Student Feature: Melody Mullally, CAS Undergraduate Ambassador
Melody Mullally is a senior Undergraduate student in Anthropology, History, and Botany. In Spring of 2017, she participated in the University of Florida’s study abroad program in Ethiopia, researching Stone Age archaeology with Dr. Steven Brandt. While visiting Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, she worked in the National Museum at Addis Ababa University. There, she studied Stone Age technology and experimental archaeology, tested theories about modern human dispersal, and managed lithic artifacts in a cultural resource context. While working in Sodo, a region in Southern Ethiopia, she familiarized herself with field sessions in African Archaeology and learned applications of Geographic Information System technology (GIS), excavation methodology, data assessment, and archival work. After the study abroad session came to a close, she travelled to Axum, Mekele, and Lalibela in Northern Ethiopia. There, her fascination with Ethiopia in general was solidified, and she began the complex process of learning about Ethiopia’s extensive and mysterious history.
Her prospective post-graduate research centers on the examination of state formation of the pre-Aksumite and Aksumite era in Northern Ethiopia. She wishes to examine cultural and technological transmissions of this time period, between the Nile Delta, migrations and diffusions from across the Red Sea, and contacts with the Greco-Roman world, as these factors played an essential role in synthesizing the identity of Ethiopia within the archaeological record. She wishes to employ elements of cognitive archaeology and ethnoarchaeology to assess state formation and increasing social complexities that contributed to the birth of the Aksum Empire. Additionally, she wishes to employ archaeobotanical approaches, such as food production and agricultural complexity arising in conjunction with societal complexity in Northern Ethiopia. In tandem with researching the pre-Aksumite and Aksumite era, she is interested in community archaeology, community outreach projects in the Tigray region, and cultural resource management in general. She has also participated in a bioarchaeology project in Italy through the University of Pisa, and is currently president of the Ethnoecology Society at the University of Florida.