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  • Dr Sean Downey
  • Honorary Research Associate
  • s.downey@ucl.ac.uk
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Sean Downey

Sean Downey is an ecological anthropologist whose research explores the social and ecological dynamics of farming and foraging societies, past and present. His projects have spanned three sub-disciplines of anthropology including sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, and computational approaches to historical linguistics.

Since obtaining his PhD in Anthropology at the University of Arizona in 2009 he has conducted fieldwork in several Q’eqchi’ Maya villages in southern Belize, researching the socio-ecology of swidden agriculture. More recently he has been working on two projects: Investigating the Cultural Evolution of Neolithic Europe (EUROEVOL) with Stephen Shennan at the Institute of Archaeology, and working as co-PI with colleagues at the University of Arizona on a project to develop computational linguistic methods and to analyze the demographic history of Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.

He has worked as Assistant Professor in Ecological Anthropology at the University of Maryland since 2013 and is a member of the American Anthropological Association; the Anthropology and Environment Section of the AAA; and the Society for Anthropological Sciences.

Research Interests

  • Agent-based modeling (ABM) and GIS:  specifically the analysis of the relationship between subsistence farming and social institutions, non-linear spatial modeling, phylogenetic analysis of drift processes
  • Mayan Archaeology
  • Ecological Anthropology

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