My research in West Africa aims to add this understudied region to worldwide discussions on complexity, in particular by directly addressing the origins of societies with non-centralized political systems through the study of long-term trajectories. Currently, my primary focus is on the case study of Kirikongo, an Iron Age village community in Burkina Faso, where I am employing diverse analytic methods to improve our understandings of the origins and development of inequality, social ranking, decentralization, checks and balances in political systems, and the use of divine sources of power to create and legitimize all of these. In addition to my work in Burkina Faso, I have also done fieldwork in Senegal, Kenya, and New Mexico, and laboratory work at IFAN-Dakar, the NMNH (Smithsonian), and the Field Museum of Chicago.

Kirikongo Archaeological Project

Maadaga Archaeological Survey

Diouboye (Central Faleme Project)

Dragon Jar Project

African Pastoralism