Archaeologist Justin Dunnavant’s research in the spotlight

Courtesy of Justin Dunnavant

Justin Dunnavant at Garland for Academic Pathways Program and myVU. Photo by Susan Urmy

UCLA archaeologist and assistant professor of anthropology Justin Dunnavant is working toward a more just and equitable future — and the scientific community is celebrating his efforts. National Geographic magazine has spotlighted his work to uncover shipwrecks from the global slave trade, and Dunnavant has participated in a special season of the SAPIENS podcast, featuring narratives and research by Black and Indigenous archaeologists.

“Part of the reason I got into this field was that I saw the potential for archaeology to really shed light on issues faced by marginalized communities without formally recorded histories,” Dunnavant told the UCLA College of Letters and Science last fall. “Archaeology provides us with another way to explore questions about history and heritage, and the more people we have coming in from diverse backgrounds, the more it leads us to more innovative questions, interpretations and methods.”

Dunnavant co-founded the Society of Black Archaeologists and has been named a National Geographic Explorer, a title the organization bestows on “exceptional individuals in their fields who receive funding and support from the Society to illuminate and protect our world through their work in science, exploration, education, and storytelling.”

You can explore Dunnavant’s work in the March 2022 issue of National Geographic, read his profile in the magazine, and listen to his insights (starting at 8:45) on the SAPIENS podcast. National Geographic will also release a podcast series about his work, and he will appear in an upcoming episode of the Science Channel and Discovery+ series “Underground Railroad: The Secret History.” Some content may require registration or a subscription.