Justin Dunnavant

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology



B.A., Howard University (2009); M.A. and Ph.D., University of Florida (2017)

Areas of Interest

Historical Archaeology of Africa and the African Diaspora, Atlantic and Indian Ocean Slave Trade, Oral History, Community-Based Archaeology, Maritime Archaeology, Black Geographies


Dr. Justin Dunnavant is an archaeologist and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UCLA. His current research in the US Virgin Islands investigates the relationship between ecology and enslavement in the former Danish West Indies. In addition to his archaeological research, Justin is co-founder and President of the Society of Black Archaeologists, an AAUS Scientific SCUBA Diver, and consults for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. In 2021, he was inducted into The Explorers Club as one of “Fifty People Changing the World that You Need Know About” and selected as a National Geographics Emerging Explorer. His research has been featured on Netflix's "Explained," Hulu's "Your Attention Please" and in print in American Archaeology and Science Magazine.


Flewellen, Ayana O., Alicia Odewale, Justin Dunnavant, Alexandra Jones, and William A. White III. 2021. Creating Community and Engaging Community: The Foundations of the Estate Little Princess Archaeology Project. International Journal of Historical Archaeology. 1-30. Available here.

Dunnavant, Justin, Delande Justinvil, and Chip Colwell. 2021. Craft an African American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Nature. May 20. Vol. 593: 337-340. Available here.

Flewellen, Ayana O., Justin Dunnavant, Alicia Odewale, Alexandra Jones, Tsione Wolde-Michael, Zoë Crossland, and Maria Franklin. 2021. The Future of Archaeology is Anti-Racist: Archaeology in the Time of Black Lives Matter. American Antiquity. 86(2): 224-243. Available here.

Dunnavant, Justin. 2021. Have Confidence in the Sea: Maritime Maroons and Fugitive Geographies. Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography 53(3): 884-905. Available here.

Maria Franklin, Justin Dunnavant, Ayana Omilade Flewellen, and Alicia Odewale. 2020. “The Future is Now: Archaeology and the Eradication of Anti-Blackness.” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 24(4): 753-766. Available here.

Dunnavant, Justin, Ayana Flewellen, Alexandra Jones, Alicia Odewale, and William White III. 2018. Assessing Heritage Resources in St. Croix Post-Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Transforming Anthropology 26(2): 157-172. Available here.

Dunnavant, Justin. 2017. Access Denied: African Americans and Access to End-of-Life Care in Nineteenth Century Washington, D.C.  Historical Archaeology 51(1): 1-17. Available here.


National Geographic Society’s 2021 Emerging Explorer

Vanderbilt Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow, 2019-2021

University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow, 2017-2019 

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow, 2014-2017 

Fulbright US Scholars Program, 2009-2010