Dr Julian Garay-Vazquez
Postdoctoral Research Associate
J. Julián Garay-Vázquez is an afro-indigenous archaeologist from Borikén (Puerto Rico) specialising in archaeobotanical research. Currently, they are a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Exeter working on the ERC-funded Last Journey project. Their role is the study of archaeobotanical macro-remains of early Pleistocene/Holocene transition sites to understand the human-plant dynamics of the Amazonian Forest colonists of Colombia. Their Doctoral thesis centred on studying indigenous modes of agriculture and culinary traditions from the Antillean Caribbean. The research involved the application of a multidisciplinary method that interweaves Western scientific knowledge with indigenous culinary knowledge from historical texts alongside experimental archaeology to assess past culinary traditions. Ultimately, the method allowed us to identify charred multi-component plant aggregates from the archaeological record and enhance our understanding of past indigenous cuisine. Previously, they completed an MSc in Environmental Archaeology at UCL, investigating hierarchical differences as seen in the culinary practices of the Gamo society [Ethiopian Highlands]. More broadly, their interests are the study of the origins of agriculture, the decolonisation of archaeobotanical research, and the application of environmental research to indigenous revitalisation efforts.