Jenna Hurtubise obtained her B.A. in Archaeology in 2012 from the University of Calgary and her M.A. in Anthropology in 2015 from Louisiana State University. She is currently working on her Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Lisa LeCount with a focus in Andean archaeology and bioarchaeology. Her research interests revolve around social identity, identity transformation, and how identity is manifested in the material record and on the skeletal body. Jenna has conducted research in Peru since 2009 where she has participated in numerous excavations and osteological analyses along the north coast of Peru. Her master’s research focused on identity transformation during a crisis ritual involving a multi-event mass human sacrifice that took place at the end of the Sicán state. Through examining the different burial events, body position, grave goods, and analysis of the skeletal remains, it was discovered that elites were sacrificing other elite individuals, thereby stripping them of their elite identity and transforming them into sacred objects.
Jenna’s current research focuses on how colonialism, an asymmetrical power relationship, can transform a group’s ethnic identity through analyzing the cultural and biological data from subordinate regional groups. In order to examine this relationship she examines the interaction between the Casma and the Chimú at the Pan de Azucar mounds and associated cemeteries located in the Nepeña Valley. During the 13th century A.D., the Chimú engaged in a series of territorial expansions along the Peruvian north coast where they conquered the Casma. Through examining overt and hidden features of ethnic identity seen in elite architecture, ceramics, mortuary practices, and bioarchaeological data her research will address how the Casma responded to the incoming Chimú. Additionally, her research will contribute to anthropological models of ethnic identity transformation, hybridity, and ethnogenesis during times of foreign conquest.
Aside from research, Jenna is involved in community engagement activities in Nepeña, Peru. These activities include teaching local children about the prehistory of the Nepeña Valley, osteological analysis, and how archaeologists conduct excavation. She is also a mentor for S.L.A.M. where she mentors UA undergraduate students in the Department of Anthropology and helps with graduate school applications.