Elspeth Ready
Postdoctoral Scholar
Department of Anthropology
Stanford University

About me Publications R tips & tricks Data science Contact

About me

My research interests are broadly focused in two areas: human subsistence ecology, both today and in the past, and on social support networks. My work cross-cuts cultural, evolutionary, and biological anthropology. I am currently collaborating on several projects, all focused on combining network methods with models from behavioural ecology to better understand how socioeconomic and health inequalities are created and persist. A complementary focus on the development of quantitative data collection and analysis methods is also a major thread of my research.

My dissertation research examined the role of traditional harvesting and food sharing in the food security and socioeconomic status of Inuit in the Canadian Arctic. I have spent over 15 months conducting fieldwork in Kangiqsujuaq, Nunavik since 2011. My fieldwork has focused on gathering quantitative data on food security, food sharing, subsistence harvesting. One of the major conclusions of my dissertation is that there are structural inequalities in Kangiqsujuaq that are reflected in how traditional food is distributed in the community. Importantly, the results indicate that social and economic inequality may constrain how effectively traditional harvesting and sharing can contribute to community resilience to climate change.

An additional focus of my dissertation research was on understanding food security in mixed cash-subsistence economies. This work focuses on bridging the gap between quantitative scientific methods and the multidimensional and cultural ways in which people experience poverty and food insecurity. As a result of this work, I published a policy brief on food security in Nunavik (Ready 2015). A summary report of my dissertation results, in Inuktitut and English, can be downloaded here.

I also maintain an active research agenda in archaeology, in collaboration with Eugène Morin at Trent University. Our work has focused on quantitative zooarchaeological methods and on the use of skeletal part profiles to infer Palaeolithic subsistence behaviours.

I graduated in 2008 with a B.A. Honours in Anthropology from the University of Alberta, and I completed an M.A. in Anthropology at Trent University in 2010. I completed my Ph.D. at Stanford in June 2016.

For more details, download my curriculum vitae.


Arctic research

Ready, E. 2016. Challenges in the Assessment of Inuit food security. Arctic 69 (3): 266-280.

Ready, E. 2016. Food, Sharing, and Social Structure in an Arctic Mixed Economy. PhD Dissertation, Stanford University.

Ready, E. 2015. Ensuring country food access for a food secure future in Nunavik. In: Quebec policy on the Arctic: Challenges and perspectives. Arctic and International Relations Series, Issue 1. Canadian Studies Center and Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, pp.50-54. University of Washington, Seattle.


Morin, E., E. Ready, A. Boileau, C. Beauval, and M.P. Coumont. 2016. Problems of Identification and Quantification in Archaeozoological Analysis, Part I: Insights from a Blind Test. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory.

Morin, E., E. Ready, A. Boileau, C. Beauval, and M.P. Coumont. 2016. Problems of Identification and Quantification in Archaeozoological Analysis, Part II: Presentation of an Alternative Counting Method. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory.

Ready, E. 2013. Neandertal foraging during the late Mousterian in the Pyrenees: New insights based on faunal remains from Gatzarria Cave. Journal of Archaeological Science 40: 1568-1578.

Morin, E., and E. Ready. 2013. Foraging goals and transport decisions in Western Europe during the Middle and early Upper Paleolithic. In: J.A. Clark and J. Speth, Eds., Zooarchaeology and modern human origins: Human hunting behavior during the later Pleistocene. Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology Series, pp. 227-269. Springer, Dordrecht.

Ready, E. 2010. Neandertal Man the hunter: A history of Neandertal subsistence. Vis-à-vis: Explorations in Anthropology 10:58-80.

Ready, E. 2010. Neandertal foraging adaptations in southwestern France: Implications of Mousterian faunal remains from Gatzarria Cave. M.A. thesis. Trent University, Peterborough.

R tips and tricks

Some of examples of R's lesser known but no less amazing capabilities, particularly some bits of code that may be useful to anthropologists.

Kinship diagrams

R can plot pedigrees using the package kinship2. This script shows how to make a basic kinship diagram that looks something like this. Download the data for this example (a .csv file) here.

Spatial network analysis

These great circle distance functions can be used to calculate the distance between points using latitude and longitude coordinates. This is very useful for using distance as a predictor of ties in a network!

More coming soon!

Data Science

In summer 2016, I was a fellow at the Data Incubator in San Francisco. During the two-month fellowship, I completed a range of projects on data science techniques including machine learning, webscraping, big data frameworks (MapReduce and Spark), NLP, and data visualization.

For my capstone project at the Data Incubator, I built a website (a Python app with Flask) that uses machine learning models to generate live predictions for crowd levels at Disney parks in L.A. using the current weather forecast, based on historical Twitter and weather data. Check out the website here (note: the page loads slowly if it hasn't been visited recently).

Download my data science resume.


Stanford Department of Anthropology

Collaborators: Doug and Rebecca Bird (Penn State), Jamie Jones (Stanford), Eugène Morin (Trent University), Elly Power (Santa Fe Institute), and Pete Collings (U Florida).

A very informative and entertaining stats blog.

I hear the people at Pilot AI Labs are doing some pretty cool stuff.

Contact: Stanford University, Department of Anthropology, Main Quad Building 50, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, California 94305
Email: eready@stanford.edu