Universiteit Leiden

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Devon Graves

PhD candidate / internal

D.L. Graves
+31 71 527 2206

Devon Graves is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University.

More information about Devon Graves

Office Days

Tuesday to Thursday


My current research as a member of the Darién Profundo Collective focuses on the Gulf of San Miguel region in Darién, Panama and studies environmental use and materiality to better understand local traditions in ceramic manufacture, exchange networks, and what the daily practices of peoples may reveal about pre colonial socio-political relationships. The earliest colonial historical accounts describe this area as being a densely populated landscape that was under political control of the polity of the nearby Pearl Islands. This research combines a technological and aesthetics approach to ceramic analysis and uses minimally invasive techniques in recovering ceramic material from two contemporaneous pre colonial sites in the Garachiné bay (Gulf of San Miguel region). I apply a combination of macro, chemical, and compositional analyses, as well as a morphological and stylistic categorization of ceramics to investigate Garachiné potting communities and the potential connections of this area with the Pearl Islands and broader connections within Panama.

My previous research investigated potting traditions in the northern Caribbean with the NEXUS 1492 project. I studied ceramics recovered from the site of Palmetto Junction (Turks & Caicos Islands) and surface collections of ceramics recovered from surveyed sites located throughout the provinces of Montecristi and Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic). I applied a chaîne opératoire approach to ceramic analysis and focused on integrating different theoretical lenses to identify potting communities through the bodily gestures and clay recipes used to create crafts. This research piqued my interest in how materials are studied, classified, and how interpretations of the past are formed through these classifications. In particular, I am interested in exploring how the fields of material sciences and material culture studies can actively engage in applying different epistemologies in material culture analyses.

Curriculum Vitae

Devon Graves (RMA) obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology in 2017 from the University of Central Florida with a focus on Sociocultural Anthropology and the Archaeology of the Americas, with a minor in Sociology. Prior to pursuing her degree in anthropology, her studies were in the visual and studio arts and she focused on ceramics and drawing.

She attended Leiden University for her Research Master’s in Archaeology and graduated cum laude in 2020. Her thesis was entitled “Decoding Pottery Making Practices: technical and stylistic analyses of Late Ceramic Age traditions from the northern Caribbean (1000-1400 CE)”. Afterwards, she worked briefly at the commercial archaeology company of ARCHOL B.V., and later as a research assistant for the multidisciplinary Darién Profundo Collective, which investigates the deep history of human-environmental entanglements in the Darién region, Panama. She is now a member of the Darién Profundo Collective and a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Archaeology.

PhD candidate / internal

  • Faculteit Archeologie
  • World Archaeology
  • Caribbean and Amazonia

Work address

Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Room number A2.01


  • No relevant ancillary activities
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