My area of specialization is anthropological archaeology. My research focuses on the integration of anthropological theory, ethnographic research, and archaeological practice in exploring the process of urbanization (or perhaps more accurately proto-urbanism) in the southern Levant (encompassing modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, and Jordan) during the Early Bronze Age (c.3,600-2,000 BCE). In order to explore the articulation of social, political and economic structures, and the negotiation and assertion of group and individual social identities in the early walled communities of this region, I have directed excavations at Tell el-Handaquq South, el-Lejjun, and Khirbet el-Minsahlat, all located in Jordan. I am also actively working with R. Thomas Schaub to edit the final publications for excavations at Bab edh-Dhra`, Numeira, Feifa, and Khirbet Khanazir conducted by the Expedition to the Dead Sea Plain.
I am particularly interested in learning about the lives of the people living in these early EBA communities, and with reconstructing a sense of the connections between households and governance structures in these settlements. In my research, I have concentrated on the analysis of the relationships between households, administrative, and ritual spaces in these early walled towns, as well as EBA mortuary practices. From a methodological and theoretical perspective, I am very interested in issues of difference, practice theory, mortuary practices, household archaeology, social memory and identity, and feminism and archaeological practice.
Emerging from my EBA research on the southeastern Dead Sea Plain through the EDSP, I have become increasingly involved in exploring the why's, where's, how's of looting archaeological remains in this region. Currently, Dr. Morag Kersel (DePaul University Dept. of Anthropology) and I are conducting a project, named Follow the Pots, where we combine archaeological and ethnographic research methodologies to explore the first and second lives of EBA material culture from the sites of Bab edh-Drha`, Feifa, and Safi/Naqa. This research is currectly funded by the Wenner Gren Anthropological Foundation.
Recently, I have joined the Bova Marina Archaeological Project (BMAP) as a co-director, and begun research on the later Bronze Age in southern Calabria, Italy. Over the last decade the BMAP team, directed by Drs. John Robb (Senior Lecturer, Cambridge University), Lin Foxhall (Professor, Leicester University), David Yoon (Medieval and Roman freelance archaeologist) and most recently me, has conducted multidisciplinary research in the Bova Marina region, incorporating archaeological survey, documentary analysis of historical archives, GIS, geomorphology, ethnoarchaeology, and archaeological excavations to assess the nature of settlement, land use, social complexity, trade, and technology from the Neolithic to modern periods. Our research project involves an international team of scholars from the UK, Canada, and the US with ongoing survey and excavation projects running simultaneously (please see http://www.arch.cam.ac.uk/~jer39/BMAP/index.html for a full list of researchers and projects). BMAP's research agendas fit very well with an increased scholarly interest in understanding the networks of connectivity, regional and local identities, and what it meant to be part of the greater Mediterranean world in prehistoric and historic periods.
In 2007, under the direction of the Robb, Yoon, and myself, the BMAP team tested three undated Bronze Age sites near Bova Marina, to identify a site with the preservation, architectural remains, and artifactual components for future excavation. Test excavations at the site of Sant’Aniceto, located 2 kilometers from the sea on a low (180 m) but steep hill overlooking the coastal plain, demonstrated that this site is extremely well suited to pursue further archaeological research into identity, place, and connectivity in the Late/Final Bronze Age period. Field seasons in 2008 and 2009 explored the materiality of everyday life in residential and non-residential contexts. Plans for a study season in 2011 will allow the team to analyze the material remains from the three seasons of excavation at Sant'Aniceto.
- University of Notre Dame: Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology (2006-present)
- University of Notre Dame: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology (2000-2006)
- Univ. of Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada): Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Geography (1999-2000)
- Brandeis University: Lecturer, Dept. of Anthropology (1998-1999)
- Harvard University, Extension School: Lecturer, Dept. of Anthropology (1998-1999)
- Harvard University: Teaching Assistant and Assistant Wing Tutor, Dept. of Anthropology (1997-1999)
Ph.D.: Dept. of Anthropology, Harvard University (1997) Thesis: "Urban Households in Early Bronze Age Communities of Syro-Palestine"
Exchange Scholar (Anthropology): University of California, Berkeley, CA (1995-1997)
M.A.: Harvard University (Anthropology) 5/93
B.A. with Honors, Dept. of Classics, Brown University (1989)