My research interests focus on prehistoric human-environmental interactions, particularly how prehistoric Native American agricultural practices have impacted the surrounding natural environment. By analyzing fossil pollen, spores, and charcoal from sediment cores of a wetland I will be able to understand and recreate the extent prehistoric human occupations affected a local environment.
My thesis research uses these paleoecological techniques to track the vegetation changes from the Middle Woodland (2000 to 1500 years BP) to the Late Mississippian (500 to 650 years BP) period along the Ohio River, Indiana. This time period encompasses the transition from more foraging subsistence to intensified horticultural/agricultural practices of maize, beans, and squash. I am directing this research at Hovey Lake, Posey County, Indiana. Archaeological excavations in this area has revealed a Late Mississippian village?however to what extent this occupation affected the landscape is as of yet uncertain.