Dean J. Saitta

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Professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Denver since 1988.  He teachs courses in evolutionary anthropology, urban anthropology, and archaeology.  He currently direct DU’s Urban Studies program and  US Co-Director of a FIPSE-European Union curriculum development grant entitled “Global Cities/Global Citizenship: Social and Natural Transformations of Urban Areas in Europe and the USA.” 1

Curriculum Vitae

Education 1

  • PhD, University of Massachusetts, 1987.
  • MA, University of Massachusetts, 1980.
  • BA, Wake Forest University, 1977.

Research Focus

His research interests are in North American archaeology, labor history, and comparative architectural. He has researched social change in ancient Zuni society of west-central New Mexico, where  DU archaeological field schools where caries out under his supervision. Currently he is Co-Director of the Colorado Coal Field War Archaeological Project. This is the first systematic effort to excavate sites associated with the 1913-1914 southern Colorado coal field strike, including the Ludlow Tent Colony. A major even,  The killing of women and children at Ludlow on April 20, 1914  was a singularly important event in American labor history. They are attempting to better understand the circumstances surrounding this event, including the coping strategies of striking coal miners and the ways in which they integrated an ethnically-diverse strikeforce. 1

Current Research Interest

currently Saitta is collaborating with colleagues at the Daniels College of Business at DU to develop culturally-informed approaches to real estate development and urban planning in American cities. Their website is called Contemporary Urban Anthropology. and he  blogs about urban space, architecture, culture, and design at Intercultural Urbanism. 1

Dean Saitta’s Blog Profile

Selected Publications

Books   2

2008     Denver: An Archaeological History. With S. Nelson, K.L. Berry, R. Carrillo, B. Clark,
and L. Rhodes. Re-release by University Press of Colorado.
2007     The Archaeology of Collective Action. University Press of Florida.
2001     Denver: An Archaeological History. University of Pennsylvania Press. With S. Nelson,
K.L. Berry, R. Carrillo, B. Clark, and L. Rhodes.

Articles   2

2008 Comment on A. Bernard Knapp and Peter van Dommelen, “Past Practices: Rethinking
Individuals and Agents in Archaeology.” Cambridge Archaeological Journal 18:25-26.

2006 Higher Education and the Dangerous Professor: Challenges for Anthropology.
Anthropology Today 22(4):1-3.

2006 Battlefields of Class Conflict: Ludlow Then and Now. Journal of Conflict Archaeology
1:197-213. (with M. Walker and P. Reckner).

2005 Marxism, Tribal Society, and the Dual Nature of Archaeology. Rethinking Marxism

2005 Dialoguing with the Ghost of Marx: Mode of Production in Archaeological Theory.
Critique of Anthropology 25:27-35.

2003 Stephen Jay Gould: In Memoriam. Rethinking Marxism 15:445-449.

2002 Teaching the Craft of Archaeology: Theory, Practice, and the Field School. International
Journal of Historical Archaeology 6:199-207. (with Mark Walker).

1998 Dialectics, Heterarchy, and Western Pueblo Social Organization. (with R. McGuire).
American Antiquity 63:334-336.

1998 An Emancipatory Archaeology for the Working Class. (with Philip Duke). Assemblage
#4. On-line journal located at

1997 Power, Labor, and the Dynamics of Change in Chacoan Political Economy.
American Antiquity 62:7-26.

1996 Although They Have Petty Captains, They Obey Them Badly: The Dialectics of
Prehispanic Western Pueblo Social Organization. (with R. McGuire) American Antiquity

1994 Agency, Class, and Archaeological Interpretation. Journal of Anthropological
Archaeology 13:201-227.

1992 Radical Archaeology and Middle-Range Methodology. Antiquity 66:886-897.

1991 Room Use and Community Organization at the Pettit Site, West-Central New Mexico.
The Kiva 56:385-409.

1988 Marxism, Prehistory, and Primitive Communism. Rethinking Marxism 1:145-168.

1984 The Archaeology of Households: Alternative Approaches. Man In The Northeast 28:1-8.
Saitta CV

1983 On The Evolution of “Tribal” Social Networks. American Antiquity 48:820-824.

Awards  2

2004      Election to Honorary Membership, Phi Beta Kappa, University of Denver.
1998       University Scholar-Teacher of the Year, University of Denver.
1995       Mortar Board “Top Prof”, University of Denver.
1994       Outstanding Support to the Office of Admissions Award, University of Denver.
1993       Mortar Board “Top Prof”, University of Denver.
1993      Lambda Chi Alpha “Certificate of Recognition” for contribution to academics, University of Denver.

Contact Information  1

Dean J. Saitta
Professor and Chair
Department of Anthropology
Sturm Hall 146
University of Denver
2000 East Asbury Street
Denver, CO 80208
Phone: 303-871-2680
Fax: 303-871-2437


  1. Saitta, Dean J.
    2012    DU Portfolo of Dean J. Saitta. Electronic document,, accessed 4/27/2012
  2. Saitta, Dean J.
    2012    Dean J. Saitta Curriculum Vitae. Electronic document,, accessed 4/1/2012.

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