The Computational Archaeology Laboratory at San Diego State University is a state of the art facility for computational approaches in archaeology and geoarchaeology. Specialties include GIS, agent-based modeling, imagery analysis, advanced statistical modeling, 3D analysis, as well sedimentology, granulometry, geomorphology, landscape analysis, and geochronology. A main focus of research is on the origins and long-term dynamics of coupled human and natural systems, including anthropogenic landscapes, in the Mediterranean and beyond.

Lab Information

Location: Hardy Tower 62/66.
The lab is located on the ground floor of the Hardy Tower building. Students should enter through HT 62 door in the stairwell (look for “Computational Archaeology Laboratory” signs).

Supervised Lab Hours: Currently on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Computational Archaeology Lab Microscopy.
The Computational Archaeology lab set up for low power digital microscopy work.


Research topics   Methods
• Coupled human-natural systems
  • GIS and spatial analysis
• Anthropogenic landscapes, sediments,
   and soils
  • Agent-based modeling
• Agro-pastoral landuse and subsistence   • 3D and multispectral
• Long-term human socio-ecology   • Sediment analysis and
• Human eco-dynamics   • Scientific computing and
   machine learning
• Landscape evolution   • Archaeological survey
• Human-climate interaction   • Paleoenvironmental

Collaborations Funding and support
The Mediterranean Landscape
   Dynamics Project
• The National Science Foundation
The Bova Marina Archaeological
• The National Endowment for
   the Humanities
The Wadi Ziqlab/Wadi Quseiba
• The Social Science Research
   Council, Canada
The Center for Climate and
   Sustainability Studies
• The SDSU University Grants Program

Students using low-power microscopy to analyze sediment particle shapes in the Computational Archaeology Laboratory.
Students using low-power microscopy to analyze sediment particle shapes in the Computational Archaeology Laboratory.


The Computational Archaeology Lab provides computing and other resources for undergraduate and graduate student research in the fields of Computational Archaeology and Geoarchaeology. There are ongoing opportunities for undergraduate student research volunteers and internships (for credit). There may be a limited number of paid hourly positions as well. Please email me if you are interested.

Prospective Master’s Students

I am currently seeking prospective MA students interested in the fields of Computational or Digital Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape Archaeology. I am particularly interested in students with some background in GIS or other computational approaches and/or the geosciences. I have ongoing research opportunities for students interested in working in the Mediterranean region, San Diego County, or in Central Eurasia. I have active fieldwork in Southern Italy and in San Diego County, and other opportunities may also include Spain, Jordan, or Kazakhstan. Interested prospective students should email me to discuss potential thesis topics further. You are also advised to visit the main Anthropology MA program page for more information about our graduate studies program.

Students undertake sediment granulometry analysis in the Computational Archaeology Laboratory.
Students in ANTH 563 "Anthropogenic Landscapes" undertake sediment granulometry analysis in the Computational Archaeology Laboratory.


The following courses are partially taught in the lab, have open lab hours in the lab, or use lab resources.

  • ANTH 562 Computational Archaeology
    (Activities: GIS, Imagery Analysis, LiDAR, 3D modeling)
  • ANTH 563 Anthropogenic Landscapes
    (Activities: Geoarchaeology, Erosion Modeling, Sediment Granulometry, Agent Based Modeling)

Lab Resources


The lab has the following hardware resources available for teaching and research in the areas of computational archaeology and geoarchaeology:

  • Computation:
    • 5 high-power Ubuntu Linux computer workstations. These workstations are available to my graduate students and students in my courses to complete assignments and conduct research.
    • A Puget Systems “Peak” HPC workstation. This workstation contains 44 multithreaded cores for parallel and high-performance computing.
    • 1 Windows 95 computer for legacy software
    • Wacom tablets for data entry and digitization
    • High-capacity external hardrives for long-term data storage
  • 3D Scanning and Photogrammetry:
    • Livox Avia LiDAR scanner with mobile battery and laptop connection kit
    • Olympus EM1 ii mirrorless camera and assortment of lenses (including macro)
    • DJI Mavic Pro aerial drone
    • Insta360 360 degree camera
    • MapIR Survey2 Red-NIR NDVI camera
    • MapIR luminosity calibration target
    • Xrite Color checker chart and grey cards
    • Pantone Huey screen profiling calibration tool
    • Tripods and lighting
    • High resolution Canon flatbed and film scanner
    • Our drone photogrammetery workflow can be found here.
  • Sedimentology and Granulometry:
  • Digital Field Data Collection:
    • Mobile tablet computers for field data collection using Open Data Kit.
    • Bad-Elf GNSS surveyor high precision bluetooth GPS units.
    • 2 small (but old) Ubuntu Linux laptops for dirty field locations
    • Our mobile data collection workflow can be found here.
  • Artifact Analysis:
    • Low-power USB microscopes for conducting microrefuse analysis or other such tasks.
    • Calipers, profilers, and other measurement tools
    • Assorted glassware and other laboratory tools
    • Experimental archaeology collectiong
    • Flintknapping materials and supplies
  • Archaeological and Geoarchaeological Fieldwork:
    • Sediment auger (regular, sand, and wide buckets)
    • OSL sampling tools
    • Tools and guides for in-situ sediment descriptions
    • Tapes, levels, tools, etc., for survey and excavation


The lab specializes in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) approaches to computational archaeology, with teaching and research strengths in the following software areas:

  • GIS:
    • QGIS
    • Q-Field
  • Agent Based Modeling:
    • NetLogo
    • PyABM
    • “Pure” Python
  • Image Analysis
    • Image-J
    • GIMP
    • Darktable
    • Open CV
  • Photogrammetery and 3D Scanning
    • Open Drone Map (and WebODM)
    • Open CV
    • MVE
    • Livox Viewer
    • Meshlab
    • CloudCompare
  • Data Science
    • Python (Pandas, NumPy, SciPy, Matplotlib, Seaborn, etc.)
    • R
    • Orange
  • Scripting and Programming
    • Python
    • BASH