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Gerald Bigelow has conducted research in the archeology and historical ecology of various regions across the North Atlantic. He has participated in archeological projects in the Northeastern US, Greenland, Iceland, the United Kingdom, and France, but his primary study area is the Shetland Islands, Britain’s northernmost archipelago. As director of the NSF-funded Shetland Islands Climate and Settlement Project, Bigelow coordinates a team of archaeologists, geologists and historians studying the causes and human impacts of extreme environmental changes on Shetland coasts over the past two thousand years.
Bigelow currently teaches the interdisciplinary INDS219 Environmental Archeology, INDS208 Introduction to Medieval Archeology, FYS324 Archeology of the Celtic World, and INDSs27 The Viking World: Archeology and Ethnohistory courses, which are cross-listed in Anthropology and History. He also directs excavations of the Broo Site, a central part of the new study abroad short term course INDSs24 Shetland Islands: Field Archeology that is taught by Professor Michael Jones, Department of History.
In addition to investigating the interactions of climate change and northern human populations, Bigelow is involved in studies of early fishing economies and the rise of commercial fishing, the role of trade in peasant economies, and the general applications of methods in geoarchaeology, ethnoarcheology and ethnohistory in historical ecology research.