University of Maine ’07
Archaeology, the Andean Highlands, writing, consuming books, gypsy jazz, dada, and the OULIPO.
Excited to be back at the University of Maine as an Honors Associate, and will be starting a PhD program in anthropology at University of Illinois at Chicago this fall.
As an Honors student:
Preceptors: Walter MacDougall, Mark Haggerty, Tony Brinkley, and Mimi Killinger.
The American River as Text, Myth, & Symbol
Instructor: Kathleen Ellis
The Peruvian Beach Ridges: Records of Human Activity and Climate Change
Advisor: Dan Sandweiss
My thesis investigates the relationships between prehistoric humans, their environments, and climate change events on the northern coast of Peru. I surveyed archaeological sites situated on three beach-ridge sets that began forming about 5,800 years ago. These beach ridges are geological anomalies thought to have been formed by sediment movement after large seismic and mega-El Niño events. Mega-El Niño events create long-term rains that cause flooding in Peru’s otherwise desert coast destroying infrastructure, canals, and agricultural systems while spreading waterborne disease. At the same time, ocean temperatures rise, reducing available food from the sea. The same processes that created the beach ridges would have been witnessed by the prehistoric peoples who lived and gathered food off the ridge shorelines. At the site of Colán, the data suggest correlations between the creation of new beach ridges, the drastic alteration of previously utilized landscapes, and the abandonment of archaeological sites. This sets a geoarchaeological framework in which to view how climate change/disaster events, subsequent landscape alteration, reductions in available resources, and changes in human culture intertwine.