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Department of Archaeology



I received my BA in Archaeology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, USA in 2010, with a thesis entitled “Trade or Migration: A Study of Red-Black Burnished Ware at Tell Qarqur, Syria”. I then received my MA in Archaeology from Boston University after completing my MA exams on Identity, Ceramic Studies, and Iron Age Northern Iraq and Iran (Assyria and Urartu). I then worked at the UPENN museum on the Ur Digitization Project as a research assistant and on the ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives until I moved to Cambridge to begin my PhD on the regionalization of ceramic production during the Middle Islamic Period.


My research focuses on the regionalization of ceramic production in the northern Zagros from 1000-1400 CE. This includes the fall of the Abbasid Caliphate (900-1250 CE), the rise and fall of the Ilkhanate (1250-1350 CE), and the beginning of the Timurid Empire (1350-1500 CE). This research looks at how people are adapting to these overarching political changes through the ceramic evidence. I am using ceramic analysis including petrography and scanning electron microscopy to understand local ceramic changes in Iraqi Kurdistan between 1000 and 1500 CE. The main portion of my research focuses on the ceramic corpus of Gird-i Dasht, located in Soran, Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as various ceramics from Iraq and Iran. This research will create a working typology for the Middle Islamic Period in Iraqi Kurdistan, including the non-glazed wares.

Key Publications

Key publications: 

In Press.  K.Kaercher and T. DeAlacron “Science and Technology: Using Ur-Online to Aid in Scientific Analysis.” In Ur in the Twenty-First Century CE Proceedings of the Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale.

2018. Sharp, M. and K. Kaercher “Stylistic Analysis of the Halafian Ceramic Assemblage from Banahilk, Iraq” Iraq 80:233-250

2016. A Preliminary Assessment of the Ceramic Sequence of Northeastern Iraqi Kurdistan.  In The 9th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (ICAANE), Basel (Switzerland) Conference Proceedings.  Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 1129-1142.

Teaching and Supervisions


I am involved in the supervision of the following courses:

Paper: A3 Introduction to the Cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia

Research supervision: 

Supervisor: Dr. Augusta McMahon

Advisor: Dr. Susanne Hakenbeck

Other Professional Activities

Cambridge Ancient Near East Seminar Committee

Head of CASA Conference Planning Committee

Job Titles

PhD Student in Archaeology

General Info

Not available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Material Culture
Artefact Analysis & Technology

Contact Details

kk467 [at]


Assyriology and Mesopotamian Archaeology
Geographical areas: 
Mesopotamia and the Near East
Periods of interest: