Dr. Daniel Contreras is an anthropological geoarchaeologist interested in human-environment interactions, particularly anthropogenic components of dynamic landscapes and environmental change.  His research currently includes both field-based and modeling projects in Peru, Jordan, France, and Greece, where he examines landscape change and its relationship to long-term human occupation, looking at the ways in which humans have both adapted to and caused environmental changes.

Dr. Contreras’ field projects include investigations of:


His work on digital and quantitative modeling focuses on understanding the consequences of environmental change at human spatial and temporal scales.  Using spatially-explicit modeling to integrate archaeological, geoarchaeological, and paleoenvironmental data, he works to understand both the effects of changing climates on human communities and the long-term legacies of anthropogenic environmental changes.  His research in Jordan, for example, maps fragmented paleosurfaces in order to reconstruct Early Holocene landscapes, model early experiments with cultivation and domestication, and assess human landscape impacts in the early Neolithic.  In Provence he uses a variety of modeling approaches to explore the impacts of Holocene climate changes on potential agricultural productivity and uses GIS and other tools to analyze settlement patterns for evidence of those impacts.

Past projects include:

  • development of methods for quantifying the damage done by looting of archaeological sites (http://traffickingculture.org/data/google-earth/), with test cases in Jordan and Peru, and
  • exploration of simulated data to evaluate the use of summed probability distributions from assemblages of 14C dates as population proxies.


Dr. Contreras has been a Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Ecosystem Research (http://www.ecosystems.uni-kiel.de/english/e_index.shtml) at CAU Kiel in Germany, and a postdoctoral research fellow in the interdisciplinary LabEx OT-Med (http://www.otmed.fr/) at Aix-Marseille Université in France.  He recently edited The Archaeology of Human-Environment Interactions: Strategies for Investigating  Anthropogenic  Landscapes,  Dynamic  Environments,  and  Climate   Change  in  the   Human  Past(Routledge, 2017).



  • Ph.D.
    2007, Anthropological Sciences, Stanford University
0123D Woods Hall
dcontre [at] umd.edu