Photo Gallery of Research Projects

Mediterranean Landscape Dynamics (MedLand) project 2014-2018 (Arizona State University, Universitat de València, University of North Texas, Université de Montréal, San Diego State University, North Carolina State University, & University of Chicago)

Building on the computational and analytical work of the initial phase of the MedLand Project, the second phase adds new fieldwork, more sophisticated modeling, and new model validation tools. It is examining the dynamic feedbacks between land-use decisions and practices, and biogeochemical processes to gain insight into the emergence of the coupled natural and human landscapes that dominate Earth's terrestrial regions today.

This work is supported by the NSF Coupled Natural and Human Systems Program (grant DEB-1313727). In addition to new modeling tools, this project has involved archaeological fieldwork in Canals de Navarrés valley (Valencia, Spain) in 2014 and 2015, in the region around Finale Ligure (Liguria, Italy) in 2015 and 2016, and in the Hoya de Buñol (near Yátova) in 2017. It also has supported geological and paleoecological fieldwork in eastern Spain in 2016 and 2017.

Mediterranean Landscape Dynamics (MedLand) project 2004-2011 (Arizona State University, Universitat de València, Universidad de Murcia, University of Jordan, North Carolina State University, Hendricks College, & Geoarchaeological Research Associates)

Building on 2 decades of research on prehistoric human-environmental interaction in the western Mediterranean, I began the MedLand project to create a computational laboratory to carry out modeling experiments in socio-ecological dynamics. Supported by the NSF Biocomplexity in the Environment Program (grants BCS-4102699, BCS-638879, and BCS-543848), this large-scale, interdisciplinary research project also supported archaeological and paleoecological fieldwork in two study areas at opposite ends of the Mediterranean (eastern Spain and western Jordan) to parameterize and validate the computational models. The initial major publication of this work is:

Barton, C. M., Ullah, I., & Mitasova, H. (2010). Computational modeling and socioecological dynamics: a case study from southwest Asia. American Antiquity, 75(2), 364-386. (see Publications section for other papers)

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China Rock Art Recording and Digital Resource Management project 2009-2010 (Arizona State University)

This project was not the normal field project but one to visit cultural resource sites (primarily rock art sites) with Chinese cultural resource managers to demonstrate digital recording and management methods. Supported by the CCK Foundation, it also included presentations, a workshop, and many many official dinners.

In 2009, we went on a whirlwind odyssey from Beijing through Inner Mongolia by plane, train, bus, and SUV (but not camels). We touched down in Baotau, Wuhai, Bayan Nur, Alxa Zouqi, Alxa Youqi, and the remote dunes of the Badain Jaran Desert. The landscape that we call the Gobi Desert was wild, forbidding, and beautiful (if you like geological formations like I do). The rock art was equally diverse and exotic.

In 2010, we went to a very different environment of far southern China and the small town of Ningming. Here we organized a workshop—with presentations on spatial technologies, databases and museums (by Margaret, my wife), and on digital rock art recording (by Spanish colleague Ines Domingo Sanz). We also visited the amazing Huashan pictograph site along the Ming River, with thousands of anthropoid and animal images on cliffs above the river. It was tropical, lush, and very steamy.

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Alicante Prehistoric Ecology and Land-use Study 2000-2003 (Arizona State University & Universitat de València)

My colleagues and I returned to the valleys of Alcoi and the Rio Serpis drainage to undertaking a testing project that applied systematic coring protocols developed at the Chevelon Crossing site during the MRSS project (NSF Archaeology Program grants BCS-0331583, BCS-0075292, BCS-0331583, and BCS-0122866). We coupled this with geophysical survey and GIS-base interpolation methods to map buried structures. The best description of these methods can be found in:

García Puchol, O., Barton, C. M., & Bernabeu Auban, J. M. (2008). Aplicación de métodos de prospección geofísica en la detección de un gran foso del IV milenio cal ac en el yacimiento del Alt del Punxó (Muro de l´Alcoi, Alacant). Trabajos de Prehistoria, 65(1), 143-154. (see Publications section for other papers)

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Mogollon Region Small Sites project 1997-2002 (Arizona State University & Universitat de València)

During my sabbatical in 1996, my colleagues and I decided that it would be useful to apply survey and analysis methods developed and refined in Spain on North American landscapes with similar ecological settings. With the support of the US Forest Service, we began several years of survey and excavation in the middle reaches of Chevelon Creek, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Arizona. Among other outcomes, a number of Spanish colleagues learned about conducting survey under the very different conditions of the American West, I first experimented with systematic coring of archaeological sites, and this work inspired one of my first agent-based models. The key publication from this work is:

Peeples, M., Barton, C. M., & Schmich, S. (2006). Resilience lost: intersecting landuse and landscape dynamics in the upland southwest. Ecology and Society, 12(22).

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Northern Alicante Survey 1991-1993 (Arizona State University & Universitat de València)

This was my initial field project in the Mediterranean and my first NSF grant for archaeological research (NSF Archaeology Program grants BNS-9115209 and SBR-9904050). Our survey was carried out in a series of valleys of the upper Rio Serpis drainage, in the vicinity of Alcoi, Alicante, Spain. It was a learning experience for all of us involved in the joint ASU/U Valencia project, but an enjoyable and very successful one. We learned each others' research language and traditions, developed new methods to do patch-based survey in Mediterranean landscapes, used computers and early GIS programs in the field, combined GIS with aerial photography, and developed new methods of regional analysis of palimpsest surface collections. The first major publication from this research was:

Barton, C. M., Bernabeu Auban, J., Aura Tortosa, J. E., & Garcia Puchol, O. (1999). Landscape dynamics and socioeconomic change: an example from the Polop Alto valley. American Antiquity, 64(4), 609-634. (see Publications section for other papers)

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Valencia 1990 (Arizona State University)

In the summer of 1990 (the hottest on record so far for Phoenix) I traveled to Alcoi, Cocentaina, and Valencia to establish collaborations that would be the basis for more than 20 years of research in in eastern Spain. I still work with many of the colleagues I met with on that trip.

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Doctoral Research 1984 (University of Arizona)

My doctoral research involved analysis of lithic artifacts and paleoenvironmental data from Middle Paleolithic locales in the eastern and southern Iberian Peninsula. I directly looked at collections from central eastern Spain (vicinity of Alcoi) and Gibraltar. You can read more about it at:

Barton, C. M. (1988). Lithic variability and Middle Paleolithic behavior: new evidence from the Iberian Penninsula. International Series 408. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports. (see Publications section for other papers)

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Death Valley National Park Boundary Survey 1983 (Western Archaeological & Conservation Center, National Park Service)

As a graduate student, I worked for the National Park Service, Western Archaeological and Conservation Center (WACC) for several years. Besides a lot of paper shuffling, I had the opportunity to survey in most National Parks and National Monuments of the NPS Western Region. One of these surveys followed 40 miles of the boundary of Death Valley National Park. It was a harsh, but beautiful landscape.

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Black Mesa Archaeological Project (BMAP) 1981 & 1982 (Southern Illinois University)

It sometimes seems like half the North American archaeologists of my generation worked on the Black Mesa Archaeological Project (or BMAP), in the northeast corner of Arizona, at one time or another. (Many of the remainder worked on the Delores Archaeological Project, or DAP, in southwest Colorado). The largest field project in North America in the mid-1980s, BMAP involved hundreds - including archaeologists from all over the US, and Navajo and Hopi from the region - and spanned prehistory, historical archaeology, ethnohistory, and ethnology.

The impetus and funding for this massive research undertaking was the large scale destruction of the landscape of Black Mesa (south of Kayenta) and its rich cultural resources by enormous open-pit coal mines operated by Peabody Coal. The coal was transported as slurry in a pipeline to power the distant Mohave Generating Station in Laughlin, NV. The use of groundwater to transport the coal was highly controversial and the Mohave plant emitted the highest levels of pollutants of any generating station in the western states. The operation inspired part of the Monkey Wrench Gang, by Edward Abbey. The mine closed in 2005. Although Peabody requested - and received - permission to reopen it, permission was revoked by the court in 2010 because it did not meet requirements of the Environmental Policy Act.

I spent two summers on the BMAP project, along with fellow students who remain professional colleagues today. I also met my wife, Margaret, there. The landscape was beautiful, the archaeology fascinating, and the gnats unspeakably horrible. The project was particularly amazing from an organizational perspective, with a tent city, dining facilities, labs, and dozens of ports-potties overseen by a complex administrative hierarchy. Given the size and scope, it ran surprisingly well—a tribute to the directors. I've only included a few of my many slides, but hopefully it gives some idea of the BMAP project and the cultural and natural landscape in which it was set.

Barton, C. M., Gilman, P., & Cushman, D. (1983). Arizona D: 11: 2098. In D. L. Nichols & F. E. Smiley (Eds.), Excavations on Black Mesa, 1981: a descriptive report. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University.
Barton, C. M., Stone, G. D., & Cunningham, A. (1984). Arizona D: 11: 2038; Arizona D: 11: 2052. In D. L. Nichols & F. E. Smiley (Eds.), Excavations on Black Mesa, 1982: a descriptive report. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University.

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Cholla Transmission Line Survey 1978 (Arizona State Museum)

This was my first field project in Arizona. It was a survey, funded by Arizona Public Service, in the area between Cherry and Canyon Creeks, east of Young, AZ. We roughed it in a tent camp adjacent to a pueblo ruin and an asbestos mine at Q-Ranch. I didn't realize that a lens had loosened in my ancient 35mm camera. So many of my slides are rather abstract. However, a few shots are able to convey the general character of the project

Ciolek-Torrello, R. S., & Lange, R. C. (1979). The Q Ranch study area. In L. S. Teague & L. L. Mayro (Eds.), An archaeological survey of the Cholla-Saguaro transmission line corridor (pp. 109–174). Tucson, AZ: Arizona State Museum.

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Excavations at Kadar 1976 (University of Kansas)

Excavations at the Eastern Gravettian (=Magdalenian) Upper Paleolithic site of Kadar were directed by Anta Montet White, University of Kansas, with Al Johnson (KU) and Duro Basler (Sarejevo Museum) as collaborators. The site is near the town of Donja Svilaj, on the border of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. This was my first field project (and first trip) outside the USA.

Montet-White, A., & Johnson, A. E. (1976). Kadar: A late Gravettian site in northern Bosnia, Yugoslavia. Journal of Field Archaeology, 3(4), 407–424.

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Survey in Walnut River watershed, Kansas 1975 (University of Kansas)

This CRM project, funded by the Soil Conservation Service is the first field project for which I have a few slides. Mark Baumler and I surveyed areas for potential ponds. We learned to deal with suspicious land owners, fickle weather, and elusive archaeology. 

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