Mehrnoush Soroush

Image of a woman with shoulder-length black curly hair wearing a red shirt, with green grass in the background.
Assistant Professor, Ancient Near Eastern Studies
The Oriental Institute 209
Ph.D. New York University Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, 2016
Teaching at UChicago since 2022

Academic Bio

I am a landscape archaeologist who examines the intersection between urban and water history in the Ancient Near East. I got my Ph.D. from New ­­­York University (ISAW) and my MA in Architecture from the University of Tehran, Iran. My research explores the extent to which the resilience of ancient cities was tied to their ability to adapt to environmental changes and socio-political developments through adopting new hydraulic strategies and technologies. I am particularly interested in examining the water history of the Parthian, Sasanian, and Islamic periods, the periods that often fall on the margins or outside the scope of traditional Near Eastern archaeological research. My interdisciplinary approach draws on all available data, including archaeological fieldwork, textual and archival research, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing, and computational methods. Previously, I (re)-examined the history of canal irrigation in the Sasanian and early Islamic periods in southwestern Iran. As the Assistant Director of the Harvard-led Erbil Plain Archaeological Survey (EPAS), I am now investigating the water history in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, in particular the timing and cause(s) of the shift of historically dry-farmed plain to one irrigated by subterranean qanat systems (locally known as karez) that dominated the landscape in the later medieval periods.

Affiliated Departments and Centers: Oriental Institute
Subject Area: Near Eastern Art and Archaeology