Pitt Rivers Museum
University of Oxford, UK
Life histories of ivory objects in museum collections
Ashley Coutu is currently a Research Fellow at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. Her background is as an archaeological scientist, and she primarily uses techniques and methods from biology and organic chemistry to understand archaeological materials. Her specialism is the use of stable isotope, ancient DNA, and proteomics analyses as applied to archaeological and museum collections of organic materials. She is particularly interested in method development in relation to the needs of museums for display and the care of objects in terms of their conservation. The geographical focus of her work is sub-Saharan Africa, and therefore most of her research is on the ivory trade, past and present, and the use of ivory as a raw material for crafting objects.