Kurt Rademaker
Ph.D., University of Maine, 2012
Assistant Professor

I am an interdisciplinary archaeologist interested in human-environment dynamics, hunter-gatherer colonization of South America, adaptations in extreme environments, and foundations of complex societies. In the past decade I have carried out archaeological research primarily in the Peruvian Andes and glacial geology in Peru and Scotland. I also have worked as an archaeologist in the Eastern Woodlands and Great Basin regions of the U.S., Mexico, and Chile. 

In Peru I investigate hunter-gatherer sites from the Pacific Coast to the high Andes. This research includes study of lithic technology, raw material provenance, and geographic information systems (GIS). I have ongoing collaborations with earth science colleagues to produce high-resolution paleo-environmental records. Collaborative research with physical anthropologists and geneticists is focused on understanding how humans have adapted to live in high-elevation mountain regions, some of the most challenging environments on Earth.

Northern Illinois University students have the opportunity to participate directly in my field and lab research in coastal and highland Peru. In 2017-2018 we are planning excavations of early sites at the Peruvian Pacific Coast, study of archaeological lithic, faunal, and paleobotanical remains from the high-elevation Cuncaicha rockshelter and other sites, recovery of lake sediment cores to investigate environmental change in the Andes, and surveying remote canyons to discover archaeological sites. 

I encourage any interested students to contact me via email in advance of applying to the NIU graduate program.

Affiliated with:

Institute for the Study of Environment, Sustainability, and Energy

Center for Latino and Latin American Studies


Available at

Rademaker, K. and G. Hodgins, 2017 (in review). Exploring the chronology of occupations and burials at Cuncaicha shelter, Peru. In New Perspectives on the Peopling of the Americas, edited by K. Harvati, G. Jäger, and H. Centeno. Words Bones Genes Tools: DFG Center for Advanced Studies Series, Vol 1. Kerns Verlag: Tübingen.

Francken, M., J. Beier, H. Reyes-Centeno, K. Harvati, and K. Rademaker, 2017 (in review). The human skeletal remains from Cuncaicha rock shelter, Peru. In New Perspectives on the Peopling of the Americas, edited by K. Harvati, G. Jäger, and H. Reyes-Centeno. Words Bones Genes Tools: DFG Center for Advanced Studies Series, Vol 1. Kerns Verlag: Tübingen.

Rademaker, K. and K. Moore, 2017 (in press). Variation in the occupation intensity of early forager sites of the Andean puna: Implications for settlement and adaptation. In Foraging in the Past: Archaeological Studies of Hunter-Gatherer Diversity, edited by A.K. Lemke. University Press of Colorado: Boulder.

Chala-Aldana, D., H. Bocherens, C. Miller, K. Moore, G. Hodgins, and K. Rademaker, 2017 (in press). Investigating mobility and highland occupation strategies during the Early Holocene at the Cuncaicha rock shelter through strontium and oxygen isotopes. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Pitblado, B. and K. Rademaker, 2017 (in press). Guest editorial: The peopling of high-altitude landscapes of the Americas. Quaternary International 461: 1-3.

Bromley, G.R.M., J.M. Schaefer, B.A. Hall, K.M. Rademaker, A.E. Putnam, C.E. Todd, M. Hegland, G. Winckler, M.S. Jackson, and P. Strand, 2016. A cosmogenic 10Be chronology for the local last glacial maximum and termination in the Cordillera Oriental, southern Peruvian Andes: Implications for the tropical role in global climate. Quaternary Science Reviews 148: 54-67.

Rademaker, K., G. Hodgins, K. Moore, S. Zarrillo, C. Miller, G.R.M. Bromley, P. Leach, D.A. Reid, W. Yépez Álvarez, and D.H. Sandweiss, 2016. Cuncaicha rockshelter, a key site for understanding colonization of the high Andes. Current Anthropology 57(1): 101-103.

Méndez, C., K. Rademaker, and V.G. Standen, 2015. Editorial: Early lithic technology in South America: Moving beyond regional projectile point typologies.  Chungara Revista de Antropología Chilena 47: 3-5.

Rademaker, K., 2014. Late ice-age human settlement of the high-altitude Peruvian Andes. Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft für Urgeschichte 23: 13-35. Tübingen.

Rademaker, K., G. Hodgins, K. Moore, S. Zarrillo, C. Miller, G.R.M. Bromley, P. Leach, D.A. Reid, W. Yépez Álvarez, and D.H. Sandweiss, 2014. Paleoindian settlement of the high-altitude Peruvian Andes. Science 346: 466-469.

Bromley, G.R.M., A.E. Putnam, K.M. Rademaker, T.V. Lowell, J.M. Schaefer, B.L. Hall, G. Winckler, S. Birkel, and H. Borns, 2014. Younger Dryas deglaciation of Scotland driven by warming summers.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(17): 6215-6219.

Rademaker, K., M.D. Glascock, B. Kaiser, D. Gibson, D.R. Lux, and M.G. Yates, 2013. Multi-technique geochemical characterization of the Alca obsidian source, Peruvian Andes. Geology 41(7): 779-782.

Sandweiss, D.H. and K.M. Rademaker, 2013. El poblamiento del sur peruano: Costa y sierra. Boletín de Arqueología PUCP 15: 274-294. Lima.

Rademaker, K., G.R.M. Bromley, and D.H. Sandweiss, 2013. Peru archaeological radiocarbon database, 13,000-7000 14C B.P. Quaternary International 30: 34-45.

Rademaker, K., D.A. Reid, and G.R.M. Bromley, 2012. Connecting the dots: Least-cost analysis, paleogeography, and the search for Paleoindian sites in southern highland Peru. In Least Cost Analysis of Social Landscapes: Archaeological Case Studies, edited by D.A. White and S. Surface-Evans, pp. 32-45. University of Utah Press: Salt Lake City.

Bromley, G.R.M., B.L. Hall, K.M. Rademaker, C.E. Todd, and A.E. Racoviteanu, 2011. Late Pleistocene snowline fluctuations at Nevado Coropuna (15ºS), southern Peruvian Andes. Journal of Quaternary Science 26(3): 305-317.

Bromley, G.R.M., B.L. Hall, J.M. Schaefer, G. Winckler, C.E. Todd, and K.M. Rademaker, 2011. Glacier fluctuations in the southern Peruvian Andes during the late-glacial period, constrained with cosmogenic 3He. Journal of Quaternary Science 26(1): 37-43.

Sandweiss, D.H., A.R. Kelley, D.F. Belknap, J.T. Kelley, K.M. Rademaker, and D.A. Reid, 2009. GPR identification of an early monument at Los Morteros in the Peruvian coastal desert. Quaternary Research 73: 439-448.

Bromley, G.R.M., J.M. Schaefer, G. Winckler, B.L. Hall, C.E. Todd, and K.M. Rademaker, 2009. Relative timing of last glacial maximum and late-glacial events in the central tropical Andes. Quaternary Science Reviews 28: 2514–2526.

Perry, L., R. Dickau, S. Zarrillo, I. Holst, D.M. Pearsall, D.R. Piperno, M.J. Berman, R.G. Cooke, K. Rademaker, A.J. Ranere, J.S. Raymond, D.H. Sandweiss, F. Scaramelli, K. Tarble, and J.A. Zeidler, 2007. Starch fossils and the domestication and dispersal of chili peppers (Capsicum spp.) in the Americas. Science 315, 986-988.

Perry, L., D.H. Sandweiss, D. Piperno, K. Rademaker, M.A. Malpass, A. Umire, and P. de la Vera, 2006. Early maize agriculture and interzonal interaction in southern Peru. Nature 440, 76-79.