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From: Center for Archaeology <;

To: garen05 <;

Sent: Mon, Feb 18, 2019 12:24 pm

Subject: Center for Archaeology Newsletter, Spring 2018


We post updates on the Center’s activities at the start of the Fall and Spring semesters. If you have any news or events that you’d like to circulate please send them to Prof. Brian Boyd at“>

Students excavate at Courtney Singleton’s doctoral research site in 

Pelham Bay Park, the Bronx, NYC. 

Upcoming Events

Feb. 22: Peter de Menocal, Columbia University:  “What climate change really looks like: Holocene climate and life in the Sahara” 

March 30: Stephen Naji, New York University:  “From bones to populations…articulating archaeothanatology and paleodemography”

April 27: Danielle Kellogg, City University of New York:  “Demographic patterns and democratic implications: the case of Athens”

TBA: Dusan Boric, Italian Academy Fellow, Columbia University

TBA: Uthara Suvrathan, City University of New York .

TBA: Sylvian Fachard, American School of Classical Studies. Co-sponsored with Classics and the Center for Spatial Research.

For more information and other archaeology-related events please see our calendar on the CCA homepage

Visiting Faculty

Mette Løvschal

Mette Løvschal, Assistant Professor at the Department of Archaeology, Aarhus University will be visiting Columbia’s Department of Anthropology this Spring. Prof. Løvschal investigates large-scale land confiscation processes in a modern day and historical perspective as well as the earliest expansion of land tenure boundaries across northern Europe in late prehistoric times. She is interested in the social becoming of boundaries, and how boundaries influence the way we think, interact and conceptualise of time and space. When visiting, she will be exploring the relationship between the local level constructions of fences and emergent large-scale historical patterns and she is keen to connect with scholars working on land tenure – confiscation and governance, boundaries, landscape resilience, cultural evolution and large datasets. 

Faculty Books

Zainab Bahrani

Professor Zainab Bahrani (Art History and Archaeology) recently published Mesopotamia:  Ancient Art and Architecture (Thames and Hudson Press, 2017). She continues to direct her field project, Mapping Mesopotamian Monuments, conducting another field season in Iraq in March of 2017. The project may be viewed here

Marc Van de Mieroop

Professor Marc van de Mieroop (History) is researching the intellectual history of the Near East in early antiquity. His latest book, Philosophy Before the Greeks:  The Pursuit of Truth in Ancient Babylonia came out in paperback with Princeton University Press in 2017. He is currently working on an ACLS supported project that studies Babylonian literate cosmopolitan culture and its breakdown into multiple vernaculars in the first millennium BCE. 

Ellen Morris

Professor Ellen Morris (Classics) has been hard at work on the finishing touches (image permissions, copy edits etc.) of her new book, Ancient Egyptian Imperialism, which is due out from Wiley Blackwell this summer. She is looking forward to traveling to Egypt and Sudan in the near future to investigate possibilities for future projects. This semester she is teaching a class titled “Egypt in the Classical World”, which examines multiculturalism in Egypt from an interdisciplinary perspective. 


Faculty News 

In February 2018, Professor Zainab Bahrani will host the third regional meeting of the Future of the Past initiative at the Columbia Global Center in Amman, Jordan. This project, in which archaeologists, art historians and conservators from New York hold closed door intensive workshops with colleagues from Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Jordan, was initiated by Professor Bahrani in 2012 as part of a multi-year initiative supported by a grant from President Bollinger’s Global Innovation Fund, and facilitated by the Columbia Global Centers in Istanbul and in Amman. The third meeting follows the earlier workshops hosted by the Columbia Global Center, Istanbul (October 2015) and CUMERC Amman (November 2016), in which the department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art joined forces with Columbia to offer their museum expertise. The workshops, aimed at supporting colleagues in Iraq and Syria, are thinking groups on preventive care and emergency response, conservation and documentation of monuments and collections, and the preservation of archives. The regional workshop format gives a deeper understanding of the issues faced by our Iraqi and Syrian colleagues, and allows the development of effective and sustainable preservation initiatives. The project has been supported by grants from Columbia University, the Chrest Foundation and the Whiting Foundation.


Professor Ralph Holloway (Anthropology) has been working on LES1 Homo naledi endocranial remains.

He was recently interviewed by Paleoneurology, discussing the importance of endocranial casts, the current challenges in the field of paleoneurology, and offering advice to those entering the field. 

Professor Hannah Chazin (Anthropology) is currently working on a publication documenting the first direct evidence for foddering in the Late Bronze Age in the South Caucasus. Using isotope analysis of animal tooth enamel, she found that some herd animals were fed plants collected during the summer and stored to use as fodder during the winter. Her ongoing research program draws on zooarchaeological and isotopic methods to explore how living with animals shaped social organization and political life in the ancient Caucasus. 


Professor Dorothy Peteet (Lamont-Doherty) is leading an ongoing marsh project for NYC and Long Island Sound. Her team probed depth of marshes for the Housatonic region…Nell’s Island, the oldest are of Wheeler Marsh, CT.  The graduate (Brian Lamb, pictured right) undergraduate and high school students will be extracting cores from these marshes and examining them for paleoecology and pollution histories of the region. 


First Thursdays graduate student group 

The First Thursdays group aims to provide a space for sharing knowledge and resources amongst graduate students in archaeology from across the university. Our most recent events have been lunchtime presentations of ongoing research, with a diversity of presentations from archaeologists who specialize in everything from ancient Chinese salt production to Spanish Colonial ceramics and Roman villas to homelessness in New York City. (See below for examples of doctoral student research.)

In the spring semester, we are working with the CCA to offer skills-based workshops for graduate students, and will continue to provide a forum for sharing in-progress work. The great strength of our group is that it is one of the few places where graduate students can receive quality peer feedback as they develop ideas, drafts and projects. 

Our meetings are open to MA and PhD students in archaeology, whatever their home department is. Contact Valerie ( if you’d like to present or have an idea for a workshop, or would simply like to come along to our next meeting. 


Ph.D. candidate Courtney Singleton spent the semester teaching students excavation techniques at an abandoned homeless encampment in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, NYC. She also encourages students to volunteer processing artifacts in the laboratory. 

(Above) Students eat during their lunch break during the Pelham Bay Park excavations. 

(Below) Students excavate at Pelham Bay Park. 

Dongming Wu, third-year Ph.D. candidate in the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department, visited several newly discovered archaeological sites in Hubei province, China during winter break (below).

These sites map out the territory of the state of Zeng in the Zhou dynasty (1045-221 BCE), and the stunningly rich data allows the study of the geopolitical condition of this regional state in southern China in the pre-Qin time.

(Above) The Yejiashan royal cemetery and Miaotaizi palace site date to the early phase of Western Zhou time (1045-771 BCE). The royal cemetery had been backfilled after archaeological work while the palace site is still under excavation. The Miaotaizi site is about 1 kilometer to the south of the cemetery. The above picture shows the southern platform of the palace and was taken by Dongming as he stood on the northern platform. The lower ground between the two platforms was a moat shared by them.

In the royal cemetery, more than 1,000 pieces of objects have been discovered and collected. This bronze ingot from Tomb M28 is especially interesting because it provides archaeological evidence of the gift of bronze ingots often mentioned in the inscriptions on bronze vessels in Western Zhou period.

Crypts Osteology Group

The Crypts Osteology Group is still strong. The stalwart students are now working with the smallest bone fragments as they try to reconstruct the skulls of individuals from Duncan Strong’s 1952-1953 Viru Valley, Peru expedition.The majority of the remains have been cranially remolded and we’ve just discovered a cranial fragment of a 4th individual showing indications of use as a “trophy.”

Next on the agenda- we hope to 3D scan some of the remains for facial reconstruction. In addition to fragment work (for those who love puzzles) some of our other projects for the spring include painting 3D printed hominin casts and an inventory of our primate and hominin fossil collections.

We meet on Fridays from 12:30pm to 2pm in the bone lab, 865 Schermerhorn Ext. Volunteers are always welcome – no experience is required.

 Professor Jill Shapiro (E3B)

Feel free to contact Professor Shapiro (“> with any questions.

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