Rhy McMillan

PhD student
University of British Columbia

Are the bones, teeth, and artifacts we find in their original context?

I aim to help archaeologists, palaeoanthropologists, and palaeontologists better describe and explain the spatial, temporal, and biological relationships within and among assemblages of exhumed bones, teeth, and artifacts. As a multidisciplinary researcher, I approach this goal through the lenses of taphonomy and geochemistry by focusing on the sedimentary context of excavated objects, their preservation states, their geochemical and structural characteristics, and the degree to which they have been altered after burial.

My research and training with Dr. Dominique Weis and Dr. Marghaleray Amini as part of the MAGNET programme involves developing and testing new analytical techniques for analysing the chemical, isotopic, and structural properties of materials from archaeological contexts accurately, precisely, and without destroying them. The primary objective of this research is to further develop the application of geochemistry for acquiring information not obtainable with traditional archaeometric analyses and osteometry, facilitating the interpretation of the source, identity, and movement of humans and their artifacts through space and time.