Bones Don’t Lie and Bioarchaeology at AAA 2015

It has been a busy semester- I’m applying for jobs and finishing up my dissertation. Luckily, next week I get a nice break. I’m going to be attending and presenting at the American Anthropological Association in Denver, CO. If you’re interested in meeting me and getting a sticker- you can find me in Denver and come to my talk!

I’ll be presenting as part of a session I’m co-chairing with April Beisaw called “Ghosts, Spirits and the Strange or Otherworldly”. This session brings together archaeologists and cultural anthropologists who explore the ghost stories and unusual objects of cultures past and present. The speakers strive to bring the unpredictable and experiential nature of the otherworldly to their research, for one of the things that makes this topic so fascinating is the sense that anything can happen when interacting with ghosts, spirits, and strange objects. The session takes place on Saturday, November 21, 2015: 4:00 PM-5:45 PM (which sadly overlaps with the European Bioarchaeology session). I’ll be presenting in the session at 4:30 PM on “The Seduction of Spirits and the Sensational: Using the Otherworldly to Open Archaeological Dialogues”, which examines how we can use sensational digs and topics in bioarchaeology as ways to engage the public in real discussions about archaeology. Other talks in the session include:

  • 4:00 PM: Northern Cultures, Northern Spirits: Intersecting Ritual, Landscape and Archaeology in Indigenous Oral Traditions, by Nicole A Raslich (Michigan State University)
  • 4:15 PM: The Strange Ghosts Who Dance and the Familiar Stories They Tell in Benin, West Africa, by Timothy Robert Landry (Trinity College)
  • 4:30 PM: The Seduction of Spirits and the Sensational: Using the Otherworldly to Open Archaeological Dialogues, by Katy Meyers Emery (Michigan State University)
  • 4:45 PM: “Archaeologists Discover Evidence of Lost Continent in Ohio”: Strange Relics of a Complicated Past and Haunted Future, by Jeb J Card (Miami University, Department of Anthropology)
  • 5:00 PM: Burden of Proof: Standards of Evidence in Paranormal Research, by Michele M Hanks (Case Western Reserve University) and Janny Li (University of California, Irvine)
  • 5:15 PM: Discussant- April M Beisaw (Vassar College)

But there are so many other bioarchaeology and mortuary archaeology related talks to attend, as well as some interesting discussions of death and dying in the modern world! Here’s a preliminary list for those interested!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015: 2:00 PM-3:45 PM

Session: The Ch’orti’ Maya Area: Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador? Ancient and Historical Past

  • 2:45 PM: The Bioarchaeology of Identity in Honduras: New Evidence for Biological Diversity and Cross-Cultural Complexity at Late Classic Copan, by Katherine A Miller (Indiana University East)

Session: The Politics of Health and Ritual Practices: Ethnographic Perspectives

  • 3:00 PM: Honoring the Dead: The Social and Health Implications of Mortuary Rituals in Neoliberal Romania, by Gerard A Weber (Bronx Community College of the City University of New York)

Thursday, November 19, 2015: 8:00 AM-9:45 AM

Session: The Bioarchaeology of Ethnogenesis: Integrating Theory, Narrative and Biocultural History

  • 8:00 AM: Cultural Affinity and Ethnic Identity Along the Great Wall of China, by Christine Lee (California State University, Los Angeles)
  • 8:15 AM: Bioarchaeology, Ethnogenesis and the Construction  of Social Identities in Late Antiquity, by Jorge López Quiroga (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
  • 8:30 AM: A Bioarchaeological Contribution to Early Medieval Gentes, by Charisse Carver (Arizona State University)
  • 8:45 AM: Ethnogenesis on the Eve of Inka Expansion: The Case of the Collaguas, a Late Prehispanic Ethnic Group from the Southern Peruvian Andes, by Matthew Carlos Velasco (Vanderbilt University)
  • 9:00 AM: Migrating People and Moving Ideas: Reevaluating the Ethnogenesis of Aztec Ruins, by Ryan P Harrod (University of Alaska Anchorage) and Alyssa Willett (University of Alaska Anchorage)
  • 9:15-9:30 AM- Discussants Scott G Ortman (University of Colorado-Boulder) and  Christopher Stojanowski (Arizona State Univ)

Friday, November 20, 2015: 1:45 PM-3:30 PM

Session: In Search of Women in the Paleolithic

  • 2:30 PM: Bioarchaeology of Gendered Labor in the Middle and Upper Paleolithic, by Virginia Hutton Estabrook (Armstrong State University)

Saturday, November 21, 2015: 1:45 PM-3:30 PM

Session: Material Ethics, Vital Theory: Death, Dying and Injury in Africa

  • 1:45 PM: Parting with Life: Death and Dying in Northwest Zambia, by Sonia Silva (Skidmore College)
  • 2:00 PM: Wholeness and Ashes: Cremation As Ethical Aporia in Swaziland’s Funeral Culture, by Casey Golomski (University of the Witwatersrand)
  • 2:15 PM: Re-Articulating Remains: Mass Grave Exhumation and Genocide Corpses in Rwanda, by Laura Major (University of Edinburgh)
  • 2:30 PM: Material and Virtual Commemoration in Post-Genocide Rwanda, by Andrea Mariko Grant (University of Cambridge)
  • 2:45 PM: “We Are the Living Dead”: Morality and Embodiment in a Cairo Cemetery Squatter Community, by Marwa Ghazali (University of Kansas)
  • 3:00 PM: Discussant- Bilinda S Straight (Western Michigan University)

Saturday, November 21, 2015: 4:00 PM-5:45 PM

Session: Advances in European Bioarchaeology and Mortuary Analysis

  • 4:00 PM: Labret Use Among the Pavlovian Peoples of Mid Upper Paleolithic Central Europe: A New Interpretation of the Buccal Wear Facets at Brno III, Dolní Vestonice, Pavlov, and Predmostí, by John C Willman (Washington University in St. Louis, Department of Anthropology)
  • 4:15 PM: Death Politics: A Micro-Archaeological Analysis of Bronze Age Burials at Kajászó, Hungary, by Tamas Polanyi (Northwestern University)
  • 4:30 PM: Romano-British Decapitation Practices: Familiar, Strange or Different? by Shaheen Christie (University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee)
  • 4:45 PM: Cranial Deformation in Romania, by Erin Coward (New Mexico State University)
  • 5:00 PM: Vampire Burials in Poland, by Katherine Scot Jackson (New Mexico State University) and Kathryn Raye Holmes (New Mexico State University)

Session: Advances in Exploring Etnogenesis and Ethnic Inequality in the (Bio)Archaeological Record

  • 4:00 PM: Defining Oneself: Crafting Ethnic Identity in the Late Intermediate Period Atacama Desert, by Mark Hubbe (Ohio State University), Christina Torres-Rouff (UC Merced), Emily Stovel (Ripon College) and Kelly Knudson (Arizona State University)
  • 4:15 PM: Embodiment, Stigma, Disease, and Identity Formation: Historical, Biochemical, and Bioarchaeological Evidence for “Marginalized People” with Acquired Syphilis in 17th to 19th Century London, by Molly Kathleen Zuckerman (Mississippi State University)
  • 4:30 PM: Archaeological Perspectives on Ethnogenesis in Native North America, by Christopher B Rodning (Tulane University)
  • 4:45 PM: Entangled (Pre) Histories: Albanian Ethnic Identities, Past and Present, by Sylvia Deskaj (Michigan State University)
  • 5:00 PM: Socio-Economic Change and Identity Creation on the Copacabana Peninsula (800 BC – AD 200), by Sara L. Juengst (Appalachian State University)
  • 5:15 PM: Unpacking the Biology of Ethnogenetic Change: What Biodistance Can and Cannot Say about Identity Transformation, by Christopher Stojanowski (Arizona State Univ)

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