I am an anthropological archaeologist with a specialization in paleoethnobotany – the study of the interaction between people and plants in the past. My primary region of study is the Central Andes, including adjacent tropical forest areas, with a secondary interest in North America Plains.
I am particularly interested in human adaptation, socio-cultural, and biological evolution.
Paleoethnobotany, Archaeology, Environmental Archaeology, Human-Environmental Interactions, Biological Anthropology, Landscape Archaeology, Evolutionary and Behavioral Ecology, Origins of Agriculture, Archaeology of the Great Plains and South America, Microscopy, Photomicroscopy, Technical analysis in archaeology, Traditional knowledge and use studies.
I am a Registered Professional Archaeologist.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
2018 Zarrillo, Sonia, Nilesh Gaikwad, Claire Lanaud, Terry Powis, Christopher Viot, Isabelle Lesur, Olivier Fouet, Xavier Argout, Erwan Guichoux, Franck Salin, Rey Loor Solorzano, Olivier Bouchez, Hélène Vignes, Patrick Severts, Julio Hurtado, Alexandra Yepez, Louis Grivetti, Michael Blake, and Francisco Valdez. The use and domestication of Theobroma cacao during the mid-Holocene in the upper Amazon. Nature Ecology and Evolution 2:1879-1888.
2016 Rademaker, Kurt, Gregory Hodgins, Katherine Moore, Sonia Zarrillo, Christopher Miller, Gordon R. M. Bromley, Peter Leach, David A. Reid, Willy Yépez–Álvarez, and Daniel H. Sandweiss. Reply to Capriles et al.: Cuncaicha Rockshelter, a key site for understanding colonization of the high Andes. Current Anthropology 57(1):101-103.
2014 Rademaker, Kurt, Gregory Hodgins, Katherine Moore, Sonia Zarrillo, Christopher Miller, Gordon R. M. Bromley, Peter Leach, David A. Reid, Willy Yépez–Álvarez, and Daniel H. Sandweiss. Paleoindian Settlement of the High-Altitude Peruvian Andes. Science 346:466-469.
2012 Lanaud, Claire, Rey Loor Solórzano, Sonia Zarrillo, and Francisco Valdez. Origen de la Domesticacíon del cacao y su uso temprano en Ecuador. (Origin of the domestication of cacao and its early use in Ecuador). Nuestro Patrimoinio 12:12-14.
2008 Zarrillo, Sonia, Deborah M. Pearsall, J. Scott Raymond, Mary Ann Tisdale and Dugane J. Quon. Directly Dated Starch Residues Document Early Formative Maize (Zea mays L.) in Tropical Ecuador. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105:5006-5011.
2007 Perry, L., R. Dickau, S. Zarrillo, I. Holst, D. M. Pearsall, D. R. Piperno, M. J. Berman, R. G. Cooke, K. Rademaker, A. J. Ranere, J. S. Raymond, D. H. Sandeweiss, F. Scaramelli, K. Tarble, and J. A. Zeidler. Starch Fossils and the Domestication and Dispersal of Chili Peppers (Capsicum spp.L.) in the Americas. Science 315:986-988.
2006 Zarrillo, Sonia and Brian Kooyman. Evidence for Berry and Maize Processing on the Canadian Plains from Starch Grain Analysis. American Antiquity 71(3):473-499.
2014 Zarrillo, Sonia and Monica Nicolaides. Starch Granule Analysis of Artifacts. In The Viejo Period in West-Central Chihuahua, Part 3: Additional Studies, J. Holden Kelley and R. D. Garvin, pp. 49-62. Maxwell Museum Technical Series No. 19, Part 3, Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.
2013 Zarrillo, Sonia and Francisco Valdez. Evidencias del cultivo de maíz y de otras plantas en la ceja de selva oriental ecuatoriana (Evidence for the cultivation of maize and other plants in the Ecuadorian Upper Amazon). In Arqueología Amazónica: Las civilizaciones ocultas del bosque tropical, edited by F. Valdez, pp. 147-171. Abya-Yala, Quito, EC.
Additional Publications (non-peer Reviewed)
2018 Zarrillo, Sonia. Clues to Cacao. Contributor to Nature Ecology and Evolution “Behind the Paper” website, Oct. 29. https://natureecoevocommunity.nature.com/users/180609-sonia-zarrillo/posts/40365-clues-to-cacao
2015 Rademaker, Kurt, and Sonia Zarrillo. Survival of the Highest. Natural History magazine (March issue).
University of Calgary Graduate Student Scholarships and Grants
2012 Student Activities Fund Travel Grant
2012 Graduate Students Association Professional Development Grant
2011 University of Calgary Graduate Studies Scholarship
2011 Martha Biggar Anders Memorial Award
2010 Faculty of Graduate Studies Travel Award
2010 University of Calgary Graduate Research Scholarship
2009 Martha Biggar Anders Memorial Award
2008 Martha Biggar Anders Memorial Award
2007-2009 Honorary Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship
2007 International Fee Differential Travel Grant
2006 Friends of Head-Smashed-In Graduate Scholarship
2006 Dean’s Entrance Scholarship for acceptance to PhD program
2006 Queen Elizabeth II MA Scholarship
2005 Friends of Head-Smashed-In Graduate Scholarship
2005 SSHRCC Canada Graduate Scholarship
2005 Dean’s Research Excellence Award
2005 Graduate Research Scholarship
2004 Faculty of Graduate Studies Award and Province of Alberta Graduate Scholarship
2013 Teaching Honour Roll Award, University of British Columbia-Okanagan
2010 J.B. Hyne Research Innovation Award, University of Calgary
Research excellence, innovation, collaboration and publication
2008 Nominated as a full member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
2007 Barbara Lawrence Award, Society of Ethnobiology
Best student conference paper
2005 Bea Loveseth Memorial Prize, Chacmool Archaeological Conference
Best student conference paper
2004 Silver Medal, University of Calgary
Highest proficiency of the Department of Archaeology graduates
2019-present Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA
Postdoctoral Fellow, Director of Ancient Agriculture and Paleoethnobotany Laboratory
2019-present University of Saskatchewan
Adjunct Professor, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology
2018-present University of British Columbia
Honorary Research Associate, Department of Anthropology
2013-2019 University of Calgary
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Anthropology and Archaeology
2015-2016 SWCA Environmental Consultants,
Permian Basin Services Lead, Environmental and Archaeological Assessments
2012-2014 University of British Columbia-Okanagan
Sessional (Adjunct Full-time) Lecturer, Anthropology
2010 Universidad San Francisco de Quito,
Sessional (Adjunct Full-time) Instructor, Anthropology