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Cultural & Social Studies Labs

Biological Anthropology Lab

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Dr. Blankenship-Sefczek and Marie Day doing dental analysis in the lab

Dr. Blankenship-Sefczek and Marie Day doing dental analysis in the lab.

he Biological Anthropology Lab (BIOL) is a research space intended to explore issues related to the intersection of past human health and cultural phenomena. We take a biocultural approach to studying humans in the past because we recognize that biology and culture influence each other. Students working in the lab will gain experience with identifying human remains, using skeletal data collection methods, coding archaeology field notes, running quantitative statistical analyses using RStudio or SPSS, and writing literature reviews, archaeological reports, and manuscripts.

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A BIOL student working with artifacts

The lab houses a collection of human remains from the Ancient Maya civilization from Belize (circa 250-900 CE), which is available for study. Working with the Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim in Omaha, Native American leaders, and the Creighton community, we address questions that deepen our understanding of this rich cultural people.

Our ongoing projects involve:

  • Understanding health differences between high, middle, and low status groups
  • Exploring weaning age and frequency of physiological stress markers on teeth
  • Analyzing the impact of physiological stress on molar tooth phenotype
  • Exploring biological affiliation between social status groups

We also oversee a faux burial site located on the Creighton campus which gives students an opportunity to practice archaeological excavation methods and osteological analyses.

For more information about the lab and opportunities, contact Erin Blankenship-Sefczek, PhD

The BIOL is housed in Creighton Hall room 426C