Institute of Archaeology


Dr Brenna Hassett

Research Associate

Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square

Institute of Archaeology

Joined UCL
1st Jul 2018

Research summary

Brenna is Research Co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded project 'Radical Death and Early State Formation in the Ancient Near East' (2018-2022):

Excavations at the site of Başur Höyük in northern Mesopotamia (modern-day Siirt Province, Turkey) have revealed an Early Bronze Age (3100-2900 cal. BC) cemetery of elite burials, with bundles of bronze spears, thousands of beads, and other high value items. These elite burials are constructed immediately after the collapse of the larger regional network of southern Mesopotamian Uruk culture in the last century of the 4th millennium. Başur provides a unique opportunity to investigate the effects of the Uruk collapse and subsequent development of early states on a local community, and to understand their response to the withdrawal of a larger regional power. This project will look at the evidence of how the people of Başur lived using stable isotopes (in conjunction with the international Co-I, Suzanne Pilaar Birch) and aDNA (in conjunction with Ian Barnes and Selina Brace of the Natural History Museum) to investigate geographic origin, mobility, and diet alongside studying evidence of disease and hardship in childhood to understand the lives of the individuals in both elite and sacrificial burial contexts, and finally to start to unpick the geographic and hierarchical relationships at work in the period preceding the first states.


University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Arts | 2004
University of California
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts | 2002