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Interests, Methods, and Locations

One core theme of my research is investigating how human groups made use of natural resources (like raw materials to make stone tools) distributed differentially across the landscape, how they responded to change in their environments, and how their resulting behaviors shaped opportunities for the spread of technological and cultural innovations. My dissertation research examined the Early and Middle Bronze Age of Syria, including the effects of environmental stress on ancient trade. Since the start of the Syrian civil war, I have primarily focused on the Palaeolithic, Neolithic, and Chalcolithic across Southwest Asia, including the Southern Caucasus. Other research projects, however, have involved the Americas, Southeast Asia, and Eastern Africa across a wide variety of time periods.

Below are a few more details about my research. More information can be found in my publications.




By comparing and contrasting the behaviors of early and modern humans, we may find unexpected similarities and differences in their ways of life, sometimes overturning widespread beliefs about our ancestors.



Southwest Asia was the key corridor for human dispersals out of Africa and into the rest of Eurasia. For millennia, it served as an important crossroads in the history of early and modern humans.



How did our earliest technologies – namely, stone tools and control over fire – become critical stimuli in the emergence and spread of behavioral, cultural, and societal complexity around the world?

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Determining the geological sources of artifacts' raw materials provides clues to the geographic origins of artifacts that were made and moved, via exchange or mobility, by people in the distant past.



Where, when, and how social interactions occurred between different human groups shaped the opportunities for innovations – both technological and cultural – to spread from one group to another.

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Agent-based computer models serve as one way to explore archaeological data, consider important variables, and make predictions for which new archaeological fieldwork and labwork are needed to test.

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