Julia I. Giblin
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
BA, Florida State University; MA, PhD, The Ohio State University
Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Anthropology
College of Arts & Sciences 1 337
I am an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Quinnipiac University (since 2012). As an anthropological archaeologist, I study the dynamics between environment, subsistence, mobility, and mortuary customs to reconstruct landscape use and social organization in prehistoric Europe. Methodologically, I have expertise in testing models about prehistoric human behavior using both bioarchaeological and biogeochemical approaches to excavated archaeological material. Collaborative, international and student-oriented scholarship is an essential part of my work. Every summer I conduct fieldwork in Europe as part of the BAKOTA (Bronze Age Körös Off Tell Archaeology) project. For more information about my current research interests and opportunities to get involved, check out the BAKOTA project website: http://bakota.net Most of my favorite activities involve dirt...so when I am not doing archaeology, you will usually find me in the garden!
In the classroom, my courses draw from the theoretical perspective of historical ecology to link human – environmental interactions over the long durée and raise students’ environmental consciousness using a multidisciplinary approach. The courses I have developed and taught at Quinnipiac University draw on ethnography, ethnoarchaeology, historical texts, and archaeological research to explore the ways that human actions have resulted in both increases and decreases in biodiversity over time. All of my courses emphasize the importance of communicating academic scholarship to the public; students develop the oral and written communication skills to translate research projects into accessible knowledge via collaborative course Wikis, blogs, and podcasts. Every semester I teach an introductory archaeology course (AN 103) at Quinnipiac called “Dirt, Artifacts, and Ideas: Introduction to Archaeology.” In this course students are exposed to several of the major themes that guide anthropological inquiry (biological evolution, cultural change, domestication, complexity, inequality, and sustainability) using the theoretical and methodological tools of archaeologists. I also teach an upper-level, special topics course (AN 333: Ancient Food for Thought) that explores the human relationship with food from past to present. Last year the students in this course designed and produced a TEDx talk as part of our class research project on entomophagy (a.k.a, eating insects)! Check out the talk @ TEDxQuinnipiacU. In the Spring 2015 semester I introduced a new course (AN 300) called “Practicing Archaeology.” In this course, students will have the chance to get their hands dirty – literally! Through lectures, class discussions, and interactive laboratory and field exercises students learn about the wide range of methods that are used to reconstruct past human behavior. Several guest lectures highlight various specializations and applications in the field, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), archaeological chemistry, bioarchaeology, museum curation, public archaeology and cultural resource management.
Over the past several years I have studied the “collapse” of the Late Neolithic societies of southeastern Europe. Building on previously published settlement, paleoenvironmental, and faunal data for Eastern Hungary, I conducted a multi-isotopic analysis of human and animal remains spanning the transition from the Late Neolithic to the Eneolithic (or Copper Age). My results, recently published in a series of journal articles (in Journal of Anthropological Archaeology and Journal of Archaeological Science) and as a monograph chapter, indicate that the observed archaeological changes at the start of the Copper Age are not explained by changes in subsistence strategy or residence patterns as previously thought. Far from collapse, human impact on the environment via land clearance and the use of manure fertilization may have allowed for smaller social units, i.e., households, to become more independent. This scholarship laid the groundwork for several current laboratory-based research projects that combine isotope data with spatial modeling in ArcGIS to examine the relationship between environmental resources and human activity during prehistory. I am collaborating with colleagues who have established archaeological projects in Hungary, Romania, and Greece to better understand how agricultural and agropastoral communities utilized and modified landscapes in southeastern Europe throughout the Neolithic and Bronze Age. These samples are prepared for stable and radiogenic isotope analysis in the Center for Anthropological Research at Quinnipiac University, a research and teaching space that I helped establish and co-direct with Dr. Jaime Ullinger. Over the past two years I have trained several undergraduates in the applications of archaeological chemistry and ArcGIS. One of my undergraduate students recently presented the results of this collaborative isotopic work at a regional conference in bioarchaeology.
Archaeological Field School
Collaborative fieldwork is an essential part of my work as a teacher-scholar. I am American co-director of the Bronze Age Körös Off-Tell Archaeological (BAKOTA) Project, a multidisciplinary field research program that brings together an international group of scholars and students to study the human burials and material culture of a Middle Bronze Age cemetery and settlement in eastern Hungary. Our research combines techniques from remote sensing, soil chemistry, systematic surface collection, and targeted excavations to identify the extent and activity areas of the site. Ceramic petrography, biological anthropology, CT scanning, isotope analysis and ancient DNA are used to understand demographic trends and mortuary customs. Results from the first field seasons have been presented at national and international conferences, and are being prepared for publication in several manuscripts. Eighteen undergraduate and graduate students have been trained in state-of-the-art field and laboratory techniques to-date, resulting in several ongoing research collaborations, as well as a student blog hosted on the project website. We were recently awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF# 1460820) to establish the BAKOTA summer excavations as a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site field school for 2015-2017. Every summer, ten students will be accepted into the program and will work with an international, multidisciplinary research team on the excavation and analysis of a Middle Bronze Age cemetery and settlement in eastern Hungary. Student travel, housing, food, field trip fees, etc. will be covered by the NSF in addition to a $500/week stipend (total $3,000). Eligibility: students must be a US citizen or permanent resident, and currently enrolled in an undergraduate program.
For more information about the field school and access to our online application, please visit the project website