NEXUS 1492 consists of the unique synergy of four interlocking projects, each comprising multiple subprojects and studies carried out by a multi-disciplinary international team of excellent principal investigators (PI), senior researchers, post doctoral researchers, and PhD students.
The team is composed of 38 talented scholars and researchers, from the fields of archaeology, anthropology, bioarchaeology, human genetics, physical geography, computer sciences, biogeochemistry, geochemistry, and heritage and museum studies. The trans-disciplinary synergy of the four PIs builds on previous collaborations in the context of Caribbean research. The cohesion between the four projects is based on the fact that the projects use inter-dependent methodologies, datasets and case-studies, in which interpretation, model-development and results are mutually contingent in terms of producing robust and new insights.
In case of any questions please send an e-mail to Emma de Mooij.
Corinne L. Hofman is the CPI (Corresponding Principal Investigator) of NEXUS 1492. She also directs the archaeological project at Leiden and is head of a large international research group. Hofman has carried out archaeological research in the Caribbean since the 1980s. Her primary interests are the communication systems and interaction networks of the indigenous Amerindian population in the period before and after the colonisation of the New World in 1492. This interaction can be measured on the basis of people’s mobility and the exchange of goods and ideas. One of her focusses has been working on Caribbean ceramics.
Hofman’s main aim with NEXUS 1492 is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the social relationships and transformations in the region prior and after the European encounters through the adoption of a multidisciplinary approach that combines traditional archaeological research in the Greater and Lesser Antilles with the most up-to-date research methods from the humanities and the social and natural sciences. In addition, she has always been committed to protecting the cultural heritage and endangered archaeological record of the islands. Hofman has an extensive international network and collaboration agreements with local partners. She has been awarded several prestigious subsidies and in 2013 she won the KNAW MERIAN prize for excellent women scientists. She was appointed Dean of the Leiden Faculty of Archaeology in September 2013. She is member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences since 2015. In 2016 Corinne was appointed elected member of Academia Europaea.
In October 2015, Dr. Pagán-Jiménez was appointed to serve as a Senior Researcher in paleoethnobotany and Caribbean archaeology at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, within the ERC synergy project Nexus 1492. He is currently performing paleoethnobotanical studies at various Caribbean archaeological sites through the study of ancient starches and phytoliths retrieved from processing, cooking, serving and “chewing” tools, and from archaeological soils and environmental sediments as well. An interesting set of theoretical constructs derived from human behavior ecology, experiential philosophy and phenomenology integrates the heuristic approach to ancient foodways employed by Pagán-Jiménez. The mentioned methods, together with the different contextual scales and theoretical scenarios under scrutiny, forms the foundations of Pagán-Jiménez' research within Nexus 1492. The aim of this eff ort is t o expose and acknowledge the poorly unknown contributions of Caribbean's Amerindian societies to history's most dramatic food shift.
Jaime R. Pagán-Jiménez holds a Doctorate in Anthropology (2005) with special emphasis on archaeology and palaeoethnobotany from the Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). His doctoral dissertation has received the Alfonso Caso Medal to University Merit, 2005, the highest university level prize given in an individual basis to the most distinguished student and the best doctoral dissertation from all branches of anthropology, including archaeology.
Dr. Pagán-Jiménez has more than 25 years of experience in Caribbean archaeology and has undertaken fieldwork or analyzed microbotanical materials from numerous sites on the islands of Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John, St. Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Hispaniola (among others), as well as on Belize, French Guiana and Venezuela. He has also been adjunct professor and professor of Caribbean Archaeology and Neotropical Paleoethnobotany at Universidad de Puerto Rico, Centro de Estudios Avanzados de Puerto Rico y el Caribe and Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (Ecuador). Pagán-Jiménez has been involved in research collaborations with Leiden University, University College London (UK), Universidad de Puerto Rico, Universidad de la Habana (Cuba), Institut National de Recherches Archeologiques Préventives and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (both from France), and with the Instituto Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural (INPC-Ecuador). In Ecuador, being fi rst a Junior and later a Senior Researcher between 2012 to 2015, Dr. Pagán-Jiménez coordinated an extensive paleoethnobotanical research program of the INPC through the whole country for which more than 20 archaeological sites (from the coast, the Andean Range and Amazonia), were studied. His archaeological and paleoethnobotanical research was focused in some late Pleistocene and early to mid-Holocene sites from the highlands, and in several sites ascribed to Valdivia, Chorrera and Jambelí cultures from Isla Puná in the Pacific Ocean.
Menno Hoogland is associate professor in Caribbean archaeology. He was born in 1954 in Sliedrecht, studied cultural anthropology in Leiden with a focus on prehistory and physical anthropology. In 1980 he participated in the Spitsbergen expedition of the University of Groningen. He wrote his PhD thesis on settlement patterns of the Amerindian population of Saba, Netherlands Antilles. In 1992 he was appointed as lecturer at the Faculty of Archaeology and presently he gives courses in archaeological field techniques, Caribbean archaeology and Amazonian shamanism. The analysis of burial practices and settlement organisation are the focus of his research. Together with Prof. dr. Corinne Hofman he conducted fieldwork on Saba and St. Martin (1987-1993) and later also jointly with André Delpuech (Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles de Guadeloupe) on Guadeloupe. From 1993 to 2000 they worked in an international cooperation programme, and conducted excavations at the large settlement site of Anse a la Gourde in the north-eastern part of Grande Terre, and other sites on Guadeloupe. In 2001 and 2002 he carried out fieldwork with Prof. dr. Corinne Hofman at the archaic site of Plum Piece, Saba.
His current fieldwork on St. Lucia is carried out in cooperation with the St. Lucia Archaeological and Historical Society and the Florida Museum of Natural History (Prof. dr. William Keegan). In 2004 he was awarded a grant by the Netherlands Foundation for Scientific Research (NWO) for the programme Houses for the living and the dead. The project focusses on the organisation of Taíno households in the Dominican Republic (AD 1000-1500) and is executed in cooperation with the Museo del Hombre Dominicano.
Ph.D. in Prehistoric Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 1999. He studied Ethnography at Uniwersytet Adama Mickiewicza in Poznan, Poland and Anthropology at Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas. Currently is professor at the Department of Design, Architecture and Arts at the Universidad Simón Bolívar (USB) in Caracas, Venezuela. Since 1982 he has been co-directing—together with Dr. M. M. Antczak—pioneering archaeological investigations on more than 60 off-shore islands of the Venezuelan Caribbean and since 2006 on the small islands off the eastern coast of Martinique. Also together with Dr. M. M. Antczak he founded and co-directs the Archaeology Research Unit at USB. His scholarly interests include the pre-colonial and historical archaeology of the Caribbean (especially the Southern Caribbean Region), theory and method in the study of the social past, materiality, sacred places, community archaeology, collection studies, archaeometry, shell middens and historical ecology.
Darlene Weston received a PhD in Physical Anthropology at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, UK, after previously studying Archaeology at Simon Fraser University, Canada (BA) and Osteology, Palaeopathology, and Funerary Archaeology at the University of Bradford, UK (MSc). Formerly co-ordinator of the undergraduate Minor in Human Osteoarchaeology at Leiden University, she is currently Assistant Professor of Biological Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. and a Senior Researcher on the NEXUS 1492 project.
As a human osteologist, paleopathologist and Senior Researcher on the NEXUS 1492 project, Darlene will investigate how European contact influenced the health, demography and diet of Caribbean Amerindian populations.
Roberto Valcárcel Rojas is a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University. He has a Bachelor and a Master degree in History with specialization in Archaeological subjects (Universidad de Oriente, Cuba, 1991, 1999). He obtained his doctoral degree in Archaeology (Leiden University, 2012; Cum laude) with an investigation about indigenous Hispanic interaction in Cuba. Currently, he is one of the El Caribe Arqueologico journal coordinators.
His main research interests are the indigenous societies of the Caribbean and archaeology and history of the early colonial times in the América´s. From 2013, as postdoctoral researcher in the ERC Synergy-NEXUS 1492 project, he focuses in the study of the Indian (people with indigenous ancestors) as a colonial category and in the evolution and characters of this social component in Cuba and Dominican Republic, combining archaeological information and diverse historical and anthropological data. Other topics investigated are: archaeological identification of social and work status within the colonial world, particularly the slavery of the indigenous people; the encomienda system; processes of acquisition of European material culture by indigenous individuals and communities; indigenous legacy in the current societies of the Greater Antilles; and links between archaeological practice and historical research in the Caribbean.
Jorge Ulloa Hung is a PhD in Archaeology from Leiden University (2013) and a Master of Caribbean Studies (2009) of Universidad de Oriente, Cuba.
His main research interest is the change of material culture, in special the ceramics in the relations with the social and cultural landscape. Within NEXUS 1492, he focuses in social consequences generated by the early colonial encounters and interaction, especially in ceramics and social landscape in the north of the Dominican Republic. This will be addressed such as syncretism and transculturation also studying aspects of cultural landscape, aspect of daily life in rural areas of the Dominican Republic and stylistic and technological analysis of pottery in sites located in the so-called Ruta de Colon(from La Isabela to Janico) and other early colonial enclaves of La Hispaniola.
Eduardo Herrera Malatesta obtained his bachelor degree in Anthropology in 2004 at the Universidad Central de Venezuela. In 2009 he obtained his MSc. in Anthropology at the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas and in 2011 an MSc. in GIS and Spatial Analysis in Archaeology at the University College London.
He has done research in archaeology and anthropology in western, central and eastern Venezuela, mainly in coastal and island environments. He has taught at the Universidad Central de Venezuela in 2012 and 2013 courses related to GIS, cartography and archaeology.
Currently he is a PhD student in the ERC Synergy-NEXUS 1492 Project where he will develop a research focus in understanding how the encounters with the Europeans transformed the Amerindian social landscape in the northern Dominican Republic.
Jana Pesoutova is a PhD candidate at Leiden University. She obtained a Bachelor degree in linguistics (2010) and a Master degree in Management of Cultural Diversity combined with Intercultural Communication (2012).
Cuba and Dominican Republic have a rich mosaic of healing practices related to broader landscapes including sacred places, trees, plants and other natural entities. These landscapes contain religious, historical and botanical knowledge which is insufficiently reflected in the local historiography. Within NEXUS 1492, Jana investigates transformations of healing landscapes in the Dominican Republic and Cuba by combining data from ethnographic fieldwork and critical historical analysis. In her study, the current conceptualization of the relation between health, well-being and physical environment is situated within the broader landscape transformations in which an emphasis is made on the contested cultural memories of the subaltern.
Marlieke is a PhD researcher at Leiden University, where she also obtained her Bachelor (2012) and Research Master (2016) degree in archaeology. During her studies she has been interested in early colonial archaeology, ceramic studies, transculturation and intercultural interactions.
Within Nexus 1492 she will focus on the ceramic material transformations. She will investigate transcultural processes within intercultural communications at the island of Hispaniola. The material reflection of this multicultural society and the agency of the enslaved and colonized will be studied through the continuities and changes in the chaîne opératoire (operational sequence) between pre-colonial and colonial, non-European ceramics present at colonial sites. Both Amerindian (local and non-local), Spanish, and African presence will be studied within the ceramic assemblage. She will conduct technological, morphological, as well as stylistically analysis. The study will assess the extent to which indigenous pottery traditions disappeared and the amount in which new techniques and forms appeared.
Katarina Jacobson did her Licence in Archeologie Precolombienne at the Universite Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne (2001). She obtained a Master at the Universite Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, in association with the Faculty of Archeology of Leiden University in 2002. She wrote a thesis on the ceramics analysis from the site l'Embouchure de Baillif on the island of Guadeloupe. During 5 years she worked in the Edgar Clerc's archaeological Museum in Guadeloupe as a collection curator where she was in charge of the audit of the museum collection.
She is interested in ceramic studies. Within the NEXUS 1492, she will aim to disentangle the different pottery styles and to get a better understanding of the ceramic styles from the southern Lesser Antilles Windward Islands from the late phase of the Late Ceramic Age and the early colonial period. She will use the 'chaine operatoire' approach as to trace all the technological processes and social practices by conducting a morphological, technological and stylistic analysis.
Pauline Kulstad is a PhD researcher at Leiden University. She holds a dual Bachelor degree in Anthropology/Latin American Studies from Macalester College, MN, USA (1993) and a Master degree in Latin American Studies with a concentration in Anthropology/Archaeology from the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida, FL, USA (2008).
Her main research interests are early colonial archaeology, Spanish Caribbean history, and Spanish ceramics from the 15th and 16th centuries. Within NEXUS 1492, she focuses on the intercultural interactions at the Concepcion de la Vega site, Dominican Republic (1495-1564) as expressed through the historical and archaeological records. She will be undertaking historical archival research and artifact studies.
Kirsten Ziesemer currently holds a position as a medical information specialist at the Noordwest Ziekenhuisgroep. She obtained her B.Sc. (2012) in Bio-medical Science from the University of Amsterdam, where she took extra courses in forensic sciences and physical anthropology (at the University of Leiden). She continued her studies at the University of Leiden in human osteology and funerary archaeology with a second specialization in paleo-ecology (M.Sc. 2013). Extracurricular activities during her master's degree were an honoursprogramme (Leiden Leadership Programme) and an anatomy course at the Amsterdam Medical Center (AMC). Her main research interests focus on molecular approaches to study health and disease in the past.
Kirsten’s PhD project was embedded within the ERC SYNERGY research project NEXUS 1492. In this project she focused on the preservation of ancient DNA in the Caribbean, the development of innovative ancient DNA methods and she explored dental calculus as a new source of paleogenomic data.
Gene Shev is a PhD researcher partially funded by the ERC-Synergy NEXUS1492 project and is a recipient of the prestigious NWO PhD in the Humanities grant. He obtained his BA (2013) from La Trobe University, after which he worked for several years as a project archaeologist within the cultural resource management industry in his native Australia. In 2014 he was acting site supervisor in the Australian Research Council funded project, Ice Age Villagers of the Levant, participating in the excavation of a semi-permanent Natufian site located in the modern-day Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In 2016, he arrived in the Netherlands to pursue a Research Masters in archaeology at Leiden University, specializing in the zooarchaeology and isotopic analysis. His research project focused on investigating indigenous human-canid relations by analyzing dog remains that were recovered from sites excavated in the Dominican Republic as part of the NEXUS1492 project. During the 2017 summer field season he participated in excavations at El Carril, and directed the sorting and analysis of faunal material from both El Carril and El Flaco. He graduated his RMA in 2018 and shortly after began his PhD position at Leiden University.
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. As part of his project a thorough examination of the faunal remains from NEXUS1492 project excavated sites will be undertaken. Moreover, 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, such as the hutía. 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.
Mail: Gene Shev
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 2727
Emma holds a BA in archaeology (2015) and an RMa in Caribbean archaeology (2018), both from Leiden University.
As research assistant for the NEXUS1492 project, Emma helps to prepare and edit academic publications, offers technical support in the preparation of the project’s museum exhibition Caribbean Ties, and creates content for the NEXUS1492 webpage and social media channels. Emma also functions as contact for students interested in field schools in the Americas, particularly for the NEXUS1492 field school in the Dominican Republic.
Mail: Emma de Mooij
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 1774
Geochemistry & Archaeometry
Gareth Davies is one the four PI's of Nexus 1492 and Head of the Deep Earth and Planetary Science research cluster at the Faculty of Earth and Life Science of the VU University Amsterdam. His expertise is in petrology and isotope geochemistry with an initial background in the study of volcanic processes. He has a track record of applying techniques in innovative ways across traditional disciplinary boundaries. Current work outside the traditional geological realm includes applications in archaeology, art history, environmental, forensic, food and material science. He took over as Prof of Petrology in 1993 and has subsequently built up the group from 4 to over 30 while also introducing new research fields in Isotopic Provenancing and Planetary Science.
In the Nexus project Gareth will the group applying modern geochemistry techniques to determine the provenance of human remains and archaeological artefacts.
Janne Koornneef is an isotope geochemist who is specialised in studying the composition of the Earth's mantle and the volcanic rocks derived from it. Currently she works as a post-doc on technique development using the latest generation Thermal Ionisation Mass Spectrometer (TRITON-Plus TIMS) to measure small geological, environmental and archaeological samples for their Sr, Nd and Pb isotope compositions. In collaboration with the manufacturer of the instrument she tests the latest design 10e12 and 10e13 Ohm feedback resistors that allow analyses of sub nanogram samples at higher precision.
In the Nexus project Janne will work on technique development to analyse trace element and isotope compositions of archaeological samples. One of the new techniques to be developed is to use a portable laser system to sample materials in the Caribbean (e.g. in museums) and to analyse these in the labs at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Jason Laffoon holds concurrent positions as a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University and the VU University Amsterdam. He obtained his BA (2004) and MA (2006) in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and his PhD in Caribbean Archaeology (2012) from Leiden University. His main research interests focus on the application and development of isotope analyses to archaeological research, particularly in the Caribbean.
For the NEXUS1492 project, his research will primarily focus on applying multiple isotopic analyses (C-N-O-Sr) of skeletal remains to examine transformations in patterns of human mobility and diet across the historical divide. This study builds on large isotope databases (C-N-O-Sr) from the Caribbean and will primarily focus on: 1) the integration of multiple isotope analyses to individual human remains; 2) serial sampling of different skeletal materials (enamel, dentine, bone) from the same individuals; and 3) expansion of these applications to individuals and burial populations spanning the late pre-colonial and early colonial periods. This research will be conducted in close collaboration with the various biogeochemical, archaeometric, bioarchaeological, and DNA projects and these combined datasets will be integrated within broader archaeological and inter-disciplinary frameworks.
Alice Knaf is a PhD researcher at the Deep Earth and Planetary Science cluster at the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She obtained her Bachelor degree in Geosciences (2009) at the LMU and the TU Munich (Germany) and a Master degree in Geochemistry and Geology (2011) at the ETH Zurich (Switzerland). After her graduation she joined AF Consult in Switzerland and worked there in the field of hydrogeology and radioactive waste disposal.
Within the Nexus 1492 she focuses on technique optimization of a portable in-situ laser system, as well as on the development of essentially non-destructive, analytical methods using sub nanogram amounts of strontium, neodymium and lead. Her main research interest lies in the geochemical characterization (isotopic and elemental composition analyses) of raw materials and artefacts of the Caribbean region. She will use multi isotopic and elemental methodologies (e.g. XRF, XRD, Nano-SIMS, LA-ICP-MS, Raman) for provenancing materials and objects to quantify possible changes in trading routes associated with and following initial European contact in the Caribbean.
Esther Plomp is a PhD researcher in the Deep Earth and Planetary Science research group at the VU University within the ERC Synergy project NEXUS 1492 since September 2013. She studied Archaeology at Leiden University and holds a Bachelors (2011) and Research Masters [MPhil] (2013) degree.
Esther's previous research was into the relationships between humans and dogs in the circum-Caribbean combining archaeological, ethnohistoric and ethnographic sources as well as strontium isotopic analysis. Within NEXUS 1492 she is investigating the possibilities of applying innovative isotopic analyses on modern and archaeological human remains. Her research interests include isotopic analyses, biomolecular archaeology, human osteology, and anthrozoology.
I am a chemist and archaeological/forensic scientist. I specialise in establishing the origin of people and artefacts composed of proteinaceous tissues (e.g. wool, bone) using light stable isotopic analysis (carbon, nitrogen, un-exchangeable hydrogen and oxygen) and radiogenic isotope analysis (strontium, lead).
In my PhD in York and postdoc at Kiel, I developed an isotopic provenancing method for sheep wool textiles, to study the medieval wool trade in northern Europe (7th-15th centuries), which was economically and socially central to many communities in Europe at that time. I am interested not just in identifying objects which were moved, but in understanding how ideas about how to make and use these objects also moved. To do this I combined approaches from 3 fields: protein chemistry (how hair fibre proteins decay over time); sheep diet and metabolism (what sheep eat and how this changes across northern Europe with seasons and farming practice); and textile archaeology (how to identify and interpret the textiles in the archaeological record). Experimental work was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (UK) and the Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft (DE).
In my present postdoc in Amsterdam I am developing my expertise in radiogenic isotopic provenancing methods, especially as applied to human remains (archaeological and modern). This builds on my existing interests in the isotopic analysis of hair and how burial degradation affects isotope composition. In June 2016 I attended the SPATIAL course at the University of Utah to develop new skills in mapping isotopic data over continental areas.
Ulrik Brandes is a professor for algorithmics at the University of Konstanz since 2003. He obtained a diploma in computer science from RWTH Aachen in 1994 and a doctoral degree in computer science from the University of Konstanz in 1999. Immediately after his habilitation in 2002, he became a professor for algorithmics at the University of Passau.
He is co-founding area editor of Network Science, associate editor of Social Networks, and editorial board member of the Journal of Graph Algorithms and Applications. He serves in the board of directors of the International Network for Social Network Analysis and the steering committee of the International Symposium on Graph Drawing.
His research interests revolve around algorithms, social networks, and visualization. In NEXUS 1492, he is leading the network science part on network reconstruction from fragmented, heterogeneous, unreliable data.
Jan Christoph Athenstädt is a PhD student at the University of Konstanz since 2013. He holds a Diploma in Computer Science (Dipl. Inform.) from the Karlsruhe Institute of Techonology. During his studies, he also spent a year as visiting graduate student at the University of Washington in Seattle.
His previous research experience is in graph drawing and the visualization of clusterings.
Mereke van Garderen is a PhD student at the University of Konstanz since 2013. She holds a Bachelor in Liberal Arts and Sciences from University College Roosevelt in Middelburg, the Netherlands, and a Master in Computer Science and Engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology, also in the Netherlands. Her previous research experience focused mainly on graph drawing and set visualisation.
Mereke is a PhD student within the HERA-CARIB Project.
The main question guiding Maroussia Favre's research as part of the project NEXUS 1492 is: what can be inferred from archaeological records and material culture in social networks?
Maroussia Favre works as a postdoc in the chair of Social Networks in the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS) at ETH Zurich, and is also affiliated with the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Konstanz.
She holds a PhD from the ETH Zurich in the Department of Management, Technology and Economics (MTEC), for which she received the ETH Medal, and a Master and Bachelor in physics from the EPF Lausanne. Maroussia's PhD thesis, entitled "Modeling social interactions and their effects on individual decision making," is available here.
Her prior research used computer or mathematical tools and spanned anthropology, decision theory, population models in biology, and political science.
Viviana Amati is a post-doctoral researcher at ETH Zurich since November 2017. Prior to working at Zurich, she was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Konstanz. She has received her Ph.D. in Statistics from the University of Milano-Bicocca in 2011.
Her research interest lies in statistical methodology for social network analysis, particularly related to the estimation and specification of stochastic models for relational data. Most of her current work focuses on the application of elements of game theory to provide a micro-foundation to statistical network models and point out actors' agency in network formation.
Mail: Viviana Amati
Phone: +41 44 632 20 81
External Profile: not operational yet
Csilla Ariese-Vandemeulebroucke is a PhD researcher at Leiden University. She holds a BA in Archaeology from Gothenburg University with a specialization in maritime archaeology (2010). At the same university, she completed a MSc in International Museum Studies (2012).
She has worked as project leader on exhibitions, as a public archaeologist and for several museums. Within the NEXUS1492 project, she will be working with museums in the Caribbean and, more specifically, their changing role in society in the post-colonial world. Community engagement will be examined as the key method for this change
Eldris Con Aguilar is a PhD researcher at Leiden University. She holds a Bachelors degree with Cum Laude Honours in Education (History and Geography) from Universidad Catolica Andres Bello, Venezuela (2011) and a Master of Arts degree in Latin American Studies with specialization in modern history from Leiden University (2012)
Her research interests are educational programmes, public policies, community participation, cultural identity and archaeological heritage. From a pedagogical perspective she studies teaching practices of indigenous history and heritage in Caribbean countries from localized examples. By analyzing the impacts of these experiences, she investigates the inclusion of heritage values in formal and informal educational settings.
Amanda Byer is a PhD candidate at Leiden University. Amanda is originally an environmental lawyer and holds Master’s degrees in environmental law and natural resource management. Generally, she is interested in the role that environmental law can play in promoting sustainable development. Of particular interest is the enhancement of protection for the natural and archaeological heritage, which demands an understanding of the underlying historical, cultural and environmental factors that shape heritage governance in the postcolonial Caribbean.
Within the Nexus 1492 project, Amanda is examining the development of heritage law in the English-speaking Caribbean and conducting a diagnostic of the main laws as they exist today. This analysis is multidisciplinary in approach, drawing on legal anthropology, landscape theory, international cultural heritage law, international environmental law and spatial justice to provide context-appropriate legal options for managing heritage in the region.
Amy Strecker is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leiden. She holds a BA (hons) in Art History and Spanish Philology (2003) from University College Dublin and an MA (hons) in Cultural Policy and Arts Management (2005) from the same institution. Although not originally a lawyer, Amy became interested in the impact of domestic law on the archaeological heritage in Ireland and wrote her MA thesis on the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 2004. This led her to pursue a masters in law at the European University Institute in Florence, where she subsequently obtained her PhD in international law in 2012. Her PhD thesis, Landscape as Public Space, analysed the role of international and European law in the protection of landscape, mainly as expressed in cultural heritage law, environmental law and human rights.
Amy’s research interests include international cultural heritage law, human rights, environmental law, legal anthropology, cultural policy, cultural geography and cultural heritage theory. Within Nexus1492, her overarching role is to conduct a comparative analysis of cultural heritage laws in the region. The first phase of her research analyses the effects of colonial legacies in the legal systems of the Caribbean and assesses the consequence of these legacies in a socio-cultural context. This has led her to investigate the subject of indigenous rights, primarily in the islands of Dominica, St. Vincent and Trinidad. By analyzing the history of laws pertaining to indigenous peoples in these islands from the colonial period to the present, she deconstructs the issues relating to the land, legal status and cultural politics of indigenous communities in the contemporary Caribbean.
Through my research in the Nexus1492 project, I focused on land change in coastal communities of St. Kitts and the Kalinago Territory of Dominica. Together with community partners, we addressed a variety of land change issues, linked to changing socio-economics and climate. Using the results of research, a range of deliverables were produced for community stakeholders to continue sustainable land use and particiption.
Coming from a multidisciplinary background-- with a focus on ecosystem services and geoinformatics, I am comfortable linking symptomatic spatial occurrences to environmental, climatic and historical processes. My work has led to the tangible production of different tools, such as agricultural management plans, community events, mapping deliverables, environmental modeling, and community collected data. However, all related to holistic approaches to dealing with agriculture, land change and enhancing community well-being
I completed my Phd within the ERC-Synergy NEXUS1492 project following a a masters degree in Géoinformatics (GIS/Remote sensing applied to Land and environment)(2012) from Université de Toulouse/ENSAT, France.
Arelis I. Arocho-Montes holds a PhD in Environmental Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras. Her studies were grounded in an interdisciplinary approach financially and logistically supported by the ‘Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship’ (IGERT) program of the National Science Foundation (USA). Her research was focused on the economic, anthropological, cultural, historical, ecological and public policy aspects surrounding the most productive fishery landing site in Puerto Rico. She used a socio-ecological ecosystems’ approach to unfold and support her research design and the ensuing findings. This interdisciplinary research was rooted in her academic background, which integrated her knowledge and experience developed through her Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and her Master’s degree in Planning, both from the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao and Río Piedras respectively.
Before completing her PhD studies, she worked for 10 years as a professional planner in different government agencies in Puerto Rico. Her management skills and research experience include serving as a liaison between different stakeholders on matters of management, economic development, linkage of traditional and scientific knowledge, and public policy directed toward the preservation of the integrity of marine/coastal ecosystems and communities.
Mail: Arelis Arocho Montes
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 5162
Wouter Kool is Data Manager for Nexus1492 since May 2016.
After his studies Wouter started working in IT-related positions in the publishing industry, pioneering in database publishing and digital media. More recently, he changed to Libraries and Digital Heritage. At the Koninlijke Bibliotheek, he was an Information Analyst for Staten-Generaal Digitaal and the Metamorfoze programme. He has published in professional media about Digital Preservation, file formats, and metadata.
Wouter graduated in Classical Studies from Leiden University with a thesis on the urban development of Rome in the early Middle Ages.
In May 2016 he joined the Nexus1492 ERC-synergy project, where he is responsible for supporting the research projects with data integration, software development and data archiving activities. Aims are to develop a data repository for the Caribbean Archaeology department as well as an application for on-site find registration.
Tibisay is the Public Engagement Coordinator for the NEXUS1492 project. She studied Liberal Arts & Sciences at University College Utrecht and has a master’s degree in Arts & Culture and in Science Communication & Society from Leiden University.
Passionate about education on a global scale, she is particularly interested in educational programmes that focus on underprivileged children and youth. In the past years, Tibisay has spent time working in the Netherlands, South Africa and Aruba. She has developed educational material, spearheaded communication strategies, and managed an international educational programme.
Ilone de Vries is personal assistant of CPI Prof. Corinne Hofman within the NEXUS 1492 project. Before she was secretary at the Faculty Office of the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University.
Since 2005, André Delpuech has been Senior Curator at the Musée de Quai Branly (Paris, France) and Chief Curator of the department of the Americas collections (Archaeology and Ethnography).
His first specialization was in European Paleolithic (University of Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne, then University of Bordeaux I). He worked in archaeological rescue excavations in France between 1984 and 1991. From 1992 to 1999, he was the creator and director of the Archaeological Service of the Guadeloupe Archipelago (FWI). In this time, a scientific cooperation was established with Leiden University and with Prof. Dr. Corinne Hofman and Prof. Dr. Menno Hoogland, he co-directed excavations carried out on a number of Amerindian sites (e.g. Morel, Anse à la Gourde). Until 2004, André was chief of the Bureau for Archaeological Research at the French Ministry of Culture. Since 2007, he is the president of the Archaeological Commission for the Americas at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Currently, his research is now particularly focused on the history of the discipline of Archaeology and Anthropology in the Americas, the first Cabinets of Cusiosities, and ancient collections from the Caribbean and Amazonia. He is also engaged in the colonial story of the Caribbean (Archaeology of Colonial Slavery, 2014).
Mail: André Delpuech
Becki Scott is a post-doctoral researcher with the NWO Island Networks project at Leiden University. She has a BA in Archaeology (2002) and an MA in Cultural Landscape Management (2005) both from the University of Wales, Lampeter. She has an MSc in Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology (2008) and a PhD in Forensic and Archaeological Glass Analysis (2011) both from Cranfield University.
Prior to working at Leiden, Becki was a post-doctoral researcher at Leuven University (KU Leuven), Belgium, where she worked on the ERC ARCHGLASS project analysing the effects of recycling on Roman glass compositions. While working for KU Leuven, Becki began collaborating with the HERA Carib Connections project. She began to develop a method for analysing the composition of indigenous ceramic objects from the Lesser Antilles using pXRF. Becki's work enabled the provenancing of ceramic objects in the field, whilst working on Grenada. Her current role on the NWO Island Networks project is to continue developing this methodology, and to expand the work to cover other islands in the Lesser Antilles. She also hopes to develop a baseline to allow the comparative pXRF study of ceramics from across the Caribbean, with a particular focus on the Dominican Republic.
Mail: Becki Scott
Phone: +32 16 32 72 59
Christina Warinner is director of the Laboratories of Molecular Anthropology and Microbiome Research (LMAMR) and an assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma since 2014. Furthermore, she holds the title of Presidential Research Professor and is an adjunct professor of Periodontics at the University of Oklahoma's College of Dentistry.
In 2010, she earned her PhD from Harvard University. She studied dental calculus using high-throughput metagenomics and metaproteomics approaches. Recently, she has developed a novel metaproteomics technique using tandem mass spectometry to identify the dietary proteins in modern and ancient human dental calculus. Currently her research focuses on examining major transistions in human diet and oral microbial ecology.
Dr. Jay B. Haviser is from 2007-present, the specialist for Monuments and Archaeology at the Ministry of VROMI of the Government of St. Maarten, after having been the Archaeologist for the Netherlands Antilles Government from 1982-2007. He received his doctorate in Archaeology from Leiden University, Netherlands, in 1987, and is currently an associate on the Leiden University Faculty for Archaeology, and assists with some NEXUS projects.
Dr. Haviser has served the Caribbean region as; the President of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology (1999-2007, 2015-present), the Senior Regional Representative for the Caribbean in the World Archaeological Congress (2002-2008), as well as President of the Museums Association of the Caribbean (2000-2002). He was granted Knighthood by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 2008, for his archaeology work in the Netherlands Antilles.
Some of his more prominent book publications include: African Sites Archaeology in the Caribbean (1999), co-editor of African Re-Genesis (2006), and co-editor of Managing Our Past into the Future (2015), as well as writing over 100 international publications. He is currently directing three Youth and Science programs called SIMARC on St. Maarten, SABARC on Saba, and BONAI on Bonaire, as well as teaching Caribbean Archaeology at the University of St. Martin.
Mail: Jay B. Haviser
Maaike de Waal graduated in 1996 with two MA degrees at Leiden University (“ Archaeology and Culture History of the America’s” and “Prehistory of North-Western Europe”). She completed a PhD in Caribbean Archaeology at the same university (2006). Her dissertation, entitled “Pre-Columbian social organisation and interaction interpreted through the study of settlement patterns. An archaeological case-study of the Pointe des Châteaux, La Désirade and Les Îles de la Petite Terre micro-region, Guadeloupe, F.W.I.” was based on a four-year project she designed and which was granted by the Leiden Faculty of Archaeology. Subsequently, as archaeologist at RAAP Archeologisch Adviesbureau in Leiden, de Waal was responsible for several surveying, auger testing and test excavation projects at prehistoric, Roman, Early and Late Medieval and sub-recent sites in the Netherlands. From 2008 – 2010, as lecturer in archaeology at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, she was responsible for the creation of an archaeology minor in the Department of History and Philosophy. Later in 2010 she worked as lecturer in archaeology at Saxion Next University of Applied Sciences in Deventer (the Netherlands). From 2010 onwards, de Waal is co-owner of ARGEOgraph, an archaeological company that offers archaeological and geodetic products and services for archaeological applications in the Netherlands and in the Caribbean. Between 2013 and 2016, de Waal worked as assistant professor at the Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University. From 2016 onwards, she is research fellow at the University of the West Indies, Barbados and guest staff member at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University.
De Waal is specialized in pre-colonial Caribbean archaeology. Since her 1994 and 1995 field investigations at La Désirade, she has been interested in pre-colonial habitation and exploitation of small islands and islets in the region. This interest has been deepened by the possibility to carry out a systematic and highly intensive survey project in the eastern part of Guadeloupe (the Pointe des Châteaux peninsula, the island of La Désirade and the nowadays uninhabited islets of Petite Terre) as part of her PhD research. This project allowed the study of pre-colonial organization and interaction of this micro-region through the investigation of settlement patterns and archaeological landscapes. De Waal has specialized in archaeological prospection and in the study of ceramics, especially those from the Late Ceramic Age in the Lesser Antilles. In addition, she has focused on studying precolonial cultural landscapes (Barbados), on creating archaeological predictive maps (e.g. Sint Eustatius, 2013 and Saba, 2015) and on developing an innovative remote sensing technique (Barbados).
De Waals areas of expertise include:
- (Caribbean) archaeology
- Caribbean micro-regional organisation and interaction
- Caribbean pre-colonial ceramics
- Caribbean pre-colonial settlement patterns
- Archaeology of the Americas
- Development of academic study curricula, courses and tests
- Teaching university and university of applied sciences students
Martijn finished his MA thesis (Leiden University) on contemporary pottery production among the Palikur in French Guiana in 1995. He works now as project leader in the French overseas departments for Inrap (National French Institute of Preventive Archaeology), such as Guadeloupe and Martinique where he conducts most of his fieldwork but lives in French Guiana.
In 2015, he earned a PhD title at Leiden University. He provided an update of the state of affairs of the archaeology of the western coastal zone of French Guiana based on numerous excavations, notably the ceramic series of these sites. Next to his work in compliance archaeology he participates in various multidisciplinary projects as an archaeologist concerning the impact of ancient human presence in the tropical forest of French Guiana and is scientific member of IRISTA. He is also an editor for the Boletim do Museu Emilio Goeldi of the section archaeology. In addition he is also interested in the Dutch occupation and colonisation of the Wild Coast and the Lesser Antilles during the 17th century.
For NEXUS Martijn has joined the team as a guest member of Leiden University and as a researcher for the Late Ceramic Age assemblages in the Guianas and the Caribbean which are connected through the presence of Koriabo and Cayo ceramics respectively in both areas crossing the Historical Divide.
I earned my PhD at the University of Arizona’s School of Anthropology in 2016. I study the material culture of past peoples to examine how social movements shaped religion and politics through time. I examine these movements using social and spatial analyses that draw on a wide range of data, although I’ve found ceramic and architecture to be particularly useful. I am interested in combining theories on decentralized social organization with archaeological, historical, and anthropological theories of historical change. I have applied these theoretical and methodological interests to the Gallina people in the prehispanic North American Southwest to understand issues of violence as well as resistance to the increasingly hierarchical religious and political situation in the late Chaco landscape and throughout the Mesa Verde region as well as in the Hohokam region in the southern Southwest by examining how and why the spread of ideologies (specifically that associated with the spread of Salado polychrome ceramics) was truncated. In the Caribbean, I'll be exploring how integrating social network and spatial analyses can give us a better understanding of the history of periods with and without text and to explore the construction of archaeological knowledge, and thus history.
Patrick Degryse is Professor of Archaeometry at the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and director of the Centre for Archaeological Sciences at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium). His main research efforts focus on the use of mineral raw materials in ancient ceramic, glass, metal and building stone production, using petrographical, mineralogical and isotope geochemical techniques. He teaches geology, geochemistry, archaeometry and natural sciences in archaeology, and outside the lab is active in several field projects in the eastern Mediterranean. He is an A. von Humboldt Fellow and European Research Council Grantee.
Currently he is PI-3 in the HERA-CARIB Project.
Dr. Maria Magdalena Antczak is an archaeologist and anthropologist. She received her PhD in Prehistoric Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London (2000), studied ethnography at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan and anthropology at the Central University of Venezuela. Currently she is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Archaeology at Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, co-founder and co-director (with Dr. A. Antczak) of the Archaeology Research Unit at the same university. In 1982, together with Dr. Andrzej Antczak, she created and co-directed the project Archaeology of the Islands of Venezuela, and since then has carried out pioneering archaeological investigations on more than 60 offshore islands of the Venezuelan Caribbean. Since 2006 she also conducted research (together with Dr. A. Antczak) on the small islands off the eastern coast of Martinique. Her scholarly interests include (re)construction of past social realities both in pre-Hispanic north-central Venezuela (island-mainland relations) and method and theory of meaning attribution and signifying practices applied to the study of representational material culture (especially within the pre-Hispanic Sphere of Interaction in north-central Venezuela), using approaches of cognitive, symbolic and contextual archaeology. Related interests: figurine studies, anthropology and archaeology of art, pre-Hispanic symbolism, Queen Conch symbolism in the Caribbean, ceramic and provenance studies, public and community archaeology.
Mail: Marlena Antczak
Phone: +31 71 527 6571
Dr. Arie Boomert (1946) studied cultural anthropology and cultural prehistory at the University of Amsterdam (BA, 1968; MA, with honours, 1972) and Leiden University (Ph.D, 2000). He subsequently worked as an archaeologist at the Surinaams Museum, Paramaribo, Suriname (1973-1975), Leiden University (1976-1978), the University of Amsterdam (1979-1980), the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad (1980-1988), and as a desk editor at PlantijnCasparie Heerhugowaard (1988-2004). Since 2004 he has been employed at Leiden University again. In addition, he was the director of the International Association for Caribbean Archaeology (1983-1987) and a member of the Advisary Board of Antropológica, Fundación La Salle, Caracas, Venezuela (1983-1999). He is the author of fifty publications, including articles in scholarly journals, papers in congress proceedings, contributions to encyclopaedias and edited works, book reviews and two monographs. His research interests include the archaeology, ethnohistory and linguistics of the West Indies, the Guianas and Amazonia.
Bert Neyt is a researcher at Leuven University. He holds a master diploma in Geology (2005) and a PhD degree in Geology (2012) (both at Leuven University), for which he did research on ancient ceramic provenancing in and around the archaeological site of Sagalassos in southwestern Turkey, specializing in ceramic petrography, geochemical analysis and clay mineralogy.
Bert contributes to the HERA-CARIB project by making a technological and provenance analysis of the ceramic spectrum from the islands of the Lesser Antilles, by means of ceramic petrography and geochemical analysis of clay raw materials, in order to obtain a better understanding of the continuity and change in indigenous ceramic production in the period AD1000-1800.
Noa Corcoran-Tadd is a lecturer affiliated with the ERC-Synergy NEXUS1492 project. He obtained his BA (2008) from Cambridge, MA (2011) from Stanford, and PhD in Anthropology (2017) from Harvard. His current research focuses on mobility and infrastructure in the Andes during the Inca and colonial periods.
His doctoral project explored a network of late prehispanic and historical roads and campsites in the highlands of Tacna (southern Peru), focussing particularly the evolution of the tambo (roadside way station) from its emergence during the Inca Empire through to its role in supporting the emergence of mercantile colonialism in the post-conquest period.
Noa's new project within the NEXUS1492 program, Landscapes of mobility in the northern Chilean altiplano: from chiefly networks to colonial markets (c. AD 1100-1800), seeks to use a combination of archaeological survey, excavation, and desktop research to explore patterns of mobility and connectivity during the late prehispanic (c. 1100-1532) and colonial (c. AD1532-1800) periods in the Andean highlands of northern Chile. As in the late prehispanic Caribbean, the south-central Andes before the conquest were characterized by dynamic networks of long-distance connectivity. The mobile pastoralists, long-distance caravaners, and extensive communities of political alliance that formed these networks did not disappear with the conquest but rather persisted to shape the new colonial landscape in important ways. In particular, the Landscapes of mobility project focuses on the emergence and local effects of ‘the silver road’ (ruta de la plata) that connected the colonial silver mines of Potosí and Oruro with the ports of the Spanish Pacific. Moving away from a traditional focus on the mines themselves, the project seeks to understand evidence for indigenous resilience along the ruta de la plata through and despite processes of exploitation, engagement, and avoidance during the colonial period. At a broader scale, the project aims to develop new comparative perspectives on the emergent economies of extraction in the colonial Caribbean and the Andes by situating them within their wider contexts of indigenous settlement, routes, and exchange.
Andy Ciofalo is currently working on a PhD project that challenges or expands upon previous archaeological understandings of botanical foodways during AD 1000-1500 in three geographic regions: Northern Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, and Central Nicaragua. He is working on publishing four case studies in an effort to address objectives for better understanding precolonial foodways. His main research is a comparative ancient starch analysis of samples from an assemblage of clay griddles and shell tools from the archaeological sites located in northwestern Dominican Republic and the Turks & Caicos Islands.
The PhD project is part of a large-scale Caribbean archaeobotanical study directed by Dr. Jaime Pagán Jiménez and under supervision of Prof. dr. Corinne L. Hofman in the context of the ERC-Synergy NEXUS1492 project.
Andy’s project has three main objectives. First, an objective to add direct archaeological evidence to the growing database of plants processed for food in the circum-Caribbean. Second, an aim to highlight socially learned behaviors of processing plant-based foods. Finally, there is a goal to determine patterns and variations of starchy foodways in the research areas. The four case studies will produce published academic articles, each of which will contest or expand on previous archaeological considerations of botanical foodways during the advent of European encounters.
Cameron Gill holds a BA in History with a minor in Archaeology (2003) and an MA with Distinction in Heritage Studies (2009), both from the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus in Barbados. For his masters dissertation he researched Barbados’ maritime heritage from a material culture perspective. From 2010 he has been the General Manager of the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park Society and the UNESCO Focal Point for St. Kitts-Nevis. Set atop a 790 foot high steep-sided igneous peak in St. Kitts, the Brimstone Hill Fortress is the most extensive historic military fortification in the English speaking Americas. Brimstone Hill Fortress is also the first cultural heritage site in the Eastern Caribbean to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cameron commenced his PhD in Archaeology at Leiden University in 2012. His doctoral thesis is entitled “Brimstone, Sea and Sand: the Historic Port Town of Sandy Point and its Anchorage”. Sandy Point was the first major port town in St. Kitts (the first English colony in the West Indies) and one of the early important ports in the Eastern Caribbean. Sandy Point was also a major centre for trade (both legal and illicit) and communication between the British and Dutch West Indies up to the mid twentieth century. Up until the withdrawal of the last British garrison in 1853, one of the main functions of the Brimstone Hill Fortress was to protect the strategic anchorage at Sandy Point. However, this once thriving port, and other Lesser Antillean ports, have been largely overlooked by historians and archaeologists. Cameron is pursuing his research from an inter-disciplinary perspective, incorporating archaeology (both maritime and terrestrial), archival sources and oral history. Cameron’s research aims include creating a greater awareness and understanding of the importance of this port city to the British and Dutch Atlantic World systems; the port’s influence on British defensive strategy; a greater understanding of the development and subsequent decline of Britain’s Atlantic World System; and a greater understanding of how a West Indian town’s port function can impact its society and culture, including its built landscape.
The PhD project Facing Society is funded by the NWO program
The proposed PhD research will investigate aspects of identity among the pre-Columbian and early colonial societies of the circum-Caribbean by analyzing the practice of intentional cranial modification (ICM). This permanent modification of the human head shape is cross-culturally recognized as a way to express and communicate elements of personal and group identity. This research will determine patterns of modification (i.e. prevalence and type) in skeletal assemblages from the circum-Caribbean region and apply a multidisciplinary approach to correlate these patterns with social and material dimensions of society, such as sex and gender, social status, social organization, material culture, and the mobility of people and exchange of ideas across the Caribbean archipelago. This will provide insight into the formation and expression of social identities among the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean and the relations between different circum-Caribbean communities.
Anne van Duijvenbode (MA) specializes in the study of intentional cranial modification in the skeletal assemblages from the prehistoric and early colonial indigenous communities of the circum-Caribbean region.
Tom Brughmans is an archaeologist specialised in digital technologies and network science. He received his undergraduate and Masters degrees in Archaeology from the University of Leuven (Belgium) in 2007 and 2008 respectively. In 2009 he obtained a Master in Science in Archaeological Computing: Spatial Technologies from the University of Southampton. Since then Tom worked as a research assistant at these institutions and he has received his PhD in Archaeology at the University of Southampton as a member of the Archaeological Computing Research Group, and at the University of Leuven.
His research aims to explore the potential of network science for the archaeological discipline through case-studies on citation networks of archaeological literature, tableware distribution in the Roman Eastern Mediterranean and visibility networks in Iron Age and Roman Southern Spain.
Ryan Espersen holds a Research Masters from Leiden University in Archaeology (2009), a Joint Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology and Latin American History from the University of Calgary (2006), Canada, as well as a Bachelor of Education from Lahehead University, Canada (2011). He has been a PhD candidate at Leiden University since September 2010.
As the Early Research Fellow 9 under the European Transatlantic Slave Trade project, Ryan Espersen will study will contrast the development of slave lifeways between the colonial-era Dutch Antilles using a multidisciplinary approach combining historical archaeology, slave ancestry via mtDNA analysis, and a study of migrations and foodways derived from strontium isotope analysis. The Dutch islands each followed a markedly different trajectory of colonization and economic development than the others (Haviser 2001), thus slave lifeways on each island will be studied within their own terms followed by being contextualized within the broader social, political, and economic macro-environments of the Dutch Antilles. Outreach projects involving local African-ancestry communities and the involvement of island youth in portions of fieldwork will be emphasized as an integral part of this research, in particular through the St. Maarten Archaeological Research Center (SIMARC), the Saba Archaeological Research Center (SABARC), and the Bonaire Archaeological Institute (BONAI).
Mail: Ryan Espersen
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 6574
Affiliated PhD Researchers
Catarina Guzzo Falci is a PhD student at the Faculty of Archaeology in Leiden University. She is studying the biographies of adornments (beads, pendants, plugs, etc.) in the pan-Caribbean region, encompassing the Antilles and surrounding mainlands. Microwear analysis will be used to investigate the evolving patterns in production technologies, modes and degrees of usage, and exchange throughout the Ceramic Age period (400 BC – AD 1492). The comparison between artefact biographies for multiple case-studies will allow a critical assessment of previous ideas regarding large-scale interactions within and between these regions that were based primarily on iconography. The research aims at generating a new understanding of interactions in a multi-scalar fashion: from micro-regional, to inter-island, and finally to pan-regional networks that would have involved not only the trade of goods, but also the persistence and sharing of ideas and ways of doing things.
Catarina’s main interests include ornamentation of the body, pre-Colonial archaeology of the Caribbean and of the lowlands of South America, anthropological and archaeological approaches to technology and skill, microwear analysis, and South American ethnology.
Catarina obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG, Brazil). For her BA thesis (2012), she carried out a technological analysis of debitage associated to stone bead making from the southeast of the Amazon Basin. During her Research Master at Leiden University (2013-2015), she focused on technologies of production and on use of bodily adornments in the Late Ceramic Age Caribbean.
Emma Slayton is a PhD researcher at the Faculty of Archaeology at Leiden University. She has earned a Master of Philosophy from the University of Oxford (2013) and a Bachelor’s degree from Pitzer College (2011).
Her current research project is a part of the NWO Island Networks project at the University of Leiden. Entitled Seascape Corridors: How modelling routes through the sea can illuminate early island culture, it focuses on how computer modeling can be used alongside ethnographic, historic, and archaeological data to create a better understanding of how and along what routes Amerindians would have piloted their canoes.
Mail: Emma Slayton
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 5277
John Angus Martin is the Director/Curator of the Grenada National Museum in St. George’s, Grenada. He holds a BS degree in Biological Sciences and a minor in Anthropology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook (1986), MS in Agricultural and Applied Economics (1995) and MA in History (1999) from Clemson University, South Carolina. He is a part-time Lecturer in the School of Arts and Sciences at St. George’s University, Grenada.
His main research interests are the history and culture of Grenada, particularly slavery and colonialism. He is the author of the A-Z of Grenada Heritage (Macmillan Caribbean, 2007), and Island Caribs and French Settlers in Grenada, 1498-1763 (Grenada National Museum Press, 2013). Within NEXUS, he is investigating the sustainability of small museums and heritage institutions in the Eastern Caribbean through community engagement.|
Mail: John Angus Martin
Phone: +31 71 527 6470
External Profile: John Angus Martin
Floris Keehnen is a PhD researcher at Leiden University. He holds both a Bachelor (2008) and Research Master [MPhil] (2012) degree in Caribbean archaeology from Leiden University. His current project Values and valuables in the early colonial Caribbean is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) within their program ‘PhDs in the Humanities’.
For his PhD project he will focus on the role of material culture in Amerindian-European interactions and exchanges in the early colonial Caribbean (1492-1800). He will specifically examine the Amerindian attitudes towards new types of material culture related to the differential impacts of early colonial encounters in the Caribbean. The main questions to be answered are what items were exchanged in cross-cultural interactions in what contexts, and how were these exotic objects valued by and integrated into indigenous society?
Arlene Alvarez is an affiliated PhD researcher at Leiden University. She has a Masters degree in Public Administration with a concentration in nonprofit marketing and management through the National Urban Fellowship-Baruch College, School of Public Affairs, City University of New York (2000). She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology and Political Science from Rutgers University (1995). As the Director of the Altos de Chavon Regional Museum of Archaeology since the year 2000, she has been in charge of developing programs to increase appreciation for the indigenous heritage of the Dominican Republic. Her main research interests are heritage management, community participation, and social development.
She contributes to the Nexus 1492 project through her research on access to indigenous heritage public and private collections exploring ways to improve heritage policies, and enrich cultural identity discussions in the Dominican Republic and at a regional level.
Samantha de Ruiter is a PhD researcher in the Caribbean Research Group and holds a Bachelor and Research Master [MPhil] degree (2009, 2012) in Archaeology from Leiden University.
Her main research interests are Caribbean archaeology and computer applications in archaeology. Within HERA-CARIB, she focuses on landscape archaeology and settlement patterning dynamics in the Lesser Antilles to investigate continuity and changes in settlement locations across the historical divide. She will use Geographic Information Systems and predictive modeling to address the research questions.
Joseph Sony Jean has a bachelor in History of Art and Archaeology from the Université d’Etat d’Haiti and was an exchange student in History and Archaeology at the University of the West Indies Mona campus in Jamaica.
He holds a Research Master from the Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail in France. His current PhD research is financed by NWO-Spinoza, affiliated to the ERC project NEXUS1492 directed by Prof. dr. Corinne Hofman. It focuses on archaeological landscapes of Northern Haiti, and data from ethnography and ethnohistory will be combined with archaeological records in this research.
Tom Breukel is a PhD candidate at Leiden University. He obtained his MA (research) degree in Archaeology at the University of Leiden in 2013, studying threepointer artefacts from the Caribbean.
In the NWO-Island Networks project Tom is investigating transformations in the ways material culture was produced and used. He aims to pinpoint whether changes occurred and of what kind they were through microwear analysis, microscope-based characterisation of the wear traces left on artefacts as a result of past activities. The spatiotemporal frame of his research is the late pre-colonial and early colonial Lesser Antilles, with a comparative perspective from the late pre-colonial Dominican Republic. His interests extend to object materialities, current theories of Amerindian ontologies and social models, reductive craft technologies, and Caribbean material culture (in particular paraphernalia, axes, ornaments, which are overlapping categories).
Former Team Members
Former Project Manager
I.M. (Maribel) Adame Valero was the Project Manager of the ERC Synergy project NEXUS 1492 between October 2013 and April 2018.
Previously, she worked as a Senior Project and Community Manager at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. Before that, she held different positions in the private sector. She worked as Product Marketing Manager at Nucletron and Medis Medical Imaging Systems, and as Clinical Education Specialist at GE Healthcare, building the bridge between people, technology and healthcare.
She holds an MSc in Telecommunication Engineering from the University of Seville in Spain, a PhD in Medical Imaging from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, and a Masters in Marketing from the NIMA Business School in the Netherlands.
Maribel currently works as Project Manager at the Institute of Biology, Leiden University.
Jimmy Mans is post doc researcher for the Archaeology Group within the Nexus 1492 ERC-Syngergy project. He is also part of the HERA-CARIB Project.
Habiba is a postdoc in the NEXUS 1492 project at the University of Konstanz, Germany. She completed her PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Summer 2013.
Habiba's main interests include modeling and algorithmic analysis of large scale networks, machine learning, mathematical modeling of diffusion processes, graph mining, and graph theory.
Mariana de Campos Francozo is Assistant Professor of Museum Studies and coordinator of the MA in Museum Studies Program at Leiden University. She holds a BA and an MA in Social Anthropology (Unicamp, Brazil, 2001 and 2004) and a PhD in Social Sciences (Unicamp, Brazil, 2009). Her dissertation, From Olinda to Holanda: Johan Maurits van Nassau and the circulation of objects and knowledge in the Dutch Atlantic (17th century), is a historical reconstruction and anthropological analysis of Count Johan Maurits van Nassau's collection of curiosities.
Her research interests are history and anthropology of collecting; museum studies; historical anthropology; and South American colonial history. Within NEXUS 1492, she focuses on collections of Caribbean artifacts in European museums. By looking into the historical processes of collecting and the (physical and discursive) formation of Caribbean archaeological and ethnographic collections, she analyzes the shifting meanings and values ascribed to collected material at different historical and social contexts. This research will help to identify present-day European museological practices in their potential to establishing relationships to Caribbean communities.
Till F. Sonnemann is junior professor for digital geoarchaelogy at the University of Bamberg, Germany.
Previously he was a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University (2013-16). He holds a diploma in Geophysics (Dipl. Geophys.) from the University of Münster (2005), and a PhD in Archaeology from the University of Sydney (2012).
His main research interests are the combination of GIS, remote sensing and geophysics in landscape archaeology and heritage. Within NEXUS, he focuses on developing a methodological approach to analyse Caribbean Indigenous landscapes, by applying a variety of remote and close range sensing techniques at different scales in the Greater and Lesser Antilles. From 2014-16 he was responsible for the development of the Nexus1492 website.
I am a post-doctoral researcher, specialized in the study of archaeological networks as well as the indigenous cultures and societies of the Caribbean. I have undertaken fieldwork or collection research on many of the Greater and Lesser Antilles, but my current project looks at how we can combine the archaeological theory of entanglement with methods and theories from the network sciences. Building on previous fieldwork, this is applied to a study of indigenous North Jamaica communities and their encounters with other peoples and material culture from the late pre-historic period onward.
At the core of my research is a deep-seated interest in how human beings engage each other through and because of material culture, in the process of which enduring social and material networks are created that make-up part of the connective tissue that holds human societies together. The high connectivity and multi-cultural nature of the indigenous Caribbean means it provides many opportunities to study this. Still, my interests often take me far beyond the shores of the Caribbean Sea. As such, I have also studied examples of these types of networks in other times and places, often together with regional or disciplinal specialists: from contemporary online gaming and the Beowulf poem to Çatalhöyük.
I do not only enjoy working on transdisciplinary and collaborative research projects, but also take an active interest in the epistemology of science and particularly in the issue of consilience.
Termeh Shafie is a postdoctoral researcher at the Chair of Social Networks, ETH Zurich. She received her Ph.D. in Statistics from Stockholm University and has previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Konstanz (2013-2017).
Her primary research interest is statistical analysis and modelling of multivariate networks. Her other research interests lie in the area of statistical information theory and network sampling.
Julijan Vermeer is a research assistant at Leiden University. He was trained as an archaeologist at Leiden University (BA, 2010), and later as a geoarchaeologist at Ghent University (MA, 2012) where he specialized in geomorphology and palaeotopography. His master thesis was published in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms (ESPL).
He contributes to the ERC Synergy-NEXUS 1492 project by carrying out his own research which targets a comprehensive understanding of environmental dynamics for a selection of key archaeological sites in the Caribbean. His main interests lie in the reconstruction of site environment evolutionary histories and the interpretation of archaeological sequences as integral parts.
Hannes Schroeder is a senior researcher in the NEXUS project. He holds a DPhil in Archaeology from the University of Oxford (2009) and his research interests focus primarily on the application of isotope and ancient DNA analysis in archaeology. In addition, he has had a long-standing interest in Caribbean archaeology and the archaeology of the African diaspora. He is also a visiting researcher at the University of Copenhagen and co-ordinator of EUROTAST, a Marie Curie ITN on the history and contemporary legacies of the transatlantic slave trade.
Within NEXUS, his role is to co-ordinate the various ancient DNA projects and to supervise the students involved. His own research will focus primarily on the development and application of new analytical techniques to obtain genome-wide data from poorly preserved biological samples from the Caribbean and to investigate the region’s changing population dynamics following the arrival of Europeans in 1492.
Hayley L. Mickleburgh is a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University. She holds a BA and MA (hons.) in Archaeology (2005, 2007), and a PhD in Archaeology from Leiden University (2013).
Her main research interests are bioarchaeology and Caribbean archaeology. Within NEXUS, she focuses on transformations in mortuary practices across the historical divide (AD 1000-1800) in the circum-Caribbean. Together with Menno Hoogland she will use archaeothanatology to assess processes of mortuary activity within individual graves. She will furthermore focus on iconographic expressions of death and decay in material culture, and spatial and temporal variation in mortuary practices and grave goods.
Dr. Stéphen Rostain is an archaeologist and research director at the National Centre National for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France. For more than thirty years, he has worked in Amazonia and various countries of Latin America, where he has long lived. Among other activities, he organized the first excavations along the coast of French Guiana, where he discovered thousands of pre-Columbian raised fields. He also conducted a major archaeological project on the island of Aruba, off the coast of Venezuela, with a Dutch colleague, and set in place research on important artificial mound sites at the foot of the Andes in Ecuador.
Within the scope of the Nexus project, he organised a tutorial on “the Archaeology of the Amazon” during three months in 2017 at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University. After this experience, he considers that the “intercultural dynamics” aspect of the Nexus project is not only an abstract concept, but fully put in practice in the faculty where many participants from everywhere in the World are contributing together to the research. Moreover, researchers, students and administrators permanently interact with a generous spirit. A perfect example of this dynamism has been the high participation of everybody to the Rostain’s tutorial and the success of the completely voluntary brainstorming sessions that he organized on various thesis thematic. There is absolutely no doubt that Nexus 1492 will provide an exceptional set of data, hypothesis and results and, at the same time, will train a complete generation of future researchers dedicated to the Caribbean.
A few publications: Islands in the rainforest: Landscape Management in Pre-Columbian Amazonia (2012). Antes. Arqueología de la Amazonía ecuatoriana with G. de Saulieu (2013). Amazonie. Un jardin sauvage ou une forêt domestiquée (2016). and Amazonie. Les 12 travaux des civilisations précolombiennes (2017).
External Profile: Stéphen Rostain
Dr. Ivan Roksandic is a broadly trained linguist with a background in archaeology, epigraphy, textual analysis, and mythopoeia. His current research interests focus on problems in pre-Spanish toponomastics and pre-Columbian languages in the Caribbean. Combining linguistic and archaeological lines of research, he explores the patterns of successive migrations and colonization of the Caribbean islands and the linguistic heritage of different pre-Colombian ethnic groups as expressed in the toponymy of this region. He is a member of the Department of Anthropology and the director of the Caribbean Research Institute at the University of Winnipeg.
I was a guest for one day at the Faculty of Archaeology (Leiden University) in December 2016. During that time, I made a presentation followed by a discussion; the topic was our (University of Winnipeg) project “Characterizing diversity of early peoples in Cuba.” I spoke specifically about my part of the project: An underused resource: Indigenous toponomastics in the Western Caribbean. That was followed by consultations with Dr. Corinne Hofman about possible collaboration between our (UW) team and the NEXUS project. The result is our common application for the SSHRC Grant (awarded by the Government of Canada) entitled "People, plants and places: Incorporating Cuban data into the changing framework of circum-Caribbean archaeology."
Peter E. Siegel, Professor and Chair of Anthropology at Montclair State University, and one of the leading scholars in Caribbean archaeology, has worked in the region for 30 years. Prior to joining the MSU faculty, he worked for 14 years in the applied sector of heritage management. He has conducted archaeological projects throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, the Lesser Antilles, and South America.
Dr. Siegel's research has focused most directly on sociopolitical organization and issues of complexity on Puerto Rico and the Greater Antilles. Since 2007, he has led an interdisciplinary team of researchers in paleoecology and archaeology to address human-land relations in the pre-Hispanic and early colonial Caribbean. His project in Caribbean historical ecology is providing an important interpretive context to understanding interactions between resident and colonizing populations and changes in human-environmental relations through the Holocene. Ultimately, this research will provide a framework to better understand the dramatic social and political changes that occurred over seven millennia of human occupations in the Caribbean.
Siegel has been a senior Fulbright scholar at Leiden University, Holland, working with the Leiden Caribbean Research Group for a semester. He was also awarded a Leiden University Faculty of Archaeology fellowship to work with the Caribbean Research Group for a follow-up semester.
External Profile: Peter Siegel
Associate Professor at Northwestern University
Mark is an historical archaeologist who specializes in materiality, slavery and inequality. These key themes intersect in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Atlantic and Indian Oceans and form a foundation on his research on the African Diaspora and Colonial Contexts. As an archaeologist who studies how people adapt to landscapes of inequality and contribute to those landscapes in material ways he employs ethnohistorical, archaeological, and archaeometric approaches. His current fieldwork is based in the Eastern Caribbean and has focused on two communities in Dominica- Portsmouth and Soufriere. He also has research interests in 18th century Southern India and 19th century North America.
He completed his PhD at Syracuse University in 2001. Research conducted for this dissertation formed the nucleus of his book An Archaeology of Black Markets. In this book I explore the ways in which everyday internal and informal trade circumvented plantation boundaries and show how the economic activities of free and enslaved peoples shaped everyday life and the material world. It was the first systematic study of pottery made and used by slaves to use compositional analysis to understand both production and distribution networks of slaves.
His second book, based on research in Dominica, is tentatively entitled, Slavery and the Margins of Empire. This book is based on five years of archaeological and historical research conducted with the aid of the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. It compares the community histories and social lives of enslaved laborers on two eighteenth century sugar plantations in Dominica. I make the simple point that lives of empire's most marginal subjects could not be contained by the boundaries and identities under which they were categorized.
PhD candidate at the University of Sao Paolo
Meliam holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2011, having also participated in an exchange program with Leiden University during 2009/2010. Her master's degree was obtained in 2014 at the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, under the supervision of professor Fabíola Silva, with the dissertation "Archaeological Ceramics at T. I. Kaiabi (MT/PA)". She has experience in the archaeology field, with emphasis on ceramic analysis and ethnoarchaeological researches.
Meliam is currently working on her PhD project entitled "Archaeology and History of Carib Speaking People: A Study of the Ceramic Technology"
This research aims to contribute to the understanding of the long-term history of Carib speaking people - with a focus on the groups occupying territories in the Amazon in Brazil, French Guiana, Suriname, and Guyana - through a bibliographical and museological study of their ceramic technology and the mapping of their territorial occupation dynamics. This research will be conducted from an ethnoarchaeological perspective in order to seek the possible correlations between the museological, ethnological, historical, linguistic and archaeological data concerning the different Carib speaking people. To accomplish this, the researcher proposes: 1) to analyse ceramic vessels in ethnographic collections of museums in Brazil, Europe and the Guianas; 2) conduct a bibliographic review (in ethnological, historical and linguistic sources) on the ceramic technology and the territorial occupation dynamics of these people over time; 3) conduct a bibliographic review of the information regarding archaeological ceramic artefact sets commonly attributed to Carib speaking people (eg the Incised-Punctuated Tradition, Koriabo Phase and Arauquinoid Series). The intention is to reflect on the possible continuity and transformation processes of the ceramic technology of the Carib speaking people over time, as well as the relation between the different ceramic sets and the different languages and identities.
This research is carried by Meliam Viganó Gaspar as a PhD student at the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, under the supervision of professor Fabíola Silva, and as an exchange student at the Faculty of Archaeology of Leiden University, under the supervision of professor Corinne Hofman. She has funding from scholarships of the Brazilian government agencies CNPq and CAPES.
Mail:Meliam Vigano Gaspar
Phone: +31 71 527 6431
PhD candidate at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Ignacio Díaz Sierra is a guest PhD researcher at Leiden University (Erasmus+Study). He is a ‘la Caixa’ Social Foundation pre-doctoral fellowship holder (OSLC-CAIXA-2015-01) at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), and he is developing his thesis as a collaborator of the Research Group on Agricultural Archaeology in the Middle Ages (ARAEM), under the supervision of Dr Fèlix Retamero. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in History at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 2014, and a Master’s degree in Mediaeval History at the University of St Andrews (United Kingdom) in 2015.
For more information on his research, click here.
Mail: Ignacio Díaz Sierra
Phone: +31 71 527 1966
Carlos G. Santiago-Marrero is a Puerto Rican archaeologist who obtained his B.A. in History and Anthropology at the Universidad de Puerto Rico in 2013. Following this achievement, he obtained an M.A. in Archaeology of the Near East at Leiden University in 2016, specializing in traditional farming technologies and its importance to understanding past socioe-conomic changes. His research interests focus on paleoethnobotany, traditional farming practices, irrigation technologies, socio-ecological dynamics and foodways. These interests have allowed Carlos to conduct fieldwork in Puerto Rico, U.S.A., México, Dominican Republic, Jordan, Israel, and The U.A.E.
Currently, Carlos works as a research assistant under the supervision of Dr. Pagán-Jiménez for the Nexus 1492 project led by Prof. dr. Corinne L. Hofman. His task consists of performing phytolith analyses from soil core samples and features recovered at El Flaco archaeological site in northern Dominican Republic. Obtained results have provided a unique perspective on the past floristic landscape of the site and on the ensuing vegetal changes once the ancient inhabitants of El Flaco settled the area. Recently, Carlos joined the CaSEs Research Group at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Spain) after receiving a Ph.D. scholarship from this institution to perform phytolith analyses at Çatalhöyük, Turkey. His role as part of the plant micro-remains sub-group is to study the foodways and the spatial distribution of plant resources at the household and settlement levels and in the contexts of different exchange networks.
Mail: Carlos G. Santiago-Marrero
Zara Ali graduated from the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine with an M.A. in History (2015). She was the research assistant at the Archaeology Centre, UWI, St. Augustine during her graduate studies. Zara has been involved in archaeological excavations and post-excavation work at pre-colonial and colonial sites in Trinidad and Tobago, and in the northern Dominican Republic (2016 and 2017) as part of the Nexus 1492 project directed by Prof. dr. Corinne L. Hofman.
Zara is a research assistant of Dr. Jaime Pagán Jiménez at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University. Her internship involves the processing of shell scrapers and soils from El Flaco site, Dominican Republic (for starch and phytolith analysis). She is also processing and analysing human dental calculus samples for starch from pre-colonial burials from the Red House site, Port of Spain, Trinidad, a project headed by Prof. Basil A. Reid. This investigation will contribute fresh data for a more holistic interpretation of the foodways of the indigenous population buried at this site.
Mail: Zara Ali