My research explores how human-animal relationships shaped systems of value and political power and inequality in the past and how these relationships can be investigated materially through archaeology. I am currently working on a book manuscript that explores how human-animal relationships (grounded in material practices) were foundational to systems of value and shaped the organization of political authority in ancient pastoralist societies in the South Caucasus. In the book, I bring together theoretical approaches from animal studies and material studies in order to trace the dynamic pre- and post-mortem social lives of animals in the past.
I use both zooarchaeology and isotope analysis to illuminate how humans and animals lived together in the past. My recent archaeological fieldwork explores how human-herd animal interactions in the pastoralist societies of the Late Bronze Age (1500-1100 BCE) in the South Caucasus shaped social and political life. I also engage critically with how archaeologists use quantitative methods, such as isotope analysis, to create narratives about the past. Building from my own experience working with archaeological data, my work explores how the scientific analysis of artifacts shapes archaeologists’ interpretations of the past.
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