Postdoctoral Fellow in Archaeology and the Ancient World (2014-2015)

James Osborne is an archaeologist who works in the eastern Mediterranean and ancient Near East during the Early Bronze and Iron Ages, focusing especially on the early first millennium BCE. After receiving his PhD from Harvard University, James was a Postdoctoral Scholar at SUNY Buffalo’s Institute for European and Mediterranean Archaeology (IEMA), where he organized an interdisciplinary conference among anthropologists, classicists, and art historians on the topic of monumentality. This conference will appear in the fall of 2014 as an edited volume titled Approaching Monumentality in Archaeology, published by SUNY Press.

After IEMA, James was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University, where he began a long-term research initiative on the Iron Age diaspora sparked by the Neo-Assyrian Empire’s policy of forced migration, deportation, and resettlement of conquered regions. James’ field work uses a multiscalar approach to explore this phenomenon in two related venues. First, James directs the Tayinat Lower Town Project, investigating the residential area of the large site of Tell Tayinat, located in southern Turkey, where deportees are known to have been settled. Second, James is Associate Director of the Erbil Plain Archaeological Survey in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, where he identifies the settlement pattern of deportees in the landscape of the core of the Assyrian Empire.

Prior to his current diaspora project, most of James’ publications have concentrated on spatial analysis of Anatolian and Syro-Anatolian Iron Age cities and settlement patterns, using quantitative methods like GIS and space syntax as well as historical sources. He is now working on a monograph titled The Syro-Anatolian City-States: Portraits of an Iron Age Culture. This book, under contract with Oxford University Press, is intended to provide a synthetic overview of the Syro-Anatolian world by focusing on a number of relevant themes, including relations with Assyria, relations with the Aegean and the so-called Orientalizing Period, political economy, and space and place. A general interest in spatial theory also led to a book he co-edited with Parker VanValkenburgh titled Territoriality in Archaeology (2013). James’ CV and publications can be found at his page here.