Serenela Pelier, '15


Serenela Pelier, '15





Serenela Pelier was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Orlando, Florida. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology. Her research interests include bioarchaeology, mortuary archaeology, human osteology, paleopathology, skeletal trauma, stable isotope analysis, and human migration patterns. In Spring 2014, Serenela had the opportunity to accompany Dr. Arlen Chase, and several other undergraduate and graduate students, on his archaeological dig in Caracol, Belize. While in Belize, she had the opportunity to excavate an underground double chambered chultun burial that held seven skeltonized individuals and discovered her love for bioarchaeology. Serenela has also completed a summer undergraduate research project on Egyptian funerary items with Dr. Colleen Manassa at Yale University. She is currently working on her undergraduate Honors in the Major thesis with Dr. Tosha Dupra conducting research on the geographic origins of Napoleonic soldiers that were found in a mass grave in Vilnius, Lithuania. Her future educational goal is to obtain a Ph.D in Bioarchaeology with a focus in stable oxygen isotope analysis and migration.

Faculty Mentor

Tosha Dupras

Undergraduate Major


Future Plans

Ph.D. in Anthropology


Stable Isotope Evidence for the Geographic Origins of Napoleonic Soldiers from a Mass Grave in Vilnius, Lithuania Conducted at University of Central Florida as part of the College of Sciences Seed Research Grant awarded to Dr. Tosha Dupras by University of Central Florida. Mentor: Dr. Tosha Dupras, Chair and Associate Professor-Department of Anthropology, University of Central Florida Abstract: This study utilizes stable oxygen isotope ratios (O18/O16) from bone apatite to determine geographic origins of Napoleonic soldiers from a mass grave in Vilnius, Lithuania. Stable oxygen isotope analysis is responsible for determining migration patterns and possible migrants within a population. Humidity levels, distance from the sea, and elevation are factors that contribute in a water source's unique oxygen isotope signature, which can be utilized to identify specific locations. Additionally, campaign buttons from French dominated countries found in the archaeological record, dating to 1812, strongly suggest ethnic diversity within the Napoleon's Grand Army. In this article, I argue that conducting stable oxygen isotopes analysis on the bone apatite of Napoleonic soldiers, found in a mass grave in Lithuania, will provide further evidence that the army consisted of soldiers from various geographic regions that were under the control of the French empire. However, a possible limitation is that the turnover rate of oxygen isotopes in bone apatite is approximate 10 years, thus restricting the study of migration patterns to the last ten years of a soldier's life. The sample contains the right femurs of 10 individuals form a section of the mass grave that was excavated. The aim of this study is to investigate and compare specific geographic origins and, if the context permits, examine mortuary practices by determining whether soldiers were organized in the grave by ethnicity.

Summer Research

A Stylistic Analysis of Scarab Amulets in the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History Collection Conducted at Yale University as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program and Leadership Alliance Mentor: Dr. Colleen Manassa, Associate Professor- Department of Egyptology, Yale University Abstract: A general stylistic analysis of scarab amulets from the Yale Peabody Museum's Victor Clay Barringer Collection is conducted and the various aesthetic attributes, such as body shape, that occur within each type are described. A literature review concerning the stylistic chronology of scarab amulets reveals a lack of detailed information about the amulets. Most scarabs cannot be properly dated because previous research concentrated strictly on base inscriptions and decorations instead of analyzing them as a whole. Scarab amulets are an abundant resource and could be an extremely valuable tool for both classifying the scarabs themselves, as well as for the relative dating of archaeological sites. The sample of scarab amulets analyzed in this study, forty in total, has never been studied or cataloged. The amulets are divided into the following eight categories: royal names, images, and titles (names of individual kings and unspecified kings), divine figures, geometric design, heart scarabs (plain bottoms and inscribed bottoms), scarabs without bottom design, naturalistic scarabs, icons and script signs (animals and pseudo-hieroglyphs), and ring mounts. Additionally, a detailed catalog of the sample is also provided. This research is a crucial foundation to creating another relative dating method because it will provide yet one more corpus of scarab seals that could aid archaeologists and Egyptologists in their study of Egyptian material culture.

Summer Research Institution

Yale University



Serenela Pelier, '15