Ellery Frahm
Research Associate, Feinberg Research Group
Departments of Anthropology & Earth Sciences
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities


Armenian obsidian artefacts

Above: Just a few of 20,000 obsidian artifacts excavated from Middle Palaeolithic Lusakert Cave 1 in Armenia

I am currently a research associate in the Departments of Anthropology and Earth Sciences at the University of Minnesota, working on my project Reflected in Obsidian: Settlement Patterns, Resource Provisioning, and Social Networks during the Lower and Middle Palaeolithic in Armenia. I was previously a Marie Curie Experienced Research Fellow in the University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology as part of the New Archaeological Research Network for Integrating Approaches to Ancient Material Studies (NARNIA) project. I earned a doctorate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, where I was subsequently a lecturer, teaching Geoarchaeology and Anthropology of the Middle East.

I am particularly interested in natural resource access, provisioning, exchange, and use at varied scales (from the supra-regional to intra-site level) as well as the development and maintenance of social nteworks, mobility, settlement patterns, organization of space, spatial and social contexts of production, and human-environment interactions. My interests also include the development of culture; early human expansions; hunter-gatherer mobility, interactions, and behavioral ecology; technological choices and change; landscape, environmental, and experimental archaeology; lithic analysis; and material culture in general. The geographical focus of my research has been Southwest Asia, specifically Northern Mesopotamia, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the South Caucasus, spanning from the Lower Palaeolithic Period into the Bronze Age.

My current focus is Lower to Upper Palaeolithic Armenia, where I use obsidian artifact sourcing as a means to examine settlement patterns, social networks, and technological innovation and their links to environmental change and human evolution in the Pleistocene. There is an extraordinary abundance of obsidian sources in Armenia, resulting in an unparalleled opportunity to reconstruct exchange, mobility patterns, and subsistence in great detail. Based on intensive use of obsidian to craft stone tools throughout the Palaeolithic and a framework of behavioral ecology, it is possible to investigate social, technological, and environmental changes over the course of human evolution.

Below: Mount Ararat seen from the Lower Palaeolithc site of Nor Geghi-1 in Armenia

Ararat from Nor Gegh 1

Updated: 8/2014