PhD Candidate Rhy McMillan received the AGU Outstanding Student Presentation Award (OSPA) for his poster, “Identifying long-distance transport of obsidian across the North American landscape in antiquity based on Indigenous-led research initiatives,” presented at AGU’s Fall meeting in December 2019.
Rhy worked in partnership with xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), an Indigenous community in modern-day Vancouver, BC, to investigate the geographic origins of small (<1 cm) fragments of obsidian excavated from c̓əsnaʔəm (Marpole), a key xʷməθkʷəy̓əm village site. Using a unique combination of non-destructive and minimally invasive analytical techniques, the obsidian was shown to likely originate from at least two volcanic sources as far as 1,000 km away. This evidence for long-distance trade and exchange supports the oral history and continuity of complex xʷməθkʷəy̓əm social and material networks, which still exist today.
The prestigious OSPA promotes and recognizes students for high-quality research in the Earth and space sciences, and is only granted to the top 5% of student participants. Rhy’s abstract is available at here.