Susan Pfeiffer

Susan Pfeiffer

Research Professor of Anthropology
Faculty: Resource
Phone: 202-994-6075
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

The skeletal biology of past peoples, focusing on Southern African Khoe-San and North American Lower Great Lakes; repatriation and the establishment of sustained working relationships with aboriginal peoples.


1976 Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto 

* Thesis Title: The Skeletal Biology of Archaic Populations of the Great Lakes Region (Advisor: F.J. Melbye). 

1972 M.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto

1968 B.A. in Religion, University of Iowa


In press   Pfeiffer, S., Harrington, L. Regional Continuity and Local Distinctions among Holocene foragers of coastal South Africa: defining identity at different scales.  Hunter-Gatherer Resilience in Bioarchaeological Perspective, D. Temple and C. Stojanowski, eds., Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology, Cambridge University Press.

2018  Beresheim, A. C., Pfeiffer, S.K., Grynpas, M.D., Alblas, A. Accepted 01/20/18. Sex-specific patterns in cortical and trabecular bone microstructure in the Kirsten Skeletal Collection, South Africa, American Journal of Human Biology.

2018  Beresheim, A., Pfeiffer, S., Alblas, A. Accepted 01/17/18. An exploration of body size and bone mass on cortical bone histomorphometry in human ribs. Anatomical Record.

2017  Vairamuthu, T., Pfeiffer, S. A juvenile with compromised osteogenesis provides insights into past hunter-gatherer lives. International Journal of Palaeopathology 20:1-9.

2017*  Pfeiffer, S., J.C. Sealy, R.F. Williamson, C. Forrest, L. Lesage. Patterns of weaning among ancestral Huron-Wendat communities, determined from nitrogen isotopes.American Antiquity 82:2: 244-261. DOI:

2016* Pfeiffer, S., J.C. Sealy, R.F. Williamson, S. Needs-Howarth, L. Lesage. Maize, fish and deer: Investigating dietary staples among ancestral Huron-Wendat villages, as documented from tooth samples. American Antiquity 81:3:515-532.DOI: 10.7183/0002-7316.81.3.515

2016  Pfeiffer, S., Heinrich, J., Beresheim, A., Alblas, M. Cortical bone histomorphology of known-age skeletons from the Kirsten Collection, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 160:1:137-147. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22951

2016 Pfeiffer, S. An Exploration of Interpersonal Violence among Holocene Foragers of Southern Africa. International Journal of Palaeopathology. 13:27-38.

2015 Orton, J., Halkett, D., Hart, T., Patrick, M., Pfeiffer, S. An unusual pre-colonial burial from Bloubergstrand, Table Bay, South Africa. South African Archaeological Bulletin 70(201):106-112.

2014 Pfeiffer, S., Doyle, L.E., Kurki, H. K., Harrington, L., Ginter, J.K., Merritt, C.E. Discernment of Mortality Risk associated with Childbirth in Archaeologically Derived Forager Skeletons . International Journal of Palaeopathology, 7:15-24.

2014* Pfeiffer, S., Lesage, L. The Repatriation of Wendat Ancestors / Le rapatriement des ancêtres Wendat, 2013. Canadian Journal of Archaeology, 38 :1-22.

2014  Cameron, M. Pfeiffer, S. Later Stone Age foragers’ long bone cross-sectional geometric properties compared: fynbos, forest and lower Orange River Valley. South African Journal of Science, 110 (9/10): Art. #2013-0369, 11 pages. 

.2014* Pfeiffer, S., Williamson, R.F., Sealy, J., Smith, D.G., Snow, M. Stable Isotopes and mtDNA from Woodland period southern Ontario people: results from a tooth sampling protocol. Journal of Archaeological Science 42:334-345.



2017 Faculty of Arts & Science nominee for J. B. Smith Graduate Supervision award

2016 J. Norman Emerson Medal, Ontario Archaeological Association

2016 Students’ Choice: Outstanding Anthropology Course Instructor, Anthropology Students Association

2013 Symposium, Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology, UTSC, October 19, 2013: Canadian Contributions to Biorchaeology in Honour of Susan Pfeiffer

2004-- Senior Fellow, Massey College, University of Toronto

2001 University of Toronto Faculty of Arts and Science Outstanding Teacher Award (Social Sciences)

1995-- Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists (ASAPA)

1988-- Sigma Xi

1968-- Phi Beta Kappa