In 2015, Dr. Stuart Tyson Smith and I began co-directing a project at the Kerma Period cemetery at Abu Fatima.
The site has proven to be quite interesting for several reasons: the use of the cemetery spans the Ancient (2500-2050 BCE),
Middle (2050-1650 BCE), and Classic Kerma (1650-1550 BCE) Periods; the degree of preservation is extraordinary - soft tissue,
leather sandals, ostrich-feather fans, and burial hides are all excellently preserved. During this past season, I identified
the settlement that is associated with the cemetery. We hope to begin excavations of the settlement in the coming season.
In the meantime, bioarchaeological analysis and mortuary archaeology of the cemetery has proven particularly interesting.
Excavations at Abu Fatima have allowed us to address new and exciting archaeological questions. Several of the human inhumations
have also included animal burials, which present interesting topics regarding human-animal relationships at the nexus of religious
beliefs about death. The preservation of clothing, mostly leather skirts and loin cloths, has allowed us to examine traditional garb
in Ancient Nubia--something that, until now, has only been done through the interpretation of ancient art.
The intersection of clothing and gender identity in Nubia is another topic I am exploring.
I'm also very excited about the excavation of the settlement space, which was in use during the same time as the cemetery.
Due to the highly conscripted environment of the Nile Valley, modern habitations are often placed directly atop ancient ones as the
space is continually reused. A paleochannel that ran near Abu Fatima was the life-line of this ancient community; once it dried up,
it was no longer an ideal place to live, which preserved this rare settlement record. The data from the excavation of the habitation
space will allow us to address: habitation architecture and use of space, the relationship between the living (in the settlement) and
the dead (in the cemetery; ~500m apart) in Ancient Nubian culture, and everyday experience from multi-faceted perspectives.
Because Abu Fatima spans the entire Kerma Period, we can examine material and skeletal data from a diachronic perspective and speak to political,
economic, and social changes that occurred during the growth, apex, and collapse of the Kerma State. For example, I’m interested in the correlation
between multiple forms of violence (e.g., direct, structural, cultural) and state formation. Through the skeletal analysis of trauma, paleopathological
conditions, and stunted growth, we can examine diachronic patterns of violence and indicators of structural violence; if practiced over long periods of time,
this may suggest an environment of cultural violence. I also question the role that migration played in the growth of ancient states; using strontium isotope analysis,
we can determine if the individuals living in Abu Fatima were local or non-local. Importantly, these are issues that directly apply to modern scenarios of development
and diaspora. The excellent degree of preservation at Abu Fatima, as well as its deep chronology, allow us to use new methodologies and to further our anthropological
understanding the political-economic complexity through time.
Bioarchaeology of the Everyday
For decades, anthropologists have been interested peoples’ day-to-day lives. Cultural anthropologists investigate this topic
through participant observation and interviews, speaking and directly interacting with their research subjects. Archaeologists
contribute to this conversation by examining everyday life diachronically, through the meticulous excavation of built space,
midden deposits, and modes of production (something Dr. Smith and I will be doing in the near future!). l argue that the analysis
of skeletal remains can contribute to the anthropological dialogue of examining daily life in the ancient world. Bones are constantly
in a state of biological remodeling and, thus, adapt and change as an individual interacts with their environment. By analyzing the
products of day-to-day practices, such as labor and diet, I can elucidate what life was like in the ancient world. I consider these
practices to be both the products of our own social structure, as well as our own individual wants and motivations. My work in advancing
the methodology of Bioarchaeology of the Everyday, the theoretical connections, and case studies from Nubia are discussed in my book,
Activity, Diet, and Social Practice: Addressing Everyday Life in Human Skeletal Remains (Springer, 2019).
Sarah A. Schrader
Faculty of Anthropology, Leiden University
Einsteinweg 2, 2333 CC Leiden, The Netherlands
Phone: +31 (0)71 527 1685
2013 PhD Purdue University, Anthropology, with distinction
Dissertation: “Bioarchaeology of the Everyday: Analysis of Diet and Activity Patterns in the Nile Valley” Advisor: Dr. Michele Buzon
2010 MS Purdue University, Anthropology, with distinction
Thesis: “A Bioarchaeological Investigation of Activity Patterns in New Kingdom Nubia” Advisor: Dr. Michele Buzon
2006 BA University of California, Santa Barbara, with honors
Thesis: “Comparative Skeletal Analysis of Stature in California Native Americans” Advisor: Dr. Phillip L. Walker
2017- Assistant Professor, Archaeology, Leiden University
2016- 2017 Adjunct Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of Notre Dame
2014-2016 Visiting Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz
2013-2014 Visiting Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Western Michigan University
Research and Teaching Interests
Bioarchaeology of the everyday; Sociopolitical complexity and resultant inequalities, health disparities, and violence; Dietary reconstruction; Mobility, migration, and ancient diaspora; Biogeochemistry; Mortuary archaeology; Nile Valley archaeology (Sudan, Egypt, North Africa)
2019 S. Schrader, Activity, Diet, and Social Practice: Addressing Everyday Life in Human Skeletal Remains. Bioarchaeology and Social Theory Series, Springer. (D. Martin, series editor)
2021 S. Schrader and S.T. Smith. “Archaeology of the Kerma Culture.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of African History., Oxford University Press.
2021 M. Casna, C.L. Burrell, R. Schats, M.L.P. Hoogland, and S. Schrader. Urbanisation and respiratory stress in the Northern Low Countries: a comparative study of chronic maxillary sinusitis in two early modern sites from the Netherlands (AD 1626--1866). International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.
2020 S. Schrader and C. Torres-Rouff. “Embodying Bioarchaeology: Theory and Practice.” In Theoretical Approaches in Bioarchaeology, ed. C. Cheverko, J. Prince-Buitenhuys, and M. Hubbe. Routledge.
2020 B.P. Bartholdy, E. Sandoval, M.L.P. Hoogland, and S. Schrader. Getting Rid of Dichotomous Sex Estimations: Why Logistic Regression Should be Preferred Over Discriminant Function Analysis. Journal of Forensic Sciences. 65(5):1685-1691
2019 S. Schrader, M. Buzon, L. Corcoran, and A. Simonetti, “Intraregional 87Sr/86Sr Variation in Nubia: New Insights from Third Cataract.” Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 24:373-379.
2019 M. Buzon, S. Schrader, and G. Bowen, “Isotopic Approaches to Mobility in Northern Africa: A Bioarchaeological Examination of Egyptian/Nubian Interaction in the Nile Valley.” In Trans-Sahara: State Formation, Migration and Trade in the Central Sahara (1000 BC-AD 1500), ed. D. Mattingly. Cambridge University Press.
2018 S. Schrader, S.T. Smith, S. Olsen, and M. Buzon, “Symbolic Equids and Kushite State Formation: A Horse Burial at Tombos.” Antiquity 92(362):383-397.
2018 S. Schrader, M. Buzon, and S.T. Smith, “Colonial-indigene interaction in Ancient Nubia: an integrative analysis of diet, health, and the material record.” Bioarchaeology of the Near East 12:1-32.
2017 S. Schrader and M. Buzon, “Everyday Life After Collapse: A Bioarchaeological Examination of Entheseal Change and Accidental Injury in Post-Colonial Nubia.” Bioarchaeology International 1(1-2):19-34.
2017 S. Schrader and S.T. Smith, “Socializing Violence: Interpersonal Violence Recidivism at Abu Fatima (Sudan).” In Broken Bodies: Bioarchaeological and Forensic Approaches of Accumulative Trauma and Violence, edited by C. Tegtmeyer and D. Martin. Lexington Books, Latham, MD.
2015 S. Schrader, “Elucidating Inequality in Nubia: An Examination of Entheseal Remodeling at Kerma (Sudan).” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156:192-202.
2014 S. Schrader, M. Buzon, and J. Irish, “Illuminating the Nubian ‘Dark Age’: A Bioarchaeological Analysis of Dental Non-Metric Traits During the Napatan Period.” Journal of Comparative Human Biology 65(4):267-280.
2012 S. Schrader, “Activity Patterns in New Kingdom Nubia: An Examination of Entheseal Remodeling and Osteoarthritis at Tombos.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 149:60-70.
Extramural Research Funding
2018 American Association of Physical Anthropologists Cobb Professional Development Grant, “Unearthing Hidden Stress and Frailty: An Assessment of Hair Cortisol and Non-Specific Disease Indicators” ($7,500)
2017 Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, “Moving to the City: An Examination of Migration, Urbanization, and State Formation in Ancient Nubia” ($6,000)
2016 National Geographic Society, “Socializing Violence in Ancient Nubia: Connecting Interpersonal Conflict with State Development in the Archaeological Record” ($20,000)
2012 National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant, “Bioarchaeological Analysis of Diet and Activity Patterns in the Nile Valley,” BCS-1128950 ($19,849)
Intramural Research Funding
2018 Bakels Research Grant, “Stressed Out: An Analysis of Archaeological Hair Cortisol,” Leids Universiteits Fonds (€5,000)
2014 Research Grant, Office of the Vice President for Research, Western Michigan University ($800)
2013 Walter Hirsch Award, Dissertation Research Award, Purdue University ($1,500)
2012 Global Research Synergy Grant, “Identifying Migration: Egyptian Diet and Social Identity in Ancient Nubia,” Purdue University ($10,050)
2012 Purdue Research Foundation Grant, “Archaeology of the Everyday: A Bioarchaeological Approach to Activity Patterns and Diet of Ancient Nubians,” Purdue University ($15,288)
Archaeological Fieldwork and Experience
2018- Saqqara (Egypt); Researcher
2016- San Pedro de Atacama, Chile; Researcher
2015- Abu Fatima, Sudan; Co-Director of Excavation and lead bioarchaeologist
2015 Hannek, Sudan; Co-Director of Excavation and lead bioarchaeologist
2012 The British Museum; Researcher
2012 Duckworth Laboratory, University of Cambridge; Researcher
2012 Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen; Researcher
2010- Tombos, Sudan; Lead bioarchaeologist and lab manager
2007-2008 Port Anta Association for Iberian Archaeology, Lisbon; Research and instruction
2016 Early Career Award, Paleopathology Association
2016 Accessibility Leadership Award, Disability Resource Center, University of California, Santa Cruz
2013 Teaching Award, Committee for the Education of Teaching Assistants, Purdue University
2011 Graduate Teaching Certificate Center for Instructional Excellence, Purdue University
2010 Distinguished Masters Thesis Award, Purdue University, College of Liberal Arts
Selected Conference Presentations and Invited Lectures
2021 S. Schrader “The Embodiment of Colonial Strategy: Osteoarthritis in Ancient Nubia” poster presented, Paleopathology Association
2020 S. Schrader, M. Buzon, and A. Simonetti “Strontium Isotope Variability (87Sr/86Sr) in the Ancient Nile Valley (Egypt and Nubia): Establishing Baseline Data and Tracking Human Mobility” poster presented, American Association for Physical Anthropologists
2019 S. Schrader “Stressed to Death: An Analysis of Hair Cortisol and Non-Specific Stress Indicators” podium presentation, British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology
2019 S. Schrader (keynote). “Osteoarchaeology in the Nile Valley: What Bones Can Tell Us About Ancient Life” podium presentation, International Congress for Young Egyptologists
2019 S. Schrader. “Archaeological Hair Cortisol: A New Frontier?” podium presentation, Nederlandse Vereniging voor Fysische Antropolgoie
2018 S. Schrader and S.T. Smith. “Secondary State Formation at the Third Cataract: Integrating Skeletal and Funerary Data from Abu Fatima” podium presentation, The 14th International Conference for Nubian Studies
2018 S. Schrader. “Mortuary Trends and Tenets in Ancient Nubia: A Case Study from the Third Cataract (Sudan)” podium presentation, Mortuary Archaeology Today: Approaches, Methods and Ethics, Groningen
2018 S. Schrader, M. Hubbe, and C. Torres-Rouff. “Contextualizing the Biocultural Approach with Practice Theory: Physical Activity and Inequality During the Andean Middle Horizon and Late Intermediate Period” podium presentation, American Association of Physical Anthropologists
See full CV for teaching experience, laboratory training and experience, awards, outreach, and professional activities and service.