Professor Bamforth's research focuses on the archaeology of the Great Plains, with a technical emphasis on lithic and microwear analysis. In addition, he studies human responses to environmental variation and change that includes his work on the Allen site, which addresses Paleoindian responses to long-term shifts during the early Holocene Climatic Optimum and his Plains Village work examining warfare and climatic variation.
Dr. Bamforth is currently focusing on the Plains Village period. His recent graduates have worked on spatial analyses of the Allen site, a Middle Plains woodland site, contact period archaeology of the northern Great Plains, with a particular emphasis on the farming villages of the Missouri River region, and the use of quantitative optimal foraging models to understand human subsistence decisions in light of storage in Central California and the Eastern Woodlands.
Bamforth has a long record of work on the early (Paleoindian) period on the Plains, but over the last few years, his research has turned to later periods of time, particularly the Plains Village period. During the past six years, he has focused on Pine Ridge in Nebraska, where he has opened a Plains Village residential site that appears to be underlain by a Late Woodland bison kill.