Dylan S. Davis

Dylan is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow funded by the National Science Foundation and hosted in the Climate School at Columbia University. He is an archaeologist specializing in remote sensing applications and human-environmental interaction. Dylan's work focuses primarily on settlement distributional patterns and their connections to environmental factors in island and coastal regions. Ultimately, his work seeks to further our understanding of how people interact with and are affected by their environment. Dylan's ongoing research seeks to understand the role that socioeconomic strategies play in long-term ecological change across landscapes. Specifically, his postdoctoral research focuses on how soil and vegetation are impacted by foraging, pastoralism, and agricultural activities and how sustainability is impacted by these differing socioeconomic systems. Dylan earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 2022 from Penn State. He also has an MA (2018) and BS (2017) in Anthropology and a BA (2017) in Geography from Binghamton University. Dylan currently serves on the Editorial Board of Archaeological Prospection as an Early Career Researcher.

Fields of Interest

remote sensing applications within archaeological research; social science applications of machine learning and AI; complex adaptive systems; human-environment dynamics pertaining to settlement and land-use strategies; island and coastal archaeology


2022 - Ph.D. Anthropology, The Pennsylvania State University

2018 - M.A. Anthropology, Binghamton University

2017 - B.S. Anthropology, Binghamton University (concentration in Archaeology)

2017 - B.A. Geography, Binghamton University (concentration in Computer Applications for Human Environmental Analysis)

In Progress

Davis, D. S., and K. Douglass (In Review). Landscape Dynamics and Settlement Patterns in Southwest Madagascar since the Late Holocene. In The Malagasy World, edited by Chantal Radimilahy, Kristina Douglass, and Zoë Crossland, Routledge Handbooks Online: Routledge.

D. S. Davis, T. Rasolondrainy, G. Manahira, V. Andriankaja, L. Hubertine, R. Justome, F. Lahiniriko, H. Léonce, R. Roi, F. Victorian, C. Colombe, V. Voahirana, T. L. Carina, Z. M. Chrisostome, B. Manjakahery, and K. Douglass (In Review). Evidence of extensive social networks and information transfer on Madagascar throughout the Holocene. Submitted with revisions to Antiquity.

Quintus, S., D. S. Davis, and E. E. Cochrane (In Preparation).  Diverse terracing practices revealed by automated lidar analysis across the Samoan islands. To be submitted to Archaeological Prospection.

Cook-Hale, J.*, Davis, D. S.*, and  M. C. Sanger (In Preparation).  Evaluating the archaeological efficacy of bathymetric LiDAR across oceanographic contexts: A case study from Apalachee Bay, Florida. Invited submission to Heritage.

Phelps, L. N., E. Razanatsoa, D. S. Davis , J. Hackel, T. Rasolondrainy, G. Tiley, R.L. Andriamiarisoa, C.L. Anyanwu, G. Besnard, C. Birkinshaw, W. Bond, D. Buffa, D. Burney, E. Convery Fisher, B.E. Crowley, K. Douglass, S. Eshelman, L. Gautier, L. Gilson, S.G. Haberle, J. Hansford, S. Hixon, G. Joseph, C.A. Kull, C.E.R. Lehmann, V. Montande, U. Radespiel, J. Raharimampionona, T. Ramiadantsoa, T. Razafimanantsoa, C. Ronadh, J. Salmona, N. Scroxton, T. van Elst, K. Van-Thu Pham, N.R.G. Voarintsoa, M.S. Vorontsova, and A.D. Yoder (In Preparation). Sustainability of ecosystems and livelihoods across the tropics hinges on interdisciplinary grassy biomes research. To be submitted to Nature Ecology & Evolution .

Davis, D. S., A. Domic, G. Manahira, and  K. Douglass (In Preparation).  Geophysics demonstrate similarities and differences between long-term ecological impacts of foraging, pastoralism, and mixed subsistence strategies on SW Madagascar. To be submitted to Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.

Davis, D. S., C. Howe, H. Theiss, A. Domic, L. Phelps, R. Opitz, C. E. Klehm, B. Tucker, and K. Douglass (In Preparation)  Pastoral villages provide long-term benefits to landscape ecologies in Southwest Madagascar. Working Paper to be submitted to TBD.


D. S. Davis, G. Manahira, F. Lahiniriko, V. Andriankaja, T. L. Carnat, M. B. J. Clovis, F. Fenomanana, L. Hubertine, R. Justome, H. Léonce, A. J. Yve, R. Roi, P. Soafiavy, F. Victorian, V. Voahirana, R. Flerita, Z. M. Chrisostome, and K. Douglass (In Press). Evidence of lithic blade technology in southwest Madagascar. The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology. 

Phelps, L. N., N. Andela, M. Gravey, D. S. Davis, C. A. Kull, K. Douglass, K., and C. E. R. Lehmann (In Press). Madagascar's fire regimes challenge global assumptions about landscape degradation. Global Change Biology http://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.16206


Davis, D. S., and J. Lundin (2021). Locating Charcoal Production Sites in Sweden Using Hydrological Algorithms and Deep Learning. Remote Sensing.13(18), 3680. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13183680

Davis, D. S., and K. Douglass (2021). Remote Sensing Reveals Lasting Legacies of Land-Use by Small-Scale Communities in the southwestern Indian Ocean. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 9, 689399 https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2021.689399

Davis, D. S., and M. C. Sanger (2021). Ethical Challenges in the Practice of Remote Sensing and Geophysical Archaeology. Archaeological Prospection28(3), 269-276. https://doi.org/10.1002/arp.1837

Davis, D. S., G. Caspari, C. P. Lipo, and M. C. Sanger (2021). Deep Learning Reveals Extent of Archaic Native American Shell Ring Building Practices. Journal of Archaeological Science132, 105433 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2021.105433

Davis, D. S., G. Caspari, M. C. Sanger, and C. P. Lipo (2021). Using Deep Learning to Detect Rare Archaeological Features: A Case from Coastal South Carolina, USA. Society of Exploration Geophysicists Technical Program Expanded Abstracts: 3265-3269. https://doi.org/10.1190/segam2021-3574963.1

Davis, D. S. (2021). Theoretical repositioning of automated remote sensing archaeology: Shifting from features to ephemeral landscapes. Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology4(1), 94-109. https://doi.org/10.5334/jcaa.72

Davis, D. S., D. C. Buffa, T. Rasolondrainy, E. Creswell, C. Anyanwu, A. Ibirogba, C. Randolph, A. Ouarghidi, L. N. Phelps, F. Lahiniriko, Z. M. Chrisostome, G. Manahira and K. Douglass (2021). The aerial panopticon and the ethics of archaeological remote sensing sacred cultural spaces. Archaeological Prospection28(3), 303-318. https://doi.org/10.1002/arp.1819

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 Archaeology16(2-4), 524-540. http://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. Geosciences10(8), 287. 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 Heritage18, 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 Practice8(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 Sensing12(1), 921. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12060921

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 Review37(1), 9–24. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10437-020-09373-y

Davis, D. S., Andriankaja, V., Carnat, 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 Science115, 105097. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2020.105097

Davis, D. S. (2020). Studying human responses to environmental change: Trends and trajectories of archaeological research. Environmental Archaeology25(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 Prospection26(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 mound and shell-ring identification in coastal South Carolina. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports23, 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, South Carolina. Southeastern Archaeology38(1), 23–37. https://doi.org/10.1080/0734578X.2018.1482186