“Ze tane mahavelo ka tanendraza.”

The land that sustains you is the land of the ancestors.
Boats in Madagascar
Aloe fiber
Madagascar Cave
Madagascar citizen on small boat

Searching for Answers in Madagascar

Welcome to the Olo Be Taloha Lab. Olo Be Taloha means “Elders of the Past” in Malagasy. Our research investigates human-environment interactions on islands and in coastal regions, with an emphasis on Madagascar and the Western Indian Ocean. We integrate archaeological, ethnohistorical, ethnographic, ecological and geospatial methods and theories to address questions about the co-evolution of people, climate, landscapes and seascapes.

Undergirding our research is a commitment to inclusive and co-produced research. This involves developing collaborative relationships with local, descendant and indigenous communities, integrating distinct ways of generating, recording and transmitting knowledge, and confronting the dissonances and inequalities inherent in scientific research that impacts communities with limited or no power in its design, implementation and dissemination. Our team’s collaborative approach was featured on the cover of the October 2018 issue of Nature magazine and in an article on co-produced scientific research.

Group of smiling people

Interested in joining the Olo Be Taloha Lab?

The lab is currently accepting applications from undergraduate researchers to grow our team! We are looking for students who are interested in learning about African environmental archaeology. Students must be highly responsible, reliable, motivated, and dedicated to conducting high-quality collaborative work. While the lab makes the transition to our new home at Columbia University we may have limited availability for new students, but please contact us for the most up-to-date information. Learn More

News and Events

Kristina Douglass

Kristina Douglass, an associate professor and the first faculty hire for the Columbia Climate School, discusses her career path, ongoing research, and the courses she plans to teach at the Columbia Climate School. Read More

Kristina Douglass

Columbia Climate School Announces First Faculty Hire

Archaeologist and anthropologist Kristina G. Douglass has been appointed as an Associate Professor of Climate, the first faculty hire for the Columbia Climate School. Douglass, whose research focuses on investigating human-environment interaction in Madagascar, integrates archaeological, palaeoecological and biological data to understand the dynamic relationship between communities and their environment over time. Learn More