Bioarchaeology

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A Bioarchaeological and Biogeochemical Approach to Tiwanaku Childhoods: Intersecting Social Identities and Local Biologies in the Andes

In this project, bioarchaeological and biogeochemical data from archaeological human remains at Tiwanaku-affiliated sites in the Bolivian Lake Titicaca Basin heartland and the Moquegua Valley hinterland of southern Peru will be used to address questions regarding the complex constructions of several intersecting social identities. While also incorporating gender, class and community identities, we focus particularly on age identities, the experiences of juveniles in the Tiwanaku polity and reconstructions of Andean childhoods.

Blood collection tubes

Anthropology of Host-Pathogen Co-Evolution

This project examines the co-evolution of humans and our pathogens using an anthropological perspective that incorporates both evolutionary time depth, and short-term individual and species histories.

TB stain

Ancient Tuberculosis in the Americas

This research addresses the issue of tuberculosis evolution in the Americas through the study of skeletal collections from throughout the Western Hemisphere, including those held at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). 

Sea lion on rocks

Ancient American Tuberculosis: Origin(s), Spread & Replacement

This project will provide insight into the process by which pathogens adapt to new hosts and the impact of human migration and interaction on the spread of pathogens in the past. Researchers will test the hypothesis that prehistoric TB in the Americas was caused by strains in the M. tuberculosis group or complex (specifically strains found in seals and sea lions) that “jumped” into humans and then spread from human to human, moving north from South America into Central and North America via trade routes.

TB mycobacterium

An Investigation of the Evolutionary History of Tuberculosis Using Ancient DNA

The goal of this project is to analyze ancient DNA from skeletal samples dating before, during and after the “Age of Exploration” that show evidence of tubercular bone lesions and integrate these data with those of modern strains of tuberculosis to assess the evolutionary history of tuberculosis and its effects on human history.

Researchers in the Keck Lab

Isotopic Taphonomy of Human Remains

In addition to providing forensic anthropologists with a better understanding of the isotopic changes that may or may not occur during decomposition, this project will also provide useful information for bioarchaeologists and biogeochemists.

Tiwanaku ruins in La Paz, Bolivia

Away from Home: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Migration within the Tiwanaku Periphery

This project will significantly alter current understandings of early South American complex polities, while the innovative interdisciplinary approach employed provides future researchers with the tools necessary to identify the significance of individual actors in large-scale and long-term social transformations. 

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