In 2018, Gene was the recipient of the NWO PhD in the Humanities grant, allowing him to pursue doctoral research for the next four years. Gene’s PhD research, entitled Human-animal entanglements on the eve of Columbus’ landfall: a study of indigenous animal husbandry practices in the island of Hispaniola, is a multi-disciplinary project encompassing zooarchaeological and multi-isotopic analyses of faunal remains from indigenous sites in the Dominican Republic. The essential focus of the project is to investigate the potentiality for the captive management, or proto-domesticity, of certain endemic faunal species found prolifically at indigenous sites in the Greater Antilles. The information generated from this research has the potential for reconfiguring current perceptions of indigenous relationships with their animals, and to provide empirical evidence of complex environmental management practices, therefore illuminating important aspects of traditional lifeways.
Gene Shev completed his Bachelor of Archaeology with First Class Honours at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia in 2013, with a thesis that investigated the initial spread of domestic horses in the Near East during the Early to Middle Bronze Age. After finishing his undergraduate degree in 2014 he participated in the Australian Research Council funded project, ‘Ice Age Villagers of the Levant’, excavating the Natufian site of Wadi Hammeh 27 in the Kingdom of Jordan and assisting with the analysis of faunal material. Subsequently he worked as a research assistant and teaching assistant at La Trobe University, and as a project archaeologist within the local cultural heritage industry, specializing in Aboriginal heritage.
In 2016, the choice was made to leave the heritage industry and to pursue postgraduate study, and after receiving the Leiden University Excellence Scholarship (LExS), moved to the Netherlands to undertake a Research Masters in the Archaeology of the Americas department at the Faculty of Archaeology. His RMA research focused on the implementation of zooarchaeological and isotopic analyses to investigate aspects of mobility and diet and the social role of domestic dogs in the precolonial Dominican Republic.
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