee, Cameron D., and Amanda L. Logan (2014) Themes in Comparing Craft and Culinary Practice. Introduction to Special Issue of African Archaeological Review 31(2): 87-104.

Stahl, Ann B., and Amanda L. Logan (2014) Resilient Villagers: Eight centuries of continuity and change in Banda village life. In Current Perspectives in the Archaeology of Ghana, edited by J. Anquandah, B. Kankpeyeng and W. Apoh, pp. 44-63. Sub-Saharan Publishers, Accra.

Logan, Amanda L. (2013) Cha(lle)nging Our Questions: Towards an Archaeology of Food Security. SAA Archaeological Record 13(5): 20-23.

Logan, Amanda L., Christine A. Hastorf, and Deborah M. Pearsall (2012) “Let’s drink together”: Early ceremonial use of maize in the Titicaca BasinLatin American Antiquity 23(3): 235-258.

Logan, Amanda L. and Catherine D’Andrea (2012) Oil palm, arboriculture, and changing subsistence practices during Kintampo times (3600-3200 bp, Ghana). Quaternary International 249: 63-71.

D’Andrea, A.C., S. Kahlheber, A.L. Logan, and D.J. Watson (2007) Early Domesticated Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) from Central Ghana.  Antiquity 81: 686-698.

D'Andrea, A. Catherine, Amanda L. Logan, and Derek J. Watson (2006) Oil Palm and Prehistoric Subsistence in Tropical West Africa. Journal of African Archaeology 4(2):195-222.