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's Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium (2019-2021), the American Philosophical Society (2020-2021), the Explorers Club (2020-2021), Sigma Xi (2020-2021), The National Science Foundation (2021-Present), Microsoft (2019-2020), and National Geographic (2021-2022). I currently serve on the Editorial Board of Archaeological Prospection as an Early Career Researcher.
Edited Special Issues:
Davis, D.S., & Sanger, M. C. (Eds.). (2021). Ethical Practice in Remote Sensing and Geophysical Archaeology [Special Issue]. Archaeological Prospection, 28(3). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/10990763/2021/28/3
Davis, D. S., and J. Lundin (2021). Locating Charcoal Production Sites in Sweden Using Hydrological Algorithms and Deep Learning. Remote Sensing. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13183680
Davis, D.S., & Douglass, K. (2021). Remote Sensing Reveals Lasting Legacies of Land-Use by Small-Scale Foraging Societies. Frontiers in Ecology & Evolution. 9:689399 https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.689399
Davis, D.S., & Sanger, M. C. (2021). Ethical Challenges in the Practice of Remote Sensing and Geophysical Archaeology. Archaeological Prospection. 28(3): 269-276. https://doi.org/10.1002/arp.1837.
Davis, D. S., Caspari, G., Sanger, M. C., & Lipo, C. P. (2021). Using Deep Learning to detect rare archaeological features: A case from coastal South Carolina, USA. Society of Exploration Geophysicists Extended Technical Abstracts: 3265-3269. https://doi.org/10.1190/segam2021-3574963.1
Davis, D. S., Caspari, G., Lipo, C. P., & Sanger, M. C. (2021). Deep Learning Reveals Extent of Archaic Native American Shell-Ring Building Practices. Journal of Archaeological Science. 132:105433. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2021.105433.
Davis, D. S. (2021). Theoretical repositioning of automated remote sensing archaeology: Shifting from features to ephemeral landscapes. Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology. 4(1): 94-109. https://doi.org/10.5334/jcaa.72.
Davis, D. S., Buffa, D., Rasolondrainy, T., Creswell, E., Anyanwu, C., Ibirogba, A., Randolph, C., Ouarghidi, A., Phelps, L. N., Lahiniriko, F., Chrisostome, Z. M., Manahira, G., & Douglass, K. (2021). The aerial panopticon and the ethics of archaeological remote sensing sacred cultural spaces. Archaeological Prospection. 28(3): 303-318. https://doi.org/10.1002/arp.1819. Free Access available here.
Davis, D. S., K. E. Seeber, and M. C. Sanger. (2021). Addressing the problem of disappearing cultural landscapes in archaeological research using multi-scalar survey. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology. 16(2-4):524-540. https://doi.org/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. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10080287.
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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.daach.2020.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. 8(4): 361-375. https://doi.org/10.1017/aap.2020.18.
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. https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage3020022.
Davis, D. S. (2020). Geographic disparity in machine intelligence approaches for archaeological remote sensing research. Remote Sensing. 12(6): 921. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12060921.
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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2020.105097.
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. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10437-020-09373-y.
Davis, D. S. (2020). Studying human responses to environmental change: Trends and trajectories of archaeological research. Environmental Archaeology. 25(4):367-380. https://doi.org/10.1080/14614103.2019.1639338.
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. https://doi.org/10.1002/arp.1730.
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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2018.10.035.
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. https://doi.org/10.1080/0734578X.2018.1482186.
ANTH 1: Understanding Humans, Teaching Assistant (SP-20), Instructor (SU-21, FA-21)
ANTH 9: Rise of Civilization in the Old World, Teaching Assistant (FA-18, FA-19)
ANTH 140: Anthropology of Alcohol, Teaching Assistant (FA-20, SP-21)
ANTH 426W: Archaeological Laboratory Analysis, Teaching Assistant (SP-19)
Media Coverage/Public Impact
Media Coverage of Madagascar Remote Sensing Research:
2021 - Present: Guest Editor, Special Issue, The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology
2020 - Present: Early Career Researcher Board, Archaeological Prospection
2020 - 2021: Guest Editor, Special Issue, Archaeological Prospection