The major impacts of my research have been developing approaches for understanding organizational complexity and diversity in Indigenous Pre-Columbian eastern North America and in non-state societies globally. My work as an archaeologist is inherently comparative and multi-scalar and has evolved from the study of settlement aggregation in eastern North America to the development of theories, models, and approaches that productively interrogate the nature of premodern social and political organization across the globe. My most recent contributions focus on the themes of Northern Iroquoian archaeology and radiocarbon chronology building, social network analysis and regional geopolitics, and institutional complexity and comparative governance in pre-modern societies.
A message to prospective graduate students: I am interested in recruiting graduate students who can articulate a clear problem orientation and understand the relevance of their research to key themes in anthropological archaeology. Students applying to work with me should reach out early so that we can discuss shared interests and their individual research goals. While I am always interested in recruiting students whose interests intersect with my own research on the Indigenous societies of the Eastern Woodlands, collective governance, social networks, and chronology-building, I am willing to supervise students interested in a wide range of areas and topics.
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I have a joint appointment in Anthropology and Geography and direct the Quaternary Isotope Paleoecology Lab. My research is focused on human adaptation and resilience to climate change and natural resource unpredictability in prehistory, and how our understanding of past human response to environmental change informs current thinking about these issues. I combine archaeology and biogeochemistry to investigate changes in diet, mobility, and settlement systems in the period spanning the end of the last ice age to the arrival of farming.
My other research interests include the initial domestication of livestock, diffusion of domesticates across Eurasia, the transition from hunting to herding, seasonality and human mobility, multispecies archaeology, and advancing methodologies in zooarchaeology and stable isotope analysis. I am an active advocate of open access publishing and online data and research sharing. I co-founded and moderate the blog TrowelBlazers, which highlights women in the fields of archaeology, paleontology, and geology. I am also an editor-in-chief of the open access journal for Quaternary science, Open Quaternary.
My research focuses in part on the application of geoarchaeological methods to the study Early and Middle Holocene human occupation, cultural adaptations and climate change. In our research on the continental shelves of the American Southeast we have sought to discriminate between ecological variables and culturally-based decisions for detecting the spatial and temporal variation in site locations. We have also AMS radiocarbon techniques and ZooMS to study climate-related dispersal and extinction of Atlantic gray whale in the late Pleistocene and the late Holocene to advance a pan-ocean understanding of this species.
My research over the last 20 years has centered on the origin and practice of agropastoralism in the Pyrenees Mountains and Iberian Systems of continental Europe. I am particularly interested in the pivotal role played by agropastoralism in the social, political, economic and religious transformations in the Franco-Iberian region during the last 2,000 years. I seldom work alone and my collaborations are designed to integrate geomorphic, geophysical, archaeological and socioecological evidence to reveal the contingency and behavioral variability of human agents in transforming a landscape. The overall goal of our research is to connect the present continuously and strongly to the past so we may contribute to building a more desirable and sustainable future.
My multi-scalar and multi-disciplinary research explores long-term social, cultural, and ecological dynamics during prehistory, with a specific focus on the transformative role of population aggregation and disintegration in early farming societies of Southeast Europe. This research is complemented by my interest in comparative, cross-cultural and cross-temporal studies of population centers and both bodies of research aim to contribute to developing models that advance the scientific understanding of sustainability and resilience in nucleated settlement contexts in the ancient and recent past. I am also engaged with collaborative heritage science programs, including conservation studies of archaeological sites and various exhibition projects, to facilitate cultural heritage protection and foster public outreach and education.
“Anthropology is the essential field.” Kowalewski was raised in rural Lancaster County, PA. First field school in Utah, 1967, and first fieldwork in Oaxaca, 1970. Assistant professor at Lehman and Hunter, CUNY, 1975-1977. Has lived in Athens since 1978. Major field projects in Oaxaca in 1974, 1977, 1980, 1983, 1990, 1999, 2008, 2009, 2011, funded by NSF, NGS, SSRC, SSHRC, Harp Foundation.
I use dendrochronology, wood anatomy, tree-ring stable isotopes, and wider archaeobotanical methods to investigate human-environment interactions and their long-term impact legacies during the Anthropocene. My recent studies focus on the challenge to articulate a high-resolution chronology appropriate and comparable with the lived histories of the Indigenous village settlements in Northeast North America. I study how humans have used timber resources and shaped forest ecosystems over time, with a particular interest in high precision dating to better understand environmental factors and socioeconomic networks in southeastern Europe
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