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Dylan S. Davis

Ph.D. Candidate

303 Carpenter Building
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 867-0003

Office Hours

  • Spring 2020: by appointment

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. M.A. Anthropology, Binghamton University - 2018
  2. B.S. Anthropology & B.A. Geography, Binghamton University (summa cum laude)- 2017
  3. Concentrations: Archaeology and Computer Applications for Human Environmental Analysis


I am an archaeologist specializing in remote sensing applications and human-environmental interaction. I focus primarily on population settlement distributions and their connections to resource use. Central to my research is evolutionary theory and technologies such as remote sensing and GIS. My research largely focuses on island and coastal regions, and seeks to further our understanding of how people interact with and are affected by their environmental surroundings. I have conducted fieldwork in Italy, the American Southeast, and Madagascar, and have also conducted research in Polynesia. My early graduate career focused on the use of machine learning approaches and their utility for archaeological remote sensing studies of landscape-scale datasets.

My current research continues to utilize automated remote sensing methods and is focused on establishing linkages between environmental conditions and human settlement and mobility patterns in Southwest Madagascar. Using paleoclimate proxies and machine-learning based remote-sensing methods, I am locating archaeological deposits systematically over a landscape scale. This allows archaeologists to study the different ways by which human mobility changes as a result of environmental and socio-political factors.

My research has been funded by a range of institutions, including NASA (2019-2020), the American Philosophical Society (2020-2021), the Explorers Club (2020-2021), and Microsoft (2019-2020). I currently serve on the Editorial Board of Archaeological Prospection as an Early Career Researcher. 

Recent Publications:

Davis, D. S., K. E. Seeber, and M. C. Sanger. (2020). Addressing the problem of disappearing cultural landscapes in archaeological research using multi-scalar survey. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology. In Press. DOI: 10.1080/15564894.2020.1803457

Davis, D. S., R. J. DiNapoli, and K. Douglass. (2020). Integrating point process models, evolutionary ecology, and traditional knowledge improves landscape archaeology: A case from Southwest Madagascar. Geosciences. 10(8): 267. [Open Access]

Davis, D. S. (2020). Defining what we study: The contribution of machine automation in archaeological research. Digital Applications in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage. 18: e00152.

Davis, D. S., DiNapoli, R. J., Sanger, M. C., & Lipo, C. P. (2020). The integration of lidar and legacy datasets provides improved explanations for the spatial patterning of shell rings in the American Southeast. Advances in Archaeological Practice. In Press. [Open Access]

Davis, D. S., Buffa, D. C., & Wrobleski, A. C. (2020). Assessing the utility of open-access bathymetric data for shipwreck detection in the United States. Heritage. 3(2): 364-383. [Open Access]

Davis, D. S. (2020). Geographic disparity in machine intelligence approaches for archaeological remote sensing research. Remote Sensing. 12(6): 921. [Open Access]

Davis, D. S., Andriankaja, V., Carina, T. L., Chrisostome, Z. M., Colombe, C., Fenomanana, F., Hubertine, L., Justome, R., Lahiniriko, F., Léonce, H., Manahira, G., Pierre, B. V., Roi, R., Soafiavy, P., Victorian, F., Voahirana, V., Manjakahery, B., & Douglass, K. (2020). Satellite-based remote sensing rapidly reveals extensive record of Holocene coastal settlement on Madagascar. Journal of Archaeological Science. 115: 105097.

Davis, D. S., & Douglass, K. (2020). Aerial and Spaceborne Remote Sensing in African Archaeology: A Review of Current Research and Potential Future Avenues. African Archaeological Review. 37(1): 9-24.

Davis, D. S. (2019). Studying human responses to environmental change: Trends and trajectories of archaeological research. Environmental Archaeology: The Journal of Palaeoecology. 1-14.

Davis, D. S. (2019). Object-based image analysis: a review of developments and future directions of automated feature detection in landscape archaeology. Archaeological Prospection. 26(2):155-163.

Davis, D. S., Lipo, C. P., & Sanger, M. C. (2019). A comparison of automated object extraction methods for earthwork feature identification in South Carolina. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. 23:166-177.

Davis, D. S., Sanger, M. C., & Lipo, C. P. (2019). Automated mound detection using LiDAR and object-based image analysis in Beaufort County, SC. Southeastern Archaeology. 38(1):23-37.

Courses Taught:

ANTH 1: Understanding Humans, Teaching Assistant (SP-2020)

ANTH 9: Rise of Civilization in the Old World, Teaching Assistant (FA-2018, FA-2019)

ANTH 140: Anthropology of Alcohol, Teaching Assistant (FA-2020)

ANTH 426W: Archaeological Laboratory Analysis, Teaching Assistant (SP-2019)

Media Coverage/Public Impact



Living with change: An archaeological study of human settlement patterns as environmental adaptations in Late Holocene Madagascar

Dissertation Chair(s)

Kristina Douglass

Research Interests

Human-environmental interaction, settlement patterns, GIS, remote sensing, human behavioral ecology, evolutionary theory, spatial analysis, coastal & island archaeology, climate change