Research – Ventresca Miller Collaboratory


Cow yak hybrid, Mongolia
Alicia working in the lab

The goal of our work is to use interdisciplinary methods including isotopes, proteomics, and ancient DNA to provide nuanced answers to longstanding questions about the past:

  • How do societies change after the adoption of domesticated livestock and grains?
  • How were urban locales provisioned in the past?
  • What was the impact of the influx of people, commodities, and food into urban locales?
  • How did the advent of dairying transform societies?
  • How did globalization and increased connectivity transform local economies?


  • Meta-analyses of isotopic data across Eurasia
  • Combined isotopic, ancient DNA, and paleoproteomic results
  • Carbon, oxygen, and strontium isotopes of tooth enamel
  • Carbon and nitrogen isotopes of bone collagen
  • Paleoproteomics
  • Bioarchaeology / Human osteology
  • Zooarchaeology

Current Projects

  • Centering the Northern Realms: Integrating Histories and Archaeologies of the Mongol Empire (1200-1500 CE) (Mongolia)
  • Silk Roads: How globalization transformed nomadic economies (Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia)
  • Life under the Mongol Empire: Transmission of commodities, cuisine, and disease (Mongolia)
  • Sustenance in the Hungry Steppe (Kazakhstan)
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