I am an environmental archaeologist with primary research interests in the long-term interactions between climate change, human land use, and landscape fires. My regional expertise is in the Southwestern US, but I maintain active research interests in the Northern Plains as well as Oceania. My research projects are necessarily interdisciplinary, often including dendrochronology, archaeology, ethnography, and sedimentary paleoecology. I received my PhD at the University of Arizona, where I maintain research collaborations as well as a faculty appointment at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. I joined the faculty at SMU as an Assistant Professor in 2010.
I maintain theoretical interests in ecosystems ecology, particularly in the study of human impacts on social-ecological resilience and vulnerability. Sustainability issues, as framed by resilience theory, inform the questions that drive my research projects. How do human activities alter the response of ecosystems to climate change? What lessons can we learn for contemporary ecosystem management or restoration?
I maintain additional research interests in archaeological method and theory, particularly the combination of principles from behavioral archaeology with earth sciences methods and techniques to reconstruct past human behaviors - an approach that I call behavioral geoarchaeology. To this end, I use stratigraphy, micromorphology, and soil/sediment chemistry to reconstruct the life histories of ancient dwellings, ritual structures, and community spaces.