Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology, Director of Archaeology Program
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 research projects include multi-proxy reconstruction of agriculture in Bronze and Iron Age urban centers of Turkey; Hellenistic, Roman, and Early Islamic sites in Israel; and work in both the Aegean (Agora of Athens, Greece) and 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, Loeb Classical Library Foundation, American Research Institute in Turkey, American Philosophical Society, and Boston University.
Marston, John M., and Petra Vaiglova. 2024. Mapping land use with integrated environmental archaeological datasets. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association in press.
Forste, Kathleen, John M. Marston, and Tracy Hoffman. 2022. Urban agricultural economy of the Early Islamic southern Levant: a case study of Ashkelon. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 31:623-642.
Marston, John M., and Kathleen J. Birney. 2022. Hellenistic agricultural economies at Ashkelon, southern Levant. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 31:221-245.
Marston, John M., Canan Çakırlar, Christina Luke, Peter Kováčik, Francesca G. Slim, Nami Shin, and Christopher H. Roosevelt. 2022. Agropastoral economies and land use in Bronze Age western Anatolia. Environmental Archaeology 27:539-553.
Tang, Yiyi, John M. Marston, and Xiangming Fang. 2022. Early millet cultivation, subsistence diversity, and wild plant use at Neolithic Anle, Lower Yangtze, China. The Holocene 32:1003-1014.
Marston, John M. 2021. Archaeological approaches to agricultural economies. Journal of Archaeological Research 29:327-385.
Johnson, Emily S., and John M. Marston. 2020. The experimental identification of nixtamalized maize through starch spherulites. Journal of Archaeological Science 113:105056.
Çakırlar, Canan, and John M. Marston. 2019. Rural agricultural economies and military provisioning at Roman Gordion (central Turkey). Environmental Archaeology 24:91-105.
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. 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.