Jade d’Alpoim Guedes (Director & PI)
Jade d’Alpoim Guedes grew up on a small organic farm in Portugal where she collected and saved hundreds of varieties of seeds with her father. Her commitment to understanding how humans have achieved sustainable agricultural systems throughout history lead her to become an environmental archaeologist who studies how humans have adapted their agricultural strategies to changing climatic conditions.
Her primary region of focus is China, where she has carried out collaborative fieldwork and participated in projects for the past 12 years. She employs a variety of different methodologies in her research including archaeobotany, human osteology, paleoclimate reconstruction and modeling. Jade earned her Ph.D from Harvard University in 2013, and carried out a postdoctoral fellowship in the department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University. She was previously faculty in the department of Anthropology at Washington State University.
Her current research project uses these methodologies to understand how humans adapted their lifestyles to the challenging environment of the foothills of the Himalayas. This project aims to understand why a major transition in subsistence regimes took place in the Himalayas through a collaboration with dendroclimatologists, geomorphologists and agricultural modelers.
Her other archaeological research projects include studying plant remains from the Chengdu Plain, Thailand, Nepal and from the Harappa site in Pakistan.
Jade also works closely with crop scientists at Washington State University to examine the potential of landraces of traditional crops. Current lab research involves studying the potential of various varieties of millet for modern agricultural systems as well as traditional landraces of wheat and barley.
Lab Members at UCSD:
Nicolas Gauthier, Ph.D (Postdoctoral Research Scientist)
Nick is anthropologist, geographer, and Earth system scientist who uses methods and tools from the geosciences to study past and present human societies. He specializes in building models of coupled natural-human systems, focusing on the feedbacks between population growth, food production, and climate change over the past 10,000 years. Check out https://nick-gauthier.github.io for more information on his current projects and links to his publications.
Fabian Toro, B.S., M.A ( Ph.D Primary Advisee)
Fabian is interested in archaeological agricultural landscapes, and how understanding these informs contemporary food sovereignty struggles and international agricultural development projects. He is concerned with how the archaeological record can speak to practices of food production in the context of migration, dynamic socio-politics and climate change. Employing macro-botanical analysis, organic chemical residue analysis, geoarchaeological methods and interdisciplinary collaborative approach, he seeks to create high-resolution archaeological narratives that are scientifically rigorous and firmly grounded in decolonial theory. Currently, he is working on his M.A thesis which focuses on agricultural strategies, and landscape transformation in the Proto-Silk Road during a period of significant cross-cultural interaction in Northwest China.
Nathaniel James, M.A. (Ph.D Primary Advisee)
Nathaniel’s interests focus on the interactions between early states, agriculture, and inequality: particularly the ways in which agricultural labor was directed by both individual households and larger polities. Nathaniel’s MA thesis focuses on applying crop-processing models to the Indus Civilization city of Harappa. He has field experience in Belize, Thailand and the American Southwest, and his future work will focus on the ancient agricultural strategies employed in Gansu, China
Yaohan Wu (Ph.D Primary Advisee)
Yaohan is a bioarchaeologist interested in employing interdisciplinary research to understand how past people from different cultures in prehistoric times utilized different foodways to adapt to the geoenvironmental stressors around them. In particular, she is interested in studying the changes in dietary intake and temporal trends in plant and animal domestications in prehistoric China. Some of Yaohan’s previous researches include reconstructing migration patterns in Bronze Age Tuckey through dental morphology and modeling stone toolmaking among fossil hominins through entheses on hands and forearms. Her currently project focuses on the link between agricultural productivity and population during the Neolithic China
Luke Stroth, M.A. (Committee Member)
In 2016, Luke Stroth left the cornfields of the Midwest to enter the UCSD graduate program in Anthropology, focusing on Anthropological Archaeology. His interests include the human-environment relationship, archaeometry, lithic technologies, craft production and economic exchange, and Mesoamerican archaeology. His current research focuses on the human-environment relationship at the Classic (AD 150-850) Maya site of Nim li Punit, Toledo District, Belize. Working with PI and UCSD Professor Geoffrey E. Braswell and PhD candidate Mario Borrero, Luke combines macrobotanical analysis with landscape archaeology and paleoclimate data to study how subsistence practices were influenced by large-scale environmental changes and how these changes were perceived within the Classic Maya worldview. In addition to this primary dissertation research, Luke has been involved with UCSD Professor Jade d’Alpoim Guedes’s lab in the analysis of the paleobotanical collection from Khirbat al-Jariya, an Iron Age copper production site in the Wadi Faynan, Jordan.Previous research interests include the lithic assemblage from a Postclassic Site on the north coast of Honduras, working with Braswell, PIs Markus Reindel (PhD) and Franziska Flescher (MA), and MA student Raquel Otto. Recent work in this relatively understudied region has shown how local development and identity articulate with foreign influences. Analysis of the assemblage revealed how a Mesoamerican lithic tradition is modified by local raw materials and technological choices. In addition, he has previously worked on Midwestern lithic and hot-rock technologies during the Woodland period. Luke has excavated in Iowa, Belize, Peru, South Africa, and Chiapas. He received his B.A. from the University of Iowa in 2016 and received his M.A. from UCSD in 2018. Service work includes a position as an editorial assistant for Latin American Antiquity 2018 to present) and the chief organizer of the UCSD Archaeology Colloquium Series (2016 to present). He has received the Katzin Prize endowed fund (2016-2021) and the San Diego Fellowship (2018-present). You can find his up-to-date CV here.
Arianna Garvin, M.A (Committee Member)
Arianna Garvin received her B.A. in Anthropology and Biology from the University of Virginia in 2017 and her M.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, San Diego in 2020. She is a current graduate student in the UCSD Anthropology program, working under Paul Goldstein and Jade d’Alpoim Guedes. Garvin is American and Peruvian and has used archaeobotanical approaches in Perú to explore food-related practices in contexts of diaspora, or the migration or translocation of people to new regions. Her M.A. work focuses on the ancient Tiwanaku (ca. A.D. 500-1100) and the role of homeland foods throughout state expansion (A.D. 600- 1100). For her dissertation project, Garvin plans to combine archaeobotanical, geological, and archaeological methods to explore how El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events were part of people’s socio-ecological environment at the Site of Puerto Malabrigo in the Chicama Valley, Perú. She believes studying ancient human-environmental interactions is important to understanding modern and future cultural responses to ENSO happenings and the climate crisis.
Former Lab Members
Molly Carney, M.A., RPA, Ph.D (Primary Advisee)
Molly is an environmental archaeologist, who uses paleoethnobotanical and geoarchaeological tools to explore how past people interacted with and related to natural and built environments. Her dissertation research looked at the relationships between people, plants, landscapes, and environments. Specifically, she explored how people in northwestern North America used and managed plant foods, with a particular focus on camas (Camassia quamash). She is also interested in the architectural signatures of past Columbia-Fraser Plateau places and employ feminist, Indigenous, and agency-focused lens’ to reframe past and present discussions on regional household archaeology. She is strongly committed to collaborative, inclusive, and multivocal archaeology and anthropology, and to bridging gaps between cultural resource management, academia, and the communities who have lived in the Plateau region since time immemorial. She graduated from Washington State University in 2021 and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Washington State University. You can find her publications here.
Alexia Decaix (Ph. D. Postdoctoral fellow, UCSD; Lecturer Université de Cote Azur, Nice, France)
Alexia is an archaeobotanist interested in the relationships between human and their environment in the Near East, mainly the Caucasus, but also Central Asia, Sudan and Indus valley from the Neolithic to the Iron Age. She studies seeds and fruits, but also charcoal and wood remains, as well as fibers.After an MA in the National Museum of Natural History of Paris, France, she obtained her Ph.D. at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne on the study of past environments and agricultural practices in the Southern Caucasus. She is particularly interested in the evolution of plant husbandry practices and the impact of farming economies on the environment. Her fieldwork inthe Southern Caucasus allows her to work also on wood architecture and to participate to several ethnobotanical expeditions to develop a survey of traditional agricultural practices, the use of gathered plants, the relationship between agriculture and herding as well as to collect modern plants for seed and wood reference collections.She worked on the Harappa collection as a postdoctoral fellow at UCSD and is currently a lecturer at the Université de Cote Azur in Nice, France.
Sydney Hanson, M.A., R.P.A, (Primary Advisee)
Sydney carried out an M.A thesis that analyzed archaeobotanical collections from several key sites in that spanned three millennia in Central Thailand. Following graduation, Sydney worked at the Archaeology Program at the Wisconsin State Historical Society and is currently working at the Washington State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) Allyson Brooks and Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP).
Yawei You, M.A (Primary Advisor)
Yawei You graduated from the MA program at Washington State University in 2019. Her MA thesis looked at how changing precipitation might have impacted crop production at the site of Harappa. She is currently applying to PhD programs. She is currently researching how varied precipitation constrained crop distribution in China during the Holocene. Although the volume of high-resolution and more precisely dated paleoclimate research is steadily increasing, linking climate variability to agriculture does not simply require paleoclimate proxies that reveal changes in temperature and rainfall, but also need a model to reveal how these paleoclimate factors exactly contributed to agriculture and food supply. She is currently using paleoclimate proxies derived from pollen to create an ecological niche model of limits of crop cultivations lay and how these limits
changed with changing precipitation. She is also currently carrying out geospatial research for estimating agricultural suitability of crops using data on soil, topographic and climatic variables within a GIS analysis to characterize agricultural suitability multi-criteria model. This study is able to predict suitable areas of crop occurrence and may help to elucidate the environmental factors that affect crop distribution. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D at University College London.
Samantha Lee Fulgham, M.A. (Committee Member)
Samantha Fulgham graduated from Washington State University in 2019 with a Master of Arts in Anthropology. During her time at WSU, Samantha studied subsistence and feasting in the Pacific Northwest. For her thesis, Sam ustilized wood charcoal identification and shell midden analysis to identify significant consumption events in the archaeological record. Sam has been working with Plateau Archaeological Investigations (Plateau) in Pullman, Washington since 2018. Sam is a Project Archaeologist and manages the Precision Services side of Plateau’s work, which includes large forest service projects, archaeological excavation and mitigation, and much more! Sam conducts CRM work with Plateau throughout the Northwest including Eastern Washington, Eastern and Western Oregon, and Northern Idaho. To find out more about the work that Plateau does, or to contact Sam about her current projects, please feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit plateau-crm.com
Piyawit Moonkham, M.A. (Commitee Member)
Piyawit Moonkham is a Ph.D. candidate in archaeology at the Department of Anthropology, WSU. His dissertation research focuses on Northern Thailand and Laos geographic areas, where he addressed human use of social space and the built landscape through a diachronic investigation of spatial patterns of historical monuments. His recent research goal is to elucidate how the local religious and social worldview interacts with the spatial layout of Buddhist temples in the Chiang Saen Basin, Northern Thailand, particularly how it may reflect changing concepts of social life before and after Buddhist reform (c. 14th century). He is also working on developing a theoretical approach that integrates archaeological and cultural theories to understand patterns of interaction and the relationships between humans, objects, and the landscape in early historic archaeological settlements in Mainland Southeast Asia.
Ryan Syzmanksi, M.A; Ph.D. (Committee Member)
My interest lies in the symbiotic relationships that exist between people and their environments. More specifically, my research focus is on the continuing emergence of anthropogenic landscapes, particularly relating to the intensification of food production by foraging populations. Currently, I am involved within several projects. The first of these involves using pollen, phytolith, and fungal evidence to gain insight into the emergence of grain cultivation in East Africa. Additionally, in cooperation with the USDA Western Wheat Quality Laboratory, I am attempting to characterize carbonized wheat grain morphologies across domesticated varieties in order to improve interpretive confidence in taxonomic assignments made to macrobotanical archaeological assemblages. This will hopefully prove especially useful when dealing with very fragmentary material. Lastly, I am analyzing zooarchaeological material from Iron Age agro-pastoral sites in Kenya to better understand economic diversification and lineage cooperation during this period.
Cedric Habiyaremye, M.A. Ph.D (M.A. and Ph.D committee Member)
Cedric Habiyaremye is a Rwandan plant scientist/postdoctoral fellow in Crop Science at Washington State University (WSU). Fueled by his past as a young refugee, Cedric witnessed how hunger had its impact on the full potential for his people, in their pursuit to a better life, and during those times of hardships when he was 11 years old he vowed that when he grows up, he would study agriculture and become an expert, so he can improve agricultural systems and fight against hunger in his home country of Rwanda and other countries in Africa. Today his dreams are on their way to becoming true. Cedric is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Crop Science at Washington State University (WSU), his research projects focus on agronomic practices of small grains such as quinoa, millet, and food barley to enhance the nutrition and utilization of novel and sustainable food and farming systems through interdisciplinary approaches: crop diversity, food science, and social anthropology. Besides his other agronomic projects, he is also working with Dr. d’Alpoim Guedes on evaluating the agronomic potential of various millet species and varieties for modern agricultural systems. He is also collecting data using ethnographic interviews on understanding the status of millet in farming communities of Rwanda and the potential adoption of quinoa and African millet in Rwanda to gather information about the type of crop qualities attractive to Rwandan farmers and how new crops like quinoa might be successfully integrated into their diet and what successful traditional farming strategies exist within Rwandan agriculture. During his work in community development projects and as an agriculture student, Cedric received different awards and honors. He is a 2017 World Food Prize Borlaug LEAP Delegate, U.S. Borlaug Fellow on Global Food Security, a 2017 WSU Department of Crop and Soil Sciences Mug Award Recipient 2017. He is also a Spring 2016 Fellow of the Norman E Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (Borlaug LEAP), He is Fellow of the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development (AIARD) / Future Leaders Forum (FLF), Class of Leaders, 2015. He is also a WSU College of Agricultural Human and Natural Resource Sciences Interdisciplinary Research Team Award recipient, 2015 (Quinoa Research and Extension Team). Cedric was also featured by several media outlets and podcasts including The United Nations World Food Program News Article, The Purdue Center for Global Food Security News Article, UC-Davis News Article, Texas A&M Center on Conflict and Development News Article, WSU News Article, The Lewiston Tribune Newspaper.Cedric earned his MS in Crop Science from Washington State University in 2016 and BS in Agricultural Science with Honours in Irrigation and Drainage from Higher Institute of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (ISAE-Busogo), Rwanda in 2013, and an Advanced Diploma in Soil and Water Management from (ISAE-Busogo), Rwanda in 2012. He is an experienced Graduate Research Assistant with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry and International Agriculture Development. You can learn more about his research here.
Mario Zimmerman, M.A; Ph.D (M.A./Ph.D Committee Member)
Having achieved B.A. and M.A. degrees at the Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan at Merida, Mexico, my research and professional experience falls within Mayan Archaeology. He earned his Ph.D at Washington State University and is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Tushingham lab at Washington State. He is particularly interested in human-environment interactions, the impact and strategies of tropical pre-Columbian agriculture, as well as the social aspects of food distribution. His dissertation research focused on the identification of areas of food preparation and consumption within pre-Columbian residences by ways of chemical residue analyses and the subsequent identification and analyses of micro-botanical elements (starch grains).
R. Kyle Bocinsky, M.A; Ph.D. RPA, (Committee Member) Director of Climate Extension for the Montana Climate Office
Kyle is a computational anthropologist interested in human responses to environmental change. He is the Director of Climate Extension for the Montant Climate office and was formerly the c Director of the Research Institute and William D. Lipe Chair in Research at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center; and an hourly assistant research professor in the Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences at the Desert Research Institute. He lives in Missoula, Montana with my husband John and our golden retriever Molly.
With the Montana Climate Office, he is part of the Montana Drought and Climate project (MTDrought), where he is working to transform existing climate forecasts and projections into innovative and relevant climate information that meets agricultural producer needs and communicates relevant details in compelling and useful formats.
With the Desert Research Institute, he is a researcher with the Native Waters on Arid Lands project, where we collaborate with Native American tribes across the West to understand the impacts of climate change and to evaluate adaptation options for sustaining water resources and agriculture on tribal reservations.
He develops software — in R, Python, and GRASS — to support reproducible research in archaeology and climate change. He is particularly interested in scalable analysis, high performance computing, and data visualization. Most of his archaeological research has focused on the Ancestral Pueblo Southwest (as part of the Village Ecodynamics Project), but past and ongoing projects include research on the Northwest Coast of North America and on the Tibetan Plateau.