Linda Ziegenbein is the project director. She has a Ph.D. in anthropology (focus on historical archaeology) from the University of Massachusetts. She is interested in the multi-racial history of the United States and learning about the ways people negotiated the social and cultural context of their lives. The focus of her previous research project was David Ruggles, a blind African American anti-slavery activist who lived in Florence, Massachusetts during the 1840s. When not thinking of new ways to involve new audiences in archaeology and history, Linda can be found enjoying western Massachusetts’ fleeting summer days.
Mary Larkum is a project archaeologist for “Digging Northampton’s History” and will be supervising the laboratory during our field season. She has a Master’s degree in archaeology from the University of Cambridge and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Massachusetts. Her doctoral research focuses on the study of ancient cooking in Western Asia. Mary is a bioarchaeologist who examines organic materials found in archaeological contexts; specifically she studies plant remains, animal bones, and chemical residues on artifacts. Her professional expertise also includes the anthropology of food and nutrition. When not working in a lab, Mary likes to meet people and discover their favorite recipes.
Elena Sesma is a project archaeologist for “Digging Northampton’s History”. She has an M.A. in anthropology and is working on her Ph.D with a focus on historical archaeology and critical heritage studies. She is interested in the lived experiences of people in the past, especially how they navigated the differences of race, class, and gender. Previously, Elena studied the interpretations of Black women’s lives under slavery and freedom in colonial New England. Currently, she is developing an oral history and archaeology project in the Bahamas around a 19th-century plantation and the descendant community that has lived in the area since the 1870s. When not traveling and playing in the dirt, you might catch Elena singing along to music while preparing large feasts for friends and family, and enjoying the summer sun.
Jill Zuckerman is a project archaeologist with “Digging Northampton’s History” and is the Director of Programming for our youngest visitors. She has a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts. She is a professional archaeologist and has worked in the cultural resource management field for UMass Archaeological Services for over four years excavating sites throughout New England. Some of her main interests include paleoanthropology, the study of human evolution, and skeletal anatomy. She spent some time in Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania digging for and learning about early human ancestors. When Jill isn’t digging, she’s working as a substitute teacher for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. In her free time, Jill enjoys being outdoors, watching crime dramas, and spending time with friends.