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Department of Archaeology



I have a BA in Classical and Medieval Studies from Bates College (USA) and an MA in Medieval Studies from the University of York. I completed my PhD in Ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian Studies from New York University (USA) in 2018. I have worked on excavations in Turkey and Egypt and am currently the co-field director the multi-period site of Niğde-Kınık Höyük in southern Cappadocia, Turkey and the area director of the lower town excavations.


  • Archaeology and History of the Ancient Near East and Mediterranean
  • Analysis of social identities as expressed in material culture and text

My research focuses on individual and collective identity formation in the ancient Near East. In my PhD dissertation I highlighted the impact that high levels of mobility have on the construction and maintenance of collective identity and action in pastoralist and mercantile communities of the Middle Bronze Age. I am especially interested in how aspects of identity can become simultaneously fixed and malleable in multicultural trading communities and how this phenomenon manifests in the archaeological record.

I am currently engaged in projects tracing changing trade routes in northern Mesopotamia and Anatolia during the Late Bronze Age to Iron Age transition and working at the site of Niğde-Kınık Höyük in southern Cappadocia, Turkey. As director of the lower town excavations, I am particularly interested in how craft production, subsistence strategies, and material acquisition and consumption differ from the community residing in the walled upper town.

I am presently the Postdoctoral Research Associate on the project “Memories for Life: Materiality and Memory of Ancient Near Eastern inscribed private objects", a 3-year collaborative project funded by the Swedish Research Council (PI Jakob Andersson, Uppsala, co-PI Christina Tsouparopoulou, Cambridge), which aims to identify and highlight the personal perspective, materiality and agency in inscribed objects commissioned by private individuals in the Ancient Near East throughout three millennia.



Key publications: 
[1] 2019 "To toggle back and forth: clothing pins and portable identities in the Old Assyrian Period," in Fashioned Selves: Dress and Identity in Antiquity. Oxbow, Chapter 2.
[2] 2018 “Assyrians Abroad: Expanding Borders Through Mobile Identities in the Middle Bronze Age”, in Hic Sunt Dracones: Creating, Defining, and Abstracting Place in the Ancient World, (ed. Gina Konstantopoulos). Journal of Ancient Near Eastern History, Special Volume.
[3] 2015. Nancy Highcock, Pam Crabtree, Douglas Campana, Marco Capardoni, Anna Lanaro, Alvise Matessi, Naomi Miller, Phillip Strosahl, Andrea Trameri, Lorenzo d’Alfonso “Kınık Hoyuk, Niğde. A New Archaeological Project in Southern Cappadocia”, in S. Steadman and G. McMahon (eds.), The Archaeology of Anatolia: Recent Discoveries (2011-2014). Volume I. Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars: Pp. 98-127.
[4] (forthcoming) “The Materiality of Mythic Performance in the Afterlife of Assyrian Queens”, in Materiality of Gendered Practices: Archaeological Perspectives across Historical Landscapes, (eds. Kimberly Kasper and Susan Kus). Boulder: University of Colorado Press.
[5] (forthcoming) Lorenzo d’Alfonso and Nancy Highcock “Dynamism and Scale in Western Asian Bronze Age Trade Networks”, in Material Worlds: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Contacts and Exchange in the Ancient Near East, Proceedings of a Workshop held at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World (ISAW), New York University, March 7th, 2016, (ed. Arnulf Hausleiter). Oxford: Archaeopress.
Other publications: 
[1] December 2017. Nancy Highcock “The Old Assyrian Period,” in Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000-. 
[2] 2017. Hatice Ergürer, Roberta Casagrande-Kim, Lorenzo Castellano, Marco de Pietri, Nancy Highcock,Andrea Trameri, and Lorenzo d’Alfonso, “Excavations at Kınık Höyük 2016,” in Kazı Sonuçları Toplantısı 39(2): 587-599.  
[3] 2016. Lorenzo d’Alfonso, Hatice Ergürer, Lorenzo Castellano, Nancy Highcock, Anna Lanaro, Alvise Matessi, Andrea Trameri, “Excavations at Kınık Höyük, 2015,” in  Kazı Sonuçları Toplantısı 38(3): 333-342.  
[4] 2015. Lorenzo D’Alfonso, Nancy Highcock, Anna Lanaro, Alvise Matessi, B.M. Tomassini Pieri, Andrea Trameri “Kınık Höyük (Niğde), 2013 / Kınık Höyük 2013 Yılı Kazıları”, in  Kazı Sonuçları Toplpantısı 36: 489-516.
[5] 2016. “Hyksos”, in Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception (Berlin: de Gruyter).
[6] 2016. Beate Pongratz-Leisten and Nancy Highcock “Hand(s) in the ANE”, in Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception (Berlin: de Gruyter).
[7] 2016. “Hymns in the ANE”, in Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception (Berlin: de Gruyter)

Other Professional Activities

Research Associate of Darwin college

Job Titles

Research Associate, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Cultural Evolution

Contact Details

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Downing Site


Person keywords: 
Cognition and Culture
Cultural Evolution
Dynamics of Complex Societies
Material culture and technology
Material Culture
Geographical areas: 
Mesopotamia and the Near East
Periods of interest: 
Other Prehistory