You are here: Home / People / Kirk French

Kirk French Facebook Twitter

Kirk French

Teaching Professor of Anthropology

120 Carpenter Building
Office Phone: (814) 865-1142

Curriculum Vitae

Download CV


  1. 2009 Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University (Anthropology)
  2. 2002 M.A., University of Cincinnati (Anthropology)
  3. 1998 B.A., Texas State University (Anthropology)


Research Interests:
As an anthropological archaeologist my early research focused on ancient water management technologies and landuse practices in Mesoamerica. Over the past several years I have increasingly focused on the small-scale, local production, and cultural meanings of alcoholic beverages through time and space. My comparative approach to alcohol production has led me to many parts of the world to investigate, research, and film the social and economic impact of the world’s earliest and most widespread intoxicant.

This research has taken me to locations in Central Mexico where local populations ferment agave sap to make pulque; Southern Mexico to record the modern Maya distilling whole cane sugar to make pox; Mongolia to document the process of making airag – fermented mare’s milk; Scotland, where whisky production has a long and rich history; and the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina to interview illicit whisky producers (aka moonshiners).

Mongolia, Scotland, Mexico (Chiapas and the Basin of Mexico), Guatemala, Belize, Texas, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania

Courses Taught:
Introduction to Anthropology (ANTH001)
Introduction to Archaeology (ANTH002)
Aztec, Inca, Maya (ANTH008)
Introduction to North American Archaeology (ANTH011)
Anthropology of Alcohol (ANTH140)
North American Indians (ANTH146)
Archaeological Method and Theory (ANTH428)

2016 Gonlin, N. and French, K.D. (editors), Human Adaptation in Ancient
Mesoamerica. Published by University of Colorado Press, Boulder, Colorado.

2016 French, K.D. and Gonlin, N.
Empirical Archaeology and Human Adaptation in Mesoamerica. In Human Adaptation in Ancient Mesoamerica, edited by Nan Gonlin and Kirk D. French. Published by University of Colorado Press, Boulder, Colorado.

2016 French, K.D. and Duffy, C.
Measuring the Impact of Landcover Change at Palenque. In Human Adaptation in Ancient Mesoamerica, edited by Nan Gonlin and Kirk D. French. Published by University of Colorado Press, Boulder, Colorado.

2014 French, KD and Duffy, C.
Understanding Ancient Maya Water Resources and the Implications for a More Sustainable Future. Invited article - WIREs Water, 1(3):305-313.

2013 French, K.D., Duffy, C., Bhatt, G.
Urban Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering at the Classic Maya Site of Palenque. Water History Journal, 5(1):43-69.

2012 French, K.D., Duffy, C., Bhatt, G.
The Hydroarchaeological Method: A Case Study at the Maya Site of Palenque. Latin American Antiquity, 23(1):29-50.

2010 French, K.D. and Duffy, C.
Prehispanic Water Pressure: A New World First. Journal of Archaeological Science, 37(5):1027-1032.

2010 Milner, G.R., Hammerstedt, S.H., and French, K.D.
Chert Hoes as Digging Tools. Antiquity, 84(323):103-113.

2007 French, K.D.
Creating Space through Water Management at the Classic Maya Site of Palenque, Chiapas. In Palenque: Recent Investigations at the Classic Maya Center, edited by D. Marken. Altamira Press, Lanham, Maryland.

2006 French, K.D., Stuart, D. and Morales, A.
Archaeological and Epigraphic Evidence for Water Management and Ritual at Palenque. In Precolumbian Water Management: Ideology, Ritual and Power, edited by Barbara Fash and Lisa Lucero. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona.

2002 Estrada, A., Luecke, L., Van Belle, S., French, K., Muñoz, D., García, Y., Castellanos, L., and Mendoza, A.
Population of the Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta pigra) and Spider Monkeys (Ateles geoggroyi) in the Mayan Site of Yaxchilan, Chiapas, Mexico: A Preliminary Survey. Neotropical Primates, 10(2):89-95.


The Hydroarchaeological Approach: Understanding the Ancient Maya Impact on the Palenque Watershed

Dissertation Chair(s)

David Webster

Research Interests

Social and Economic Impacts of Alcohol, Documentary Film