Department Head
IdEx Chair, Université de Toulouse
Director, Sustainable Human Ecosystems Laboratory

Contact Info

Baldwin Hall 254
Phone Number:

My interest as an anthropologist centers on the diverse and subtle ways, both purposeful and inadvertent, by which humans manipulate and shape the landscapes they inhabit and in particular temperate, mountain systems. In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southern Appalachia my focus is on the technology innovations, economic constraints and cultural aspirations of those involved in the shift from Indian to Euro-American dominance over the last 500 years. Rather than focus on the ‘imperious force of capitalism’, I examine the onset, duration and agency of people in tandem with that of plant and animal communities to better understand their reorganization and evolution across time. In the Pyrenees Mountains of Southern France my focus is on the millennial co-evolution of agropastoralism and landscape over the course of the Holocene. Mountains in France have traditionally been ignored because ‘…above 1000 m there is no history’. In collaboration with French colleagues our UGA workgroup has developed a place-based approach that integrates multi-proxy evidence from geoarchives, archaeology, history and ethnography to detect legacy effects and dynamic feedback processes between human and biophysical domains at broad geographic scales. Whether in the Blue Ridge or the Pyrenees, our goal is to connect the present continuously and strongly to the past so we may contribute to building a more desirable and sustainable future.


PhD, Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, 1989

Research Interests:
  • Human ecosystem ecology
  • Historical landscape ecology
  • Southern Europe
  • Southeastern US
  • South America
  • Mountain systems
  • Domestication of plants, animals and landscape
  • Multilevel approaches to individual, household & community
  • Airborne and ground-based remote sensing
  • Quantitative/qualitative/spatial analysis
Selected Publications:

Gragson, T. L., Hautefeuille, F., Thompson, V. D., & Leigh, D. S. 2016. Discovery and appraisal of the early Christian church of Notre Dame de Baudes near Labastide-du-Temple, France. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 6: 584-593.

Gragson, T. L., Leigh, D. S., and Coughlan, M. R. 2015. Basque Cultural Landscapes of the French Western Pyrenees. Cultural Capital 12: 565-596.

Gragson, T. L, and Bolstad, P. V. 2007. A Local Analysis of Early 18th Century Cherokee Settlement. Social Science History 31(3): 435-468.