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Near Eastern Archaeology and Archaeobotany Laboratory (NEAAL)

Director: Joy McCorriston


Matthew Senn in the field.

The lab houses active international archaeological research in the prehistoric ancient Near East. McCorriston’s interests lie at the intersection of human behavioral ecology and social practice and she studies mobility and food security, households, environment and culture, materialism, paleodiet and food production, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, and the development of economic and social institutions.


In addition to a 3000 taxa reference collection of modern seeds, wood samples, and herbarium voucher specimens from Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Oman, Egypt, and Europe, the archaeobotany facilities include microscopes for seed and wood charcoal identifications and a collection of regional floras. Computer stations support digital microphotography and analytical software (Arc-GIS, Erdas Imagine, CANOCO, Matlab, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.). An adjoining processing room includes fume hood and equipment suitable for phytolith processing and macrobotanical sample preparations. 


Training Opportunities

As a base for archaeological expeditions to the Near East, inter-disciplinary faculty team research, and integrative graduate and undergraduate student research projects, the lab provides training opportunities in sorting and identifying ancient plant remains, statistical analysis, spatial analysis in archaeology, data management and archiving, and publication. Current research focuses on sites and regions in Oman, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, the Mediterranean, and Turkmenistan. Students may expect to develop their own fieldwork opportunities and data analysis or to co-operate with ongoing faculty and graduate student projects.