Isaac I. Ullah, PhD bio photo

Isaac I. Ullah, PhD

Computational Archaeology, Complex Adaptive Systems, Social-Ecological Systems, Geoarchaeology

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I am an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at San Diego State University. I study the long-term effects of human land-use decisions and the bidirectional feedbacks between humans and environments. I am particularly interest in early farming and pastoralism and how these first food producing socio-natural systems evolved over time. I am a computational archaeologist, and use a combination of traditional archaeological and geoarchaeological approaches in connection with GIS, computational modeling, and computer simulation to investigate the dynamics of these systems. My work is largely based in a complex adaptive systems theory perspective.

In addition to these large human-environment interaction studies, I also study households, and how people arrange and use their domestic spaces. I analyze the spatial patterning of very small artifacts (“micro-refuse”) recovered from ancient house floors as a way to get at long-term patterns in domesticity.

I am also affiliated with the Center for Climate and Sustainability Studies at SDSU and the Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity at Arizona State University. Additional affiliations include the CMSDS, COMSeS/Open-ABM, CHANS-net, and the SAA.

In my spare time, I like taking photographs.

A wordcloud of terms from Isaac's recent publications
A wordcloud made by data-mining my recent publications for frequently-used words.


Please see my Google Scholar Citation Index page for a complete list of my publications, their citation indices, and lists of works that cite them. Downloadable PDF’s of some of my publications can be found on my page or on my page.


Isaac Ullah, CV (PDF)


Please visit the following links for information about several actively ongoing field and research projects that I am involved with.


I currently teach ANTH 349 “Roots of Civilization,” ANTH 302 “Princicples of Archaeology,” ANTH 583 “GIS and Image Analysis” (soon to be renamed ANTh 562 “Computational Archaeology”) and ANTH 583 “Anthropogenic Landscapes.”


Books and Monographs

  • 2017 Ullah, I.I.T. The consequences of Human Land-Use Strategies During the PPNB-LN Transition: A Simulation Modeling Approach. Arizona State University Anthropological Research Papers, v.60. Arizona Board of Regents, Tempe. 177p.

Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Book Chapters

Peer-Reviewed Computer Software

Publicly Available Computer Software

Reports and Non-reviewed Publications


Works in Progress

  • Sondoss Elsawah, Tatiana Filitova, Albert Kettner, Anthony Jakeman, Ioannis Athanasiadis, Marco Janssen, Isaac Ullah, Jonathan Gilligan, Julie Rozenberg, Moira Zellner, Derek Robinson, Dan Brown, Robert Axtell. Use of socio-environmental systems modelling in actionable science: State-of-the-art, Open Challenges and Opportunities. Status: Submitted to Social-Ecological Systems Modeling, 9/14/2018.

  • Ullah, I.I.T., Chang C., and Tourtellette, P. Water, dust, and loess: co-evolution of landscapes, farming, and human society in southeastern Kazakhstan during the mid- to late Holocene. Intended for The Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.

  • Chesson, M.S., Ullah, I.I.T., Aimes, N., Forbes, N., Lazrus, P.K., Garcia, Y. Lane, l., Gauthier, N., Wolff, N.P.S., Robb, J.E., and Ruben, I. Laborscapes and Archaeologies of Sustainability: An Early Technoscape of Commercial Farming in the San Pasquale Valley, Calabria, Italy from 1800 – 2018. Intended for the Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology.

  • Ullah, I.I.T., Chesson, M.S., Lazrus, P.K., Garcia, Y., Aimes, N. “Historic erosion protection infrastructure change in the San Pasquale Valley, Calabria.” Intended for Anthropocene.

  • Ullah, I.I.T. and Arikan, B. Computer-based simulation of surface-processes, and digital reconstruction of paleoenvironment during the Early Bronze Age-I at Arslantepe–Malatya, Eastern Turkey. Intended for Geoarchaeology.

  • Hunter, C.; Lauer, M., Ullah, I.I.T. Understanding the values of human-marine relationships in Moorea, French Polynesia. Intended for Global Environmental Change.

  • Barton L. and Ullah, I.I.T. A dynamic behavioral ecology model of early domestication processes. Intended for Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.