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Bone Microstructure Changes During the Process of Animal Domestication in the Ancient Near East




3: Materials Science and Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

Christine Ortiz and Max Price

Faculty email:


Apply by:

May 31, 2020


Students may email Max Price (maxprice@mit.edu), stop by his office (8-436), or email Christine Ortiz (cortiz@mit.edu)

Project Description

This collaborative materials science and archaeology project is exploring the effects of domestication on animal bone microstructure. Specifically, we are testing whether bone remodeling rates and structural features altered during the process of pig domestication in Israel in the Neolithic period (around 9000 years ago). Students will work with professor Ortiz and Price to study bone microstructure in 1) modern pig and wild boar bones and 2) ancient pig remains recovered from Neolithic sites in Israel. They will section bones and perform microscopy of microstructures, including optical and, depending on progress and machine availability, SEM/TEM/AFM. Opportunities may also be available to travel to Israel and work with colleagues at the Weizmann Institute. Interested students should contact Max Price (maxprice@mit.edu).


Students of Course 2 (Mech E), Course 3 (MSE), or Course 20 (Bio Engineering) are preferred.