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Where in the world are they? The who, what, and where from our international curatorial team.

SYRIA

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Robert Mason

MATERIAL SCIENTIST

Near Eastern and Asian Civilizations

Although Middle Eastern ceramics continue to be the focus of Robert Mason's research, the vagaries of archaeological fieldwork have involved him increasingly with prehistory. In 2009, during fieldwork near the monastery of St. Moses, north of Damascus in the Syrian Desert, he discovered what appear to be ancient corbelled tombs, with associated stone circles. Scattered in the same desert area were stone tools that may date to the Neolithic, or possibly to the Early Bronze Age (before 3500 BCE). The find may offer new insights into death customs that emerged after the early Neolithic, when practices included exhuming and plastering skulls of the deceased as shown below, from Jericho.

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VIETNAM

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Claire Healy

ASSOCIATE CURATOR

Invertebrate Zoology

In March, Claire Healy visited Vietnam to survey tapeworms and other parasites of rays and sharks from the Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea. With colleagues from the US and the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology, she examined 26 species of sharks and rays. Tapeworm species collected in Vietnam will be compared to those gathered previously in Australia and Borneo. This study is part of a global initiative to improve our knowledge of the diversity and evolutionary relationships of the tapeworm parasites of all vertebrate animals. For further details, see tapeworms.uconn.edu.

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SOUTHEAST ASIA

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Judith Eger

SENIOR CURATOR

Mammalogy

A 40-year veteran of the ROM, Judith Eger has research interests in the systematics and biogeography of bats of Asia and Madagascar as well as mammals of the Canadian North. Her current research concentrates on tube-nosed bats of Southeast Asia, using morphology and DNA sequencing. Fieldwork has taken her on eight expeditions to Vietnam and China, where, along with colleagues from the ROM and the USA, she has participated in studies of biodiversity of northern Vietnam and southwest China. On several occasions she has returned with a new species of bat. In April, she participated in a short workshop in Belize on bat biology.

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CHINA

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Ka Bo Tsang

ASSISTANT CURATOR

Far Eastern

In June 2009 Ka Bo Tsang travelled to Shanxi province, China, to investigate the former site of Xinghua Monastery, original home of the ROM's world-renowned Yuan-dynasty (1279-1368) Buddhist mural The Maitreya Paradise. While in Shanxi, she also visited Yongle Gong, an important Daoist sanctuary with murals similar in subject and style to the ROM's pair of Daoist murals, Homage to the Highest Power. This fall Tsang travels to Shanxi and Sichuan provinces to study sculptures of deities in Buddhist and Daoist grottoes. She will use the collected data to re-evaluate the cultural significance of the ROM's iconic Chinese treasures.

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AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND

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Oliver Haddrath

TECHNICIAN

Ornithology

Oliver Haddrath has focused his recent research on the large flightless birds of the southern continents. He uses DNA sequences of slow-evolving genes and identifies rare genomic events to determine how these birds are related. Fieldwork has allowed him to collect bones from recently extinct members of the group--the giant moa of New Zealand and the elephant bird of Madagascar--as well as the living members--ostrich, emu, rhea, kiwi, and cassowary. His DNA research is addressing the questions of how these birds spread across the southern hemisphere and how that dispersal was shaped by the breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana 80 million years ago.

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Publication:ROM Magazine
Date:Sep 22, 2010
Words:570
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