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Palaeoclimatology - Palaeoecology - Archaeology -  Southern Africa

 

RESEARCH INTERESTS

My Research primarily focuses on the study of past environmental change in the arid to sub-humid environments of southern Africa. While this region is highly sensitive to cycles of regional and global environmental change, and has the potential to be a valuable indicator of past climatic variability, only a very few palaeoenvironmental archives have been recovered from the area, and its environmental history remains poorly understood. As a result, models that have been developed to elucidate the dynamics of regional ecosystems, and the environmental context for human and cultural evolution are often contentious, lacking sufficient evidence to make robust interpretations. This paucity of palaeoenvironmental information is largely a function of the region’s climate that often precludes the preservation of organic proxy data sources. My research concentrates on overcoming these obstacles by identifying and analyzing proxy archives that have either not experienced or are resistant to the effects of the region’s pronounced seasonality.

I am presently exploring several primary research themes:

  1. The development of fossilised rock hyrax middens as new palaeoenvironmental archive.

  2. Studies of sediment cores from coastal wetlands in South Africa.

  3. The development of pdf-based botanical-climatological transfer functions to derive quantitative estimates of palaeoclimatic parameters from palaeobotanical datasets.

  4. Statistical methods for time -series and spatial analyses that improve the reliability and interpretations of individual records, and the combination and comparison of records.

  5. Methods for data-model comparison that maximise the potential to infer the dynamical processes responsible for the environmental processes observed in the fossil record.

  6. The assessment of the impact of past climate change on the development of the Cape Floristic Region.

  7. The assessment of the impact of past environmental change on the development of early modern humans.

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EDUCATION

 

HDR

2012

Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution-Montpellier, Université de Montpellier, France

DPHIL

2006

Physical Geography/Earth System Science
School of Geography and the Environment
The University of Oxford, UK

MSC

2002

Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy
Department of Archaeology
The University of Sheffield, UK

BA

1997

Geography
Portland State University, USA

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

 

DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH

2015 - Present

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution-Montpellier
Université Montpellier
France

HONORARY PROFESSOR

2020 - Present

Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences
University of Cape Town
South Africa.

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR (ADJUNCT)

Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion

University of Bergen

Norway

2011 - 2015

RESEARCH SCIENTIST

2011 - 2015

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution
Université Montpellier
France

RESEARCH FELLOW

2009 - 2010

Department of Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion

University of Bergen

Norway

POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCHER

2009

The Institute for Human Evolution
University of the Witwatersrand
South Africa

HONORARY RESEARCH ASSOCIATE

Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences
University of Cape Town
South Africa

2006 - 2020

POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCHER

2006 - 2009

School of Geography and the Environment
University of Oxford
UK

CONTACT

Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution - Montpellier
Université Montpellier, CC061
Bât. 22, Place Eugène Bataillon
Montpellier, 34095, cedex 05
FRANCE

+33 (0)6 01 06 64 04