As ubiquitous artifacts in the archaeological record, mud bricks retain a wealth of potential information regarding their manufacture and use. In turn, this information carries useful anthropological implications for understanding important aspects of social complexity, such as the organization of labor, concepts of standard units of measure, and shared technological innovation. Drawing from my doctoral research, this talk will discuss the use of mud-brick study for understanding the process of urbanization during the Middle Bronze Age of the southern Levant, and how such research methods may be used to illuminate social processes otherwise difficult to perceive in the archaeological record.
Robert received a B.S. and M.A. in Biblical Text and Near Eastern Languages from Abilene Christian University in 2005, followed by an M.A. and Ph.D. in Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology at University College London in 2012. His doctoral dissertation was entitled Constructing Urbanism: Relating the construction of architecture to the process of urbanization in the Middle Bronze Age southern Levant, which he completed under the supervision of Prof. Arlene Rosen. His research interests are broadly defined by Near Eastern prehistory, Holocene environmental variability, and the development of social complexity. He is presently a Visiting Lecturer in the Anthropology Department at San Francisco State University, teaching Archaeological Methods and Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology. He has a number of seasons of excavation experience in the Middle East spanning all periods of the Bronze and Iron Ages, and is currently most active as a long-term staff member of the Megiddo Expedition and Jezreel Valley Regional Project, both in Israel.