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Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences

Social Sciences : Archaeology at WestConn

Dr. Cosimo Sgarlata

I graduated with my PhD in Archaeology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) in February of 2009.  In graduate school my focus was the analysis of lithic artifacts (stone tools), and my area of interest was the Northeastern United States.  My dissertation was a study in the “Upland Archaeology” of West Rock Ridge in New Haven, Connecticut.  Upland Archaeology augments studies of more typical focal areas such as coastlines and river valleys by finding out how information collected from higher elevations and inlands can fill in important details on the ways of life of ancient people.  My dissertation, which was published by in 2010, was entitled The Upland Archaeology of West Rock Ridge in South-Central Connecticut: Narrow Stemmed Point Tradition Land-Use Intensification (VDM publishing). It focused on how higher population densities of Late Archaic mobile foragers forced more intense utilization of all the kinds of ecological environments available to them, including New Haven’s rugged trap-rock ridges.

Dr. Cosimo Sgarlata

Immediately after graduating I joined the archaeological team at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU) and was hired as a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) consultant for the summer field school of 2009 at the Middle Encampment Revolutionary War site in Redding, Connecticut.  At WCSU I have continued to pursue my interest in Quantitative Research methods as well as GIS, teaching statistics and performing GIS research: I produced a predictive model for prehistoric archaeological resources working as an archaeological consultant for the town of Danbury.  I continue to maintain the GIS database for WCSU’s summer field school projects.

I also have returned to the New Haven area and several WCSU students have joined me in our ongoing research at the Warner site, a very productive Late Archaic encampment securely dated to 4,600 years before present.  Research involves the examination of spatial organization of activities at the site including resource processing, tool manufacturing, cooking, and site maintenance.  Several lines of analysis are being pursued: 1) the spatial patterning of artifacts which where piece plotted and mapped, 2) 3D analysis of stratigraphic associations of artifacts below the plow zone, and 3) analysis of the organization of stone tool production.  Data obtained from these analytical techniques are enabling a comprehensive interpretation of the ways of life of Late Archaic peoples of South-Central Connecticut.

I continue to promote archaeology in Connecticut and am actively involved as the Treasurer of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut, an organization which was promoted archaeological research and preservation in Connecticut for over 75 years.  I won the Lyent Russell award in 2009 for these contributions.