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Asta Rand

Previous Education

  • BSc, Anthropology, Trent University, 2008

  • MA, Anthropology, Trent University, 2012


Dr. Vaughan Grimes


Bioarchaeology; Human Osteology; Archaeological Chemistry; Isotopic Analysis; Residential Mobility; Diet; Health; Mesoamerican and Maya Archaeology; Ontario Archaeology.

Research Statement

My doctoral research seeks to provide a more detailed understanding of ancient Maya diet and mobility during the Classic Period (250-900 C.E.). While archaeological and ethnohistoric evidence provide a framework for predicting ancient Maya diet and mobility patterns, stable isotope analysis offers a direct means of assessing the types of foods a sampled individual consumed and whether s/he relocated during life. For my doctoral research, I will analyze stable carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen isotopes in Classic period Maya skeletons from archaeological sites of varying size, complexity and temporality. Although these stable isotope techniques are well established in Maya studies, the importance of freshwater resources in ancient Maya diet has not yet been thoroughly examined. Stable sulfur isotope analysis of human and faunal remains may reveal the degree to which freshwater resources contributed to ancient Maya diets. Furthermore, because sulfur is passed directly from diet to consumer, sampled individuals with outlying stable sulfur isotope values may be identified as migrants to the region in which they were buried. Thus, my doctoral research will employ multiple stable isotope assays in order to generate a more comprehensive understanding of Maya diet and mobility during the Classic Period.

This research is currently funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Doctoral Scholarship. Past funding was also received as a Shelley R. Saunder’s Thesis Research Grant from the Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology and a F. A. Aldrich Doctoral Fellowship from the Memorial University of Newfoundland.