Violence and Power in the Past
This ongoing project explores evidence for violence and trauma in human skeletal remains from archaeological contexts. Far from being an aberration or anomaly, violence is used as a tool of power by governments and rulers across time and space. Only by placing acts of sanctioned violence within their cultural context, as acts or rituals deeply embedded in culture-specific ideologies, can we hope to understand how and why certain acts of violence and certain victims are employed in rituals such as execution or human sacrifice.
This project builds from my dissertation research, which explored skeletal and archaeological evidence for human sacrifice in ancient Egypt. I argue that we must be careful not to impose our own modern ideas of what violence means, how it works, and even what violence is, onto cultures of the past.
Paleo-oncology Research Organization (PRO)
As Executive Director and co-founder of the Paleo-oncology Research Organization, I work regularly with other scholars and specialists in studying the history and evolution of cancer in ancient human remains. Through the implementation of standards for identifying and analyzing neoplastic disease, public programming, conference workshops, and the publication of a special journal issue dedicated to paleo-oncology, PRO supports a long-time view of neoplastic diseases. By learning more about the history and etiologies of different cancers, we can get a better understanding of how to identify, treat, and prevent cancer in the future.