Ashley Sharpe

Ashley Sharpe
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute · Center for Tropical Paleoecology and Archaeology (CTPA)

Ph.D., Anthropology

About

34
Publications
15,422
Reads
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246
Citations
Introduction
Ashley Sharpe is a zooarchaeologist and staff scientist at the Center for Tropical Paleoecology and Archaeology (CTPA), Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Her research examines past human and animal interactions in the New World tropics using traditional bone and shell identification from animal remains at archaeological sites, along with isotope analysis to examine animal diet, movement (trade and migration), and past environments.
Additional affiliations
January 2017 - present
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Position
  • Research Archaeologist
June 2013 - August 2014
University of Florida
Position
  • Instructor
Description
  • Instructor to undergraduate course, "Introduction to World Archaeology", Summers 2013 and 2014. Designed course syllabus and lab activities, created and taught daily lectures, wrote and administered original exams, quizzes, and essay assignments.
August 2012 - December 2012
University of Florida
Position
  • Research Assistant
Description
  • Teaching assistant to Dr. Susan Gillespie in anthropology course titled "Principals of Archaeology." Taught two weekly lab sessions, met with student questions, graded class assignments and exams.
Education
September 2011 - May 2016
University of Florida
Field of study
  • Anthropology
September 2009 - August 2011
University of Florida
Field of study
  • Anthropology
September 2005 - May 2009
Boston University
Field of study
  • Archaeology, minor in Biology

Publications

Publications (34)
Article
Evolutionary and ecological hypotheses of the freshwater mussel subfamily Ambleminae are intensely geographically biased—a consequence of the complete exclusion of Mesoamerican taxa in phylogenetic reconstructions of the clade. We set out to integrate a portion of the Mesoamerican freshwater mussel assemblage into existing hypotheses of amblemine c...
Article
Full-text available
Significance The nature of animal management in Mesoamerica is not as well understood compared with other state-level societies around the world. In this study, isotope analysis of animal remains from Ceibal, Guatemala, provides the earliest direct evidence of live animal trade and possible captive animal rearing in the Maya region. Carbon, nitroge...
Chapter
Zooarchaeology is a field heavily integrated with many other disciplines, including zoology, biology, ecology, geology, history, and anthropology. The basis of the discipline lies in the zooarchaeologist’s ability to identify faunal remains based on analogy with known specimens, either from a comparative faunal collection or from experience. Yet, t...
Article
Full-text available
We examined the potential use of lead (Pb) isotopes to source archaeological materials from the Maya region of Mesoamerica. The main objectives were to determine if: 1) geo-logic terrains throughout the Maya area exhibit distinct lead isotope ratios (206 Pb/ 204 Pb, 207 Pb/ 204 Pb, and 208 Pb/ 204 Pb), and 2) a combination of lead and strontium rat...
Article
Full-text available
This study provides an isotopic examination of both human and animal paleodiets and mobility patterns at a highland Maya community. Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala, was a large Prehispanic center located in a distinctly cooler, drier setting compared with the majority of Maya sites in the surrounding lowlands. Previous archaeological research at Kaminaljuyu...
Article
Full-text available
City plans symbolizing cosmologies have long been recognized as a defining element of Mesoamerican civilizations. The origins of formal spatial configurations are thus the key to understanding early civilizations in the region. Assessment of this issue, however, has been hindered by the lack of systematic studies of site plans over broad areas. Her...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines the ritual and socioeconomic significance of animals in ceremonial contexts at Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala. Kaminaljuyu was once the largest and most politically powerful highland Maya center. We compare faunal remains from different contexts, including burials and dedicatory offerings in and around monumental features, to better und...
Article
Full-text available
Throughout much of the pre-Hispanic Andes, bioarchaeological and iconographic evidence shows that the decapitation, dismemberment, and display of human heads were important aspects of ritual practices. Researchers have debated about the social identities of these decapitated heads—were they revered local ancestors, non-local enemies captured in rai...
Article
Full-text available
This study uses carbon (δ¹³C), nitrogen (δ¹⁵N), oxygen (δ¹⁸O), and strontium (⁸⁷Sr/⁸⁶Sr) isotopes to infer the diets and mobility patterns of pre-Columbian humans from seven archaeological sites in Panama: Cerro Mangote, Sitio Sierra, and Cerro Juan Díaz in central Pacific Panama; Cerro Brujo and Sitio Drago along Panama’s northwest Caribbean coast...
Article
Full-text available
Large material accumulations from single events found in the archaeological record are frequently defined as evidence of ritual. They are interpreted as generalized deposit categories that imply rather than infer human motivations. While useful in the initial collection of data, these categories can, over time, become interpretations in and of them...
Article
Full-text available
It is well known that the development of the ancient Maya civilization had significant and long-lasting impacts on the environment. This study assesses a large collection of faunal remains (>35,000 specimens) recovered over a span of several kilometers in and around the archaeological site of Ceibal, Guatemala, in order to determine whether the com...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines 2,000 years of marine trade to the ancient Maya site of Ceibal, Guatemala. Located almost 150 kilometers from the nearest coast in Belize, Ceibal was a large community spanning the Middle Preclassic through early Postclassic periods (1000 b.c. – a.d. 1200). It therefore provides an excellent opportunity to assess the marine reso...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Informe de temporada de campo 2018, Resolución 270-18 DNPH (Report for the 2018 Excavation Season, Submitted to the Instituto Nacional de Cultura de Panama for Resolution 270-18)
Article
Full-text available
Lead isotope ratios (²⁰⁶Pb/²⁰⁴Pb, ²⁰⁷Pb/²⁰⁴Pb, and ²⁰⁸Pb/²⁰⁴Pb) are used with increasing frequency in archaeological science to track the movement of animals, including humans. Like other isotopes used for sourcing, including strontium and oxygen, lead isotope ratios from bone and tooth enamel apatite can be matched to known lead sources in local b...
Conference Paper
Los baños de vapor se ha utilizado en Mesoamérica durante más de un milenio con fines recreativos, como retiros medicinales para curar dolores y enfermedades y como habitaciones para que las mujeres den a luz y para ceremonias rituales relacionadas con el nacimiento. Aquí presentamos el descubrimiento de una estructura única de baño de sudor con im...
Article
Full-text available
Megalonaias is the most geographically widespread genus of the subfamily Ambleminae and is distributed across much of the eastern half of North America, from Minnesota to Nicaragua. Despite the large geographic distribution, the species-level diversity of Megalonaias is quite depauperate (2 spp.), suggesting the genus may not be constrained by the...
Article
Full-text available
Due to an unfortunate mistake during the production process of the original publication, part of Table 1 was omitted. Hence, the original article has been corrected. The missing section (region ‘Mobile’) of Table 1 is also published on the following page. Springer Nature regrets the error and accepts sole responsibility.
Conference Paper
Sweat baths and lodges have been used in Mesoamerica for well over a millennium for the purposes of recreation, as medicinal retreats for curing pains and illnesses, and as rooms for women to give birth and for birth-related ritual ceremonies. Here we present the discovery of a unique sweat bath structure with aquatic and birthing imagery and fauna...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines Preclassic Maya ritual practices and craft production by means of a study of ritual deposits containing obsidian artifacts dated mostly to the late Middle Preclassic period (700–350 B.C.) at Ceibal, Guatemala. New ritual practices developed at Ceibal during this period, possibly through political interactions and negotiation i...
Article
The probable E-Group assemblage was a primary focus of our investigation at the lowland Maya center of Ceibal. Tunnel excavation into Structure A-20 (the western structure of this complex) demonstrated that the Ceibal residents built the earliest version (Structure Ajaw) by carving natural marl around 950 b.c. The earliest version of the eastern pl...
Data
K-means cluster analysis reports for the Northern Lowlands, Southern Lowlands, and Motagua Valley. (A) K-Means cluster analysis for the Northern Lowlands, 207Pb/204Pb and 206Pb/204Pb. Black and red colors designate different clusters, identified by centroid numbers. (B) K-Means within-cluster sum of squares scree plot for the Northern Lowlands, 207...
Article
Identification of turkey (Meleagris spp.) remains in Maya archaeological deposits is problematic because the two species that co-existed during ancient Maya occupations are extremely difficult to separate osteologically. One species, M. gallopavo, was introduced from northern Mexico possibly multiple times. The other species, M. ocellata, is indige...
Article
Full-text available
Initial Spanish colonization of the Central Andes and efforts to transform indigenous society were highly dependent on local social and geographic conditions. In the Colca Valley of southern Peru, Franciscan friars established a series of doctrinas (settlements for the conversion and doctrinal instruction of the indigenous population) at former Ink...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
El presente análisis utiliza los isótopos estables para examinar si los animales en el sitio Ceibal fueron criados en cautividad y si estos fueron parte de un intercambio larga distancia durante los períodos Preclásico y Clásico, y cómo estos procesos de domesticación e intercambio fueron llevados a cabo. Los isótopos de carbono y nitrógeno evalúan...
Article
Full-text available
Eduard Seler's 1909 analysis of the various birds and their associated symbolism in the Mexican codices is one of the most thorough undertakings of its kind; however, although numerous revelations have been made in the realm of codex research over the past century, no comprehensive attempt has been undergone to revise Seler's initial identification...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
This project is focused on the analysis of human remains to answer persisting questions regarding the human occupation of Panama prior to European contact. These questions include primarily: (1) What were the lived experiences of human groups on the Isthmus of Panama and how does archaeological evidence compare with and perhaps differ from Spanish chroniclers’ accounts?; (2) Do periods of expanse and reduction of ceramic cultural areas in ancient Panama coincide with biological evidence of human migration or trade?; (3) What pre-Columbian human activities (i.e., breath-held diving, metal working, and artisan crafting) and diseases have left traces on their bones and teeth, and how do these biocultural markers change over time and space?; (4) Can we identify elite versus non-elite groups of humans based on their biological remains, and how does this data compare with inferences from material culture analyses?