My research examines ceramic production and consumption as a proxy to analyze the role rural areas play in the creation and transmission of ceramic knowledge in larger societies. I use multiple methods from textual sources to standard ceramic analysis to scientific methods (petrography, portable X-Ray Fluorescence, Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) to reconstruct the life cycle of these ceramics. Specifically, my research focuses on the Middle Islamic Period (1000-1500 CE) in Western Asia (Mainly Iraq and Iran) and how the diverse dynamics that existed in rural areas led to the role these societies play in the interconnected Islamic world.
I received a BA in Archaeology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and a MA in Archaeology from Boston University. I have worked on various projects mainly in a ceramicist capacity in Bolivia, the United States, Syria, Egypt, and most recently Iraq (2013-present). I recently submitted my PhD entitled “Production and Consumption of Middle Islamic Ceramics (1000 – 1500 CE) in Western Asia: Regional Practices in an Interconnected World” to the University of Cambridge.
While at the Fitch I am continuing this research into regionality of ceramic production on the Erbil Plain (around present-day Erbil in Northern Iraq) dating from 1000-1500 CE. During this period the area went through various political and economic changes and this project seeks to understand the changing nature of production at rural sites. Using WD-XRF at the Fitch with my previous petrography and pXRF studies, I am attempting to analyze the locations of manufacture and the nature of craft organization at these rural sites, especially in terms of the unglazed materials. Rural areas are producing all types of ceramics, not just utilitarian wares but also the more decorated, glazed wares. These rural areas are more connected in terms of economics, society, and politics, to both each other and the larger urban centers of Erbil and Mosul than thought before. Therefore, these areas have their own agency and control of these products, it is not just top-down control from the larger centers. This shifts our focus from understanding just the interaction between large cities and urban centers and into understanding the wider rural interactions during the Middle Islamic period.