I just recently completed my PhD at Simon Fraser University in the Department of Archaeology. My dissertation is titled “Archaeological and Palaeoenvironmental Time Series Analysis”. In it, I investigate the use of time-series methods for understanding past human–environment interaction.

My primary research focuses on human responses to climate change over the long-term. Since long-term effects can be quite different than short-term ones, it is imperative that we understand the long-term impact of climate change on human societies. The archaeological record is one of the only sources of information we have about long-term human–environment interaction, making it crucial for understanding human responses to climate change and, therefore, long-term planning. Unfortunately, we lack the necessary quantitative tools for analyzing archaeological and palaeoenvironmental records. The established methods cannot account for the idiosyncrasies of the data, specifically temporal autocorrelation and chronological uncertainty. Thus, much of my recent and ongoing research involves developing a new quantitative tool kit for exploring ideas about past human–environment interaction.

In addition to my primary research, I've been engaged in another project studying past human landscape use. A few years ago, my colleagues and I developed a new quantitative model for predicting the locations of previously unrecognized archaeological sites—the Locally-Adaptive Model of Archaeological Potential (LAMAP; Carleton et al. 2012, J. Arch. Sci. 39(11):3371-3385). Essentially, it’s a kind of species distribution model based on archaeological finds. Recently, we tested the technique by conducting ground-based surveys and LiDAR reconnaissance of Classic Maya sites in the North Vaca Plateau of south-central Belize. Our results indicate that it can substantially improve our ability to find archaeological material, increasing the number of new finds by as much as 300% (see my publications).

Research Keywords: GIS; statistics; time-series analysis; computer simulation; landscape archaeology; human–environment interaction; evolutionary theory