University of Connecticut University of UC Title Fallback Connecticut

Stone Wall

Scholarly Interests

Looking back on forty years of professional life, I see four  distinct phases.

  • GeoArchaeology:  Beginning in 1973, my early work on Arctic paleolithic archaeology, paleoecology, and paleoclimatology culminated  with the 1982 founding of the Alaska Quaternary Center, and  my chairing of the Geological Society of America’s Archaeological Geology Division.  I continue to help advise Ph.D. students in the Department of Anthropology at UConn, where I have a joint appointment.
  • Paleoseismicity:  In 1976 I began working on the glacioisostatic flexure and crustal tilting of western Washington, and the paleo-seismicity of New England and Puget Sound.  This work was put on hold for a decade, but is coming back.
  • Wetlands Change:  My mid-career work on the origin and development of freshwater wetlands was a personal contribution to a broader trend in geosciences that treats Homo sapiens as a geologic agency.
  • GeoCulture:  In  2002, my career took an unexpected pivot toward environmental history. In sequence, I drifted from the geoarchaeology of stone walls to the hidden history of America’s kettle lakes, to the self-taught science of Henry David Thoreau.

My mantra is:  “No rock.  No ecosystem. No culture.”  In translation, All of culture is supported by ecosystems, all of which depend on what Thoreau called the “living rock.”

Photo:  Historic stone wall in Guilford, CT dominated by locally derived gneiss.  Stone size and arrangement suggests an early farm boundary, perhaps late 18th century.