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Westfield State student and professor co-author article published in “North American Archaeologist”

Research conducted by Westfield State University’s Robert Bristow, Ph.D., professor of geography, planning, & sustainability, and undergraduate student Anna Therien, has been published in the North American Archaeologist journal.

Their work, titled “Discovering archaeological landscapes in parks and protected areas,” examines how Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) can be used to monitor cultural resources in parks and other protected areas. They studied the Appalachian Trail using this method combined with records identifying historical archaeological resources. “The use of remote sensing imagery gives researchers another tool to find historic cultural features in the backcountry of our public lands,” said Dr. Bristow.

A senior from Woonsocket, R.I., Therien has a double major in regional planning and environmental science. “I really enjoyed the research because it was related to my interest with Geographic Information Systems (GIS),” said Therien, “but I also knew how valuable it could be to organizations like the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the National Park Service.”

Therien admitted that publishing research “is something I never thought I would do, especially as an undergraduate. I am extremely proud and happy that I had the opportunity to work on this independent research that led to this great accomplishment.”

Dr. Bristow earned a Ph.D. in geography from Southern Illinois University and both his B.S. and M.A. in geography and environmental planning from Towson University. In addition to teaching, he authors a blog named Recreation Geography.

To access the article, visit

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