My ultimate goal is to use genomics for reconstructing past human events that predate written history or for which historical records may be biased, such as colonial history.
In my PhD research, I worked with ancient DNA retrieved from humans in an archaeological context to reconstruct prehistoric human migrations. Currently, I investigate the vast traditional rice diversity farmed by the Maroons in Suriname, who are the descendants of enslaved Africans that escaped the plantations in the Americas during early colonial times. I aim to clarify when, from where, and in what historical contexts certain rice varieties were introduced to Suriname to reconstruct the Maroon past.
I work closely with archaeologists, ethnobotanists and historians to verify the anthropological interpretations of (ancient) genomic evidence. In this way, we obtain novel multi-disciplinary perspectives on the human past, specifically regarding domestication processes and the development of food-producing strategies.