This tuition award commemorates the accomplishments of Sally Weaver.
Julia’s research is a study of the commingled and fragmented dental remains of the individuals excavated at the looted Early Bronze Age site of Wadi Faynan 100, Jordan. While archaeological site looting is a common problem worldwide, the lack of research utilizing commingled and fragmented burial assemblages is an inherent bias in bioarchaeological research.
By reconstructing whole and partial teeth from the fragments to maximize the number of teeth that could be studied, she was able to collect preliminary data to learn about demographics, biological relatedness, diet, dental health, and pathology. Her research demonstrates the importance of using available remains to learn as much as possible about looted archaeological sites and guide future research projects.
Diagnostics is a complex process influenced by physician bias and time restraints that can lead to misdiagnosis and faulty treatments. Relying on simplified categorizations, easily accessible diagnoses and prevalence numbers can all contribute to this issue. Similarly, diagnostics in paleopathology is also influenced by issues such as confidence bias, which can introduce incorrect diagnoses and perceptions of the past to the public.
Elizabeth’s research focuses on ways to reduce availability bias in paleopathology and expand the range of conditions included in differential diagnosis. By approaching complex conditions as a part of a mutational spectrum with novel and mild forms, she explores ways in which these mild expressions can be identified in archaeological remains. Her research suggests a number of minor anomalies that could aid in the identification of these conditions, strategies to help better detect them, and the frequency of these anomalies in paleopathological case studies. Detection of mild expressions can allow for a better understanding of prenatal environmental factors and overall life experiences of past populations.