As an archaeologist, my research broadly examines the relationship between people, ecology and technology.  I am particularly interested in technological and cultural adaptions to “harsh” environments. Over the last several years, I have been working to improve our archaeological understanding of New York State’s Adirondack Mountains. Most feel this region was too cold, barren and desolate to support human occupation in the ancient past. I strive to challenge this conventional narrative by engaging descendant communities, conducting archaeological excavations, pedestrian surveys, studying museum collections, and talking with collectors. According to this research, people entered the uplands as early as 12,000 years ago and some ancient people even climbed to nearly 3000’ in elevation.  To thrive in this region, people made and used a variety of fishing, hunting, food processing and transportation equipment. I have been using experimental archaeology to unpack the way technology made life  in the Adirondacks possible thousands of years ago.

Tim Messner at

Associate Professor, SUNY Potsdam, New York, USA.