The Effects of Wildfires on Archaeological Materials.
Fire has played an essential role in human evolution, but identifying whether a fire was anthropogenic or natural in the archaeological record has proven difficult. There has been surprisingly little experimental investigation of the effects of natural fires on archaeological context. In collaboration with a team from the Rutgers Pine Barrens Research Station in southern New Jersey, Ms. Johnson will pursue this line of inquiry through carefully controlled burns. The resulting data will allow her to develop a program for her dissertation analysis of archaeological (bone) samples from sites where there is evidence of fire usage.