I am interested in the social, economic, and political transformations brought about by state formation and imperial conquest. My research has focused on ethnicity, forms of political leadership, and urban process in early Mesopotamia and in the Assyrian empire. I am also interested in the ways in which cultural trajectories selectively maintain past practices through these transformations.
My earlier fieldwork focused on the site of Tell Brak in northeastern Syria, an important early Mesopotamian city, where we investigated the explosive rise of the city in the 4th millennium BC as well as a later peak of political authority in the mid-3rd millennium BC.
More recently, I have begun comparative fieldwork on similar topics in northern Sudan (ancient Kush), with my current project focusing on the site of El Kurru, the location of the pyramid burials of the kings of Kush who conquered Egypt and ruled as its 25th Dynasty in about 725-650 BC.
As a former curator and museum director, I am also engaged in the analysis of archaeological exhibit practice, in part through ongoing curatorial projects.