I am an archaeologist, professor, and author. My current archaeological projects focus on shipwrecks in Central America. Other recent projects include sites in North America, Latin America, and Europe. I earned my doctorate from the University of Chicago (1999), where I focused on the archaeology of the remote rainforests of the Mosquito Coast of Honduras. I have conducted archaeological research in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Bolivia, Spain, Italy, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, and Greece Recently, I have focused on underwater archaeology as well as developing archaeological imaging technology, especially 3D imaging systems. I believe it is important for scholars to engage important issues publicly, and I try to do that through publications and through my radio segment called 'Future Tense' on the public radio station WEKU, available online here.
I focus on underwater archaeology now, but had a long career as a terrestrial archaeologist before that. I was a Fulbright Scholar and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, was named a National Geographic Explorer in 2012 . You can read about my research in The New Yorker, National Geographic, American Archaeology magazine, and in other articles linked here. I also had the opportunity to assist with documentaries on the BBC, Discovery Channel, and elsewhere. A recent book, ‘Jungleland’ by Christopher Stewart, chronicles some of my adventures in Honduras. I was selected one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Men by Men’s Journal Magazine in 2015.
My recent book, The Next Apocalypse: The Art and Science of Survival, was published in November of 2021 by Basic Books. I use archaeological data to look at how societies responded to dramatic changes in the past, and compare that with how we envision the next apocalypse. Read more about it here.