I study human diet as a link between biology, culture and environment, focusing on stable isotope analysis of archaeological human skeletal remains. My bioarchaeological work is informed by ties to human biology and primatology. I chiefly work with European skeletal samples, and also use stable isotope analysis to study diet and stress among modern humans and non-human primates.
My research seeks to explain how human beings come to physically embody the biological and social aspects of our environments, focusing on nutrition, which I study using stable isotope tracers of diet in mineralized and soft tissues. I use a life history perspective, focusing on both proximate (e.g., developmental) and ultimate (e.g., political; economic) influences on human biology and behavior. Whereas proximately, adult health and disease are affected by the environment, frailty, and early-life living conditions, ultimately, these stressors are tied to social and political factors including structural violence and demographic transition. My research uniquely and advantageously incorporates human skeletal populations as well as extant non-human primates to clarify synergistic relationships between environmental impacts at multiple scales.
PhD, Anthropology, Anatomy minor, The Ohio State University, 2012
- Biological anthropology, focus on bioarchaeology
- Diet, nutrition, growth, development
- Physiological adaptation and plasticity
- Stable isotope biogeochemistry
- Primate weaning ecology
- Colonization and culture contact
- Eastern Europe, Mediterranean region, southeastern United States
2017 Reitsema, L. J., Kozłowski, T., Crews, D. E., Katzenberg, M. A., Chudziak, W. Resilience and Local Dietary Adaptation in Rural Poland, AD 1000-1400. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 45:38–52.
2016 Reitsema, L.J., Vercellotti, G., Boano, R.. Subadult Dietary Variation at Medieval Trino Vercellese, Italy, and Its Relationship to Adult Diet and Mortality. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 160:653–664.
2016 Reitsema, L.J., Partrick, K. A., Muir, A. B. Inter-Individual Variation in Weaning among Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta): Serum Stable Isotope Biomarkers of Suckling Duration and Lactation. American Journal of Primatology 78:1113–1123.