Emily McLorn Purcell

MA Student, Francesco Berna

Areas of interest

Paleoethnobotany, Pacific Northwest, Phytoliths, Diatoms, Historical Ecology, Archaeological Science, Traditional Managementy


  • BA: Simon Fraser University (2018)
  • BA: UWO Philosophy (2012)

MA Research

The focus of my MA research is to evaluate paleoenvironments at a riverine site, in the traditional territory of the Sts’ailes, in BC. I use biological microremains—phytoliths, diatoms, and sponge spicules—to assess past environmental conditions. Phytoliths, which are produced by plants, can be used to see changes in vegetation; diatoms and sponge spicules provide important information about water conditions. The goal of my work is to assess how changes in the microremain record reflect changes in the local environmental before, and during occupation of the site.

Conference Presentations

2019. (E.M. Purcell, Rosa M. Albert, Francesco Berna, and Morgan Ritchie). Using Biological Silica Microremains to Understand Anthropogenic Deposits in Sts'ailes Territroy, BC [Poster]. Developing International Geoarchaeology. Vancouver, British Columbia.

2019. (E.M. Purcell, Rosa M. Albert, Francesco Berna, and Morgan Ritchie). The Potential of Phytoliths, Diatoms, and Sponges as Paleoenvironmental Proxies in a Riverine Context: A Case Study in Sts'ailes Territory [Poster]. Annual Meeting of the Society of Ethnobiology. Vancouver, British Columbia.

2018. (E.M. Purcell, Rosa M. Albert, Emma Lowther, Francesco Berna, and Morgan Ritchie). Island Built Environments: Characterizing Anthropogenic Phytolith Assemblages [Podium]. Frontiers in Archaeological Science II. Vancouver, British Columbia.

2018. (E.M. Purcell). Using Phytoliths to Understand Long-Term Prescribed Burning [Podium]. SFU Undergraduate Research Symposium. Vancouver, British Columbia.