Miranda Evans (UoY)
I joined TEMPERA and the University of York as an Early Stage Research Assistant in July 2019. Prior to this, I completed my Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology and Bachelor of Science in Anatomy/Histology and Geography at the University of Sydney in 2018. Throughout my studies I volunteered cataloguing and analysing human remains held at the University of Sydney’s Nicholson Museum from Kathleen Kenyon’s excavations at Jericho. I became fascinated by the impact of scientific analyses on our understanding of how people lived, died and were commemorated in the past. Following this interest, in my honours project I analysed the taphonomy of an Early Bronze Age mortuary assemblage to investigate the funerary practices potentially at play including cremation.
I am passionate about answering questions about the human past through scientific research, and about developing these methods further. For this reason, I’m very excited to be part of the TEMPERA network where my research focuses on the proteomics of pottery under the supervision of Dr. Jessica Hendy. In this capacity, I will be exploring the impact of pottery temper, cooking practice and depositional environment on the survival of ancient proteins.
Miranda's PhD project
ESR4 will focus on the analysis of ancient protein residues on ceramics using mass spectrometry including:
(i) identification of the factors which impact the preservation of proteins in ceramics and ceramic residues.
(ii) developing/assessing methods to best analyse proteins in ceramics and their residues. Including experimental and archaeological case studies.
To contribute an improved understanding of the impact of factors including taphonomy, food preparation practices and methods of analysis on protein preservation and recovery, and how these inform our interpretations of past foodways.
In the context of cultural heritage cuisine is arguably one of the most intangible elements. Pottery vessels are abundant in the archaeological record as one of the most commonly surviving remnants of past food processing. Recently, the detection of food proteins preserved in both ceramics and residues adhering to them has been reported (Hendy, 2018), revealing evidence of past culinary practices with more detail than has been previously possible with other biomolecular techniques. ESR4 will be based at the Univeristy of York where, working with experts in the biomolecular analysis of ceramics, they will perform experiments on modern and archaeological materials to explore the survival of proteins in different ceramic tempers and residues, compare the preservation of proteins with other biomolecules (such as lipids) and explore the applicability of this methodology to other archaeological sites including case studies from Roman Britain and the Mediteranean.
Secondment of 2 months at UCPH to be trained in analysis of PTMS and undertake lab work components.
At: University of York
Supervisor: Jessica Hendy