Reassembling the Mortuary Assemblage: New Investigations into the Field Museum of Natural History’s Osteological and Archaeological Collections from Ancón, Peru, Nicole Slovak, PhD, Santa Rosa Junior College
This meeting will be held at the Charles Sumner School, 17th & M Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.
NOTE: Photo ID may be required to enter the building.
The meeting will start with refreshments at 6:45 pm and the lecture will begin at 7:15 pm.
The Field Museum of Natural History’s (FMNH) osteological and artefactual collection from Ancón, Peru amassed by George Dorsey in 1891 represents one of the best-preserved archaeological assemblages from the site. Over the last century, however, mummies and grave goods have become disassociated from one another and archaeological context has been lost. This presentation traces the fate of the Ancón mummies from excavation to exhibition to curation, and presents the results of recent efforts carried out at the FMNH to reconstruct original mortuary assemblages. For the first time in more than a century, the life stories of some of Ancón’s ancient residents can now be written.
Dr. Nikki Slovak is an archaeologist whose research focuses on the Middle Horizon and Late Intermediate Periods of Peru. She received her PhD from Stanford University in 2007 under the direction of Dr. John Rick, and her B.A. from The Catholic University of America, where she studied under Dr. Anita Cook. Her theoretical interests include issues of culture contact, residential mobility, and identity and how those themes manifest themselves in mortuary practices. Methodologically, she employs a multidisciplinary approach to funerary archaeology, in which the cultural and biological aspects of burial are viewed together in an effort to best understand aspects of past human behavior.
Dr. Slovak is a full-time Anthropology faculty member at Santa Rosa Junior College in northern California and Director of the Santa Rosa Junior College Biological Anthropology Laboratory. Her current research projects include a multi-phase study of the Field Museum of Natural History’s mortuary collection from Ancón Peru and a collaboration with the Chavín Archaeological Project to analyze strontium isotope signatures from historic human burials encountered at the site of Chavín de Huántar, Peru. At present, Dr. Slovak is at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D.C. as a One-Month Research Fellow. She lives in Sonoma County, CA with her husband and three young daughters.