Camilla M. Sturm

Camilla M. Sturm

Research Concentrations

Craft Production, Technology and Innovation, Materiality, State in Society


East Asia; China, Mongolia


Camilla Sturm is an archaeologist interested in craft production and ancient economies. Her research combines traditional archaeological field methods with geochemical and experimental analyses to study pottery production and circulation in China and Mongolia.

Camilla’s work focuses on three interconnected aspects of craft economies: how production techniques are transmitted between craftspeople, how economies emerge through both individual action and institutional systems, and how resilient these resulting economies are to political and environmental change.

Her current research explores these themes in through two distinct contexts. Camilla’s first project is in China, where she is investigating pottery production practices at second millennium BCE village on the periphery of the Shang political sphere. The village of Guandimiao, is the only non-elite Shang settlement excavated to date, and its residents appear to have specialized in making pottery vessels. By teasing out patterns of production and exchange at Guandimiao (and beyond), this project aims to begin to disentangle the economic infrastructure that supported this early Chinese state.

Camilla’s second project is based in Mongolia, where she studies how changing forms of mobility (from hunting and gathering to herding) and attendant shifts in use of the landscape shaped technological choices in pottery production. Through geochemical and production-centered analyses, she is exploring complex the feedback between environmental unpredictability, novel social and economic demands, the adoption of new technologies, and investment in existing ones.


University of Pittsburgh, PhD in Anthropology, 2017
Vassar College, BA in Anthropology and Italian, 2010

2019. Coauthor with Li Dongdong and Qifang Xiang. "区域系统调查视角下的大洪山东南麓陶家湖-笑城城址聚落形态观察." [Observations on the settlement patterns of the Taojiahu and Xiaocheng walled towns from the perspective of systematic regional survey]. 中央民族大学学报(哲学社会科学版)6.

2016. Coauthor with Julia K. Clark and Loukas Barton. "The logic of ceramic technology in marginal environments: Implications for mobile life". American Antiquity 81, no. 4: 645-663.