Associate Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology, Director of Archaeology Program

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 research projects include work at multiple Bronze and Iron Age urban centers in Turkey (with ongoing fieldwork at Kerkenes and Gordion) and multi-period sites in Israel (Ashkelon and 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

Marston, John M. 2021. Archaeological approaches to agricultural economies. Journal of Archaeological Research 29:327-385.

Marston, John M., and Kathleen J. Birney. 2021. Hellenistic agricultural economies at Ashkelon, southern Levant. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany online before print.

Marston, John M., Canan Çakırlar, Christina Luke, Peter Kováčik, Francesca G. Slim, Nami Shin, and Christopher H. Roosevelt. 2021. Agropastoral economies and land use in Bronze Age western Anatolia. Environmental Archaeology online before print.

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(1):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.