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Dept. of Anthropology Lab Members

TARL Personnel



Shannon Tushingham, PhD – Lab Director

Doctor Tushingham is founder and director of the Tushingham Ancient Residue Laboratory (TARL) at Washington State Univdersity. Her interests include Pacific Rim hunter-gatherer-fishers, evolutionary ecology, ethnoarchaeology, archaeometry, residue studies, psychoactive plant use, colonial encounters, collaborative research and contemporary indigenous communities. She possesses a broad background in academic, tribal, and cultural resource management archaeology. Although her recent research is based in the Pacific Northwest and California, she has been involved in field research throughout the eastern and southwestern United States, and the Dordogne Valley, France.

For more on Dr. Tushingham, click here.






Colin Christiansen – Lab Manager

Colin Christiansen is the current lab manager at TARL. He recently graduated from Washington State University with a BA in Anthropology. His interests include arctic and subarctic archaeology, Pacific Northwest archaeology, and cultural anthropology. He has conducted academic and cultural resource management work in Alaska, Washington, California and Yukon Territory.








Mario Zimmerman, MA – Psychoactive Plant Project Lead at TARL

I’m a PhD student in Archaeology and I’m specializing in Paleoethnobotanics. Having achieved B.A. and M.A. degrees at the Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan at Merida, Mexico, my research and professional experience falls within Mayan Archaeology. I’m particularly interested in human-environment interactions, the impact and strategies of tropical pre-Columbian agriculture, as well as the social aspects of food distribution. My dissertation research focuses on the identification of areas of food preparation and consumption within pre-Columbian residences by ways of chemical residue analyses and the subsequent identification and analyses of micro-botanical elements (starch grains). The goal of my project is to obtain data relating to crop variety, diet and socioeconomic differentiation within and amongst urban Maya settlements. My background well as working as a CRM and public archaeologist on both pre-Columbian Maya and historical sites on the Yucatan Peninsula.






Shakira Cosme – Intern Lab Technician

Shakira is currently a senior at Washington State University majoring in Anthropology. Her interests include zooarchaeology and biology. In addition to her contributions at TARL, she spends time in Dr. Colin Grier’s Comparative Zooarchaeology Lab. During summers she works at Nothwest Trek Wildlife Park near Tacoma, WA.








Erica Palmer – Intern Lab Technican

Erica Palmer is currently a junior at WSU. She is majoring in Biology and minoring in Anthropology. She has been working on species identification of fish vertebrae found at an archaeology site from Northern California. She is interested in continuing to work in ancient DNA and apply it to forensic anthropology cases in the future. She is interested in attending graduate school in Tennessee or Boston for forensic anthropology. Erica currently works in the WSU Collections Lab as well as Dr. Brian Kemp’s Ancient DNA Lab.