research interests

My current research interests lie at the intersection of historical geography and landscape archaeology. How did peoples of the past envision the landscape around them? How have human relationships with the surrounding ecosystem affected the plants and animals within it?

Papers & Publications

cultural landscapes

& Indigenous cartography


In archaeology, a cultural landscape is a way of looking at the landscape in which people live as an “artifact” of their land-use patterns, which can include tracks, routeways, structures and other landscape modifications, as well as persistent practices like seasonal burning.

Places of great cultural importance, like rock art sites, exist as “loci of memory” within those landscapes. 

linear sites and trails

The archaeological record is necessarily site-specific which can lead to an understanding of the past that is tied to particular places. By looking at the material evidence of transportation in that record, we can examine the rich history of human dispersal, connection, and exchange in the distant and more recent past.

El camino real

Although obscured by modern roads and highways, historic trails like the Lewis & Clark Trail or the Camino Real in California are layered on top of indigenous routes. Names may change, but the pathways themselves persist.

the lolo trail

One of the remaining major indigenous routes on the American landscape that remains largely intact, the ancient Lolo Trail or Qoq’aalx ‘Iskit (“Buffalo Road” in the Nimiipuu language) is an example of a route that defies modern GIS “least cost path” algorithms.

Hike The Trail

the origins of agriculture

The story of food is the story of human history. Agriculture as we understand it today arose independently in multiple parts of the globe as human relationships with the plants and animals around them changed and intensified over time. As those foods and associated technologies moved around the planet, they left behind material and genetic evidence that can be used as proxies to illuminate the movements of people and cultures in the distant past.


have a question about the past?

I have done research for museums, historical societies, cultural resource management companies, and documentary filmmakers. My scholarship is driven by questions generated by my clients, students, and the general public. Have an interesting research question? Ask it!

Contact Kevin