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Speaker: Sarah (Stacy) Barber, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
Ecosystems and ruins: drawing on the past to understand the future of lagoons
Humans have lived on Florida’s east coast for nearly 10,000 years. The remains of these early settlements are all around us and provide invaluable information on how both our coastal ecosystems have changed over time, but also how people’s decisions about using and managing coastal resources have changed as well. The past provides us with a laboratory to investigate the outcomes of both climate change and human actions over the long term, enabling us to better model how modern environmental conditions and human choices may play out in the future.
Sarah “Stacy” Barber is Associate Professor of Anthropology and with the National Center for Integrated Coastal Research at the University of Central Florida. She is an archaeologist specializing in the civilizations of ancient Mexico, particularly those located on the country’s Pacific coast, and also conducts research in the Cape Canaveral region of Florida. Her research emphasizes the origin and political organization of ancient urban societies in coastal settings, but more broadly investigates the long-term relationships between people and coastal ecosystems. She has investigated the role of religion in ancient political organization, diet and health in early urban societies, modeling ancient pedestrian trade networks, and human use of coastal resources in preindustrial societies. Her work is collaborative and interdisciplinary, deploying a range of analytical techniques to understand the past such as ground-penetrating radar, geographical information systems, stable isotope and trace element analysis, and instrumental neutron activation analysis and X-Ray fluorescence. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and Argonne National Laboratory.