VAN DER LEEUW, SANDER ERNST / Anthropology / Researchers

International Center for Scientific Research




Professor of Anthropology
Director, School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Dean, School of Sustainability
Senior Sustainability Scientist, Global Institute of Sustainability
Co-Director, Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative
Director, Consortium for Biosocial Complex Systems
Ph.D., Archaeology, University of Amsterdam

Research interests

An archaeologist and historian by training, van der Leeuw\'s personal research interests are in the study of long-term dynamics of socio-environmental systems, reconstruction of ancient technologies, (ancient and modern) regional man-land relationships, invention and innovation, urban dynamics, geographic information systems, modeling and complex systems theory. In the last 15 years, he has focused on bringing trans-disciplinary approaches to these domains.

Since 1992, he has (co-)coordinated a series of major research projects financed by the European Union in the area of socio-natural interactions and environmental problems. Among these projects are ARCHAEOMEDES I (1992-1994) and ARCHAEOMEDES II (1996-1999), concerned with understanding and modeling the natural and anthropogenic causes of desertification, land degradation and land abandonment and their spatial manifestations, using the complex systems approach. The team of 65 researchers from 11 European institutions included practitioners from physics, mathematics and computing, via geology, hydrology and the life sciences to sociology, social anthropology, history and archaeology. The fieldwork spanned all the countries along the northern Mediterranean rim. The \"Environmental Communication\" project (1996-8) studied the difficulties of communication between scientists and decision-makers, while the MODULUS project (1997-1999) modeled land-use decision making from a complex systems perspective. The ISCOM project (The Information Society as a Complex System, 2003-2006) investigated the relationship between innovation and urban dynamics. Currently, he is coordinating the Phoenix Innovation Study, funded by the Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation, for ASU.

Research Projects:
Integrating Socio-Ecological Sciences Through a Community Modeling Framework
Mediterranean Landscape Dynamics
The Phoenix Innovation Study
The Promise and Challenge of Archaeological Data Integration


van der Leeuw, S. & Kohler, T. (Eds.) (2007) The model-based archaeology of socio-natural systems. Santa Fe, NM: School of Advanced Research.

van der Leeuw, S., Favory, F. & Fiches, J.-L. (Eds.) (2003). Archéologie et systèmes socio-environnementaux: études multiscalaires sur la vallée du Rhône dans le programme ARCHAEOMEDES Valbonne: Presses du CNRS (Monographies du CRA).

van der Leeuw, S. & Lévèque C. (Eds.) (2003). Quelles natures voulons nous? Pour une approche socio-écologique du champ de l\'environnement. Paris: Elsevier.

van der Leeuw, S. (1998). The Archaeomedes Project - Understanding the natural and anthropogenic causes of land degradation and desertification in the Mediterranean. Luxemburg: Office for Official Publications of the European Union.

van der Leeuw, S., Pumain, D. et al. (1998) Des Oppida aux métropoles Paris : Anthropos (Collection Villes).

van der Leeuw, S. & McGlade, J. (Eds.) (1997). Archaeology: Time, process and structural transformations. London: Routledge.

van der Leeuw, S. (Ed.) (1995). L\'Homme et la dégradation de l\'environnement. Antibes : APDCA (Actes du XVe Colloque international d\'archéologie et d\'histoire d\'Antibes).

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