Who We Are

Group photo of CAAM teaching specialists.

The Center is staffed by Teaching Specialists who are domain experts in one or more of the following seven areas of specialization: ceramics, digital archaeology, archaeobotany, archaeozoology, lithics, archaeometallurgy, and conservation.

In addition to Specialists, CAAM partners with departments and graduate programs across the University of Pennsylvania, along with researchers from outside the school. CAAM also engages Penn students in collection and analysis as part of undergraduate and graduate research.

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Contact Us: caam@pennmuseum.org

Marie-Claude Boileau. Jason Herrmann. Kate Moore holding an animal jawbone. Deborah Olszewski. Tom Tartaron in the field. Chantel White at a microscipe. Vanessa Workman in the field.

Marie-Claude Boileau is the CAAM Director and Teaching Specialist for Ceramics. She is Adjunct Associate Professor of Classical Studies and a Faculty member of the Graduate Program Art & Archaeology of the Mediterranean World (AAMW). She received her PhD at Université Laval (Canada) in Archaeology, with a focus on Early Bronze Age ceramics from northeastern Syria. Central to her research is the reconstruction of technological traditions, their development over time and across space, as a way to approach social identity. She uses an integrated methodology, combining multiple datasets – contextual, stylistic and analytical – to trace the potter’s choice and action at every step of the production sequence. Her research and teaching interests expand to the East Mediterranean to explore networks of interaction. In the field and in the lab, she has been involved in a number of archaeological projects in Syria, Iraq, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Thailand, and Lao PDR. Marie-Claude teaches the CAAM courses “Petrography of Cultural Materials” and “Material World in Archaeological Science”.

Jason Herrmann is an archaeologist who specializes in the use of digital methods including geographic information science (GIS), aerial and satellite remote sensing, and archaeological geophysics, to understand how the environment influenced patterns of settlement and land use, as well as the ways in which people transformed the landscapes in which they lived. His current research centers on ancient landscapes of southwest Asia and the Mediterranean, where he investigates study patterns of settlement and human environment surrounding large urban centers. These projects include a multi-year research project at Motya, in Sicily, and long-term excavation and survey projects in Türkiye and Iraqi Kurdistan. Dr Herrmann also runs a community archaeology project documenting and protecting African American mortuary landscapes in southeast Pennsylvania that is integrated with CAAM’s course offerings in digital archaeology.

Katherine Moore is the Mainwaring Teaching Specialist for Zooarchaeology in CAAM. She received her Ph.D. degree at the University of Michigan in 1989. She has studied prehistoric animal use in North, Central, and South America, and Central Asia and is particularly interested in reconstructing pastoral economies from a life history perspective. She has studied the prehistoric isotopic ecology of animal use in Africa, North America, Europe, and South America. Using the resources in CAAM she is investigating histological and paleopathological evidence to complement traditional zooarchaeological analysis in the Andes. As teaching specialist, she has been teaching CAAM’s foundation Course “Food and Fire” since 2014. She teaches intermediate and advanced courses as well as an intensive summer course, “Problems and Methods in Zooarchaeology”.

Deborah I. Olszewski received her Ph.D. degree in 1984 at the University of Arizona. She specializes in the analysis of prehistoric chipped stone artifacts, with a primary focus on the Middle East and North Africa but has also done research in the North American Southwest and Plains, Hawaii, France, and Cyprus. Her particular interest lies in understanding how the now nearly extinct technology of making chipped stone artifacts can be used to investigate human behavioral evolution since the first appearance of chipped stone artifacts in the archaeological record some 3.3 million years ago. As Adjunct Professor in Anthropology and Penn Museum Consulting Scholar, she has been teaching the chipped and ground/polished stone module in CAAM’s course “The Material World in Archaeological Science” since 2018.

Tom Tartaron is Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Penn and Executive Director of CAAM. He received a Ph.D. in Archaeology from Boston University in 1996. Before coming to Penn, he was laboratory supervisor and postdoctoral associate at the Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (CMRAE) at MIT, and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Yale, where he set up a laboratory for ceramic petrography and trained many students. In 2010–11, Tom and Marie-Claude Boileau set up the Ceramics Laboratory in the Penn Museum, the first of the labs that would become CAAM. He was a member of CAAM’s Faculty Steering Committee before becoming Executive Director in July 2020.Tom has worked in Greece for more than 35 years, on excavations, surveys, and laboratory analyses, with a particular interest in Aegean prehistory. His recent research focuses on maritime networks and maritime coastal communities of the ancient world, including archaeological and ethnoarchaeological projects in Greece, Cyprus, and India.

Chantel White is the Teaching Specialist for Archaeobotany in CAAM. She received her BA in Anthropology from Beloit College in 2003 and her PhD in Archaeology from Boston University in 2013. Before coming to Penn, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Notre Dame. Her research focuses on the study of plant remains from the Near East, Mediterranean, and historical North America across a diverse set of archaeological sites ranging from the Upper Paleolithic (40,000 years ago) to the recent past (19th century). The shared goal of these studies is the reconstruction of everyday life, particularly the identification of activities related to the storage, preparation, and consumption of foods. At the core of her laboratory work is a strong interest in experimental archaeology focusing on cooking techniques and charring experiments to better understand the archaeobotanical record. She directs the Summer Archaeobotany Program in Greece, Jordan, and Israel, and she teaches the CAAM courses “Plants and Society” and “Introduction to Archaeobotany”, and co-teaches “Living World in Archaeological Science.”

Vanessa Workman is the CAAM Teaching Specialist for Archaeometallurgy. She received her MA in Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures from Tel Aviv University (2016) and is in the final stages of achieving her PhD in Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University. Her research interests include the macro- and micro-investigation of ancient craft production, such as iron and copper technologies, and textile and fiber crafts. Her work employs traditional archaeology, material characterization techniques (like microscopy and analytical chemistry), and experimental archaeology to understand human choice, social traditions, and technological capabilities of the past. She is involved in several field projects in Israel and laboratory projects on materials from the Levant, eastern Mediterranean, and from the Penn Museum’s Near Eastern collections. Vanessa teaches lab-based courses on the enduring relationships between humans, minerals, and metals, including an “Archaeometallurgy Seminar” and “Mining Archaeology”. She co-teaches “Material World in Archaeological Science” and “Archaeology & the Bible”.