Grad Students

Marcus Thomson

Contact Information

Email    zizroc[at]ucla[dot]edu
Office  Not Available
Societal responses to Holocene climate change

I am interested in long term societal responses to a dynamic climate. I am researching occupational changes of early agriculturalists in the Great Basin of the American Southwest, and in the Fayum depression in Egypt. In the Southwest, I focus on a period of time between about AD 800-1350, aka the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA); and in Egypt I concentrate on the abandonment of the Neolithic Fayum about 6000 years ago. Field sites in the Fayum, Egypt, and alpine Utah.

Fields of Study

Paleoclimatology, Biogeography, Geoarchaeology, GIST, Climate Models


Prof. Glen M. MacDonald, IoES, UCLA Geography & Biology (chair)

Prof. Greg Okin, UCLA Geography

Prof. Yongwei Sheng, UCLA Geography & IoES 

Prof. Willeke Wendrich, Cotsen Center of Archaeology & UCLA Near Eastern Languages and Cultures


Helin Research Travel Grant (Fall 2014)

Graduate Summer Research Mentor (GSRM) fellowship (Summer 2014) 

Departmental Registration Fee Grant (Fall 2013) 

Graduate Research Mentorship (GRM) fellowship (2012-13) 

Graduate Summer Research Mentor (GSRM) fellowship (Summer 2012) 

Carl Reinhardt Fellowship (2001-2003)


Quaternary climate change in arid environments. Concentration on climate change associated with disruptions to early agriculturalists in Egypt and the Great Basin, US Southwest; also, origins of agriculture, plant pre-domestication, societal complexity. Field sites in the Fayum, Egypt, and the beautiful mountains of Utah.


Ph.D. student (biogeography & paleoclimatology), UCLA

M.Sc. (neutrino astrophysics) & B.Sc. (hons. physics), Queen's University, Canada


"Reconstructing conditions for Fremont Zea mays horticulture", PACLIM Conference 2015, Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA, March 2015. Poster.

"Holocene Nile paleohydrology and eastern Mediterranean paleohydroclimatology", Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting, Tampa, April 2014.

"A critical review of Holocene paleohydrology and paleohydroclimatology of the Nile and Eastern Mediterranean," 78th annual Society for American Archaeologists meeting, Honolulu, April 2013. 

"Applying paleoclimatological methods to study occupational change in an archaeological site," 6th annual Earth and Planetary Sciences Student Symposium, Los Angeles, April 2013. 

"Holocene geoarchaeology and biogeography in the Fayum, Egypt," (poster) 67th annual California Geographical Society Conference, San Luis Obispo, April 2013. Poster.