Hello, world. My name is Sylvia Deskaj, and, as of October 21st of this year, I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the department of anthropology here at Michigan State University. Yay!!! Now in my fourth year in the department, I am looking forward to working on my CHI project with Dr. Ethan Watrall and the rest of the CHI community (stay tuned for more on this!).

Traveling around Michigan and meeting locals is something that I thoroughly enjoy, and fortunately, get to do often. After three years of living here, the state of Michigan is really growing on me. I especially enjoy hanging out with friends in Flint and camping in the Upper Peninsula (where the locals refer to each other as “Yoopers”).

Since graduating from college (“big up” to Northeastern Illinois University and Dr. Jon Hageman!) in 2008, I have worked in the Balkan nation of Albania, where I am beginning a dissertation on human mobility during the Bronze Age in the Shkodër region of the country. As an anthropological archaeologist in training, I am particularly interested in the social aspects of death and burial during that time period. Last summer, I also began collaborative work on a project in Greece, focused on the massive Neolithic cave complex called Alepotrypa (Fox Hole), where I am studying the spatial distribution of 100s of pieces of scattered human bone. Just this year, I organized and chaired my very first session, Recent Trends in Albanian Archaeology: A Decade in Review, at the 77th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, in which scholars from American and European universities participated.

After being alive for so many years, I find it interesting that I still participate in superstitious behaviors; for example, I will NOT cut my nails on a Tuesday… I always walk into a room with my right foot first… and, I’ll just go ahead and admit here, my mom makes me drink a full glass of water before I embark on a major trip (not sure why), and in the rare event that she doesn’t, I fill up my own glass. Of course, this is probably because I am of Balkan stock and my parents are from Bosnia and Kosovo.

Lastly, for now, I live with my two cats – Black Nose and White Nose – who’ve recently become famous on CatBook (https://apps.facebook.com/catbook/profile/view/9950901).


Twitter: @sylviadeskaj

Academia: http://michiganstate.academia.edu/SylviaDeskaj

Campus Archaeology Program: http://campusarch.msu.edu/