My rolling stone gathers no moss. Right now, I am collaborating on several projects, all of which revolve around my central research interests in human adaptations to landscape change.
- KENYA: My PhD research took place in Tsavo East National Park, Kenya on a series of Pastoral Neolithic sites next to the Galana River. More recently, I have previously collaborated with the National Museums of Kenya on a project looking at how humans responded to changes in lake levels of Lake Turkana during the Quaternary. My wife, Kristina Dziedzic Wright and I are also spearheading an initiative to digitize all of the records in order to streamline museum access to their collections.
- MALAWI: I have been collaborating with Jessica Thompson (Yale University) looking at Middle Stone Age (300,000-30,000 years BP) sites in northern Malawi (http://memsap.org). In that project, we have been connecting how hominids accessed resources within the framework of long-term environmental change. My participation focused on reconstructing the depositional context in which site formation processes were occurring. More recently, we have revised our focus in a new project, Malawi Ancient Lifeways and Peoples Project, in the Kasitu (north-central) region. I am also collecting the OSL samples and working with the Korean Basic Research Institute to produce an age model for the sites.
- ARIZONA: I collaborated with the Cultural Resource Management Program and the Department of Environmental Quality on the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) on a project called “The Archaeology of Dust.” We have identified sources of dust pollution on the GRIC and looking at how people of the past (Huhugam) mitigated the effects of dust. Our new project involved reconstructing the introduction of Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis) into the Phoenix Basin. Write up of that aspect of the research is ongoing.
- CAMEROON: Scott MacEachern (Duke Kunshan University), Jean-Marie Datouang Djoussou (University of Québec) and I have been collaborating in northern Cameroon, presently in the Benoué River Valley to understand Iron Age settlement and mound formation processes. Fieldwork was completed in summer 2014 and my former graduate student, Jungyu Choi, ran the OSL ages on the sites at the Korean Basic Science Institute under the tutelage of Jeong-Heon Choi. Scott and I were planning on going back to the Benoué River region in the summer of 2020 to further explore connections between humans and the environments they inhabit, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a delay to our plans. We hope to return to the region in 2021 or 2022.
- KOREA: I was co-PI for a large research project headed by Jangsuk Kim (Seoul National University) to regenerate and recalibrate radiocarbon ages across the Korean Peninsula to look at diachronic changes in demography. We have recently completed 3-year grant and have been looking at potential for systematic and random errors in radiocarbon dating. We are in the process of statistically reevaluating the orthodox model of “pulsed” populating of Korea since the Pleistocene.
- BRAZIL: From 2016 – 2018, I was PI on a project collaborating with colleagues from Middle Tennessee State University (USA) and the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi (Brazil) investigating the origins and evolution of agricultural systems near the mouth of the Amazon River. Along with my former graduate student, Jungyu Choi, we are using OSL and radiocarbon to date the formation of terra preta soils and stable isotope geochemistry were conducted at Seoul National University to reconstruct vegetation and climatic conditions on the soils. Research took place in 2016 and 2018 and we are in the process of writing up and publishing the results.
- TAJIKISTAN: With colleagues from the Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Germany and Tajikistan, we have €1.5 million to from the Nordforsk Foundation (2021 – 2024) to investigate The Timing and Ecology of the Human Occupation of Central Asia (THOCA). Archaeological sites in the Tajik Loess fields date from >1 million years ago into the Late Holocene, but there has been little systematic investigation of the climatic conditions associated with evidence for human occupations. The project will provide high resolution Optically Stimulated Luminescence and paleomagnetic chronologies paired with stable isotope reconstructions and organic biomarkers such as coprostanols and black carbon analysis. We seek to better constrain the conditions for human migrations and understand how different groups of hominins shaped their environments over time.