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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:TRUSTEES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, THE
Doing Business As Name:University of Pennsylvania
PD/PI:
  • Lauren M Ristvet
  • (215) 573-6295
  • lristvet@sas.upenn.edu
Co-PD(s)/co-PI(s):
  • Reed Goodman
Award Date:07/12/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 25,136
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 25,136
  • FY 2020=$25,136
Start Date:08/01/2020
End Date:07/31/2023
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant: The Environmental Context of Urban Development
Federal Award ID Number:2022977
DUNS ID:042250712
Parent DUNS ID:042250712
Program:Archaeology DDRI
Program Officer:
  • John Yellen
  • (703) 292-8759
  • jyellen@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:Research Services
City:Philadelphia
State:PA
ZIP:19104-6205
County:Philadelphia
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:03

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Pennsylvania
Street:3260 South Street
City:Philadelphia
State:PA
ZIP:19104-6324
County:Philadelphia
Country:US
Cong. District:03

Abstract at Time of Award

This research undertakes a geoarchaeological investigation of human-environment interactions in a lowland region, where water in the form of rivers, wetlands, and sea encouraged the location, timing, and configuration of the first urban communities. Geoarchaeology is well suited to investigate the environmental context of early cities because it combines the geological sciences with archaeological datasets to examine the intersection of society with the natural world. The team will conduct their research in an area that was once part of a dynamic estuarine delta where the size and physical arrangement of cities coevolved with their environment. The research investigates these phenomena through the collection and analysis of paleoenvironmental datasets to provide a deep-time perspective on urban adaptation to watery settings. STEM diversity is supported through the involvement of graduate students and senior research scientists while the interdisciplinary integration of earth systems scientists with archaeologists will benefit an increasingly inter-dependent and urban global society facing climate instability and sea-level rise. An open source and web-based database application will store and synthesize the geoarchaeological information by joining new data with previously published work from adjoining areas. Though archaeology has both supported and challenged the notion that societies shaped and were shaped by their environments, there is broad consensus that sociopolitical complexity first arose in communities associated with river valleys and coastal plains. This project will extract sediment cores by hand auger and percussion drill from predetermined locations, including off-site sampling of relict levees, crevasse-splays and floodplain, as well as on-site sampling of ancient canals, harbors, and clay-filled pits. Radiography and XRF-scanning will be used to identify past fluvial, deltaic, and marine environments through visual description, sedimentology, and chemostratigraphy. Isotope studies and trace element analysis will be used to differentiate between aerobic and anaerobic settings, as well as the location and flood characteristics. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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