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Jennifer Watling

Jennifer Watling

I graduated from University of Exeter in 2008 before completing a Masters degree (AHRC-funded) at the same institution in 2009. I immediately developed a passion for environmental archaeology and was lucky enough to be involved in a CNRS project investigating ancient agricultural raised field systems in French Guiana. My BA and MA dissertations both used phytolith analysis (microscopic silica plant remains) to identify prehistoric cultivars and Late Holocene landscape transformations associated with the raised fields, and it was during subsequent paid work that I created the first ever phytolith reference collection for the region.

My current research is a continuation of my work into human-environmental interactions in the Amazon; this time relating to the earthwork complexes (or "geoglyphs") of Acre, Brazil. I ask how and to what extent the geoglyph builders changed and managed their landscape and what this implies for conservation policies in the Amazon today. My research is funded by an AHRC Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability Award, granted to me in 2011.


Co-authored publications:

Watling, J. and Iriarte, J. 2013: Phytoliths from the coastal savannas of French Guiana. Quaternary International 287, 162–180

Iriarte, J., Power, M., Rostain, S., Mayle, F. E., Jones, H., Watling, J., Whitney, B. S. and McKey, D. B. 2012: Fire-free land-use in pre-1492 Amazonian savannas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 109, 64736478

Iriarte, J., Glaser, B., Watling, J., Wainwright, A., Renard, D., Rostain, S. and McKey, D. 2010: Late Holocene neotropical agricultural landscapes: phytoliths and carbon isotope analysis of raised fields from French Guianan coast. Journal of Archaeological Science 37, 2984–2994

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