Current Research Projects
The Archaeology of Surveillance in a Roman Colonial Landscape
My dissertation research combines archaeological, textual, and geographic information systems analysis to the study of an ancient colonized landscape in the central Alentejo, Portugal. This project hinges on the archaeological remains of two dozen small, fortified tower enclosures that were most likely meant to surveil their surroundings. These tower enclosures are located along the routes of communication through the central Alentejo that lead to the marble quarries of the Estremoz Anticline. These sites and the quarries were first occupied by the Romans in the first century B.C.E. Each of these sites played an important role in the negotiation of colonial control over this landscape. My research views this landscape as a contested, unsettled space where surveillance, or the avoidance of it, represents an expression of social or political power. This project makes particular use of visibility analysis, made possible by geographic information systems software, in its analysis of the archaeology of surveillance.
Caladinho Archaeological Project
Currently, I am co-directing the excavation of a 1st c. B.C.E. tower enclosure, called Caladinho, in the central Alentejo, Portugal. This project is integral to my dissertation research, and the analysis of the material remains at Caladinho figure prominently in my analysis of the early Roman Alentejo as a surveillance landscape.
Research from this ongoing project has been published in both American and Portuguese journals and presented at numerous conferences, including recent annual meetings of the Archaeological Institute of America. The final report on the excavation is planned for 2014.
Santa Susana Archaeological Project
In addition to the Caladinho excavation, I am also co-directing a new project at a Roman villa in the central Alentejo. This villa complex, named Santa Susana after the chapel at the site, has not been systematically investigated since a brief excavation in the 1930s. Our project seeks to define the limits of the site, both physical and chronological, through intensive intrasite survey and limited excavation. We hope to reveal the locations of extant structures as well as the precise locations of the early 20th century intervention into the site.