John M. Marston

Associate Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology

  • Title Associate Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • Office Room 345F
  • Phone (617) 353-2357
  • Education Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2010

Curriculum Vitae


Environmental Archaeology Laboratory

Areas of Interest

environmental archaeology; sustainability and resilience; agricultural risk management; archaeology of the Mediterranean, Near East, and central Asia; ecological and social theory; plant ecology; archaeological science; writing pedagogy

Excavations and Fieldwork

An environmental archaeologist, John M. Marston studies the long-term sustainability of agriculture and land use, with a focus on ancient societies of the Mediterranean and western and central Asia. His research focuses on how people make decisions about land use within changing economic, social, and environmental settings, and how those decisions affect the environment at local and regional scales. A specialist in paleoethnobotany, the study of archaeological plant remains, Marston’s contributions to the field include novel ways of linking ecological theory with archaeological methods to reconstruct agricultural and land-use strategies from plant and animal remains. Recent interdisciplinary collaborations focus on comparative study of cultural adaptation to environmental and climate change in the past and present; developing new methods to study the spatial distribution of land use from archaeological animal and plant remains; and the ecology of plague. His current field projects include work at multiple Bronze and Iron Age urban centers in Turkey (with ongoing fieldwork at Kerkenes and Gordion) and a multi-period site in Israel (Tel Shimron), as well as work in central Asia (Khorezm Ancient Agriculture Project, Uzbekistan). Marston’s recent research has been funded by the US National Science Foundation, the US-Australia Fulbright Commission, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, American Research Institute in Turkey, American Philosophical Society, and Boston University.

Representative Publications

Çakırlar, Canan, and John M. Marston. 2019. Rural agricultural economies and military provisioning at Roman Gordion (central Turkey). Environmental Archaeology 24(1):91-105.

Graff, Sarah R., Scott Branting, and John M. Marston. 2019. Production requires water: water management in an ancient Anatolian city. Economic Anthropology 6(2):234-249.

Rosenzweig, Melissa S., and John M. Marston. 2018. Archaeologies of empire and environment. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 52:87-102.

Marston, John M. 2017. Agricultural Sustainability and Environmental Change at Ancient Gordion. University of Pennsylvania Museum Press. Gordion Special Studies 8.

Marston, John M. 2017. “Consequences of agriculture in Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and the Levant,” in Oxford Encyclopedia of Agriculture and the Environment. Edited by Peter Bogucki. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Marston, John M., Simon J. Holdaway, and Willeke Wendrich. 2017. Early and Middle Holocene wood exploitation in the Fayum basin, Egypt. The Holocene 27:1812-1824.

Marston, John M., and Scott Branting. 2016. Agricultural adaptation to highland climate in Iron Age Anatolia. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 9:25-32.

Marston, John M. 2015. Modeling resilience and sustainability in ancient agricultural systems. Journal of Ethnobiology 35:585-605.

Marston, John M., Jade d’Alpoim Guedes, and Christiana Warinner (editors). 2014. Method and Theory in Paleoethnobotany. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.



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