James Conolly Canada Research Chair, Trent University

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Research Interests

I am principally concerned with the spatial ecology of human foragers and early farmers. My research thus usually involves the application of geospatial methods of analysis (GIS, remote sensing, and spatial statistics) to archaeological and palaeoecological datasets to establish how resource structure influenced mobility and settlement choices in hunter-gatherer and early farming societies.

I spend considerable time in the field during the spring and summer collecting data. Until recently I worked mainly in the Mediterranean, but now I focus primarily on fieldwork in the lower Great Lakes region. I have also started some exploratory work in the western Arctic, as part of the ELLA project run through the University of Aberdeen.

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Recent and Current Research Projects

Location of Antikythera Mid-Holocene Socio-Ecology in the Trent Valley, Ontario

In 2010 I began a new SSHRC-supported interdisciplinary project that seeks to develop better understanding of hunter gatherer social-ecological systems in the Trent Severn waterway during the early through mid-Holocene. Coupled with my long-term interest in landscape and environmental archaeology, this project is using my excavation of a set of Archaic through Middle Woodland sites for a new series of chronological, bioarchaeological, and technological studies that will build on earlier work to develop and test a range of different explanatory models concerning social forager habitat choice and niche construction, seasonal mobility, territorial strategies, and exchange systems.

Location of Antikythera Antikythera Survey Project

The Antikythera Survey Project (ASP) was a SSHRC-sponsored phased, interdisciplinary program of fieldwork, artifact study and laboratory analysis that addresses the long-term history and human ecology of the tiny Greek island of Antikythera. It is co-directed by James Conolly and Andrew Bevan (UCL).

For more information click here. The project data archive is here.

Cows Origins and Spread of Stock Keeping

A number of colleagues and I undertook one the largest and most systematic survey of published/archived archaeological animal bone data ever undertaken in order to re-examine the evidence for the origins of stock-keeping in the Near East and its spread into Europe during the Epipalaeolithic and Neolithic periods, c.12,000 to 6,000 years ago. The basis for our study is a comprehensive database of selected animal bone data from relevant sites, which resulted in a number of publications.

The primary data for this project is archived here.