Research project title: Tracking the decline of Atlantic salmon in the Medieval North Sea basin
Supervisor/s: Dr. David Orton and Dr. Michelle Alexander
Funding : Early Stage Researcher 5 within the SeaChanges Innovative Training Network. Funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research programme, under Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 813383.
My project aims to track the changing exploitation of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) throughout the Medieval period (circa 500-1500CE) in human settlements around the North Sea basin, and assess the extent to which noted declines in salmon exploitation can be linked to human activity. This work entails a broad comparative study on North Sea Medieval sites, including those in England, Scotland, northern France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and northern Germany, with special focus on any previously identified salmonid remains present at these locations. The species-level identification of archaeological salmonid (Salmo salar and Salmo trutta) bone material will be approached using stable isotope, ZooMS collagen fingerprinting, and zooarchaeological analytical techniques. Isotope profiles of salmonids and comparative marine and freshwater species will be analysed to understand sourcing of salmon and trout at key Medieval sites.
The results from this broad assessment of North Sea salmonids will be combined with secondary historical records, archaeological reports, and other key documents to supplement the interpretation of medieval sites with significant Atlantic salmon presence. These interpretative strategies will aid in understanding the impact that broad trends in human agricultural and mercantile activities in the North Sea basin had on Atlantic salmon exploitation. I will ultimately use this data to explore the impact of these medieval agricultural and industrial revolutions on human-salmon interactions in the past, and develop a suite of identification techniques to assist archaeologists in differentiating archaeological salmonid species and understanding their cultural and economic importance during the historical period spanning 500-1500C.
My training includes an Honours BA in Anthropology from the University of Toronto where I produced a 4th-year zooarchaeological assessment project on a 19th-century Ontario farm site and began specializing in animal bone analysis. I then began working for the City of Boston Archaeology Program where I was an digitization assistant for a variety of historical period sites managed by the Program. From 2017-2019 I completed a MA in Historical Archaeology at the University of Massachusetts-Boston and produced a zooarchaeological thesis focused on 19th-century foodways, and the impact of dietary, social, and domestic reform movements on the diet at a 19th-century girls school in Boston. In addition to academic study, I have worked in collections management at the Harvard Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, managed social media outreach and science communication for the Society for Historical Archaeology, worked on diversity and inclusion initiatives for a variety of academic and non-academic organizations, and worked as a field archaeologist.
Cross-disciplinary research interests include:
2019 “The diet has been altered as agreed upon & is now very satisfactory”: Socioeconomic Factors and Dietary Reform at the Dorchester Industrial School for Girls. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses: University of Massachusetts - Boston. 2766570. https://search.proquest.com/docview/2353151333.
Selected archaeological site report contributions:
2020 - Appendix I: Feature 1 Rodent Analysis. Contained within ‘Report for Archaeological Intensive (Locational) and Site Examination Survey of Washington Garden at Old North Church, Boston (North End), Massachusetts. Prepared by Joseph Bagley, Meghan Sheehan, and Sarah Keklak. City of Boston Archaeology Program.
2018 - Report for Archaeological Intensive (Locational) and Site Examination Survey at the Industrial School for Girls, 232 Centre Street., Dorchester, Massachusetts. Prepared by Joseph Bagley, Sarah Johnson, Maddie Penney, Liz M. Quinlan, Alexandra Crowder, Jennifer Poulsen, Samuel Stansel and Andrew Glyman. City of Boston Archaeology Program.
2020 The Puppy in the Pit: Osteobiography of an 18th-century Dog from Charlestown, MA. Presented at the 2020 Inaugural meeting of the Zooarchaeology of the Modern Era Working Group (ZMEWG) of theInternational Council for Archaeozoology. Virtual meeting, December 4.
2020 A Review of Medieval North Sea Salmonid Exploitation (500CE-1500CE). Presented at the 2020 Society for Medieval Archaeology Student Colloquium. Online presentation, December 2.
2019 “The diet has been altered as agreed upon & is now very satisfactory”: Socioeconomic Factors and Dietary Reform at the Dorchester Industrial School for Girls. Presented at the ‘Historical Questions - Zooarchaeological Questions: New Perspectives on Combining History, Archaeology, and Zooarchaeology’ workshop held at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
2019 Excavating the Timeline: ‘Slow’ Theoretical Development in a Digital Age. Presented at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science in New Orleans, LA, USA.
2019 Excavating the Timeline: ‘Slow’ Theoretical Development in a Digital Age. Presented at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Theoretical Archaeology Group - North America in Syracuse, NY, USA.
2019 ‘... and his wife Sally’: The Binford Legacy and Uncredited Work in Archaeology. Presented at the 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Albuquerque, NM, USA. part of the American Anthropological Association-sponsored Electronic Symposium entitled “Sins of Our Ancestors (and of Ourselves): Confronting Archaeological Legacies”.
2019 The Pied Piper of Boston: A Zooarchaeological Analysis of Rats at the Unity Court Tenements. Presented at the 2019 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology in St. Charles, MO, USA.
2018 Provisions, Possessions and Positionality: Zooarchaeology of the Dorchester Industrial School for Girls. Presented at the 2018 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology in New Orleans, LA, USA.
Instructor and content developer for two short course lecture series, taught as part of OLLI’s 2018 Fall and 2019 Spring Terms. One course titled “Myth, Magic and Material Culture of New England” focused on the archaeology of ritual and magic, the other “Becoming Human” focused on site specific case studies highlighting technological, cultural and biological features of the human and hominid past. Syllabi available.
YorNight 2020: Animal Bones in Archaeology