Office of Undergraduate Research Fall 2013

Undergraduate Research Journal

The Undergraduate Research Journal is published in Fall and Spring, the deadline for Spring publication is December 1stLEARN MORE

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Jennifer Wright

Jennifer Wright worked on a reconstructing activity at Epidamus, Albania concerning the impacts of Greek Colonization with Britney McIlvaine.

In recent years, anthropologists have begun to address new problems and to question old assumptions about the relationship of human health combined with lifestyle (i.e. hunter-gatherers vs. agricultural livelihood and rural vs. urban residence) and political system. Jennifer addressed these issues in a study on the relationship between activity levels and exploitation of the local Illyrians in ancient Albania by their Corinthian Greek colonizers. In particular, she addressed the hypothesis that physical activity (which will be identified by osteoarthritis of the joints) in the Illyrian populations increased after colonization of the region by Greece. It is further theorized that this trend became more severe in the Hellenistic period due to an exploitation of the Illyrians, which has been reported in historical documents.

This summer Jennifer was afforded the opportunity to travel to Albania, and collect data in regards to how colonization of Ancient Albania (Illyria) by the Hellenistic Greeks may have contributed to the development of osteoarthritis (OA) in human skeletal remains. She was able to identify many forms of osteoarthritis (OA) in areas of the articulating joints.  The OA was found in the shoulder, elbow, wrists, hips, knee, ankle, and vertebral column.  Unfortunately, she did not find much information from the Greek era of colonization, so she utilized the Roman information found in her research report for the McNair’s Scholars Program.  She were able to analyze at least 80 skeletons, and collected much data for her research on osteoarthritis.   
Jennifer’s next step is to analyze the data collected and write up a report.   She will then utilize the information not only for my McNair project, but for a presentation she will give at the Western Bio archaeology Group conference in October.  Jennifer will be presenting to Physical Anthropologists or Bio archaeologist from across the western US.  She is also hoping to present at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists conference in April, which will be in Calgary.

Faculty Mentors

mentoring undergraduate students on original research projects.

Britney McIlvaine

Assistant Professor for Anthropology Department

Kristin Bovaird-Abbo

Associate Professor, English