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McMaster Art of Research Competition

Congratulations to Matthew Emery and Debi Poinar for their wins in the inaugural McMaster Art of Research Competition which concluded this past week!

Apr 14, 2016

Matthew took first place in the International Division with his image "Lights in a Sandstorm" from his recent work in Sudan, and Debi received an award for best overall caption across all divisions for her image "A Life Frozen in Time". Congratulations to both Matthew and Debi!

Lights in a Sandstorm. Credit: Matthew Emery, 2016

Located off the banks of the Nile’s fourth cataract region in the Republic of Sudan, students celebrate the arrival of new friends and funds. Our archaeological team spent the late months of 2015 raising the necessary monetary funds required to restore light to a school compound in the remote village of Wadi Gaud, conducted over our 2016 field season. Sandstorms, as seen here, are a notorious problem during the day. The most severe sandstorms are capable of reducing visibility to near zero, and with it, the ability to provide a suitable education for the village children. As part of McMaster’s international outreach, this photograph demonstrates our ability to impact communities outside the political rhetoric of sanction and fear. This picture signifies the positive aspects of our humanity, what we can achieve when we work together, and the collective values we share about education the world over.

Caption and Photo Credit: Matthew Emery


A Life Frozen In Time. Credit: Debi Poinar, 2013

A picture can also be worth a thousand feelings, provoking visceral emotions. Participating in the Field School in Medieval Archaeology and Bio-archaeology at Badia Pozzeveri (Lucca, Italy)with my husband and daughter (Hendrik and Sophie Poinar) as part of McMaster Ancient DNA Center, we travelled back in time to elucidate the possible cause of death at this monastery’s burial grounds: Cholera? Plague? Unearthing this particular victim I was overcome by feelings of a life lived, yet now frozen in time; her delicate finger bones clutching on to her rosary and a bronze medallion worn gracefully around her neck. Who was she, how did she live her life, how did she die? We were here to discover the mystery of her death, by searching for ancient pathogens locked deeply within her remains – bones speaking their archaeological truth through the alphabet of DNA.

Caption and Photo Credit: Debi Poinar