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Michael Barton

Michael Barton

Professor of Anthropology, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Arizona State University
PO Box 872402
Tempe, AZ 85287-2402


  • Senior Global Futures Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory
  • Professor of Anthropology, School of Human Evolution and Social Change, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Director, Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity, School of Human Evolution and Social Change
  • Affiliated Faculty, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation


Michael Barton is a geoarchaeologist whose expertise includes long-term dynamics of socioecological systems, hunter/gatherers and small-scale agricultural societies, Quaternary landscapes, geospatial technologies, computational modeling, complex systems science, evolutionary theory, lithic technology. 

His research has focused primarily in the Mediterranean, western Eurasia more broadly, and western North America

Barton is Director of the interdisciplinary Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity, and heads the Graduate Faculty in Complex Adaptive System Science.


  • PhD, Anthropology, University of Arizona, 1987
  • MA, Anthropology, University of Arizona, 1980
  • BA, Anthropology, University of Kansas, 1976


Journal Articles


Barton, C. M., J. E. Aura Tortosa, O. Garcia-Puchol, J. Riel-Salvatore, N. Gauthier, M. Vadillo Conesa and G. Pothier Bouchard. 2018. Risk and resilience in the late glacial: A case study from the western Mediterranean.. Quaternary Science Reviews 184(March):68-84. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.09.015. (link )

Burke, A., J. Riel-Salvatore and C. M. Barton. 2018. Human response to habitat suitability during the Last Glacial Maximum in Western Europe. Journal of Quaternary Science 33(3):335-345. DOI: 10.1002/jqs.3004. (link )


Clark, G. A. and C. M. Barton. 2017. Lithics, landscapes & la Longue-durée -- curation & expediency as expressions of forager mobility. Quaternary International 450:137-149. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2016.08.002. (link )

Gravel-Miguel, C., J. Riel-Salvatore, R. Maggi, G. Martino and C. M. Barton. 2017. The breaking of ochred pebble tools as part of funerary ritual in the Arene Candide Epigravettian Cemetery. Cambridge Archaelogical Journal 27(2):331-350. DOI: 10.1017/S0959774316000640. (link )

Marwick, B., J. d'Alpoim Guedes, C. M. Barton, L. A. Bates, M. Baxter, A. Bevan, E. A. Bollwerk, R. K. Bocinsky, T. Brughmans, A. K. Carter, C. Conrad, D. A. Contreras, S. Costa, E. R. Crema, A. Daggett, B. Davies, B. L. Drake, T. S. Dye, P. France, R. Fullager, D. Giusti, S. Graham, M. D. Harris, J. Hawks, S. Heath, D. Huffer, E. C. Kansa, S. Whitcher Kansa, M. E. Madsen, J. Melcher, J. Negre, F. D. Nieman, R. Opitz, D. C. Orton, P. Przystupa, M. Raviele, J. Riel-Salvatore, P. Riris, I. Romanowska, J. Smith, N. Strupler, I. Ullah, H. G. Van Vlack, N. VanValkenburgh, E. C. Watrall, C. Webster, J. Wells, J. Winters and C. D. Wren. 2017. Open science in archaeology. The SAA Archaeological Record 17(4):8-14. DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/72N8G. (link )

Morss, R., J. L. Demuth, H. Lazrus, L. Palen, C. M. Barton, C. A. Davis, C. Snyder, O. V. Wilhelmi, K. M. Anderson, D. A. Ahijevych, J. Anderson, M. Bica, K. Fossell, J. Henderson, M. Kogan, K. Stowe and J. Watts. 2017. Hazardous weather prediction and communication in the modern information environment. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 98(12):2653–2674. DOI: 10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0058.1. (link )

Paige, J., K. Michelaki, C. Campisano, M. Barton and A. Heimsath. 2017. Are the intensities and durations of small-scale pottery firings sufficient to completely dehydroxylate clays? Testing a key assumption underlying ceramic rehydroxylation dating. Journal of Archaeological Science 79(Mar):44-52. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2017.01.009. (link )

Puchol, O. G., J. Bernabeu Auban, C. M. Barton, S. Pardo Gordo, S. B. McClure and A. Diez Castillo. 2017. A Bayesian approach for timing the Neolithisation in Mediterranean Iberia. Radiocarbon 1-25. DOI: 10.1017/RDC.2017.61.


Barton, C. M., I. I. Ullah, S. M. Bergin, H. Sarjoughian, G. R. Mayer, J. Bernabeu Auban, A. Heimsath, M. F. Acevedo, J. Riel-Salvatore and J. R. Arrowsmith. 2016. Experimental socioecology:Integrative science for anthropocene landscape dynamics. Anthropocene 13(Mar):34-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.ancene.2015.12.004. (link )

Bernabeu Auban, J., O. Garcia Puchol, M. Barton, S. McClure and S. Pardo Gordo. 2016. Radiocarbon dates, climatic events, and social dynamics during the Early Neolithic in Mediterranean Iberia. Quaternary International 403(Jun):201-210. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2015.09.020. (link )


Barton, M., I. Ullah and A. Heimsath. 2015. How to make a barranco: Modeling erosion and land-use in Mediterranean landscapes. Land 4(3):578-606. DOI: 10.3390/land4030578. (link )

Bernabeu Auban, J., C. M. Barton, S. Pardo Gordo and S. M. Bergin. 2015. Modeling initial Neolithic dispersal. The first agricultural groups in West Mediterranean. Ecological Modelling 307(Jul):22-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2015.03.015. (link )

Fernandez-Lopez de Pablo, J. and C. M. Barton. 2015. Bayesian estimation dating of surface lithic assemblages. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 22(2):559-583. DOI: 10.1007/s10816-013-9198-z. (link )

Pardo Gordo, S., J. Bernabeu Auban, O. Garcia Puchol, M. Barton and S. M. Bergin. 2015. The origins of agriculture in Iberia: A computational model. Documenta Praehistorica 42:117-131. DOI: 10.4312/dp.42.7. (link )


Barton, C. M. and J. Riel-Salvatore. 2014. The formation of lithic assemblages. Journal of Archaeological Science 46(Jun):334-352. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2014.03.031. (link )

Barton, M. 2014. Complexity, social complexity, and modeling. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 21(2):306-324. DOI: 10.1007/s10816-013-9187-2. (link )

Bernabeu, J., O. Garcia Puchol, S. Pardo, M. Barton and S. B. McClure. 2014. AEA 2012 Conference Reading: Socioecological dynamics at the time of Neolithic transition in Iberia. Environmental Archaeology 19(3):214-225. DOI: 10.1179/1749631414Y.0000000032. (link )

Garcia Puchol, O., M. Barton, J. Bernabeu Auban, A. Diez Castillo and S. Pardo Gordo. 2014. De la prospección sistemática al laboratorio GIS en La Canal de Navarrés. SAGVNTVM 46(2014):209-214. DOI: 10.7203/SAGVNTVM. (link )

Rollins, N. D., M. Barton, S. M. Bergin, M. A. Janssen and A. Lee. 2014. A Computational Model Library for publishing model documentation and code. Environmental Modelling & Software 61(Nov):59-64. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2014.06.022. (link )


Barton, M., V. Villaverde, J. Zilhao, J. E. Aura, O. Garcia and E. Badal. 2013. In glacial environments beyond glacial terrains: Human eco-dynamics in Late Pleistocene Mediterranean Iberia. Quarternary International 318(Dec):53-68. DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2013.05.007. (link )


Barton, M. and J. Riel-Salvatore. 2012. Agents of change: Modeling biocultural evolution in Late Pleistocene western Eurasia. Advances in Complex Systems 15(1-2):115003-1-115003-24. DOI: 10.1142/S0219525911003359.

Barton, M. and J. Riel-Salvatore. 2012. Perception, interaction, and extinction: A reply to Premo. Human Ecology 40(5):797-801. DOI: 10.1007/s10745-012-9530-3.

Barton, M., I. I. Ullah, S. M. Bergin, H. Mitasova and H. Sarjoughian. 2012. Looking for the future in the past: Long-term change in socioecological systems. Ecological Modeling 241:42-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2012.02.010.


Barton, M., J. Riel-Salvatore, J. M. Anderies and G. Popescu. 2011. Modeling human ecodynamics and biocultural interactions in the Late Pleistocene of western Eurasia. Human Ecology 39:705-725. DOI: 10.1007/s10745-011-9433-8. (link )


Barton, M., I. Ullah and S. Bergin. 2010. Land use, water, and Mediterranean landscapes: Modelling long-term dynamics of complex socio-ecological systems. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 368:5275-5297.

Barton, M., I. Ullah and H. Mitasova. 2010. Computational modeling and Neolithic socioecological dynamics: A case study from southwest Asia. American Antiquity 75(2):364-386.


Hill, K., M. Barton and A. M. Hurtado. 2009. The emergence of human uniqueness: Characters underlying behavioral modernity. Evolutionary Anthropology 18(5):187-200. DOI: 10.1002/evan.20224. (link )

McClure, S. B., M. Barton and M. Jochim. 2009. Human behavioral ecology and limate change during the transition to agriculture in Valencia, eastern Spain. Journal of Anthropological Research 65(2):253-269.

Miller, A., M. Barton, O. Garcia and J. Bernabeu. 2009. Surviving the Holocene crisis: Human ecological responses to the onset of the current interglacial. Journal of Anthropological Research 65(2):207-220.


Alessa, L., A. Kliskey, P. Williams and M. Barton. 2008. Perception of change in freshwater in remote resource-dependent Arctic communities. Global Environmental Change 18(1):153-164.

Garcia Puchol, O., M. Barton and J. Bernabeu Auban. 2008. Programa de prospección geofísica, microsondeos y catas para la caracterización de un gran foso del IV milenio cal AC en Alt del Punxó (Muro de L'Alcoi, Alacant). Trabajos de Prehistória 65(1):143-154.

Janssen, M. A., L. Na Alessa, M. Barton, S. Bergin and A. Lee. 2008. Towards a community framework for agent-based modeling. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 11(2):Art. 6.

Miller, A. and M. Barton. 2008. Exploring the land: A comparison of land-use patterns in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic of the western Mediterranean. Journal of Archaeological Science 35:1427-1437.

Riel-Salvatore, J., G. Popescu and M. Barton. 2008. Standing at the gates of Europe: Human behavior and biogeography in the southern Carpathians during the Late Pleistocene. Journal of Archaeological Research 27(4):399-417.


Popescu, G., J. Riel-Salvatore and M. Barton. 2007. Biogeographie umana si organizare tehnologica in Pleistocenul Superior in regiunea Carpatilor Meridionali. Materiale si Cercetari Arheoloice III:19-42.


Alessa, L., M. Laituri and M. Barton. 2006. An "all hands" call to the social sciences community: Establishing a community framework for complexity modeling using agent based models and cyberinfrastructure. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 9(4):. (link )

Peeples, M., M. Barton and S. Schmich. 2006. Resilience lost: Intersecting landuse and landscape dynamics in the upland Southwest. Ecology and Society 11(2):Art. 22. (link )


Barton, M., J. Bernabeu Auban, O. Garcia Puchol, S. Schmich and L. Molina Balaguer. 2004. Long-term socioecology and contingent landscapes. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 11:253-395.

Riel-Salvatore, J. and M. Barton. 2004. Late Pleistocene technology, economic behavior, and land-use dynamics in southern Italy. American Antiquity 69(2):273-290.


Barton, M., J. Bernabeu, J. E. Aura, O. Garcia and N. La Roca. 2002. Dynamic landscapes, artifact taphonomy, and landuse modeling in the western Mediterranean. Geoarchaeology 17(2):155-190.


Bernabeu, J., M. Barton and M. P. Ripoll. 2001. A taphonomic perspective on Neolithic beginnings: Theory, interpretation, and empirical data in the western Mediterranean. Journal of Archaeological Science 28:597-612.

Puchol, O. G. and M. Barton. 2001. Las ocupaciones prehistóricas del Barranc de l'Encantada (Beniarrés, Alacant): Un primer blanace de la intervención auqueológica en al Área. Recerques del Museu d'Alcoi 10(25-42):.


Bernabeu, J., M. Barton, O. Garcia and N. La Roca. 2000. Systemic survey in Alicante, Spain: First results. Tükiye Bilimer Akademisi Arkeoloji Dergisi 3:57-86.


Barton, M., J. Bernabeu, J. E. Aura and O. Garcia. 1999. Landscape dynamics and socioeconomic change: An example from the Polop Alto Valley. American Antiquity 64(4):609-634.

Bernabeu, J., M. Barton, O. Garcia and N. La Roca. 1999. Prospecciones sistemáticas en el valle del Alcoi (Alicante): primeros resultados. Arqueologia Espacial 21:29-64.


Bonillo, V. V., J. E. Aura and M. Barton. 1998. The Upper Paleolithic in Mediterranean Spain: A review of current evidence. Journal of World Prehistory 12(2):121-198.


Barton, M. 1997. Preface. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 7(1):iii-v. DOI: 10.1525/ap3a.1997.7.1.iii.

Barton, M. 1997. Stone tools, style, and social identity: An evolutionary perspective on the archaeological record. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 7(1):141-156. DOI: 10.1525/ap3a.1997.7.1.141. (link )

Barton, M. and G. A. Clark. 1997. Evoluionary theory in archaeological explanation. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 7(1):3-15. DOI: 10.1525/ap3a.1997.7.1.3. (link )

Clark, G. A. and M. Barton. 1997. Rediscovering Darwin. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association 7(1):309-319. DOI: 10.1525/ap3a.1997.7.1.309.


Barton, M. and M. P. Neeley. 1996. Phantom cultures of the Levantine Eipipaleolithic. Antiquity 70(267):139-147.

Barton, M., D. I. Olszewski and N. R. Coinman. 1996. Beyond the graver: Reconsidering burin function. Journal of Field Archaeology 23(1):111-125.


Barton, M., G. A. Clark and A. Cohen. 1994. Art as information: Explaining Paleolithic art in Europe. World Archaeology 26(2):184-206.

Neeley, M. P. and M. Barton. 1994. A new approach to interpreting Late-Pleistocene microlith industries in southwest Asia. Antiquity 68(259):275-288.


Barton, M., I. G. Perarnau, E. M. MacMinn-Barton, N. La Roca Cervigon, J. Bernabeu and J. E. Aura. 1992. Informe preliminar sobre la prospección de la Vall del Barxell-Polop (Alcoi-Alacant). Recerques del Museu d'Alcoi 1:81-84.

Rubio Gomis, F. and M. Barton. 1992. Abric de la Falguera: avance preliminar. Anales de la Real Academica de Cultura Valenciana 69:15-30.


Barton, M. 1990. Beyond style and function: A view from the Middle Paleolithic. American Anthropologist 92(1):57-92.

Barton, M. 1990. Modèles de variabilité dans les outils du Paléolithique moyen. L'Anthropologie 93(1):307-310.

Barton, M. 1990. Stone tools and Paleolithic settlement in the Iberian peninsula. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 56:15-32.

Barton, M., F. Rubio Gomis, C. A. Miksicek and D. G. Donahue. 1990. Domestic olive. Nature 346:518-519.

Olszewski, D. I. and M. Barton. 1990. A note on biases in early excavations at Mugharet el-Wade and Nahal Oren. Levant 22(43-46):.


Barton, M. 1983. Archeological survey in northeastern Death Valley National Monument. Publications in Anthropology 23. DOI: 10.6067/XCV8XK8DC6. (link )



Alessa, L., A. Kliskey, M. Altaweel, M. Barton, S. Bankes, E. Bondizio, D. Brown, J. Feddema, C. Grier, J. Liu, E. F. Moran, J. Ozik, T. Park, W. Rand, S. Wang and D. Rogers. 2015. Best Practices for Integrating Social Sciences into Social Ecological Systems Science: Future Directions for Building a More Resilient America. Center for Resilient Communities, University of Idaho. Moscow, ID. ISBN: 978-0-692-45080-2. (link )


Barton, M., G. A. Clark, D. Yesner and G. Pearson eds. 2004. The Settlement of the American Continents: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Human Biogeography. University of Arizona Press. Tucson. ISBN: 978-0-8165-2323-8.


Barton, M. 1988. Lithic Variability and Middle Paleolithic Behavior: New Evidence from the Iberian Peninsula. BAR International Series 408, Oxford.

Book Chapters


Pardo-Gordo, S., S. M. Bergin, J. Bernabeu Auban and M. Barton. 2017. Alternative stories of agricultural origins: The Neolithic spread in the Iberian Peninsula. Pp. 101-134 In: Garcia-Puchol, O. and D. C. Salazar-Garcia eds., Times of Neolithic Transition along the Western Mediterranean. Springer. ISBN: 978-3319529370.


Barton, C. M. 2016. From narratives to algorithms: Extending archaeological explanation beyond archaeology. In: Isendahl, C. and D. Stump eds., The Oxford Handbook of Historical Ecology and Applied Archaeology. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199672691.013.2. ISBN: 9780199672691. (link )

Barton, C. M. and J. Riel-Salvatore. 2016. A Lithic perspective on ecological dynamics in the Upper Pleistocene of western Eurasia. Pp. Chapter 2 In: Sullivan III, A. P. and D. I. Olszewski eds., Archaeological Variability and Interpretation in Global Perspective. University of Colorado Press. Boulder, CO. ISBN: 978-1-60732-493-5.


Sarjoughian, H., G. R. Meyer, I. Ullah and C. M. Barton. 2015. Managing hybrid model composition complexity: Human-environment simulation models. Pp. 107-134 In: Yilmaz, L. ed., Concepts and Methodologies for Modeling and Simulation: A Tribute to Tuncer Oren. Springer International Publishing Switzerland. ISBN: 978-3319150956.


Barton, M. 2013. Stories of the past or science of the future? Archaeology and computational social science. Pp. 151-178 In: Bevan, A. and M. Lake eds., Computational Approaches to Archaeological Spaces. Taylor & Francis. ISBN: 978-1611323467.

Bernabeu Auban, J., A. Moreno Martin and M. Barton. 2013. Complex systems, social networks and the evolution of social complexity in the East of Spain from the Neolithic to pre-Roman times. Pp. 53-73 In: Cruz Berrocal, M., L. Garcia Sanjuan and A. Gilman eds., The Prehistory of Iberia: Debating Early Social Stratification and the State. Routledge. ISBN: 978-0415885928.

Mitasova, H., M. Barton, I. Ullah, J. Hofierka and R. S. Harmon. 2013. GIS-based soil erosion modeling. Pp. 228-258 In: Bishop, M. P. ed., Treatise on Geomorphology: Remote Sensing and GIScience in Geomorphoilogy. Vol 3. Elsevier Inc.. ISBN: 978-0-08-088522-3 . (link )


Barton, M. 2008. General fitness, transmission, and human behavioral systems. Pp. 112-119 In: Obrien, N. J. ed., Cultural Transmission. Society for American Archaeology Press. Washington.

Diez Castillo, A., M. Barton, N. La Roca Cervigon and J. Bernabeu Auban. 2008. Landscape socioecology in the Serpis Valley (10000-4000 BP). In: Posluschny, A., K. Lambers and I. Herzog eds., Layers of Perception: Proceedings of the 35th CAPP Conference, Berlin, 2007. Dr. Rudolf Habel GmbH Kolloquien zur Vor und Fruhgeschichte. Bonn.

Indruszewski, G. and M. Barton. 2008. Cost surface DEM modeling of Viking Age seafaring in the Baltic Sea. Pp. 56-64 In: Frescher, B. and A. Dakouri-Hild eds., Beyon Illustration 2D and 3D Digital Technologies as Tools for Discovery in Archaeology. British Archaeological Reports. Oxford.

Indruszewski, G. and M. Barton. 2008. Simulating sea surfaces for modeling Viking Age seafaring in the Baltic Sea. Pp. 616-630 In: Clark, J. T. and E. Hagemeister eds., Digital Discovery: Exploring New Frontiers in Human Heritage, CAA 2006. Computer applications and Quantitative Methods in Archa. Archaeolingua. Budapest.



Barton, M. and M. Baumler. 1975. Archeological Survey and Inventory of the Middle Walnut Watershed Area of Butler, Cowley, Sedgwick and Sumner Counties, South-Central Kansas. Museum of Anthropology, University of Kansas. Project Report Series 25. (link )