Anthropology Department Directory


Christopher I. Roos

Associate Professor

Ph.D. 2008 University of Arizona
Heroy Hall 444

  • Environmental Archaeology
  • Human Impacts on Ancient Environments
  • Fire Ecology and Pyrogeography
  • Behavioral Geoarchaeology
  • Southwest US, Northern Plains, and Oceania
  • Courses Taught

    ANTH 3318 - Life in the Ancient Southwest
    ANTH 3384 - Paradise Lost? The Archaeology and Paleoecology of Human-Environmental Impact
    ANTH 3385 - Sustainable Living
    ANTH 6383 - Behavioral Geoarchaeology
    ANTH 6342 - Science and the Human Past

    Detailed website


    I am an environmental archaeologist with primary research interests in the long-term interactions between climate change, human land use, and landscape fires. My regional expertise is in the Southwestern US, but I maintain active research interests in the Northern Plains and Oceania. My research projects are necessarily interdisciplinary, often including dendrochronology, archaeology, ethnography, and sedimentary paleoecology. I received my PhD at the University of Arizona, where I maintain research collaborations, before joining the faculty at SMU in 2010.

    My primary research interests are in (human) ecosystems ecology, particularly in the study of human impacts on social-ecological resilience and vulnerability. Sustainability issues, as framed by resilience theory, inform the questions that drive my research projects. How do human activities alter the response of ecosystems to climate change? What lessons can we learn for contemporary ecosystem management or restoration?

    I maintain additional research interests in archaeological method and theory, particularly the combination of principles from behavioral archaeology with earth sciences methods and techniques to reconstruct past human behaviors - an approach that I call behavioral geoarchaeology. To this end, I use stratigraphy, micromorphology, and soil/sediment chemistry to reconstruct the life histories of ancient dwellings, ritual structures, and community spaces.

    Recent Publications

    Edited Volumes:

    Roos, Christopher I., and T.J. Ferguson (editors)
    2017 Fire Adds Richness to the Land: The Jemez FHiRE Project. Special issue of Archaeology Southwest Magazine 30(4).

    Roos, Christopher I., and E. Christian Wells (editors)
    2017 Geoarchaeology of Ritual Behavior and Sacred Places. Special issue of Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 9(6), pp. 1001-1123.

    Scott, Andrew C., William G. Chaloner, Claire M. Belcher, and Christopher I. Roos (editors)
    2016 The Interaction of Fire and Mankind. Discussion Meeting issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 371.

    Articles and Book Chapters: 

    Roos, Christopher I.
    2017 Anthropogenic Landscapes. In Oxford Handbook of Southwest Archaeology, edited by B. Mills and S. Fowles, pp. 683-696. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

    2017 The Long-Term Context for Human-Fire Relationships on the Jemez Plateau. Archaeology Southwest Magazine, 30(4):21-22.

    Roos, Christopher I., and Thomas W. Swetnam
    2017 The Jemez FHiRE Project: An Introduction. Archaeology Southwest Magazine 30(4):3-4.

    Roos, Christopher I., and E. Christian Wells
    2017 Geoarchaeology of Ritual Behavior and Sacred Places: An Introduction. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 9(6):1001-1004.

    Swetnam, Thomas W., and Christopher I. Roos
    2017 Lessons from Four Centuries of Local Management for Contemporary Fire Challenges. Archaeology Southwest Magazine 30(4):24-25. 

    Balch, Jennifer K., R. Chelsea Nagy, Sally Archibald, David M.J.S. Bowman, Max Moritz, Christopher I. Roos, Andrew C. Scott, and Grant Williamson
    2016 Global Combustion: The Connection between Fossil Fuel and Biomass Burning Emissions (1997-2010). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 371:20150177.

    Fischer, A. Paige, Thomas A. Spies, Toddi A. Steelman, Cassandra Moseley, Bart R. Johnson, John D. Bailey, Alan A. Ager, Patrick Bourgeron, Susan Charnley, Brandon M. Collins, Jeffrey D. Kline, Jessica D. Leahy, Jeremy S. Littell, James D.A. Millington, Max Nielson-Pincus, Christine S. Olsen, Travis B. Paveglio, Christopher I. Roos, Michelle M. Steen-Adams, Forest R. Stevens, Jelena Vukomanovic, Eric M. White, and David M.J.S. Bowman
    2016 Wildfire Risk as Socio-Ecological Pathology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14:276-284.

    Liebmann, Matthew J., Joshua Farella, Christopher I. Roos, Sarah Martini, Adam Stack, and Thomas W. Swetnam
    2016 Native American Population Decline, Reforestation, and Fire Regimes in the Southwest U.S., 1492-1700 CE. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113:E696-E704.

    Roos, Christopher I., Andrew C. Scott, Claire M. Belcher, William G. Chaloner, Jonathan Aylen, Michael R. Coughlan, Bart R. Johnson, Fay H. Johnston, Julia McMorrow, Toddi Steelman, Rebecca Bliege Bird, and the Fire and Mankind Discussion Group
    2016 Living on a Flammable Planet: Interdisciplinary, Cross-Scalar, and Varied Cultural Lessons, Prospects, and Challenges. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 371-20150469.

    Roos, Christopher I., Julie S. Field, and John V. Dudgeon
    2016 Anthropogenic Burning, Agricultural Intensification, and Landscape Transformation in Post-Lapita Fiji. Journal of Ethnobiology 36(3):535-553.

    Scott, Andrew C., William G. Chaloner, Claire M. Belcher, and Christopher I. Roos
    2016 The Interaction of Fire and Mankind: Preface. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 371:20160149.

    Swetnam, Thomas W., Joshua Farella, Christopher I. Roos, Matthew J. Liebmann. Donald A. Falk, and Craig D. Allen
    2016 Multi-Scale Perspectives of Fire, Climate and Humans in Western North America and the Jemez Mountains, U.S.A. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 371:20150168.

    Roos, Christopher I.
    2015 Western Apache Pyrogenic Placemaking in the Mountains of Eastern Arizona. In Engineering Mountain Landscapes: An Archaeology of Social Investment, edited by M. Zedeño and L. Schreiber, pp. 116-125. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

    Eren, Metin I., Christopher I. Roos, Brett Story, Noreen von Cramon-Taubadel, and Stephen J. Lycett
    2014 The Role of Raw Material Differences in Handaxe Shape Variation: An Experimental Assessment. Journal of Archaeological Science 49:472-487.

    Roos, Christopher I., David M.J.S Bowman, Jennifer K. Balch, Paulo Artaxo, William J. Bond, Mark A. Cochrane, Carla M. D'Antonio, Ruth S. DeFries, Fay H. Johnston, Meg A. Krawchuk, Christian A. Kull, Michelle Mack, Max A. Moritz, Stephen J. Pyne, Andrew C. Scott, and Thomas W. Swetnam
    2014 Pyrogeography, Historical Ecology, and the Human Dimensions of Fire Regimes. Journal of Biogeography 41:833-836.

    Beck, Margaret E. and Christopher I. Roos
    2013 From Households to Middens: Refuse Deposition Patterns in Two Communities. In Power and Economy in Early Classic Period Hohokam Society: An Archaeological Perspective from the Marana Mound Site, edited by J. M. Bayman, S. K. Fish, and P. R. Fish, pp. 19-32. Arizona State Museum Archaeological Series 207, University of Arizona, Tucson.

    Roos, Christopher I.
    2013 Environmental Reconstruction. In the Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology, edited by C. Smith, pp. 2406-2416. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany.

    Van Keuren, Scott and Christopher I. Roos
    2013 Geoarchaeological Evidence for Ritual Closure of a Kiva at Fourmile Ruin, Arizona. Journal of Archaeological Science, 40:615-625.

    Roos, Christopher I., and Thomas W. Swetnam
    2012 A 1,416-Year Reconstruction of Annual, Multi-decadal, and Centennial Variability in Area Burned for Ponderosa Pine forests of the Southern Colorado Plateau Region, Southwest USA. The Holocene 22(3): 281-290.

    Roos, Christopher I., and Kevin C. Nolan
    2012 Phosphates, Plowzones, and Plazas: A Minimally Invasive Approach to Infer Settlement Structure of Plowed Village Sites in the Midwestern USA. Journal of Archaeological Science 39: 23-32.

    Memberships and Affiliations:
    Society for American Archaeology
    Society for Archaeological Sciences
    Association of American Geographers
    Association for Fire Ecology
    Ecological Society of America