In the months of June and July, I participated in the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF REU) in Bioarchaeology at Notre Dame. This program was a perfect fit for me because it combined my interests in bioarchaeology and Near Eastern studies. The undergraduate research fellows involved worked with the human remains from three sites in the Levant: Bab edh-Dhra', Byzantine St. Stephens, and Tel Dothan. My team worked with the Early Bronze Age II and III (3000-2750 BCE; 2750-2300 BCE) remains from Bab edh-Dhra'. We were interested in determining whether or not the individuals buried at the site were locals or migrants. During Early Bronze I-III in the region, a transition from a more pastoral lifestyle to a more settled agricultural, and eventually urban lifestyle took place. While some scholars have theorized that this urbanization was an internal development, others have suggested that outside influences, perhaps from the already urbanized areas of Egypt and Mesopotamia, may have played a part in this transition. After examining the evidence for both theories, my group hypothesized that we would find individuals who appeared to be locals. In order to distinguish local from non-local individuals, we examined the radiogenic strontium isotope ratios of 25 tooth enamel samples taken from the remains unearthed at Bab edh-Dhra'. Our results are not yet available.
|Lauren drills a tooth.|