After attending Isocamp in Utah in 2013, I was fortunate enough to be awarded a Research-in-Residence scholarship to work with Prof. Brian Popp at the University of Hawai'i in the summer of 2014, on a project to analyse diet among the prehistoric population of Rapa Nui (Easter Island).
My project involved working with human and faunal remains from the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, carrying out advanced isotope analysis of individual amino acids to obtain high resolution data about ancient diets. We wanted to investigate the extent of marine resource use on the island, as previous research suggested the native islanders relied mainly on terrestrial foods.
The material we used in the project mainly derived from excavations at Anakena by P. Wallin and H. Martinsson-Wallin in the 1980s, but we were also able to analyse some of the human remains excavated by Thor Heyerdahl's team during their 1956 excavations. In addition, we collaborated with Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo, and analysed material from their more recent excavations.
The Rapa Nui research also benefited from funding from a research grant I was awarded from the Thor Heyerdahl Research Foundation.
An article with the full results of this study is currently under review, and should hopefully be published soon!