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Research :: ARCHAEOLOGY LABORATORY :: Current Research :: Julieann Van Nest


Julieann Van Nest
Julieann Van Nest

Julieann Van Nest - Geoarchaeologist
My research centers around some of the interdisciplinary aspects of Quaternary Geology and Archaeology, with special emphases on alluvial and landscape geoarchaeology, the influence of soil biomantle formation on the spatial structure of archaeological sites, and comparative studies of the earthen architecture of North American mounds. My guiding philosophy is that every place tells an interesting story, and it is our job as geoarchaeologists to carefully study the soils and sediments at sites to provide important primary archaeological data about the fundamental nature of these sites, and otherwise help to minimize the loss of field contextual information from sites being destroyed.

The NYSM Geoarchaeology Lab
The lab is dedicated to advancing the practical integration of earth science approaches into archaeological field and laboratory work.

Educational Background
Ph.D., Geology (Quaternary Studies), 1997, The University of Iowa
M.S., Geology (Quaternary Studies), 1987, The University of Iowa
B.S., Geology, 1983, The University of North Dakota
B.A., Anthropology, 1983, The University of North Dakota



Alluvial Geoarchaeology:
Many archaeological sites are buried in alluvium. Finding and studying them provide many insights into how river systems have evolved throughout the Holocene.

Soil Biomantles and the Structure of Archaeological Sites:
New views of soil formation are re-shaping our understanding of archaeological site formation processes.

Earthen Architecture of North American Mounds:
People began building earthen mounds in North America more than 5,000 years ago. Geoarchaeological field and archive studies are providing important new comparative observations regarding how and why mounds were constructed.

The Perch Lake Project:
First recorded in writing in the mid-1850s, the mounds at Perch Lake have long eluded satisfactory archaeological explanation. With funding from the National Science Foundation, this project explores the geoarchaeological and archaeobotanical aspects of these fascinating features.



Van Nest, J. 2008. Perch Lake's Enigmatic Mounds. Legacy: The Magazine of the New York State Museum 4(3):14-15. [can we link to this issue or article?]

Van Nest, J. 2004. Introduction to the Perch Lake Mounds. Bulletin Jefferson County Historical Society 33:8-10.

Van Nest, J. 2004. Review of "The Sheguiandah Site: Archaeological, Geological and Paleobotanical Studies at a Paleoindian Site on Manitoulin Island, Ontario", edited by P.J. Julig. Geoarchaeology 19:179-181.

Van Nest, J. 2002. The Good Earthworm: How Natural Processes Preserve Upland Archaic Archaeological Sites of Western Illinois, U.S.A. Geoarchaeology 17:53-90.

Van Nest, J., Charles, D. K., Buikstra, J. E., and Asch, D. L. 2001. Sod Blocks in Illinois Hopewell Mounds. American Antiquity 66:633-650.

Amick, D.S., Loebel, T.J., Lurie, R. and Van Nest, J. 2000. Results of continued surface collection and Phase II Testing at the Hawk’s Nest Clovis (Gainey) Site in northeastern Illinois. Current Research in the Pleistocene 17:1–3.

Van Nest, J. 1993. Geoarchaeology of Dissected Loess Uplands in Western Illinois. Geoarchaeology 8(4):281–311.

Van Nest, J. and E.A. Bettis III. 1990. Postglacial Response of a Small Stream in Central Iowa to Changes in Climate and Drainage Basin Factors. Quaternary Research 33:73–85.

Baker, R.G., Van Nest, J. and Woodworth, G. 1989. Dissimilarity Coefficients for Fossil Pollen Spectra From Iowa and Western Illinois During the Last 30,000 years. Palynology 13:63–77.

Van Nest, J. 1985. Patination of Knife River Flint Artifacts. Plains Anthropologist 30:325–339.

Chapters in Edited Books

Kelly, J.E., J.A. Brown, J.M. Hamlin, L.S. Kelly, L. Kozuch, K. Parker, and J. Van Nest. 2007. Mound 34: The Context for the Early Evidence of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex at Cahokia. In Southeastern Ceremonial Complex: Chronology, Iconography, and Meaning, edited by A. King, pp. 57-87. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Van Nest, J. 2006. Rediscovering This Earth: Some Ethnogeological Aspects of the Illinois Valley Hopewell Mounds. In Recreating Hopewell, edited by D. K. Charles, and J. E. Buikstra, pp. 402-426. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Charles, D. K., J. Van Nest, and J.E. Buikstra. 2004. From the Earth: Minerals and Meaning in the Hopewellian World. In Soils, Stones and Symbols: Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives on the Mineral World, edited by N. Boivin, and M.A. Owoc, pp. 43-70. University College London Press, London.

Ahler, S.A. and J. Van Nest (1984). Temporal Change in Knife River Flint Reduction Strategies. In Lithic Resource Procurement: Proceedings from the Second Conference on Prehistoric Chert Exploitation, Ed. S. Vehik, pp. 183–198. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Center for Archaeological Investigations, Occasional Paper 4.

Technical Reports (at NYSM)

Van Nest, J. 2009. Summary of Initial Geoarchaeological Observations Made for Some Adjoining Land Parcels in the Southern Portion of the City of Albany, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2008f. Geoarchaeological Evidence for Late Pleistocene–Holocene Flood Events and Landscape Evolution Along the Sny Bottom Reach of the Mississippi River, Western Illinois. In review, proposed GSA special paper “Geoarchaeology of Large River Valleys”.

Van Nest, J. 2008e. Some Geoarchaeological Observations of the Maritje Kill Site, Hyde Park, Dutchess County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2008d. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of the Industrial Retro Subdivision, Town of Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2008c. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of the Falcon Ridge Site, Town of Lewisboro, Westchester County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2008b. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of the Hemstreet Park Sewer Collection System, Rensselaer County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2008a. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of a Small Parcel of Land Near the Northern Tip of Rogers Island, Near Fort Edward, Washington County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2007c. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of a Land Parcel in Patterson, Putnam County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2007b. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of a Proposed Redevelopment Site in Albany, New York. 

Van Nest, J. 2007a. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of the Sanitary Force Main Extension Project, Village of Hunter, Green County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2006f. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance at the Southern End of Saratoga Lake, Saratoga County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2006e. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance in Support of Phase II Archaeological Investigations, Victory Water Improvements, Village of Victory, Saratoga County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2006d. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of a Portion of the Esopus Creek Floodplain near Marbletown, Ulster County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2006c. Phase I Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of Maalwyck Park, near Scotia, Town of Glenville, Schenectady County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2006b. Proposed Geoarchaeological Site Formation Research at Luther Forest Sites 3 and 4, Near Malta, Saratoga County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2006a. Geoarchaeological Observations Made During Phase II Investigations of Archaeological Sites Luther Forest 2, 3, and 4, Near Malta, Saratoga County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2005d. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of a Housing Development, Saratoga County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2005c. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of a Portion of the West Canada Creek, Mohawk River Floodplain, Near Herkimer, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2005b. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of the Pine Plains Delta, Fort Drum Military Reservation, Jefferson County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2005a. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of the Rogers Archaeological Site, Near Sherburne, Chenango County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2004b. Geoarchaeological Reconnaissance of the Municipal Water Improvements Project, Middleburg, Schoharie County, New York.

Basa, L. and J. Van Nest 2004a. New Data on the Haviland Site: An Early Archaic Workshop in Schoharie County, New York.

Van Nest, J. 2001b. Geoarchaeological Analysis of a Soil Column from the West Wall (Perino) Profile, 2000 excavations at Cahokia Mound 34.

Van Nest, J. 2001a. Geoarchaeology of the Schoharie Creek II Site, Schoharie County, New York.


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