2013 Team Members

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Oaxaca, Mexico

Heather Lapham

Associate Scientist, Curator, Adjunct Associate Professor
Center for Archaeological Investigations & Southern Illinois University


Dr. Heather Lapham has been analyzing animal remains from archaeological sites for almost two decades. She joined the El Pamillo team in 2007 as the project’s zooarchaeologist and now continues her work with the Mitla Fortress team. Her research focuses on ancient animal economies and animal use in southern Mexico and the American Southeast. Participating in the Field Museum’s Zapotec Expedition presents an exciting new research opportunity. To learn more about Dr. Lapham, visit her SIUC web page.


Keitlyn Alcantara-Russell

Project Bioarchaeologist
University of Chicago 

Keitlyn Alcantara-Russell received her Master's degree in Social Science (focus in Bioarchaeology) from the University of Chicago in 2011. Her Master's thesis focused on the history and evolution of Physical Anthropology in Mexico. Since then, she has gone on to work as a Research Assistant in the Physical Anthropology Department of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. In the fall of 2013 she will begin doctoral research on Mesoamerican/Mexican Bioarchaeology, exploring topics of biological distance and migration. Keitlyn participated in preliminary analysis of the previous year's bioarchaeological data as an intern in 2010/2011 and will join the team in 2013 as the project's bioarchaeologist.

Lacey Carpenter

Project Laboratory Assistant
University of Michigan 

Lacey Carpenter is a third-year graduate student in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Her interests include Mesoamerica and Oaxaca, household archaeology, prehistoric economies, and craft production. She was a member of the Mitla Fortress team during the 2009 and 2011 seasons and rejoins this year as a laboratory assistant.


Eileen O’Donnell, B.F.A.

Project Field Assistant and Illustrator
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Eileen O’Donnell recently earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While growing up, Eileen often accompanied her father on visits to The Field Museum, where he served many years as a volunteer in Education. Those behind-the-scene exposures gave her a deep admiration for natural science and for the museum as well. Over the past year, she has worked in the Laboratory of Mesoamerican Archaeology at The Field Museum, illustrating archaeological objects similar to those that she will illustrate from the Mitla Fortress. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to apply her art background to science. Eileen works as an artist in Chicago and plans on continuing her education with a Master’s degree in Fine Arts.

Jessica Willemssen

Project illustrator

Jessica A. Willemssen is a freelance scientific illustrator and an active volunteer in her hometown of Chaska, Minnesota. Jessica received her Bachelor degree in Biological / Pre-Medical Illustration and a Minor in Biology at Iowa State University in 2011. As a scientific illustrator, Jessica combines her skills in both the arts and sciences to accurately communicate through illustration. She is looking forward to participating in this year's field project at the Mitla Fortress.