- 2009. AB (Anthropology) University of Chicago
- 2016. PhD (Anthropology) Harvard University
I am an anthropological archaeologist whose research focuses on how humans domesticated and relied on animals in the ancient past. I am particulalry interested in the long and turbulent history of pigs (Sus scrofa) in the ancient Middle East. Pigs have the dubious distinction of being 1) one of the first animals to undergo domestication in what is now southern Turkey and northern Syria around 10,000 years ago and 2) an animal that is taboo in two of the major religions in the Middle East today (Islam and Judaism). How and why did this shift come about? My research explores this and other issues by studying the animal bones that archaeologists recover from excavations. I use a variety of methods – including the analysis of light stable isotopes, zooarchaeology, examination of paleopathogies, statistical modeling, and ancient DNA analysis – to answer questions about the long history of pigs and other animals in ancient human societies.