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Anthropology Tushingham Lab

Lab Members

Shannon Tushingham, Ph.D., RPA

I am an anthropological archaeologist with research broadly centered on human-environmental relationships and the evolutionary archaeology of hunter-gatherer-fishers in western North America. My research program involves field, laboratory, and legacy collection studies in collaboration with indigenous communities that explore: (1) the behavioral ecology and evolution of hunter-gatherer socio-economic systems, (2) the evolution of psychoactive plant use by worldwide human cultures, and (3) equity and multivocality in STEM and the dissemination of knowledge. Current projects investigate women, leadership, and decision-making (past and present), the fundamental role of women in the development of storage based societies, and the historical ecology of coastal habitats and fisheries use.

See my faculty page for more information about my work.

Molly Carney, Ph.D., RPA

Postdoctoral Researcher
Broadly, I situate myself as an environmental archaeologist. I use paleoethnobotanical and geoarchaeological tools to explore how past people interacted with and related to natural and built environments. My research looks at the relationships between people, plants, landscapes, and environments. Specifically, I am exploring how people in the Northwest region used and managed plant foods, with a particular focus on camas (Camassia quamash). I am also interested in the architectural signatures of past Columbia-Fraser Plateau places and employ feminist, indigenous, and agency-focused lens’ to reframe past and present discussions on regional household archaeology. I am strongly committed to collaborative, inclusive, and multivocal archaeology and anthropology, and to bridging gaps between cultural resource management, academia, and the communities who have lived in the Plateau region since time immemorial.

William J. Damitio, M.A.

Ph.D. Student
I am a Ph.D. student focusing on the archaeology of the Pacific Northwest Plateau. My previous research has focused on pipes and smoking in the Pacific Northwest of North America. I have utilized a combination of geographic information system approaches and chemical residue analyses of artifacts to create a better understanding of the antiquity of smoking practices in this region.

I received my B.A. in Anthropology and Linguistics from Western Washington University. While there, I participated in the marine invertebrate component of a large zooarchaeological project analyzing a site on the Olympic Peninsula. I have also been involved in archaeological collections management, in which I maintain an interest.

Tiffany Fulkerson, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher
I am a scholar whose research focuses on hunter-gatherers of the Pacific Northwest, gender and feminist approaches to archaeology, equity and multivocality issues in STEM, and decolonized approaches to archaeological practice. My current research explores relationships between families, geophyte processing, and decision making in the precontact Plateau, and how archaeological knowledge of landscape use intersects with contemporary health and food sovereignty issues. I am currently working with Shannon Tushingham to develop an Indigenous collaborative program that incorporates experimental cooking and nutritional data on plants in order to better understand past geophyte use and to support Indigenous efforts to maintain traditional diets. I actively research intersectional equity issues and the dissemination of knowledge in STEM, specifically with regard to publishing and participation in conferences and professional organizations. I am also actively involved in cultural resource management (CRM), where I have over ten years of experience working in government, private, and academic settings.

Elliot Helmer, M.A.

Ph.D. Candidate
I am a Ph.D. student specializing in the archaeology of the southern Northwest Coast. My Masters thesis demonstrated the importance of ancestral practice and persistent places in the settlement patterns of southern Oregon using site suitability modeling and spatial analysis. My dissertation research focuses on human-landscape relationships with an emphasis on Indigenous connections to land and place. My interests include geospatial analysis, collaborative archaeology, Indigenous ontologies, relationality, and resource management.

Tiffany Kite, B.A.

M.A. Student
I am a master’s student with a Bachelor in Anthropology-Archaeology and bioarchaeology, and Minors in History, Native American Studies, Earth Sciences-Geology, and Geospatial Analysis. I have had internships in osteology both researching human remains and curating them, and I am working under Dr. Shannon Tushingham with an REU project funded by the National Science Foundation studying chemical signatures in plant residues and diagenetic processes. Other skills I have obtained as an undergraduate include osteology and human trauma, osteoarchaeology, stable isotopes, medical anthropology, and Archaeostronomy. My focus as a master’s student is on the Pacific Northwest tribal affiliations and resources.

Tara McLaughlin, B.S.

Graduate Student
I am a first year graduate student. I am a Tribal Member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and I currently work as an archaeologist for the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. My interest lies in indigenous archaeology, complex hunter-gatherer societies, lithics, and zooarchaeology. Previously, I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University in Anthropology. Currently, I manage the collections housed by the Kalispel Tribe of Indians and work with researchers who are interested in collaborating and expanding knowledge from these collections. My primary goal is to help bridge the gap between cultural resource management and academia, with the intent of publishing research to open source platforms.

Piyawit "Jiw" Moonkham, M.A.

Ph.D. Candidate
I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Archaeology working with Dr. Shannon Tushingham, Dr. Julia Cassaniti and Dr. Colin Grier on a project that connects myth and folklore to historical landscape change in northern Thailand and Laos. I am interested in the role of the myth as clues to the ways that people have modified their cultural landscape and communally adapted to landscape changes. I am working on developing a theoretical approach that integrates archaeological and cultural theories to understand patterns of interaction and relations between human, objects, and the environment of early historic settlements in northern Thailand and Laos. My current research interests also include the social networks involved in collective memory, private and public spatial pattern, and soundscape of early Thai and Lao temples.

Sam Neunzig

Undergraduate Research Assistant
I am an undergraduate at WSU studying Biology and Anthropology with a History minor. I am a member of the Samish Indian Nation and started my studies at Skagit Valley College where I completed my Associates degree in Biology. Since coming to WSU I have begun volunteering with the Anthropology department. I am currently working at TARL as an intern under Mario Zimmermann in the ancient residues laboratory and study the use of smoke plants. I process samples coming from around the world, yet focus specifically on traditional smokestuffs from the Pacific Northwest of North America, and Western Africa. Following my graduation from WSU I am hoping to continue on in archeology and eventually go to Grad school.

Mario Zimmermann, Ph.D.

Laboratory Manager and Postdoctoral Researcher
I am a Maya and historical archaeologist by training, receiving both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida, Mexico. I obtained my Ph.D. in Anthropology from Washington State University, Pullman, in 2019. Over the years, I have developed into a specialist in paleoethnobotanical and chemical residues studies. My research interests span human-environment interactions, subsistence strategies and foodways, and ethnomedicine and the history of psychoactive drugs. In my current position at the Tushingham Archaeological Research Laboratory I design and oversee metabolomics-based studies in collaboration with the WSU Institute of Biological Chemistry. Ongoing projects under my supervision include the analysis of smoking paraphernalia from western North America and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the study of the oral metabolome of past and present human populations across the globe. While much of this work entails method-development in ancient metabolomics, I emphasize the design of collaborative research schemes which aim at the empowerment of indigenous and local communities.
Google Scholar Profile

Former Lab Members & Associates


Casey Baulne, M.A.

I earned a M.A in History, where I studied the history of the Colville Tribes and how that history impacted the diet of the Colvilles. At the root of this investigation were the changing economic structures (resource access, new technology, and mobility) and the roles Colvilles played in the new economy that evolved in each time period, all the way to the present. Ultimately, it was a study of human resilience and survivance in the face of great adversity. My thesis also concerned the health impacts these changes had, and continue to have, on the present-day population of Native Americans. More specifically how these dietary changes resulted in high rates of diabetes, obesity, and much shorter average life span for Natives in the United States.

Nichole A. Fournier, Ph.D.

I received a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Anthropology from Boston University and a Master’s degree in Anthropology from North Carolina State University, where I focused on Forensic Anthropology. I have an interest in research that draws on multiple disciplines to answer anthropological questions and is applicable to fields outside of anthropology, particularly genetics, human biology, and public health. I plan to use my background in human osteology in conjunction with several aspects of archaeological science in order to answer questions regarding human variation and population history. For my dissertation research, I have studied a prehistoric human population living in the San Francisco Bay Area during a period of resource stress caused by a major drought. Using osteological, ancient DNA, and isotopic evidence, I explore whether certain groups, such as ages or sexes, were more influenced by this resource stress and use this information to reconstruct population history.


Dakota Wallen, M.A.

I received my M.A in anthropology with an emphasis in archaeology from the University of Idaho, studying under Dr. Robert “Lee” Sappington. My thesis was on public archaeology in the Weiser River Valley in west-central Idaho, an area that was utilized by peoples of the Columbia Plateau and northern Great Basin. During my time at the University of Idaho I worked in the field doing cultural resource management with Lee Sappington and I worked at the Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology as an archaeological laboratory technician, rehabilitating and curating collections. Most of my time was spent curating the Donald E. Crabtree Lithic Technology collection.