Dr. Ortman's research focuses on historical anthropology, or the integration of theory and data from many fields to understand the long-term histories of indigenous peoples. He is especially interested in the causes and consequences of major transitions - periods when new societies formed, old ones collapsed, or new scales of organization emerged. As examples, he has investigated Tewa Pueblo origins in the Northern Rio Grande region of New Mexico; the growth and collapse of villages in the Mesa Verde region of Colorado; and more recently, the accumulation of social complexity on a global scale. Ortman is currently working on the Neolithic Revolution in the U.S. Southwest in collaboration with Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and the CU Museum of Natural History, the emergence of towns in the Tewa Basin, and complex systems approaches to human societies in collaboration with the Santa Fe Institute.
archaeology, historical anthropology, cognitive and historical linguistics, evolution, social development, complex systems, material culture, US Southwest, North America