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Dr. Erin Thornton Dept. of Anthropology - Stable Isotope Lab

Current Students

Brandon McIntosh (Ph.D. student)

My research interests include the prehistoric cultures of the Great Basin, U.S. Southwest, and Mesoamerica, stable isotope ecology, zooarchaeology, and conservation biology. My research includes stable isotope analysis in connection to the faunal component of the archaeological record for the purpose of understanding prehistoric relationships between humans and their animal neighbors, and the archaeology of environmental change. I seek to understand cultural and biological change through evolutionary and niche construction theory. My previous Master’s work at New Mexico State University was directed toward understanding turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) domestication, and the exploitation of freshwater fish species as strategies for resilience in subsistence and market trade at the Postclassic site of Isla Cilvituk (Campeche, Mexico). My dissertation research will combine zooarchaeological, isotopic and ancient DNA analyses to explore turkey use and domestication in the Jornada region and northern Mexico.

Lori Phillips (MA student)

I am currently an archaeology M.A. student working with Dr. Erin Thornton. My research interests include stable isotope analysis, zooarchaeology, bioarchaeology, and the ancient Maya. Before coming to WSU, I worked on archaeological projects in both South Africa and Central America, but my current research is based in the Maya region. For my M.A. thesis, I am studying turkey husbandry at the Postclassic site of Mayapan (Yucatan, Mexico) through integrated zooarchaeological and isotopic analyses. In addition to my MA work, I have also been participating in excavation and faunal analysis of several sites located near extensive wetlands in central/northern Belize. For my dissertation, I will use these faunal assemblages in conjunction with stable isotopes analyses (carbon, nitrogen and sulfur) to explore ancient Maya aquatic resource use.

We’d love to have you join our lab!

Please see the link for prospective students if you’re thinking of applying to WSU for graduate school.

I strongly encourage all serious candidates to contact me directly ( before applying.