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Bethany Turner


2001 B.A. in Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

2005 M.A. in Anthropology, Emory University

2008 Ph.D. in Anthropology, Emory University

Bethany Turner joined the anthropology department at Georgia State University in 2008 after finishing her Ph.D. in anthropology, where her dissertation research centered on isotopic and osteological analyses of the skeletal population from Machu Picchu, Peru. Several articles based on this research have been published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology (2012), Journal of Archaeological Science (2009), and Chungara: Revista de Antropología Chilena (2010).

Her current research is focused in the Cuzco region of the southern Peruvian highlands and the Lambayeque region of the Peruvian north coast, and she is the director of the GSU Bioarchaeology Laboratory. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the Lambda Alpha Anthropology Society.

Dr. Turner's research centers on understanding life in the ancient Andes, especially among those peoples who lived in ancient imperial states such as the Wari, Tiwanaku and Inca. Long before the arrival of the Spanish, the Central Andes boasted tremendously complex societies.  These ancient states administered and controlled their subject populations in different ways, often depending on whom those subject populations were and where they lived. In a larger sense, these Andean states were different in many ways from other well-known civilizations such as Rome or ancient China. But they share a common thread in that empires stand on the shoulders of their people, most of whom passed anonymously into history. Studying the skeletal remains of such people through light and heavy isotope analysis and osteological analysis permits the reconstruction of fundamental aspects of their lives such as diet, geographicmovement, trauma and health. This research opens a window into the past and illuminates key areas of ancient life. It also contributes to a better understanding of ancient political economy and cultural ecology in indigenous states.

In addition to her primary work in the Peruvian Andes, Dr. Turner has also studied ancient populations from Sudanese Nubia, northern Florida, and southern Mongolia. She has also published research centered on ethical practice in bioarchaeology in the US and abroad, and on human diet evolution. Her graduate students have completed independent research projects centered on analyses of human remains from sites in southern Georgia, highland Peru, coastal Peru, and Greece.

Dr. Turner thoroughly enjoys teaching and interacting with students, whether in introductory courses or advanced seminars. She especially enjoys teaching topics in general anthropology and biological anthropology, and never misses an opportunity to teach about food. At GSU, she currently teaches or has taught the following classes:

• ANTH 1102: Introduction to Anthropology
• ANTH 2010: Introduction to Biological Anthropology
• ANTH 4310/6310: Human Variation
• ANTH 4390/6390: Diet, Demography and Disease
• ANTH 8020: Graduate Professionalization Seminar

Dr. Turner is an active member of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, the Society for American Archaeology, the American Anthropological Association, and Red Sox Nation.