Sarah Milledge Nelson

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Sarah Milledge Nelson (born 1931) is an American archaeologist and a professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Denver,[1] United States.

Nelson was raised in Florida and obtained her PhD from the University of Michigan in 1973.[2] Nelson is known for her research on the archaeology of East Asia, in particular Korea and northeast China. She has also conducted extensive research in the archaeology of gender[3][4] and Hongshan culture.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Chulmun Period Villages on the Han River in Korea, Subsistence and Settlement. PhD Dissertation, University of Michigan, 1973.
  • The Neolithic of Northeastern China and Korea. Antiquity 64(243):234–248, 1990.
  • Gender Hierarchy and the Queens of Silla. In Sex and Gender Hierarchies, edited by B.D. Miller. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  • The Archaeology of Korea. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. ISBN 0-521-40783-4
  • The Politics of Ethnicity in Prehistoric Korea. In Kohl, P.L. and C. Fawcett, eds. Nationalism, Politics, and the Practice of Archaeology.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995:218–231.
  • (editor) The Archaeology of Northeast China: Beyond the Great Wall. London: Routledge, 1997. ISBN 0-415-11755-0
  • Gender in Archaeology: Analyzing Power and Prestige, Walnut Creek: Altamira Press, 1997.
  • Megalithic Monuments and the Introduction of Rice into Korea. In The Prehistory of Food: Appetites for Change, edited by C. Gosden and J. Hather, pp. 147–165. London: Routledge, 1999.
  • (with K.L. Berry, R.F. Carillo, B.J. Clark, L.E. Rhodes, and D. Saitta) Denver: An Archaeological History. Scholarly Book Services Inc., 2002. ISBN 978-0-8122-3591-3
  • (editor) Ancient Queens: Archaeological Explorations, Walnut Creek: Altamira Press, 2003. ISBN 978-0-7591-0346-7

Regions of Archaeological Research[edit]

Nelson spent over two decades researching the queens of the Silla kingdom of early Korea, learning the culture while living there. She is able to read and speak at an intermediate level and learned basic writing skills in the Korean language.

Additionally, Nelson spent ten years in northeastern China studying the "goddess temple". While living here, she learned intermediate level reading and speaking as well as basic level writing. Her research endeavors in Europe, Korea and China contributed to her interest in gender issues. While in Europe, Nelson became fluent in the German speaking language, as well as intermediate level reading and writing. Additionally, she became fluent in reading in both Spanish and French with basic speaking and writing skills in both languages, as well.

Culture change from the appearance of pottery to the formation of state interests Nelson, bringing her to conduct research on several different continents, as well as the distribution of knowledge of the Bronze Technology and the problems of origins of agriculture. While studying in Korea and China, millets were more common than rice in the area of agriculture.

In North America, Nelson has conducted research in south-eastern Utah as well as the Colorado high plains. She was drawn to these areas to examine problems such as the sedentism/mobility of archaeological sites and the distribution of site types. Shortly after, Nelson created and adapted several computer spatial programs intended for the use of both regional and site research.

In addition to gender issues, Nelson also enjoyed researching archaeoastronomy in Northeast Asia.[5]


  • B.A., Biblical History, Wellesley College, 1953;
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of Michigan, 1969;
  • Ph.D., Anthropology (Archaeology), University of Michigan, 1973


[5] Sarah Milledge Nelson is currently a Professor of East Asian Archaeology, European Archaeology and Archaeology of Gender at the University of Denver. Her past positions held include:

  • 1979–1985, University of Denver, Associate Professor;
  • 1974–1979, University of Denver, Assistant Professor;
  • 1974, University of Colorado, Boulder, Visiting Assistant Professor;
  • 1971, University of Maryland, Far East Division, (Korea), Instructor;
  • 1970, University of Denver, Part-time Instructor


  • Nelson, Sarah Milledge, editor, The Archaeology of Northeast China. Routledge Press, London, England, 1995;
  • Nelson, Margaret, Sarah M. Nelson and Alison Wylie, editors, Equity Issues for Women in Archaeology, American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC, 1994;
  • 1993, Archaeology of Korea. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, England;
  • 1990, "Diversity of the Upper Paleolithic "Venus" Figurines and Archaeological Mythology," in Powers of Observation, Alternative Views in Archaeology. S.M. Nelson and Alice B. Kehoe, eds., pp. 11–22;
  • 1990, "Neolithic Sites in Northeastern China and Korea," Antiquity, 64: 234–48. (also translated into Chinese)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Faculty page, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Denver
  2. ^ Nelson, Sarah Milledge. "Dr. Sarah Milledge Nelson". Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "2011 Alumnae Achievement Award Recipient". Wellesley College. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Nelson, Sarah Milledge. "Sarah Milledge Nelson". University of Denver. Retrieved 16 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "Sarah Milledge Nelson (University of Denver)". Retrieved 2016-03-08. 

External links[edit]