Program

Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Grants to Individuals in East and Southeast Asian Archaeology and Early History Dissertation Fellowships (North America) , Henry Luce Foundation/ ACLS Program in China Studies Postdoctoral Fellowships

Project

Adaptation and Invention during the Spread and Intensification of Agriculture: Reconstructing Agricultural Strategies on the Chengdu Plain, Sichuan Province, PRC

Project

High and Dry: Understanding the Movement of Agriculture and Development of Pastoralism in the Eastern Himalayas

Department

Anthropology

Adaptation and Invention during the Spread and Intensification of Agriculture: Reconstructing Agricultural Strategies on the Chengdu Plain, Sichuan Province, PRC

This project examines the relationship between changes in agricultural management regimes and the development of complex society in the Chengdu Plain, Sichuan, PRC. The pivotal role which agriculture played in the development of complex society has been discussed at length. However, in China archaeologists have relied primarily on indirect evidence (such as traces of ancient irrigation and terracing) to address this question, making it difficult to connect social change with transformations in food production regimes. This project uses archaeobotanical evidence to examine changes in agricultural strategies from the earliest settlement of the Plain (Baodun Culture c. 2700 B.C.) to the Bronze Age societies of Sanxingdui and Shi’eriqiao (1700-600 B.C.). Archaeobotanical and stable isotope data document changes in water management, manuring practices, and crop processing techniques. Archaeobotanical remains are also used to reconstruct the ancient ecology of the Plain. In addition to macrobotanical remains and a stable isotope study, starch grain analysis is used to assess the role played by plants rarely preserved in the archaeological record, such as tubers.

High and Dry: Understanding the Movement of Agriculture and Development of Pastoralism in the Eastern Himalayas

Climate change has played a crucial role in defining trajectories of human history. However, methodological boundaries have hindered archaeologists from answering how changes in ancient climate promoted innovations in ancient subsistence practices. I will examine adaptive responses to climate change through archaeological investigation of the development of agriculture and pastoralism in one of the most ecologically marginal environments on the globe: the Eastern foothills of the Himalayas, China. By incorporating advances in the fields of ecological niche modeling and earth systems science, this project creates models that bring increased precision to evaluating the potential effects of ancient climate change on past agricultural/pastoral systems and their effect on social development.