My research covers various topics and themes, and I am engaged in a number of different research collaborations. At the moment, many of these are not reflected in the contents of this page. I will be working on adding sections to this page over the coming months, so stay tuned!
Since 2015, I have been conducting a series of actualistic taphonomic experiments at the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State University. I have developed and currently lead a research program that explores the potential of actualistic taphonomic research on human decomposition to improve methods, models and interpretations in the fields of archaeothanatology (sometimes referred to as funerary taphonomy) and forensic archaeology.
Mass grave research
My most recent taphonomic experiment focuses on the replication of a mass grave: a grave that contains the remains of multiple individuals. The aim of this experiment is to collect valuable data for the (remote) detection, documentation, and excavation of forensic mass graves. To achieve this, I have established collaborations with experts on land-based geophysical research, infrared imagery analysis (Andrew Ford), remote detection techniques using hyperspectral imagery, point cloud data for the recording of complex assemblages of human remains in mass graves (Samantha De Simone), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) analysis for the detection of buried human remains (Shari Forbes and Jonathan Brooks), scientific illustration and visualization (Sarah Gluschitz), new techniques for postmortem interval estimation and biological age estimation (Noemi Procopio and Sarah Gino), and isotopic analysis of human tissues and soil samples (Lisette Kootker).
A large part of my recent research has focused on developing 3D visualization methods for the analysis of human (forensic) archaeological burials. I developed a procedure to enhance archaeothanatological analysis and improve post-excavation analysis of human burials. The purpose of the procedure is to produce 3D simulations to visualize and test taphonomic hypotheses, thereby augmenting traditional archaeothanatological analysis. The procedure can be applied post-excavation to older 2D field documentation, even when the amount and detail of documentation is less than ideal. I recently published a chapter which features some of this work, together with Liv Nilsson Stutz and Harry Fokkens. The chapter was written for a wider humanities audience, so the description of the procedure is not extensive. An article dedicated to the precise steps of the procedure will be out soon.
Over the course of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, I co-organized the ARCHON Winter School “Sharing Practices: Archaeological 3D Visualisation in the Netherlands” (20-22 February, 2020), with Loes Opgenhaffen and Martina Revello Lami. ARCHON is the Dutch inter-university research and graduate school for archaeology. It unites staff members, PhD students and Research Master students of its participating institutions.
The three-day Winter School event consisted of workshops, lectures by national and international researchers and practitioners, showcases of projects and equipment, opportunities for socializing and networking, and a roundtable discussion on the future of 3D visualization practices in archaeology. An important aim of the Winter School was to establish a community of practice of archaeological visualizers across different career stages and the academic and commercial sectors.
More information on “Sharing Practices: Archaeological 3D Visualisation in the Netherlands”, including the full program, workshop descriptions, and news updates on the publication of a special journal issue can be found here. More information on ARCHON can be found here.
The ARCHON Winter School led to the creation of a Special Issue of the open access journal Open Archaeology on Art, Creativity and Automation. Sharing 3D Visualization Practices in Archaeology to be published in 2021.
As a member of the Archaeothanatology Working Group, I collaborate with other members to further develop the method of archaeothanatology and to broaden familiarity with and geographical application of the framework.
For a list of my publications, please take a look at my page on Researchgate.