My dissertation research (The Biological and Social Consequences of Inca Conquest of the Chachapoya Region of Northern Peru,
University of New Mexico, 2005) focused on a region in the northern
highlands of Peru known as Chachapoyas. The
focus of the research was to quantify the amount of internal genetic
differentiation and levels of extra-regional gene flow during the Late
Chachapoya Period and describe any changes in intra-regional
heterogeneity or extra-regional gene flow following Inca conquest.
Below are links to three .pdf articles that I have published on
the Chachapoya material.
Nystrom KC. 2007. Trepanation in
the Chachapoya Region of Northern Perú. International
Journal of Osteoarchaeology 17: 39-51. PDF
Nystrom KC. 2006. Late
Chachapoya Population Structure Prior to Inca Conquest. American
Journal of Physical Anthropology. 131(3): 334-342. PDF
Nystrom KC, Goff A, Goff ML. 2005. Mortuary Behavior Reconstruction through
Paleoentomology: A Case Study from Chachapoya, Perú. International
Journal of Osteoarchaeology 15(3): 175-185. PDF
Back in graduate school I was involved in a project
with Jane Buikstra in which we radiographed three individuals from the
Early Classic Dynasty (ca. 400 - 600 AD) of Copan: K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo,
the founder of the dynasty, and the principal individual recovered from
the Motmot tomb, and Margarita. The goals of the project were to
(1) create a radiographic archive and (2) collect cross-sectional
geometric data. The latter were used to examine intra-individual
changes in diaphyseal geometric properties following trauma. Both
K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo and the Motmot individual has suffered blunt force
trauma (K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo''s right radius is shown below). We were interested to see how the body adapated to subsquent changes in biomechanical efficiency.
Nystrom KC, Buikstra JE, Braunstein EM. 2005. Radiographic Evaluation of Early Classic
Elites from Copan, Honduras. International
Journal of Osteoarchaeology 15(3):
Nystrom KC, Buikstra JE. 2005. Trauma Induced Changes in Diaphyseal
Cross-Sectional Geometry in Elites from Copan, Honduras. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 128(4): 791-800.
Nystrom KC, Braunstein EM, Buikstra JE. 2004. Field Paleoradiography of Skeletal Material
from Early Classic Period of Copan, Honduras. Canadian Association of Radiologists Journal 55(4):
I am currently involved in two projects and I have been
able to involve undergraduate students from SUNY New Paltz in different
aspects of the research.
Southern Peruvian Coast
I am involved in a
collaborative project with Dr. Gregory Zaro (University of Maine) that is
focusing on the intervalley coastline of southern Peru. The
primary goal of this project is to explore the nature of Chiribaya
occupation and utilization of the intervalley coast, north of the
Osmore Drainage. Zaro is exploring the nature of human modification of the landscape in regards to agricultural production. I will be focusing on the analysis of skeletal material once excavation commences.
As a preliminary investigation
during the summer of 2008, Zaro and I collected a series of
non-archaeological soil samples from along the intervalley coastline.
Zaro is interested in the role humans may have played in long
term environmental change. For my part, as the use of lead
isotopes is one method of
reconstructing prehistoric residential mobility, I was interested in
examining how anthropogenic lead may contaminate buried human skeletal
material. This was a collaborative project with one of my
Anthropology students, Heather Slivko-Bathurst, pictured below
collecting and bagging one of the many samples we took during the
summer. Check out an article about Heather's participation in this project in The Observer, an alumni magazine published by SUNY New Paltz.
Newburgh Cemetery Project
During the Fall 2009 semester I will be completing
the final stages of a research project involving human skeletal
material recovered from the Broadway School in Newburgh, NY, originally
the location of an African-American cemetery that was intermittently
used during the early 1800’s. While the history of the
cemetery is still being reconstructed from sketchy historical
documents, newspaper articles from the 1870’s indicate that human
remains were unearthed during construction of Route 9W and again in the
early 1900’s when the Broadway School was originally built.
These remains were presumably reinterred at the Woodlawn Cemetery and
the Alms House Cemetery on Snake Hill respectively. The
City of Newburgh, following the guidance of the New York State Historic
Preservation Office, committed to the full recovery of any human
remains that might be impacted by construction.
The Newburgh African Cemetery represents a physical
manifestation of the African Diaspora which has been called one of the
most significant demographic, cultural, and economic events in world
history. It was a key component of British colonial structure and was thus integral to the development of the Americas. This
alone would make the cemetery and its occupants significant as it
provides primary evidence on what life was like for Africans during
this period in North American history. More
specifically, the cemetery affords both researchers and the living
community a chance to explore what life was like for Africans in the
Northern States, a facet of history that is little understood.
In order to address questions pertaining to quality
of life data on skeletal and dental indicators of health and demography
will be generated. When
compared to other contemporaneous skeletal samples, these data will
provide the foundation for discussing the quality of life for Africans
in the Hudson Valley during the early to mid-1800’s.
Undergraduate Student Research
I have a number of students working on different aspects of this project:
(1) Victoria Nichols (Anthropology) will be recording data on aspects of dental health, including caries and linear enamel hypoplasias.
(2) Heather Slivko-Bathurst
(Anthropology) is synthesizing previously published literature dealing
with fertility and mortality among African-American populations from
the time period.
(3) Greg Raymond (History) is researching the state of public health care in the region during the early 1800's.
(4) Ashley Garcia (Anthropology) is calculating stature which serves as a proxy for the overall of a population.
(5) Melanie Brasor, a Master's student from SUNY Albany, is collecting data on juvenile dental and skeletal pathologies.
(6) Jade Chin
(Anthropology) is tabulating data on dental caries from a large
skeletal samples excavated from the site of the Albany Almshouse,
which served the needs of the region's poor between the early
19th and 20th centuries.