John M. Marston
As a Postdoctoral Fellow jointly appointed in Archaeology and the Environmental Change Initiative (ECI), my research and teaching incorporate multiple approaches to addressing questions of human-environmental interaction. I utilize both scientific and humanistic perspectives to address the social and ecological dimensions of agricultural risk management, decision making in land use, climate change adaptation, and anthropogenic environmental impacts.
I focus on paleoethnobotany, the study of archaeological plant remains, as the primary source of my data. I also use animal remains from archaeological sites, geomorphology, paleoclimatic data, and modern plant ecology to reconstruct the context of use for those plant remains. My primary research area is semi-arid regions of the eastern Mediterranean, with two active projects in Central Turkey and one in Egypt, but I have also participated in archaeological projects in Albania, Greece, Cyprus, Uzbekistan, Kenya, and the United States.
I am interested in a variety of questions about how human societies adapted to environmental change and how they affected such change in the past, and how study of the past informs our understanding of the present and future role of people in environmental change. At Brown, I lead an interdisciplinary ECI working group that investigates human-environmental interaction in coastal and marine environments, past and present, that includes researchers from Brown, the University of Rhode Island, and the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole. Although my recent publications have focused on these themes, illustrating the connections between agricultural risk management and sustainability, and between political economy and agricultural decision making, I am also engaged in methodological work as the lead editor for a major new textbook in the method and theory of paleoethnobotany.
While my previous work at the city of Gordion identified several substantial changes in land-use practices contemporary with major changes in the political and economic systems in place at the city, my current research aims to broaden these questions to a regional perspective. This long-term project on how regional empires affected local land-use strategies across the eastern Mediterranean includes fieldwork at the site of Kerkenes, also in Central Turkey, and the Greco-Roman city of Karanis in the Fayum of Egypt.
More broadly, I am interested in building research partnerships between the social and ecological environmental sciences, and between those who study human-environmental interaction in the present and in the past.
Ph.D., 2010, University of California, Los Angeles
M.A., 2006, University of California, Los Angeles
A.B., 2001, Washington University, St. Louis
Grants, Fellowships, and Awards
2011 Brown ECI Working Group Grant
2010-2011 CAORC Multicountry Research Fellowship
2010 National Finalist, Council of Graduate Schools/UMI Distinguished Dissertation Award
2010 UCLA Chancellor's Service Award
2010 Society of Ethnobiology Barbara Lawrence Award
2010 Society for American Archaeology Student Paper Award
2010 Archaeological Institute of America Graduate Student Paper Award
2009-2010 UCLA Graduate Division Dissertation Year Fellowship
2008 NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant
2003-2008 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship