Leigh Oldershaw has been a Graduate Fellow at OSU since 2011. She holds a BA in Anthropology and Classical Studies from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, and an MA in Human Skeletal Biology from New York University.
Her PhD research focuses on exploring the lived experiences of infants and young children in Ancient Rome. More specifically, she is using high-resolution longitudinal weaning profiles to explore variation in the weaning timing and its relationship to physiological stress in the first through third centuries AD in Roman Italy. Broadly speaking, this research contributes to our understanding of weaning in the past by 1.) testing the longstanding assumption that the weaning period would have been a vulnerable time in the life of an infant in Ancient Rome, 2.) clarifying the role that variation in weaning timing played in infant stress, and 3.) shifting the current bioarchaeological approach away from imprecise population assessments of weaning toward a more precise and accurate approach, focused on exploring the impact of individual variation.In order to achieve these goals, Leigh is using a combination of histological and geochemical methods, including the use of Accentuated Striae, Daily Cross Striations, and Striae of Retzius in enamel, and the use of trace elements via LAICP-MS.
In addition to working on her dissertation, Leigh manages the Anthropology Dental Histology Lab at OSU and has had the privilege of teaching introductory courses and archaeological field schools at OSU for the last five years. She also serves as an undergraduate mentor for the GSAA and is the Short Term Outreach Projects coordinator for the OSU Anthropology Department’s Public Outreach Program (APOP).