- Human ecology
- Stone technologies
- Adapations to marginal environments and climate change
- Economic anthropology
- Prehistoric Human Ecology in Northern Patagonia
- Geochemical and Hydration Analyses of Northern Patagonian Obsidians: Tracking the use of known obsidian sources through time and across space—using a combination of X-ray fluorescence and the region's first obsidian hydration rate—permits interpretations of prehistoric land and resource use, and adaptive decision-making in response to changes in resource availability.
- Cultural Transmission and Artifact Variability: This collections-based project is designed to evaluate recently developed archaeological models of cultural transmission, or the transfer of information between people, typically studied for its effects on cultural evolution. More specifically, this project aims to identify within-group learning norms and to understand the importance of advertising group membership under particular circumstances.
I study the influences of ecological, demographic and social factors on prehistoric hunters' behaviors and broader cultural change through time. My current projects in Patagonia use simple economic models incorporating these factors to generate predictions of hunter-gatherer settlement and resource use at different times in the past. For example, I recently modeled potential responses to a widespread and prolonged trend of warmer, drier conditions during the middle Holocene (8000-4000 years ago) and then gathered data using large-scale archaeological surveys, geochemical and microscopic studies of obsidian (volcanic glass), and morphometric analyses of stone tools to test the models' predictions. I believe that understanding interactions between humans and their environments and examining the degree to which ecological conditions constrain and influence culture will help us understand larger trajectories of adaptive cultural change.