Current Lab Members

Jade d’Alpoim Guedes


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 7 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 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, the Bronze Age-Medieval site of Ashkelon in Israel, 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.

She is on the Academic Board for the Institute for Field Research, a nonprofit organization operating over 42 field schools in 25 countries across the globe.

Lab members at Washington State University:

SydneyHanson.JPGSydney Hanson

Sydney is interested in the relationship between past humans and their environments, particularly in Asia. Sydney’s MA thesis research is focused on changes in prehistoric subsistence practices in central Thailand as evidenced by plant remains. She is also interested in Pacific Northwest archaeology.

Tiffany Fulkerson


Tiffany’s dissertation research focuses on plant use and subsistence strategies among early hunter-gatherers in the North American Plateau and how early inhabitants of the region adapted to environmental change. Part of this research involves addressing questions about gender in the archaeological record and how knowledge of prehistoric plant use practices can be used advantageously for indigenous communities. Methods used to address these questions include starch, phytolith, pollen, and macrofloral analyses of soils and residues on material culture.

Ryan Syzmanksi

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.

Mario Zimmerman

MarioHaving 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. I’m particularly interested in human-environment interactions, the impact and strategies of tropical pre-Columbian agriculture, as well as the social aspects of food distribution. My dissertation research focuses 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). The goal of my project is to obtain data relating to crop variety, diet and socioeconomic differentiation within and amongst urban Maya settlements.

Molly Carney

IMG_4807Molly is interested in environmental archaeology on the Columbia Plateau. Her thesis research uses both geoarchaeological and paleoethonbotanical methodologies in understanding hunter-gatherer architecture. She also has research interests in indigenous methodologies and cultural resource management.

Kyle Bocinsky

Kyle Bocinsky
is a computational archaeologist interested in human responses to environmental change. Currently, Kyle is a research post-doc with SKOPE—
Synthesized Knowledge of Past Environments. He works to bring data on paleoenvironments to archaeologists and the general public. Kyle also develops software to support reproducible research in archaeology. He is particularly interested in scalable analysis, high performance computing, and data visualization. Most of Kyle’s research has focused on the Ancestral Pueblo Southwest, but he is collaborating with Jade d’Alpoim Guedes on projects in sub-Saharan Africa and throughout Asia.

Athar Ali Khan

Athar has worked as a director of the Karakorum National Park in Pakistan and has worked extensively with the FAO in participatory forestry, as well as biodiversity specialist for the IUCN.  Athar is interested in applying of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in climate change mitigation and adaptation in Himalayas. A part of his research is to find how climate change adaptation policies are viewed in the local discourse and what material consequences that has in practice.