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Krish Seetah

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Krish Seetah

PhD, University of Cambridge
Research Interests: 
Zooarchaeology, human-animal relationships, colonialsm, Indian Ocean World


I am a zooarchaeologist, whose focus is primarily on colonisation and colonialism. My zooarchaeological research has used butchery analysis (with the benefit of professional and ethnographic actualistic experience) to investigate agency within the human-animal relationship. More recently, I have employed geometric morphometrics (GMM) as a mechanism for identifying and distinguishing animal populations. This approach to studying colonial activity centres on understanding how people manipulate animal bodies, both during life and after death.

Alongside the strictly faunal research is a research interest in technologies associated with animal processing. This has been used to investigate issues of technology, trade and socio-economic attitudes within colonial contexts in the Mediterranean (Venice & Montenegro) and the Baltic (Poland, Latvia & Lithuania).

I am also the Director of the ‘Mauritian Archaeology and Cultural Heritage’ (MACH) project, which studies European Imperialism and colonial activity. This project centres on the movement of peoples and material cultures, specifically within the contexts of slavery and Diaspora. The work of this project has focused on key sites in Mauritius and is based on a systematic programme of excavation and environmental sampling. The underlying aims are to better understand the transition from slavery to indentured labour following abolition, the extent and diversity of trade in the region and the environmental consequences of intense, monoculture, agriculture.

Selected Articles

Journal Articles

Banerjea. R., Badura. M., Kalējs. U., Cerina. A., Gos. K., Hamilton-Dyer. S., Maltby. M., Seetah. K., & Pluskowski. A. 2017. A multi-proxy, diachronic and spatial perspective on the urban activities within an indigenous community in medieval Riga, Latvia. Quaternary International. Vol. 460., pg. 3-21.

Banerjea. R., Badura. M., Kalējs. U., Cerina. A., Gos. K., Hamilton-Dyer. S., Maltby. M., Seetah. K., & Pluskowski. A. 2017. A multi-proxy, diachronic and spatial perspective on the urban activities within an Garchitorena. A., Sokolow. S., Roche. B., Ngonghala. C., Jocque. M., Lund. A., Barry. M., Mordecai. E., Daily. G., Jones. J., Andrews. J., Bendavid. E., Luby. S., LaBeaud. A., Seetah. K., Guégan. J., Bonds. M., &, De Leo. G. 2017. Disease ecology, health and the environment: a framework to account for ecological and socio-economic drivers in the control of neglected tropical diseases. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. Vol. 372: 1722. 20160128.

Sawicki. Z., Pluskowski. A., Brown. A., Badura. M., Makowiecki, D., Shilito, L-M., Zabilska. M., &, Seetah. K. 2017. “Sobrevivir en la frontera de la Guerra santa: expansión política, cruzadas, explotación ambiental y el asentamiento medieval de colonización de Biała Góra, norte de Polonia”, [Survival at the Frontier of Holy War: Political Expansion, Crusading, Environmental Exploitation and the Medieval Colonizing Settlement at Biała Góra, North Poland] Revista Universitaria de Historia Militar, Vol. 6: 12., pg. 50-84.

Seetah. K. 2016. Contextualising complex social contact: Mauritius, a microcosm of global diaspora. Cambridge Archaeological Journal. Vol. 26: 2., pg. 265-83. DOI:10.1017/S0959774315000414.

Seetah. K., Cardini. A., &, Barker. G. 2016a. The long-fuse model of horse domestication. The Holocene. Vol. 26: 8., pg. 1326-33. DOI: 10.1177/0959683616638436.

Seetah. K., Birch. T., Calaon. D., &, Čaval. S. 2016b. Colonial iron in context: the Trianon slave shackle from Mauritius. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. Vol. 9., pg. 419-30. DOI: 10.1007/s12520-015-0295-7.

Seetah. K. 2015a. The archaeology of Mauritius. Antiquity. Vol. 89: 346., pg. 922-39. DOI:10.15184/aqy.2015.75.

Seetah. K. 2015b. “The Minister will tell the nation…”: the role of media for public archaeology in Mauritius. World Archaeology, Special volume: Public Archaeology. Vol. 47:2., pg. 285-98.

Seetah. K. 2015c. Objects past: objects present: materials, resistance and memory from the Le Morne Old Cemetery, Mauritius. Journal of Social Archaeology. Vol. 15:2., pg. 233-53. DOI: 10.1177/1469605315575124.

Cardini. A., Seetah. K., &, Barker. G. 2015. How many specimens do I need? Sampling error in geometric morphometrics: testing the sensitivity of means and variances in simple randomized selection experiments. Zoomorphology. Vol. 134: 2., pg. 149-63. DOI 10.1007/s00435-015-0253-z

Sawicki. Z., Pluskowski. A. G., Brown. A., Badura. M., Makowiecki. D., Shillito. L-M., Zabilska-Kunek. M., &, Seetah. K. 2015. Survival at the frontier of holy war: Political expansion, crusading, environmental exploitation and the medieval colonizing settlement at Biała Góra, north Poland. European Journal of Archaeology. Vol. 18: 2., pg. 282-313.

Seetah. K., Cucchi. T., Dobney. K., &, Barker. G. 2014. A geometric morphometric re-evaluation of the use of dental form to explore population differences in horses (Equus caballus) and its potential zooarchaeological application. Journal of Archaeological Science. Vol. 41., pg. 904-10.

Fregel. R., Seetah. K., Betancor. E., Suárez. N., Calaon. D., Čaval. S., Janoo. A., &, Pestano. J. 2014. Multiple ethnic origins of mitochondrial DNA lineages for the population of Mauritius. Joint first author. Public Library of Science ONE 9(3): e93294. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0093294

Appleby. J., Seetah. K., Calaon. D., Čaval. S., Janoo. A., &, Teelock. V. 2014. The juvenile cohort from Le Morne cemetery: a snapshot of early life and death after abolition. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. Vol. 24., pg. 737-46.

Pluskowski. A. G., Sawicki. Z., Shillito. L-M., Badura. M., Makowiecki. D., Zabilska-Kunek. M., Seetah. K., &, Brown. A. 2014. Biała Góra: the forgotten colony in the medieval Pomeranian-Prussian borderlands. Antiquity. Vol. 88: 341., pg. 863-82.

Campana. M., Stock. F., Barrett. E., Benecke. N., Barker. G., Seetah. K., &, Bower. M. 2012. Genetic stability in the Icelandic horse breed. Animal Genetics. Vol. 43: 3., pg. 447-9.

Seetah. K., 2010. “Our Struggle”: colonial legacies on an island paradise. SHIMA, The International Journal for Island Cultures. Vol 4: 1. pg. 99-112.

Pluskowski. A., Seetah. K., & Maltby. M. 2010. Potential osteoarchaeological evidence for riding and the military use of horses at Malbork Castle, Poland. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, Vol 20: 3. pg. 335-343

Pluskowski, A., Ioniţă, A. &, Seetah. K. 2010. Excavations at the medieval fortress in Feldioara / Marienburg, 2007. Materiale Şi Cercetări Arheologice (serie nouă). Vol. 6., pg. 173-84.

Maltby. M., Pluskowski. A., & Seetah. K. 2009. Animal Bones from an Industrial Quarter at Malbork, Poland: Towards an Ecology of a Castle Built in Prussia by the Teutonic Order. Crusades, Vol 8. pg. 191-213.

Seetah. K., 2008. Modern analogy, cultural theory and experimental archaeology: a merging point at the cutting edge of archaeology. World Archaeology, Vol 40: 1. pg. 135-150.

Seetah. K., 2004. Meat in history – how influences from the past impacts on today’s industry. International Journal of Food History, Vol 2: 2. pg. 19-35.

Book Chapters

Seetah. K. 2018b. Climate and disease in the Indian Ocean: an interdisciplinary study from Mauritius. In, Seetah. K. (ed.). Connecting Continents: Archaeology and History in the Indian Ocean World. Ohio: Ohio University Press (Indian Ocean Studies Series).

Seetah. K., &, Allen. R. 2018. Interdisciplinary ripples across the Indian Ocean. In, Seetah. K. (ed.). Connecting Continents: Archaeology and History in the Indian Ocean World. Ohio: Ohio University Press (Indian Ocean Studies Series).

Pluskowski. A., &, Seetah. K. 2018. Animal Bones from the Abbatial Garden in Nonantola. In, Gelichi. S., Librenti. M. &, Cianciosi. A. (eds.), Monaci e contadini. Abati e re. Il monastero di Nonantola attraverso l’archeologia (2002-2009), All'Insegna del Giglio, Firenze, pg. 262-269.

Seetah. K., Fregel. R., Haines. J., Calaon. D., &, Čaval. S. 2017. Archéologie de l’engagisme: histoire, société et culture des travailleurs sous contrat et de leurs descendants sur l’île Maurice. In, Garcia. D., &, Le Bras, H. Archéologie des Migrations. La Découvert, Paris, pg. 329-41.

Seetah. K., Pluskowski. A. G., Maltby. M., &, Makowiecki. D. 2016c. Technological change and animal exploitation in the medieval eastern Baltic. In, Pluskowski. A. G. (ed.). Terra Sacra II: The Ecology of Crusading, Colonisation and Religious Conversion in the Medieval Eastern Baltic. Leiden: Brepols.

Pluskowski. A. G., Brown. A., Banerjea. R., Makowiecki. D., Seetah. K., Rannamäe. E., Jarzebowski. M., Kreem. J., &, Klavins. K. 2016. From the convent to the commandery: The pivotal role of the environment in defining the medieval Baltic Ordensland. In: J. Kreem. (ed.) Das Leben im Ordenshaus. Quellen und Studien zur geschichte des Deutschen Ordens. Marburg, Elwert Verlag.

Maltby. M., Pluskowski. A. G, Rannamäe. E., &, Seetah. K. 2016. Farming, hunting and fishing in Medieval Livonia: zooarchaeological data. In, Pluskowski. A. G. (ed). Terra Sacra I: Environment, Colonisation, and the Crusader States in Medieval Livonia and Prussia. Leiden: Brepols.

Makowiecki. D., Zabilska-Kunek. M., Seetah. K., Jarzebowski. M., &, Pluskowski. A. G. 2016. Farming, Hunting and Fishing in Medieval Prussia: Zooarchaeological Data. In, Pluskowski. A. G. (ed). Terra Sacra I: Environment, Colonisation, and the Crusader States in Medieval Livonia and Prussia. Leiden: Brepols.

Pluskowsk. A. G., Brown. A, Banerjea. R., Shillito. L-M., Makowiecki. D., Seetah. K., Jarzebowski. M., Kļaviņš. K., &, Kreem. J. 2016. ‘The Ecology of Crusading: The environmental impact of conquest, colonisation and religious conversion in the medieval eastern Baltic’. In, Wadyl. S., Hoffmann. M., &, M. Karczewski. (eds.) I Warmińsko-Mazurska Sesja Sprawozdawcza. Warsaw-Bialystok: Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw and the Institute of History and Political Studies, University of Bialystok, pg. 167-74.

Seetah. K., Pluskowski. A., Makowiecki. D., &, Daugnora. L. 2014. New technology or adaptation at the frontier? Butchery as a signifier of cultural transitions in the medieval Eastern Baltic. In, Pluskowski. A. (ed). Life at the Frontier: The Ecological Signatures of Human Colonisation in the North. Archaeologica BALTICA. Vol 20., Klaipeda, pg. 59-77.

Seetah. K. 2014. Geometric morphometrics and environmental archaeology. In, Smith, C. (ed.). The Encyclopaedia of Global Archaeology, Springer Press, Berlin, pg. 3029-36.

Gravina. B, Rabbett.R, & Seetah. K. 2012. Combining stones and bones, defining form and function, inferring lives and roles. In, Seetah. K. &., Gravina. B. eds. Bones for Tools – Tools for Bones. McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research Monographs Series, University of Cambridge, Cambridge.

Seetah. K., 2007a. The Middle Ages on the block: Animals, Guilds and meat in medieval Britain. In, Pluskowski. A., (ed.) Breaking and Shaping Beastly Bodies: Animals as Material Culture in the Middle Ages. Oxbow, pg. 18-31. Oxford.

Seetah. K., 2007b. A zooarchaeological contribution to biological anthropology. In, Robson-Brown. K., &., Roberts. A. (eds.) Proceeding of the 6th Annual BABAO Conference. BAR, S1623, pg. 72-80. Oxford.

Seetah. K., 2006. Multidisciplinary approach to Romano-British cattle butchery. In, Maltby. M., (ed.) Integrating Zooarchaeology, Oxbow, pg. 111-118, Oxford.

Seetah. K., 2005. Butchery as a tool for understanding the changing views of animals, in, Pluskowski. A., (ed.) Just Skin and Bones? New Perspectives on Human-Animal Relations in the Historic Past. BAR Int. Series S1410, pg 1-8. Oxford.