The Institute for Historical Biology is engaged in a variety of projects involving bioarchaeological analysis, public engagement, and critiques of archaeological and anthropological scholarship on race and history.
In partnership with the Lincoln subcommittee of the Martin Luther King Memorial Commission of the Virginia General Assembly, this collaborative project is engaging communities throughout Virginia to develop memorial events, exhibits, and/or projects for the Sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation. We seek to honor the rich and complex lives, histories, contributions, innovations, and sacrifices of enslaved Africans and African-Americans. A website with more detail on this project is available here. The Remembering project is also on Facebook.
Scholarship on the Social Construction of Race
The IHB has contributed to the exhibition and website entitled Race: Are We So Different?, developed by the American Anthropological Association and the Science Museum of Minnesota. These resources are meant to foster an informed public discussion of “race” and racism in the United States. The exhibition was on view at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History from June 18, 2011 to January 8, 2012. A version of the exhibition is currently installed at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond and the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, OH. A complete tour schedule for the exhibit can be found here.
New York African Burial Ground Projects
The IHB conducted research and consulted in conjunction with the National Park Service, national scholars, and members of the public to develop the African Burial Ground Visitor Center at the African Burial Ground National Monument. The IHB along with Howard University produced the New York African Burial Ground Final Skeletal Biology Report submitted to the General Services Administration in 2004. The New York African Burial Ground: Unearthing the African Presence in Colonial New York series published by Howard University Press in 2009 is the 2400 page academic volume. Other projects to which the IHB contributed include the Sankofa 3 and Sankofa 4 interdisciplinary scholarly conferences that developed the interpretative framework for the African Burial Ground.
Bioarchaeological Analysis and Interpretation
The Institute for Historical Biology has been contracted by organizations such as Colonial Williamsburg, the National Museum of Bermuda, the Chickahominy Indian Tribe, and private individuals to analyze and interpret historical human skeletal remains. Previous work includes:
- Colonial Williamsburg Anderson Armoury Human Remains Analysis
- Chickahominy Skeletal Recordation and Repatriation Project
- Bermuda Bioarchaeological Project
- Guana Bioarchaeological Project
- Development of comparative database on bioarchaeological sites excavated by Colonial Williamsburg, W&M Center for Archaeological Research and the Yorktown Skeletal Assessment project
- Richmond African Burial Ground consultation with community activists
- 2004 Visiting Scholar – Dr. Leslie Rankin-Hill (University of Oklahoma)
- 2005 Visiting Senior Research Associate – Dr. Alan Goodman (Hampshire College)
- Collaboration with the University of Maryland and Cameroon Academy of Sciences on genetics databank with Dr. Fatimah Jackson