RESEARCH INTERESTS (OVERVIEW)
I am a field archaeologist, classically, anthropologically and geophysically trained. For the past 30 years, I have researched past human habitats in Atlantic and Continental, with ancillary experience in arid (Sub-Saharan, Anatolian, Arctic) climates. As an anthropologist, I am exploring systems of construction, expression, and performance of power and identity in dynamic and liminal environments, at different scales. As such, for over 20 years, I have investigated human landscapes, especially in Transylvania (Romania), ranging from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages. I am particularly interested in the cognitive construction of affordances and use of capital (in a Bourdieu sense) in transitional, heterarchical settings.
All the projects I direct are designed to teach and train our participants to develop very competitive, real-world skill sets, allowing them to conduct high quality research and, subsequently, generate scientific data. Concurrently, I endeavor to provide my students with a multiscalar and multithematic understanding of their research environment, encouraging and directing them to take the data we generate and presenting it to the various international conferences, meetings and other academic fora.
Currently, I am directing several field schools and research projects, looking at different aspects of transition, creolization, and dynamic identity continuity in Transylvania (Romania).
One set of approaches explores the Roman (re)definition of colonial landscapes in Dacia and the efficacy of the use of the road systems as territorial control. Combined with systematic excavations, I direct an intensive program of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) exploration of the hinterland between the two most important cities in Roman Dacia, respectively Sarmizegetusa Ulpia Traiana and Apullum, as well as of the highly strategic castrum of Micia and associated municipium.
From a bioarchaeological perspective, I am interested in the lived reality of the actual population as the overarching political and social systems collapse/reorganize themselves at a generational pace. My focus, in this context, is the period ranging from the European defeat at the battle of Mohacs in 1526, opening Central Europe to the Ottomans, resulting in the collapse of the Kingdom of Hungary and state power in Eastern Europe, until 1711, when the Habsburg control of the region was reaffirmed. Concurrently with the political collapse, after the first wave of the Reformation settled in the region, the Ottoman presence in Central Europe cut off any significant religious “incursion”, either Reformation or Counter-Reformation, for over 150 years, forcing dynamic socio-cultural and religious adaptation and negotiation at the local level, with ensuing practices.