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Tracy Martens

Tracy MartensCurator of Archaeology

2340 Albert Street
Ph: 306-787-2037

Adjunct Appointments: University of Saskatchewan, Department of Anthropology

Research Interests
Research Projects
Prospective Graduate Students
Peer-reviewed Publications

Research Interests

My research spans both archaeology and historical archaeology and has focused chiefly on the application of scientific methods in the analysis of material culture and the reconstruction of environmental conditions in the past. My passion and specialism is in fiber and perishable artifacts, a broad class of artifacts that includes everything from fishing line to woven tapestries. This type of artifact has proven to be an informative intersection of proxies that can provide information about past agricultural and animal husbandry practices, resource use, environmental conditions, and cultural, social and political identity. I am also keenly interested in aspects of archaeology that can tell us about the lives of people who have been underrepresented in the archaeological record like women and children.

Research Projects

Archaeological Science

Stable light isotope analysis, light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and machine learning focused on collections from historical Australian sites (in collaboration with La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia) and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum from Saskatchewan.

Archaeological Textile Analysis

Traditional archaeological textile analysis on historical collections at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and Inka period materials in the Bandelier collection at the American Museum of Natural History.

Characterizing Inka interaction in northern Chile and considering the role and rights of museums in 2024

Between 1892 and 1903, Adolpho Bandelier undertook an ethnographic and archaeological expedition to Peru and Bolivia, collecting archaeological and ethnographic materials on behalf of the American Museum of Natural History.  This project will provide the first inventory and initial analysis of the materials in the Bandelier collection and outline the potential for this material to shed light on the Late period in northern Chile.  Additionally, the project considers the ethical aspects and future of these historically procured collections and demonstrates the value of documentation and analysis.

This project is in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History and Universidad de Tarapacá, Arica Chile. 

Prospective Graduate Students

If you are interested in material culture studies, archaeological science, fiber and perishable artifact analysis or museum studies, please feel free to contact me. I especially invite students interested in multidisciplinary projects that will contribute to our understanding of Saskatchewan’s rich and exciting past. The Royal Saskatchewan Museum houses a considerable collection of artifacts with a vast potential for research across an array of topics.

Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications

Martens T. Inka Interaction at Caleta Vitor, Northern Chile: Evidence from Archaeological Textiles. Villa F. and C. Orsini (ED.) IX Jornadas Internacionales deTextiles Precolombinos y Amerindianos.

Martens T., E. Frost, S. Myers, S. Bestel and R. Kurpiel. (2023). Applications for insect, archaeobotanical and archaeological textile analysis in Australian Historical Archaeology with examples from two Victorian era cesspits (H7822-2367 & H7822-2366), Melbourne Central Business District. Excavations, Surveys and Heritage Management in Victoria, Volume 12.

Correa-Lau, J., C. Agüero, J. Splitstoser, E. Echenique, T. Martens, C. M. Santoro. (2023). Inka Unku: Imperial or provincial? State-local relations. PLOS ONE, published online, February.

Martens, T. 2021. Textile fibres from the Caleta Vitor Archaeological Complex, northern Chile. Archaeological Textiles Review 63.

Martens, T., J. Carrea-Lau, C.M. Santoro and C. Carter. (2021). An Inka unku from Vitor Bay, Norther Chile. Latin American Antiquity 32(1).

Gayo, E.M., T. Martens, H. Stuart-Williams, J. Fenner, C.M. Santoro, C. Carter and J. Cameron. (2020). Procurement of camelid fiber in the hyperarid Atacama Desert coast: insights from stable isotopes. Quaternary International 548:71-83.

Martens, T. and J. Cameron (2019). Early Coastal Fiber Technology from Caleta Vitor Archaeological Complex, Northern Chile. Latin American Antiquity 30(2):287-299.


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