Anthropology MA student studies Amazonian museum collections while gaining archaeological experience in Peru

Congratulations to Madeline Blanchard on the completion of her MA thesis research!

On September 21, 2023, Madeline successfully defended a thesis entitled “Becoming Avian: Amazonian Featherworks from the John P. O’Neill Collection.” Under the supervision of a committee composed of G&A anthropologists David Chicoine, Sarah Franzen, and Matthew Helmer, Madeline’s thesis research dwells on 18 ethnographic objects from the Peruvian Amazon and housed at LSU’s Museum of Natural Science. 

Through the visual and photographic examination of the objects, as well as the integration of taxonomic observations made by emeritus ornithologist John P. O’Neill, Madeline considers the shifting materialities and agency of the featherworks, as well as their broader place within Amazonian ritual programs and ontologies. 

Madeline is now set to graduate on December 15, 2023. She will share the results of her graduate research at the 89th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology to be held in New Orleans in April 2024. 

During her MA studies, Madeline complemented her museum and thesis work by gaining first-hand archaeological experience in Peru. In June 2022, she joined the Cerro San Isidro Archaeological Project in Moro, Peru, where, under the direction of archaeologists David Chicoine and Jeisen Navarro Vega, she helped document the ancient history of this important settlement and its meaning in the development of Andean political systems.