Department of Anthropology

Lauren Springs Receives Funding From Wenner-Gren and NSF

Fri, September 14, 2018
Lauren Springs Receives Funding From Wenner-Gren and NSF

Graduate student Lauren Springs received funding for her dissertation research from both the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

Her project investigates how European colonization in the Americas shaped genetic diversity as well as shifting demographic and social practices within settler populations. To do so it will, I will examine the archaeology and ethnohistory of Belize, and use next-generation sequencing techniques to assess genome-wide diversity and genetic ancestry in ancient and contemporary Belizeans with ties to colonial British Honduras. The data generated will allow us to answer questions about the genetic ancestry of the populations, the degree of population continuity and change, and whether or not genetic inferences of identity reflect archaeological and self-reported understandings of identity in colonial and contemporary contexts.

By characterizing shifting social and genetic patterns in a colonial population over time, this project can help clarify how biological and social identities emerged in the colonial Americas.  It will also expand the available colonial-era genomic data from the Americas, which is currently poorly represented in genomic datasets and published research.  It will further allow for undergraduate training in archaeological and genetic methods, and will generate genetic data reports for local study participants. One of the ultimate goals of the project is to raise awareness of the historical, biological, and social interactions that have shaped the Belizean community in the present and the past.

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