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CURRENT LAB MEMBERS

DR. PAUL SZPAK

Principal Investigator

Ph.D. Western University, 2013

B.A. (Honours) McMaster University, 2007

Paul Szpak is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Canada Research Chair in Archaeological Science at Trent University. As an undergraduate Paul worked at the Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry Laboratory at McMaster University and performed isotopic research on Pleistocene mammoths and marine fauna from British Columbia. Paul completed his doctoral studies in the Laboratory for Stable Isotope Science at Western University in 2013. His dissertation involved isotopic applications in the Andean region, specifically related to plant ecology, controlled studies examining fertilizers, and animal management practices. Paul held SSHRC, Killam and NSERC Banting postdoctoral fellowships in the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia from 2013-2016 using isotopic analysis to investigate the palaeoecology of Arctic marine ecosystems. Paul has worked at Trent University since 2016 and became Director of the Trent Water Quality Centre in 2021.

Paul directs a diverse research program centered on stable isotope analysis, supported by several major grants from the Tri-Council, which includes a SSHRC Insight Grant to investigate agricultural intensification and animal management practices in the Andes (2019-2024), an NSERC Discovery Grant supporting research into long term variation in Arctic marine ecosystems (2020-2025), and a SSHRC Insight Development Grant to advance our understanding of the diet and mobility of the ancestors of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes in the American Plains (2020-2022). These projects correspond to Paul’s broader research focus on applying chemical analyses to archaeological materials to better understand the interactions between humans, animals, plants, and their environments. He is involved in isotopic research all over the world, but presently focuses on two geographical areas: the Andean regions of northern Peru and Chile and the North American Arctic (Canada, Alaska, Greenland).

TEAL Awards and Honours

2018 Lowest δ15N Value

2018 Highest δ15N Value

2017, 2018 Lowest δ13C Value

2017, 2018 Highest δ13C Value

2017, 2018 People's Choice Award (Sample of the Year)

2021 Lab Olympics Gold Medal: Pipette transfer

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DR. MATHEW TEETER

Postdoctoral Fellow (2019-)

Ph.D. Western University, 2017

M.A. Western University, 2010

B.Sc. (Honours) Laurentian University, 2005

Matt’s academic journey began at Laurentian University, where he completed a B.Sc. (Honours) in Biology, specializing in Forensic Science. For his M.A at Western University, Matt performed uHPLC analysis of Adult Human teeth evaluating aspartic acid racemization as a means for determining age-at-death of an Individual. He also completed his doctoral studies at Western, carrying out for his dissertation on micro-CT (µCT) analysis and metric measurements of the first metatarsal to evaluate changes in bone density with increasing age of an ancient skeletal population from the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt; this research aimed to be a straightforward method for diagnosing osteoporosis prevalence in ancient skeletal populations. Presently, Matt is starting his third year as a postdoctoral fellow at TEAL and his second year as a course instructor in forensics and anthropology at Trent. His current projects involve stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses on bone collagen, tooth dentine, and hair of human remains from Baja, Mexico; Fortress of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia; and a monastery in Gurat, France. He is also investigating the diet and mobility of modern sheep from Mongolia, using carbon, nitrogen, and strontium isotopes. As a senior member of the TEAL team, Matt has begun the task of bringing the younger generation up-to-speed on essential pop culture references: The Simpsons, The Office, action movies of the 1980s and 1990s, etc. In the inaugural edition of the Lab Olympics, he was awarded first place in the parafilm ball shot put and the microbalance accuracy events, proving to his competitors that he - just like a ghostbuster - has the tools and the talent. Recently, he got a Basset Hound/Beagle puppy named Winston. Winston has aspirations of joining the team as junior lab mascot.

TEAL Awards and Honours

2020 Lowest δ15N Value

2021 Lab Olympics Gold Medal: Parafilm Shot put

2021 Lab Olympics Gold Medal: Microbalance Accuracy

KATE DOUGHERTY

Environmental & Life Sciences Ph.D. Candidate (2016-)

M.A. Western University, 2003

B.Sc. (Honours) Trent University, 2000

Project: Organic Residues in Middle to Early-Late Woodland Ceramics in the Kawartha Lakes Region.

Kate joined the Department of Anthropology in 2003 as a full-time teaching assistant, and now holds the position of Curator and Demonstrator/Technician. For her master's research at Western University, she reanalysed a Middle Woodland burial mound located on Rice Lake, focusing on skeletal biology, demographics, and mortuary patterning. After a three-year detour working in Greece, followed by some extensive work at Jacob Island in the Kawarthas and a few settler historical archaeology projects, she began part-time doctoral studies in 2016. Now a PhD candidate in Environmental and Life Sciences, her research uses organic residues preserved in pottery to examine diet shifts (hunter-fisher-forager to food production) in the Middle to Early-Late Woodland period in the Kawartha Lakes region.

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JENNIFER ROUTLEDGE

Environmental & Life Sciences Ph.D. Student (2020-)

M.A. Student (2018-20)

M.A. Trent University, 2020

B.Sc. (Honours) Trent University, 2018

TEAL Publications

Hyland C, Scott MB, Routledge J, Szpak P, 2021. Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Variability of Bone Collagen to Determine the Number of Isotopically Distinct Specimens. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. doi:10.1007/s10816-021-09533-7. [DOWNLOAD .pdf]

Project: Sulfur isotopes in Arctic marine ecosystems.

Jen is currently in the second year of the Environment and Life Sciences Ph.D. program. Jen previously completed her B.Sc (Honours) in Anthropology and M.A. in Anthropology at Trent University. She is currently studying the variation in stable sulfur isotopes to determine if there are differences among species, across time, and among different types of environments in Arctic marine systems. Jen also hopes to refine the quality control criteria for stable sulfur isotope measurements of ancient bone collagen. During her undergraduate degree, Jen was involved in research that utilized stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis to examine the impacts of changing sea ice conditions on polar bear ecology in Lancaster Sound (Canadian High Arctic). For her MA thesis project, Jen performed stable carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen isotope analyses on ostrich eggshells to research the range, commodification, and local extinction of Asian ostriches from the Far Eastern Steppe. In her free time, Jen enjoys glamping (not camping) and consuming any form of comical media she can find. Jen is the reigning axe throwing champion, having defeated Eric Guiry in the finals of the 2019 competition.

TEAL Awards and Honours

2019 Lowest δ15N Value

2021 Lab Olympics Gold Medal: Bone Cutting

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ADRIÁN GONZÁLEZ GÓMEZ DE AGÜERO

Anthropology M.A. Student (2020-)

M.A. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2019

B.A. Universitat de Barcelona, 2016

Project: Agropastoral practices at Cerro de Oro

Adrián is a half Spaniard-half Uruguayan Andean archaeologist with fieldwork experience both in Spain and Peru, ranging from the Spanish Palaeolithic and Andean first settlers to Spanish Civil War sites and a brief experience in underwater archaeology. After completing his Bachelors degree in Archaeology at the University of Barcelona, he moved to Peru, where he completed an MA in Archaeology with a major in Andean Studies. He has supervised fieldwork on the Cerro de Oro Archaeological Project (Cañete, Peru) since 2018. His research interests include food and diet studies in pre-Hispanic societies, stable isotope analysis, and early settlements in the Andes. Adrián’s proposed research project is identifying the use and impact of natural fertilizers through isotopic analysis of macrobotanical and zooarchaeological remains at Cerro de Oro during the Early Intermediate Period and Middle Horizon. When not in the lab, Adrián can be found drinking maté or cheering on the Uruguay national soccer team.

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BROOKE DRISCOLL

Anthropology M.A. Student (2021-)

B.Sc., Trent University, 2021

Project: Palaeodiet of Arctic Canids

Brooke is currently in the first year of her M.A in Anthropology at Trent. She completed her undergraduate studies at Trent as well, completing a Bsc in archaeology with a minor in biology. Their research with TEAL will involve examining the paleodiet of canids from archaeological sites in the Canadian Arctic through analysis of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes. The Arctic is a particular area of interest as Brooke's distaste for hot weather has influenced their love of the circumpolar North.  Outside of the lab, you can find Brooke running her custom embroidery business or playing for the Trent Women's Varsity Volleyball team. She has also claimed to be an excellent juggler but these claims have yet to be confirmed.

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NICOLE HULTQUIST

Anthropology M.A. Student (2021-)

B.Sc., University of Maryland, 2021

Project: Strontium Isotopes and the Geographic Origins of Ritually Sacrificed Llamas from northern Peru

Nicole is enrolled in the first year of the M.A. program in Anthropology. She completed her undergraduate degrees in anthropology and chemistry and the University of Maryland. Her thesis project will examine the geographic origins of llamas that were sacrificed at the site of Huaca Santa Clara in the Viru Valley on the north coast of Peru using strontium isotopes. In the future, Nicole hopes to examine topics related to human mobility and domestication. In her first year as a member of the TEAL team, Nicole is excited to learn new techniques, meet new colleagues, and experience a true Canadian winter.

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ANAHI MATURANA-FERNANDEZ

Anthropology M.A. Student (2021-)

B.A., Universidad de Chile, 2012

Project: Isotopic Perspectives on Agricultural Practices at San Pedro de Atacama

Anahi is a Chilean archaeologist with an undergraduate degree in physical anthropology from the University of Chile (Santiago). Since earning her degree she has worked as an archaeological consultant and has contributed to research in Andean Archaeology, lending her expertise in bioarchaeology to projects in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. Anahi is embarking on the first year of her Master’s degree at Trent University.  Her thesis project will involve stable isotope analysis of plant specimens from Middle Period and Late Intermediate Period contexts (400-1470 AD) at the site of San Pedro de Atacama. Anahi’s non-academic pursuits include knitting, crochet and sampling the local cuisines of new places...hopefully she likes poutine and butter tarts!

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MARIAH MILLER

Anthropology M.A. Student (2021-)

B.A., University of Lethbridge, 2019

Project: Palaeoecology of Pinnipeds from Northern Labrador

Mariah grew up in Lethbridge, Alberta. While attending the University of Lethbridge, Mariah majored in Archaeology and Geography –  all while captaining the Women’s basketball team. It was during this time that she developed an interest in faunal analyses and the Canadian arctic and sub-arctic cultures. In pursuing these interests further, Mariah has joined TEAL for her master’s degree. Mariah will be conducting isotopic analyses on seal remains from a site in northern Labrador. In her spare time Mariah enjoys reading, painting, and making pottery. She also loves visiting small historical/archaeological sites and museums. Not one to stay sedentary, Mariah enjoys traveling – her favourite place to visit so far has been Israel, where she has been fortunate enough to have done archaeological work on three different occasions. As a huge fan of cats and a proponent of the theory that Revenge of the Sith is the best Star Wars movie (it’s clearly not), Mariah would normally be an outcast in the TEAL lab, but her experience during high-level university athletics will allow TEAL to defeat their nemesis in competition… the dastardly Connelly Lab. One more thing to know about Mariah is her love of dill. She uses this seasoning on chips, popcorn, nuts, soups, chicken, etc, and she loves the use of dill pickles on pizza.   

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MADISON CURRAN

B.Sc. Thesis Student (2021-)

B.Sc. Trent University, 2022 (Anticipated)

Project: Comparison of Demineralization Temperatures in Bone Collagen Extraction

Madison is a fourth-year student completing a joint major in Forensic Science and Anthropology. Her undergraduate thesis research will examine how demineralization temperature impacts the yield, elemental, and isotopic compositions of extracted bone collagen for ancient and modern samples. Madison is an avid fan of true-crime podcasts, combining her interests in anthropology and forensics. She also enjoys painting nature and landscapes using acrylics.

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OLIVIA HALL

B.Sc. Thesis Student (2021-)

B.Sc. Trent University, 2022 (Anticipated)

Project: Isotopic Reconstruction of Dog Diets at Cerro de Oro, Peru

Originally from King, Ontario, Oliva is entering her fourth year at Trent and after the last three years, is excited to get some hands-on experience in the lab. Olivia is completing an honours thesis working with dog remains from Cerro de Oro, Peru (including some that were ritually sacrificed) to determine the diets of dogs in the area. After earning her B.Sc. in anthropology, Olivia hopes to continue her education earning her M.A. in anthropology. Through her experience in the TEAL lab Olivia hopes to open doors in the field as well as create future travel opportunities, maybe getting a chance to interact with her favourite primates: bonobos and capuchins. 

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JULIA McCUIAG

B.Sc. Thesis Student and Research Assistant (2021-)

B.Sc. Trent University, 2022 (Anticipated)

Project: Isotopic Reconstruction of Camelid Management Practices at Cerro de Oro, Peru

Julia is doing a B.Sc. in Anthropology and joined the lab as a research assistant in January 2021. She will be completing an honours thesis project in the 2021-22 academic year. Julia is also the president of the Trent Anthropology Society, where she plans anthropological- and archaeological-themed events for students. She also demonstrated her lab skills this summer, winning a gold medal in the Lab Olympics by weighing 5 collagen standards faster than her competitors, defeating the "old and washed-up" Dr. Szpak for the title - Julia was essentially the Usain Bolt of the event and is the odds-on favourite to retain her title in 2022. Julia is looking forward to gaining more lab experience and completing original research this year. When she isn’t busy with research, classes, winning gold medals, or running the Trent Anthropology Society, she spends her time crocheting with her adorable cat Percy.

TEAL Awards and Honours

2021 Lab Olympics Gold Medal: Microbalance Speed

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MELISSA MERCHANT

B.Sc. Thesis Student (2021-)

B.Sc. Trent University, 2022 (Anticipated)

Project: Isotopic Reconstruction of Guinea Pig Diets at Cerro de Oro, Peru

Melissa first began her undergraduate degree in forensics. While she credits forensics for providing her foundational science and lab skills, after a year she discovered that her true passion was anthropology. Her subsequent transfer to a double major in biology and anthropology eventually led her to us and we are happy to have her along. She will be studying guinea pig remains from Peru, particularly using stable isotopes to investigate what kinds of foods the guinea pigs were consuming. Very few isotopic studies have been done with guinea pigs so Melissa’s research will be illuminating. Her pet hamster might want to get in on the research programme! When Melissa isn’t in the lab or attending classes, she is probably reading, watching fantasy or sci-fi, or playing some sort of board or tabletop game. We have high hopes her rugby skills and double-jointed fingers will give us an advantage in inter-lab sporting events. Her advice to fellow students is to be open to learning and new experiences, and try a bit of everything. 

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TESSA GROGAN

Anthropology M.A. Student (2019-)

B.A. (Honours) The University of British Columbia, 2019

Project: Exploring camelid wool trade networks through carbon and nitrogen isotopic analysis of archaeological textiles from the Atacama Desert, northern Chile

Tessa's interest in archaeological science began when she took a class in nutritional archaeology at the University of British Columbia. Her undergraduate thesis put these analytical techniques into practice when she used X-Ray Fluorescence on Coast Salish weavings to identify mordants (metallic compounds that bind dyes to fibers) which impact the blankets' preservation and optimal conditions for curation. This thesis is now moving toward publication. Tessa has completed the first year of the MA program at Trent University and all the course work that entails.  Moving into her second year, she is spending a lot of time in the lab, generating data and perusing her hopes and dreams in stable isotope analysis.  Tessa has been disappointed in the low abundance of carnivorous plants in Ontario and feels their purported prevalence may have been exaggerated.

TEAL Awards and Honours

2021 Lab Olympics Silver Medal: Microbalance Accuracy

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JOY

Lab Mascot (2017-)

No known degrees

Project: Diet-tissue discrimination factors for canids provisioned with a wide range of meats and cheeses.

Joy's past is shrouded in mystery but she joined the group from Istanbul, Turkey in 2017. She has a cauliflower ear and a friendly disposition. Her favourite piece of anthropological literature is "How Dogs Dream" by Eduardo Kohn, although she admits that she doesn't really understand it. Her primary research interests include the anthropology of sleeping and laziness, experimental archaeology focusing on the taphonomy of large mammal bones exposed to carnivore gnawing, and the behavioural ecology of squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits. Her main contribution to the lab is the initial processing of animals bones that are used in methodological studies such as the VIP and DATA graduate class projects.

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