Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated by ancient history and archaeology. During my undergraduate years at Indiana University, I majored in Classical Civilization (with an emphasis on Art and Archaeology) and Anthropology. I thrived in classes like The Art and Archaeology of the Aegean, Topography and Monuments of Athens, and The Body in Classical Art. These courses, in combination with my bioanthropology and material archaeology courses in the Anthropology department, gave me the confidence to apply to an archaeology field school in Lincoln, England – to which I returned for three consecutive summers as a site supervisor! I fell in love with the process of excavation and discovery – getting your hands dirty, getting deep into the mud and out of the classroom quite literally transports you through layers of time through the stratigraphy.
On one site, we uncovered the remains of a Roman infant, buried in a curious way under the threshold of a door. This prompted my own personal investigation in the form of a senior honors thesis in the Department of Classical Studies, under the inspiring direction of Dr. Julie Van Voorhis and Dr. Nicholas Blackwell. I analyzed and synthesized ancient literature and modern archaeology reports and publications to seek out the potential motivations, both spiritual and secular, behind the domestic burial of infants in the Late Roman period of Britain. I determined that these burials may have held a variety of meanings for the Romano-British – as a conduit for spiritual offerings, as a way to inaugurate and close a building, or as a way to encourage agricultural and human fertility. I felt such a passion for exploring the often-overlooked voice of ancient families and their experiences with infant mortality and the question of personhood. After this project, I knew I needed to pursue osteoarchaeology in graduate school.
When I eventually found the Master of Science in Osteoarchaeology program offered by the University of Sheffield in England, I knew it was the perfect fit for me. From my field schools, I had established connections with previous graduate students and professors at Sheffield, and I knew their personal experiences were very positive. So, I applied in late 2019 for the following school year (2020-21) beginning in September 2020 … and was accepted! I have been in contact with my program’s director, who has welcomed me to the program and introduced me to many past and current students. I cannot wait to travel over to England once more and dive back into the research that inspired me so much at IU.
My master’s degree will allow me to develop experience with the state-of-the-art bioanthropological technology, multiple lab facilities, and comparative faunal collections that Sheffield is renowned for, and to pursue my longer-term career goal of consultancy and lab work. I look forward to growing and evolving with every opportunity my graduate degree will unlock – all made possible by the individual support and constant encouragement I experienced during my time in Indiana University’s Classical Studies department.