ESesma headshotI earned my PhD in Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2019. I specialize in historical archaeology, community based methods and engaged anthropology, and Black Feminist Theory. My current research focuses on a former plantation site in the Bahamas and the descendant community who has lived on the property for the past 150 years, drawing connections between land, memory and political action. I have also studied the history and archaeology of slavery in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast United States. I often use community-based approaches to ethnography and archaeological research to make sure that local voices can contribute to my work and see beneficial outcomes from our often long-term collaborations. I also have experience working with young children and teens in and out of the field and I see great value in encouraging young people to play an active part in the research that happens around their communities.

I received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2013-2016), and a Wenner-Gren Dissertation Fieldwork Grant (2016-2017) for my community-based archaeology project in Eleuthera, Bahamas. I have also received funding from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Graduate School and the UMass Amherst Department of Anthropology. My work has been published by the Journal of Community Archaeology and Heritage and the Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage. 

Currently, I am at President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley (2019-2020).

Watch this recent presentation of my research based in Eleuthera, Bahamas:

Contemporary Landscape Archaeology in the Bahamas. Archaeological Research Facility, University of California Berkeley. February 5, 2020.