Trained in anthropological archaeology, my teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of archaeological science and social theory, specifically geoarchaeology, multi-sensory archaeology, phenomenology and materiality. My doctoral research investigated the physical composition of mudbrick houses of Çatalhöyük in Turkey, where I consider mudbricks as cultural artifacts, similar to other material assemblages such as ceramics and lithics. My research demonstrates the potential of mudbrick artifacts as socially situated objects that possess significantly more than just environmental information.
I examined the Neolithic ‘house’ by questioning spatial and temporal variations of mudbrick recipes. I used standard geoarchaeological methods to analyze the compositional differences between mudbricks from 89 temporally and spatially distinct houses. My methods were effective interpretive tools for identifying the active role materials play in mediating people, places and objects and the meaningful engagement of social actors with the physical environment. When there was only mud to choose from, subtle discrepancies between mudbrick compositions of neighboring houses reveals how differences in manufacturing practices accounts for a greater variance between households than just sources of raw materials. The lateral implications of this research support anthropological studies of the house, sensory anthropology, material culture studies, and architectural aesthetics, while integrating archaeological science and theory.
My future research plans include establishing a broadly applicable methodology for the study of mudbrick artifacts, laterally expanding my doctoral research to include other prehistoric Near Eastern tell sites. At present, I am initiating new projects at the Syrian sites of Tell Sabi Abyad, Tell Halula, and Tell Brak, and at Boncuklu Höyük in Turkey.
Ph.D., Anthropology (Stanford University, 2010)
MPhil, Egyptian Archaeology (University College London, 2003)
MSc, Environmental Archaeology (University of Sheffield, 1999)
BA, Anthropology and Near Eastern Archaeology (University of California at Berkeley, 1998)
Annual Review of Anthropology Prize for Service, 2007
Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, dissertation fieldwork grant, 2006
American Research Institute in Turkey, research fellowship, 2006
Stanford Graduate Research Opportunity Grant, 2005
Egypt Exploration Society. Centenary Award for fieldwork, 2002 (declined)
At Brown, I am teaching a graduate seminar on integrating archaeological science with social theory and a second class, entitled How Houses Build People, which focuses on the archaeology and anthropology of houses.
Previously, I have taught classes in Cultural Anthropology, Introduction to Archaeology, Çatalhöyük and Near Eastern Archaeology, The Archaeology of Death and Egyptian Archaeology.