Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Ashley Blake SURF SMART

Bioarchaeology of Portuguese Medieval Funerary Practices

Through the bioarchaeological analysis of Medieval Portuguese skeletons, my mentor and I will investigate the relationship between religious burial practices and the preservation of human remains. We will utilize histology to analyze the levels of chemical and physical degradation of bone. Our investigation starts with the macroscopic analysis of the skeletal remains and then the development of microscopic slides to categorize the degree of taphonomic damage. Once prepared, we will gather qualitative and quantitative data for assessment. Our goal is to uncover how different religious communities interacted with death during the Medieval period. Our data will reveal how funerary practices impact the preservation of remains and how this analysis allows bioarchaeologists to infer the state of degradation of human remains still underground. The taphonomic research of bioarchaeological remains is a field still in development. Through our research being conducted this summer, I am very eager to contribute to the emerging field.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you very much to our donor for providing me the opportunity to engage in this research. I am grateful for the financial support since I would not be able to be involved in this project without it. I am eager to start working in the Skeletal Biology lab this and see where our research leads. Thank you!
Profile image of Ashley Blake
Major: Anthropology
Mentor: Trent Michael Trombley
Sponsor: Shin Morgan Fund
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