2014 Mini-grant Recipients

Program on Ancient Technologies and Archaeological Materials

ATAM Student Mini-grants in Archaeometry

Three ATAM/ISAS Student Mini-Grants in Archaeometry were awarded this academic year.  Recipients received approximately $500 from the Illinois State Archaeological Survey to be applied to research related to their dissertation projects and to be conducted on the UIUC campus.  Recipients will present results of their research during Spring Semester.

2014–2015 Academic Year Recipients

Kelsey WittKelsey Witt is a graduate student in Anthropology at the University of Illinois. Her research uses DNA technologies to compare prehistoric dogs from the American Bottom region of Illinois. These dogs date between the Late Woodland (1500–1000 years ago) and Mississippian (1000–400 years ago) periods. The transition between these periods is marked by a shift from hunting and gathering practices to agriculture, and there is still some debate as to whether the shift is due to the arrival of new migrants or simply the adaptation of the existing population. Few Late Woodland burials are available from the American Bottom to test this genetically, but dog burials in the region can be found from both time periods, so comparison of these dogs could be used as a proxy to determine if the Mississippian population replaced or is descended from the Late Woodland population in the region.


Amanda OwningsAmanda Owings is in her third year of graduate work in the Malhi lab at the University of Illinois. Her research is studying the ancient DNA of individuals from archaeological sites in British Columbia, Canada. These individuals seem to range in age from 500–6000 years old and lived in permanent villages. She is most interested in the effects of European colonization on this population of individuals. For this project, she is studying an interesting sample that does not seem to be like any other sample in the population.




Jeannie LarmonJeannie Larmon is a graduate student in Anthropology at the University of Illinois. Her research focuses on human and environment interactions in the Maya region, particularly during periods of environmental stress. Palynology, the study of fossil pollen, is a tool with which archaeologists can reconstruct past environments, diets, agricultural practices, and human and environment relationships. Jeannie is determining the most appropriate methods for processing a sediment core from a lake in the Cara Blanca project area in central Belize. The pollen from this core will provide information regarding the environment to which the ancient Maya were adapting during the Terminal Classic period (c. A.D. 750–950), when there is evidence of sociopolitical upheaval and major cultural shifts. Ultimately, a multiproxy and comparative approach will allow for a localized climate reconstruction that will help to contextualize these cultural shifts.