Emily Hammer

Director, Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes (CAMEL)

Oriental Institute 207

(773) 834-1152

PhD Harvard University, Anthropology, 2012. Teaching at Chicago since 2014. 

Special Interests

landscape archaeology, GIS and spatial analysis, satellite remote sensing, complex societies of the ancient Middle East and South Caucasia, mobile pastoralism, ancient water management, geological dating methods

Emily Hammer is an anthropological archaeologist who focuses on cultural landscapes, environmental history, and complex societies in the Middle East and South Caucasia. Her methodological expertise is in landscape archaeology, GIS, and satellite remote sensing techniques. Through field research in southeast Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and presently, Azerbaijan, she has studied the relationship between mobile pastoral and sedentary communities of the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and medieval/Ottoman periods in agriculturally marginal landscapes. Her current collaborative projects include a survey in Naxçıvan, Azerbaijan, focused on the relationship between South Caucasia’s earliest urban centers and fortresses in the Bronze and Iron Ages, publication of extensive regional settlement data to investigate demographic patterns of the last 8000 years on the plains of the Tigris River of southeastern Turkey, and geological dating of rock-carved cisterns located adjacent to archaeological campsites in southeastern Turkey. As a participant in the global collaborative project “LandCover6K,” she is working with other historians and archaeologists to reconstruct land use over the last 6000 years in the Middle East and other part of Asia.

At the Oriental Institute, Emily is Director of the Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes (CAMEL) and Lecturer in the Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department. CAMEL's mission is to investigate long-term change in Middle Eastern landscapes through the analysis of spatial and remote sensing data. The lab's ongoing research projects focus on archaeological landscapes of Mesopotamia and Afghanistan and draw on its enormous database of maps and aerial/satellite imagery (especially historic CORONA, HEXAGON, and U-2 “spy” photography), as well as on archives held in the Oriental Institute. Additional projects focus on developing new methodologies for generating historical topographical models from satellite imagery and for automatically detecting looters’ pits on the surface of archaeological sites. Along with the Chicago Center for Archaeological Heritage Preservation, CAMEL forms the core of the Oriental Institute’s Archaeological Heritage of Afghanistan Mapping project. In this capacity, the lab has been creating a database of archaeological sites in Afghanistan and participating in the training of Afghan archaeologists in the use of Geographical Information Systems, two endeavors that will further both landscape archaeology research and cultural heritage management.


Emily holds a PhD in Anthropology from Harvard University (2012) and a BA both in Mathematics and Classical & Near Eastern Archaeology from Bryn Mawr College (2006).  Prior to coming to Chicago, she was Visiting Assistant Professor in the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University, where she taught in the Anthropology Department (2012-2014).



Ancient Landscapes I and II (a two-quarter introductory course in the use of ArcGIS for archaeology, anthropology, and history research, next offered Fall 2016-Winter 2017)

Nomads, Networks, and Political Complexity in the Ancient Near East (Fall 2015, co-taught with Richard Payne)

Water in the Middle East: Past and Present (Winter 2016)


Website (https://chicago.academia.edu/EmilyHammer)

CV (https://chicago.academia.edu/EmilyHammer/CurriculumVitae