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UMMAA Brown Bag: Jess Beck and Bree Doering

Thursday, October 1, 2015
12:00 AM
2009 Ruthven Museum

Jess Beck, Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology, University of Michigan

Piecing together the puzzle: The bioarchaeology of early complex societies in Iberia

This talk introduces current bioarchaeological research on a large-scale Copper Age (c. 4,000-5,000 BP) enclosure site in Jaén, Spain. The presentation will discuss the unique challenges presented by working with salvage-excavated collections, and describe the various methodological strategies (including fragmentation-zonation approaches, dental analysis and gray literature research) used to facilitate the collection and analysis of data from fragmentary and commingled human skeletal remains. Finally, initial results describing patterning in burial treatment, mobility, and diet will be presented as a means of reconstructing social organization at some of the earliest large-scale villages in Iberia.

Bree Doering, Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology, University of Michigan

The Effects of Cooking on the Isotopic Composition of Alaskan Fauna - Preliminary Results

It has been demonstrated that certain food preparation techniques can alter isotopic composition, such as heating and fermentation (Brettal et al 2012).  While it is known that cooking can alter isotopic composition, the impact of heat and fermentation on Alaskan fauna has yet to be studied.  Archaeologists are beginning to unravel the complex subsistence practices that were employed throughout prehistory in Alaska, but the antiquity of ethnographically documented preservation techniques such as smoking and fermentation remains elusive. Profiling the impact of preservation techniques on isotopic composition will provide a better understanding of isotopic variation specific to the fauna of this region, and may lead to a greater understanding of prehistoric caching and other early survival strategies in Alaska.