Archaeological Science

Syllabus (September 2021) Online course

This core undergraduate course in archaeology surveyed different methodological approaches to the analysis of archaeological objects and sites drawn from the natural sciences. Initial lectures provide an overview of the discipline’s history and theoretical frameworks before diving into weekly discussions of specific methods. Topics included: artifact classification, relative and absolute dating, geoarchaeology, lithic analysis, ceramic analysis, zooarchaeology, archaeobotany, bioarchaeology, and archaeochemistry. Students are taught strengths and limitations of these different methods in order to crtically consider their application in different archaeological cases. Weekly lectures were supplemented with guest lectures by specialists in these areas. Students completing this course come away with a broad understanding of archaeological science and are well-situated to pursue upper-division archaeology courses, field schools, and lab assistantships.

Archaeology and Heritage in the Information Age

Syllabus (March 2016)

This upper division undergraduate course was aimed at exploring the transformative role of digital technology in archaeology and cultural heritage. In lectures, students were encouraged to discuss the fundamentals of different approaches within the context of the broader goals of archaeology and heritage management. Topics included: spatial data, complex systems and simulation, virtual reality, and the preservation of digital objects, among others. Experts in laser scanning, 3D modeling and archaeogaming were invited and provided interactive demonstrations. In labs, students were introduced to a range of techniques including data manipulation and visualization in R, social network analysis, augmented reality using mobile devices, and reconstructing historical landscapes in game engines. By the end of the course students were able to thoughtfully assess applications of different methods and approaches to digital archaeology and heritage, obtain and organize open-source data, and utilize data across multiple digital platforms.

Coming of the Māori

Syllabus (July 2018)

This middle-division undergraduate course surveyed the archaeology of ancestral Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand. The course covered chronological periods from the earliest human migrations into the Pacific Islands to the New Zealand wars of the mid-19th century. Major themes of the course such as adaptation, mobility, interaction, conflict, and colonialism are discussed in terms of changes in material culture and social organization. The course also gives an overview of archaeological methods and reasoning in the context of well-known archaeological sites such as Wairau Bar, Shag River Mouth, Houhora, Oruarangi, and Palliser Bay. Throughout the course, students are asked to consider how archaeology and oral tradition have been used and misused in constructing historical narratives.

The Deep History of Climate Adaptation

Syllabus (September 2023)

This middle-division undergraduate seminar course contextualizes adaptations to changing climate through the lens of the paleosciences (paleoecology, paleoclimatology, archaeology) and cultural heritage. The course covers human biological, cultural, and social adaptations to changing climate and environmental conditions over the last 1 million years, considered in the context of contemporary issues such as inequality, sustainability, resilience, and food/water security. Students are encouraged to engage with the research corpus by collectively assembling a database of published studies related to climate change in the past, and presenting a case study that critically assesses the evidence and how it is interpreted. As the course progresses, students are encouraged to participate actively in discussions on a range of topics spanning the sciences and humanities, from evaluating models of environmentally-driven cultural change to different ways cultural heritage might help moderate social barriers to adaptation. For the final project, students are asked to consider a contemporary climate hazard and how the past might be invoked to facilitate adaptation to that hazard. By the end of the course, students understand fundamental aspects of paleoscience research and gain a deeper perspective on the climate challenges of the present.

Environmental Data Analysis and Visualization

Syllabus (September 2023)

This upper-division undergraduate course is designed to develop skills and knowledge needed to assemble, manage, visualize, analyze, and communicate about environmental data. Students learn fundamental concepts and data science and computational techniques needed to access data from a variety of sources; organize and reshape datasets to suit different purposes; plot data to evaluate patterns; assess the robustness and uniqueness of those patterns; and share their findings to different audiences. Students also explore how aesthetic design choices contribute to the usefulness of visualizations for telling environmental stories and best practices for making data and open and accessible for public reuse. By the end of the course, students are able to produce visualizations and analyses of data from a variety of sources and weave them together into effective narratives to address complex environmental issues.

Geographic Information Systems

This upper-division undergraduate course teaches students how to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with a focus on environmental science. Each week was divided into a lecture and lab exercise. Lectures cover basic concepts from GIScience and geography such as data formats, map projections, and mapping conventions. These also integrate in-class and outdoor activities demonstrating how spatial data is collected, transformed, analyzed, and visualized to address environmental science questions. Lab exercises introduce students to ESRI ArcGIS and other GIS and spatial software, building iteratively and covering concepts such as data management, coordinate systems, map styles, vector and raster operations, web mapping, and spatial analysis. By the end of the course, students have developed competency in the use of GIS software and its application for a range of environmental science contexts.

Global Change Biology

This co-taught core undergraduate course covers topics related to conservation biology in the age of global climate change and biodiversity loss. Students are introduced to fundamental concepts from species conservation, scientific methods, systems thinking, population dynamics, food production, and sustainable harvest of natural resources. Throughout the course, students participate in exercises aimed at building critical thinking skills, including “breakouts” with themes around conservation planning, resilience, and sustainability. Students are assessed using these breakouts, as well as three unit exams and a group project where students build a storymap to communicate about a contemporary issue in conservation. By the end of the course, students have built a foundation of knowledge needed to navigate the further study of topics related to biodiversity and its conservation.

Introduction to Environmental Fieldwork

Syllabus (September 2023)

This core undergraduate course introduces students to fieldwork as part of an environmental research program. In addition to covering methods used in fieldwork, this course breaks down the research process into primary components and questions why research in the 21st century is done the way it is. Organized around a central theme, students partake in natural and social science research design, data collection, analysis, and communication. Course themes vary from semester to semester, and have included urban forest management and maple sugaring. Part of the course introduces students to Geographic Information Systems as an interdisciplinary means of oraganizing and presenting data. By the end of the course, students will learn how to design a successful field research program, collect and analyze different kinds of data using different techniques and tools, critically assess field research designs, and communicate fieldwork results to different audiences.

Landscape Archaeology (graduate seminar)

Syllabus (July 2015)

This graduate-level course provided in-depth coverage of theoretical and methodological approaches to archaeological landscapes. Students were assigned readings each week, and these were discussed at the start of every meeting. Topics included but were not limited to: the archaeology of place, distributional archaeology, temporality and taskscapes, interpretive and phenomenological approaches, the ups and downs of predictive modeling, theorizing digital approaches, time geography and generative modeling. In lab sessions students developed technical skills in geographic information systems (GIS) and agent-based modeling (ABM). For the first half of the course students were instructed in the fundamentals of GIS-based studies, including the acquisition, manipulation, analysis, and visualization of vector and raster datasets. Lab exercises, largely drawn from local archaeological case studies, were used to demonstrate different principles, as well give opportunities to assess strengths and weaknesses of different approaches such as viewshed analysis, cost-path analysis, and spatial statistical methods. During the second half of the course, students learned core ABM design concepts while developing programming and documentation skills.

Peoples and Cultures of the Pacific

Syllabus (March 2017)

This undergraduate course introduced students to the diversity of cultures and histories of the Pacific Ocean through the lens of anthropology. Framed around Epeli Hau‘ofa’s notion of “our sea of islands”, the course emphasised connections, engagements, and movements between peoples and places, and discusses how Pacific Island cultures adapt, change, and construct identity through history. The course drew on expertise of guest lecturers and demonstrated key concepts in anthropology with examples from fieldwork. Topics discussed include the settlement of the Pacific Islands, the cultural and biological impacts of European colonization, nuclear testing, development and the “MiRAB” economic model, indigeneity in Pasifika popular music, migration and Pacific diasporas in the 20th century, museums as places for Pacific peoples, and indigenous ways of knowing in contemporary research.

Thinking Like a Researcher

Syllabus (July 2018)

This introductory undergraduate course focuses on the development of core research skills in the social sciences. The course was oriented primarily around how ‘research as a practice’ has shaped the development of ‘research as an industry’ and ‘research as a lifestyle’. The first half the course centered on key aspects of an idealized research process: reading research, collecting data, analyzing data, and dissemination of results in a publication. The second half of the course interrogates elements of this process in the context of contemporary social sciences: peer review, reflexivity, research ethics, cultural ownership, the interface of research and social policy, and incentives driving 21st century research. Through a combination of lectures, discussions, in-class exercises and labs, students are exposed to a range of research models and techniques aimed at developing research literacy, statistical numeracy, computational skills, and critical thinking.

Understanding Ancient Australia

Syllabus (July 2013)

This co-taught middle and upper division undergraduate course provided an overview of contemporary approaches to Australian archaeology, relationships between Aboriginal hunter gatherers and the archaeological and environmental record, and the changing dynamics between people, land, and history. Specific areas I contributed to included: models of Australian prehistory, Australian lithic technology, the archaeology of the arid zone, Aboriginal Holocene economies, site formation and preservation, late Holocene socioeconomic intensification and Native Title and heritage management in Australia.

World Archaeology

Syllabus (July 2015)

This undergraduate survey course was aimed at providing a foundation in human cultural evolution over the last 2 million years. Students were expected to discuss the following topics including basic methods of analysis (survey, excavation, dating, etc.) used in archaeology: differences between modern theories of cultural evolution and earlier ideas of unilineal cultural evolution, significant developments that led to the emergence of modern humans from archaic ancestors, early human migrations and continental discovery, social and cultural changes associated with the domestication of plants and animals, changes that accompanied the beginnings of social complexity and the significance of the rise of complex society. Examples drawn from locations from around the world were used to illustrate these themes and demonstrate archaeological reasoning.

Other Course Contributions

Short courses and workshops

  • Agent-Based Modeling in Anthropological Sciences Online course
  • Getting Started with R
  • Introducing Structure from Motion Photogrammetry
  • Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling in NetLogo
  • One Hour, One Model: An Intro to Agent-Based Models
  • Spatial R for Anthropological Sciences Online course