Melissa Hurtado

Undergraduate Research Assistant

  • Title Undergraduate Research Assistant

Areas of Interest

Zooarchaeology, Biological Anthropology, Pre-Columbian Archaeology in Latin America, Environmental Archaeology

Research Interests & Fieldwork

I volunteer at the Zooarchaeology lab cleaning, inventorying, and labeling a number of modern animal skeletons. I am currently working on a UROP funded research project, in collaboration with the lab and the Alutiiq Museum (Alaska), to research a zooarchaeological assemblage from Kodiak Island, Alaska. This project will be to reconstruct past marine mammal dynamics, specifically the Northern fur seal (Callorhinus ursinus) and its history in the North Pacific Ocean. The goal of this research project is to use well-established aging methods to identify age profiles of Northern fur seal pups. If I find them to be under four months old, I can infer the presence of breeding seals on Kodiak and challenge previous assumptions about marine mammal dynamics in the North Pacific Ocean. The results will contribute to our understanding of past fur seal distribution and Native foodways.

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