Anthropology Faculty

Susan Pollock  Susan Pollock

   Professor of Anthropology
   PhD, University of Michigan, 1983
   Currently on an extended leave of absence  

Research interests

Susan Pollock is a Near Eastern archaeologist with interests in political economy and feminist approaches to the study of prehistoric and early historic societies. Her current research interests center around four primary themes. (1) pursuit of a long-standing engagement with the political dimensions of archaeological knowledge production. This includes critical assessments of the political economy of archaeological practice, especially in Western Asia, as well as studies of the depiction of archaeological work and interpretations in the news media. (2) A strong interest in studies of commensality, that is, the social dimensions of food consumption and preparation. Rather than a focus on feasting, this work contributes to understandings of the place of an essential domain of practices related to food within the larger domain of social life, ranging from the micro- to the macroscale. (3) In a variety of studies, pursuit of the question of how past subjects are created, through the engagement of people with the material world and with each other. (4) A longstanding commitment to the integration of feminist approaches into archaeology.

In the last couple of years, fieldwork has taken her to the Kopet Dag piedmont of southern Turkmenistan, for excavations at the Late Neolithic to early Aeneolithic (Chalcolithic) site of Monjukli Depe. She has previously conducted fieldwork projects in Iran, Turkey and Iraq.

With Reinhard Bernbeck, she has started an archaeological excavation in the middle of Germany's capital of Berlin. Tempelhof Airport, famous for the Berlin Airlift of the years 1948-1949, has a much darker side in its history: it was the locus of forced labor camps under the Nazis. They are excavating the remains of a 1920's airport building used for military purposes in WW II, and a forced labor camp run by the Deutsche Lufthansa.


Pollock, Susan, ed. (2012) Between Feasts and Daily Meals. Toward an Archaeology of Commensal Spaces, edited by Susan Pollock. e-Topoi Special Volume 2.

Editorial Collective of the Forum Kritische Archäologie (Aydin Abar, Reinhard Bernbeck, Antonia Davidovic, Christoph Forster, Johannes Greger, Carolin Jauss, Susan Pollock) (2012) Jenseits des Affirmativismus. Perspektiven für kritische Archäologien (Beyond Affirmation: Perspectives for Critical Archaeologies). Forum Kritische Archäologie 1 (2012): 167-196.

Pollock, Susan (2011) Imperial ideologies and hidden transcripts: a case from Akkadian period Mesopotamia. In Ideologies in Archaeology, edited by Reinhard Bernbeck and Randall McGuire, pp. 130-150. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Pollock, Susan, Reinhard Bernbeck, and Kamyar Abdi, eds. (2010) The 2003 Excavations at Tol-e Baši, Iran: Social Life in a Neolithic Village. Archäologie in Iran und Turan 10. Mainz: Philipp von Zabern.

Pollock, Susan and Reinhard Bernbeck (2010) An Archaeology of Categorization and Categories in Archaeology. Paléorient 36/1: 37-47. Thematic issue "Social Development in the 6th and 5th Millennia BCE (Turkey, Iran and Southern Levant," coordinated by Susanne Kerner.

Pollock, Susan and Gabriela Castro Gessner (2009) Engendering Communities: The Contexts of Production and Consumption in Early Mesoptamian Villages. In Que(e)rying Archaeology: Proceedings of the 37th Annual Chacmool Conference, Susan Terendy, Natasha Lyons, and Michelle Janse-Smekal (eds.), pp. 240-49. Calgary: Archaeological Association of the University of Calgary.

Bernbeck, Reinhard and Susan Pollock (2007) "Grabe, wo Du stehst!" An Archaeology of Perpetrators. In Archaeology and Capitalism: From Ethics to Politics, Yannis Hamilakis and Philip Duke (eds.), pp. 217-233. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

Pollock, Susan (2007) The Royal Cemetery of Ur: Ritual, Tradition, and the Creation of Subjects. In Representation of Political Power in Times of Change and Dissolving Order, Marlies Heinz and Marian Feldman (eds.), pp. 89-110. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.

Pollock, Susan (2005) Archaeology Goes to War at the Newsstand. In Archaeologies of the Middle East: Critical Perspectives, Susan Pollock and Reinhard Bernbeck (eds.), pp. 78-96. Oxford: Blackwell.

Pollock, Susan (1999) Ancient Mesopotamia: The Eden that Never Was. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Other research affiliations

Professor in the Institut für Vorderasiatische Archäologie, Freie Universität Berlin.

Last Updated: 2/10/17