• k.wright@ucl.ac.uk
  • Direct: +44 (0)20 7679 4715
  • Internal: 24715
  • Room 101
  • UCL Institute of Archaeology, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY UK

Karen Wright

Research Interests

  • Social organization
  • Archaeology of households and villages
  • Stone technologies: milling tools, vessels, beads, figurines
  • Beads, the body and social identity
  • Food preparation
  • Gender
  • The impact of urbanization and state formation on rural regions
  • Ancient texts and archaeology
  • Western Asia
  • Neolithic, chalcolithic, early Bronze Age

Research Directory Records


  • Çatalhöyük Project (Director, Ian Hodder): University of Cambridge, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, Istanbul University, UCL, British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara
  • Qadisha Valley Project (Directors Andrew Garrard, UCL and Corine Yazbeck, Museum of Prehistory, St Joseph University Beirut)

Educational Background

  • BA magna cum laude, Near Eastern Languages and Literature 1979, Yale University
  • MA, MPhil Anthropology 1984, Yale University
  • PhD Anthropology 1992, Yale University

I would welcome applications to supervise PhDs on the following topics


  • Archaeology of the Near East
  • The Neolithic of the Near East
  • The Chalcolithic of the Near East
  • The Early Bronze Age of the Near East
  • Inter-disciplinary approaches to Near Eastern archaeology: archaeology, anthropology, and Near Eastern historical texts
  • Levantine archaeology
  • Anatolian archaeology
  • Prehistoric archaeology of the Near East

Social organization

  • Social organization in early agricultural societies
  • Evolution of village social organization
  • The evolution of households
  • The beginnings of complex societies
  • Corporate groups and social networks
  • The emergence of central institutions and cities

Food Preparation, Commensality and Social Change

  • Food preparation, consumption practices and social-political organization
  • Political economy

Technology and Craft Specialization

  • Social technologies
  • The beginnings of craft specialization
  • Origins, expansion, analytical methods and significance of ground stone technologies (milling tools, vessels, beads, figurines, pigments, groundstone axes)
  • Technologies of early prehistoric art (figurines, sculpture, paintings)
  • Stone artefact workshops
  • Stone artefact production and exchange

Social Identity

  • Personal ornaments and social identities
  • Gender

Current Students

Ciprian Astalos Lithic raw material economy in the Upper Palaeolithic of the Carpathian Basin (the Upper Tisa Region) (joint principal supervisor with Ulrike Sommer)

Second Supervisor

Beliz Tecirli To what extent do the recent changes in Turkish regulations provide a practical, well specified and empirical framework for participatory planning in the management of archaeological sites (principal supervisor Tim Williams)

Past Students (Principal Supervisions)

Tatjana Beuthe (completed 2016) Administration in early Egypt and Mesopotamia: a comparative study of cylinder seals (joint principal supervisor with Richard Bussmann)

Roseleen Bains (completed 2012) The social significance of Neolithic stone bead technologies at Çatalhöyük (second supervisor Marcos Martinon-Torres)

Jack Green (completed 2006) Ritual and social structure in the Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age in the southern Levant: evidence from mortuary contexts at Tell es-Sai’idiyeh, Jordan. (Funded by The Arts and Humanities Research Council of Great Britain). Published: in articles; awaiting publication as part of a forthcoming multi-volume site report.

Carol Bell (completed 2005) The influence of economic factors on settlement continuity across the Late Bronze Age/Iron Age transition on the northern Levant littoral. Published: Oxford: British Archaeological Reports International Series, Archaeopress, 2005.

Elizabeth Bettles (completed 2001) Phoenician amphora production and distribution in the southern Levant.  Published: Oxford: British Archaeological Reports International Series 1183, Archaeopress, 2003.

Duygu Camurcuoglu Cleere The wall paintings of Çatalhöyük (Turkey): materials, technologies, artists (Funded by The Arts and Humanities Research Council of Great Britain) (joint principal supervisor with Elizabeth Pye, second supervisor Ruth Sidall) 

Alessandra Salvin House and household in third millennium Mesopotamian Society: Archaeological Perspectives (second supervisor Mark Altaweel

Past Students (Secondary Supervisor)

Emmy Bocaege (completed 2015)  Enamel defects as indicators of childhood stress in the Neolithic Near East

Paolo Guarino (completed 2013) Aspects of complexity at Arslantepe

Robert Homsher (completed 2013) Constructing urbanism: relating the construction of architecture to the process of urbanization in the Middle Bronze Age southern Levant

Philippa Ryan (completed 2009) Seasonal and environmental patterns of Neolithic landscape use: a phytolith perspective from Çatalhöyük

Claudia Glatz (completed 2007) Contact, interaction, control: the archaeology of inter-regional relations in Late Bronze Age

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