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I am an assistant professor and archaeologist in the School of Human Evolution & Social Change at Arizona State University, research director for the ASU Center for Archaeology and Society, and a research associate with the non-profit preservation organization Archaeology Southwest in Tucson, Arizona. My research focuses on the formation of regional-scale social groups/boundaries, the organization of collective action, and the social dynamics of periods of rapid social transformation. Much of my archaeological work relies on theoretical models and methods from other comparative social science fields; in particular analytical sociology and social network analyses. I am interested in using such analytical/theoretical tools to develop stronger explanatory frameworks for understanding how and why societies emerge, transform, or dissolve over the long-term. Further, by engaging with work in the broader social sciences, I hope to give archaeologists a seat at the table in important inter-disciplinary discussions on issues such as migration, social movements, and social diversity. This is important because archaeologists have access to information on a wider array of political and organizational settings than has typically been considered.
Most of my research is focused on agricultural/Neolithic societies in the pre-contact U.S. Southwest. I've been involved in field work in the Cibola/Zuni and Mimbres regions of New Mexico and Arizona. I also work on a number of regional-scale collaborative projects focused on the pre-contact Southwest as a whole using large comparative databases such as the Coalescent Communities Database, the Southwest Social Networks Project Database, and the Chaco Networks Database. I am also involved in several related projects centered on developing new quantitative tools for dealing with such large settlement and material cultural datasets.
I have worked for and continue to collaborate with the preservation non-profit Archaeology Southwest and consider myself a preservation archaeologist. This means that (1) I engage in big-picture research through low-impact field investigations while maximizing the use of existing collections, (2) I strive to find ways to share my research with professionals and a broader public, and (3) I use my research to enhance site protection efforts through collaborations with land-owners or government/tribal agencies. The regional data compilation work I do is set up to both serve my research objectives and to provide information for cultural resource priroity setting and long-term planning. When all goes well, preservation and research should go hand-in-hand.
I am currently working with Greg Schachner(UCLA) and Paul Reed (Archaeology Southwest) on a National Science Foundation (NSF) supported project in the eastern Cibola region of New Mexico. This project is focused on exploring the relationship between demographic change and social diversity in a context marked by long-distance immigration and population coalescence (ca. A.D. 1050-1350). The project involves new field work/mapping at a number of large settlements in the region as well as reanalyses of existing collections housed at the ASU Center for Archaeology and Society and other repositories in New Mexico and Arizona.
I am also collaborating with Barbara Mills (University of Arizona) and Jeff Clark (Archaeology Southwest) as well as many others on the NSF supported Southwest Social Networks Project. This project is focused on using methods and models from social network analyses to track changes in regional scales of interaction in the U.S. Southwest. We have recently begun the second phase of this project focused on the role of interaction networks in the emergence and influence of developments associated with Chaco Canyon, in New Mexico (supported by NSF). Click here or the image to the right to see a special issue of Archaeology Southwest Magazine that I edited, focused on the Southwest Social Networks Project.