Office: Imholte Hall 1
Phone: 320 589-7009
E-mail: rdean at morris.umn.edu
Office Hours, Spring 2014: M 9:15-10:15, W 10:45-11:45, Th 9:30-10:30
or by appointment
I am an archaeologist working with early farming societies in southern Arizona and the Mediterranean. My interest is in the spread and development of farming and the impact that agricultural societies had on their landscapes. I specialize in the analysis of animal bones from archaeological sites, and I have used these bones to answer a variety of questions about how people interact with their environment. For example, I have tracked increasing biodiversity in small animals as a result of canal irrigation among the Hohokam of Arizona in the 12th and 13th centuries A.D. I have also studied the local extinction of food sources along the southern Portuguese coast during the 6th millennium B.C., and the many ways that early villagers in the extremely arid deserts of southern Jordan were able to sustain a mixed herding and farming way of life. My interests go beyond diet and environment -- human interactions with the landscape tell us about prehistoric labor organization, social structure, mobility patterns, and beliefs. I also have a strong interest in the role of archaeology in modern debates over environmental issues. Archaeology provides the best long-term data on human-environment interactions that we have. We can learn from past successes, be warned by past failures, and, fundamentally, understand that our modern environments are the product of many millennia of human-created change.
I occasionally blog, usually about teaching methods, topics related to my classes, academic life, and life/work balance, Visit my blog, Old Bones, to see more.