Michelle Knoll

Assistant Curator of Archaeology

Areas of Expertise

  • Archaeology of the Great Basin and northern Colorado Plateau
  • NAGPRA Regulations
  • Anthropology Grants
  • Exhibition Curation
  • Range Creek administration and permits



Michelle Knoll brings more than 20 years of varied experience to her job as the assistant curator of archaeology. In addition to managing some of the daily operations of the anthropology department, Knoll coordinates the Museum's Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) compliance program, writes grant proposals, handles outside researcher requests, administers permits for Range Creek Canyon and conducts laboratory research projects. As one of the team's curatorial experts, her past design experience has helped her to be more in tune with the design process to ensure that the objects and information chosen will best educate the public about archaeology in the Great Basin and northern Colorado Plateau.

Knoll has been working at the Natural History Museum of Utah since 2006.  She was a NEPA specialist with the Utah Department of Transportation from 2005 to 2006, staff archaeologist with P-III Associates from 2003 to 2005 and a crew chief for the Ashley National Forest and Brigham Young University from 2001 to 2002, where she directed crew members during cultural resource inventories and excavations. From 2000 to 2003, she was the research assistant for the New World Archaeological Foundation.

She has successfully written grants totaling over $10,000. She is regularly asked to speak on current archeological issues and has presented at the Rocky Mountain Anthropological Conference, the Society of American Archaeology (SAA) Conference, the Southwest Symposium (SWS) and the Great Basin Anthropological Conference (GBAC).

She has four publications: The American Formative Revisited. In Gulf Coast Archaeology: The Southeastern United States and Mexico; Settlement Location as a Reflection of Economic Strategies by the Late Prehistoric Fishermen of Utah Lake, Utah Archaeology; The Research Potential and Challenges of Using Curated Archaeological Collections, Utah Archaeology and Creating a Nexus to the Past: Science Centers as Role Models for Archaeology Exhibitions (in press).

She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Utah. Her research area of interest lies in the prehistory of the Great Basin and northern Colorado Plateau with an emphasis on prehistoric farming groups. For her dissertation project she will attempt to chart the spatial and temporal distribution of Southwestern maize landraces using ancient DNA.