Near East Section
As of the 3rd millennium BCE, gold objects are frequently found within burial contexts in Mesopotamia, but as there are no metal-bearing deposits in the region, sources of the gold are unknown. Analysis of the chemical composition of artifacts from sites including Ur, Kish, Nippur, Hissar and Gawra, now held at held in the collections of the Penn Museum and the Field Museum, may illuminate the geological origin of the gold found in these burials.
Tel Yaqush is an Early Bronze Age village located in the Jordan Valley (Israel). The village was occupied from ca. 3700-2500 BCE, offering the opportunity to explore major social and political changes in the region, especially relating to urbanism and migration.
Hasanlu and Tepe Hissar, both archaeological sites located in the modern country of Iran, have yielded the remains of hundreds of skeletal persons. Many students and researchers have worked on these skeletal collections yielding many types of reports and publications.
The Naxcıvan Archaeological Project, a joint American-Azerbaijani program of surveys and excavations, studies the north-eastern frontier of Greater Mesopotamia. Ongoing surveys reveal how the interaction between nomads, local centers and external empires created a unique political landscape in the Caucasus. Our work at Oglanqala, the largest archaeological site in Naxcıvan, Azerbaijan, analyzes economic and cultural imperialism at this fortress during the Achaemenid Persian Empire (550-330 BCE).
Excavations of the sites of Konar Sandal South and North near Jiroft in south-central Iran have revealed a hitherto unknown civilization of the Early Bronze Age that interacted with societies in Mesopotamia, the Indus valley and Central Asia.
This project aims to analyze, interpret, and prepare for publication the Bronze Age ceramic assemblages of Tepe Hissar.
Biomolecular Archaeology, the scientific analysis of ancient organic remains, has come of age in the past twenty-five years. Ancient foods, perfumes, dyes, and other organics, which could only be imagined from ancient writings, can now be detected and characterized by applying highly sensitive chemical techniques.