Katheryn Cumming Twiss

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anthropology, Stony Brook University

Director, Stony Brook University MA Program in Anthropology

 

Ph.D.   University of California, Berkeley                                          

M.A.    University of California, Berkeley                                          

A.B.     Harvard University (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa)    

 

·  Research

·  Selected Publications

·  Courses Taught

 

Research

My research focuses on the social and ecological implications of the transition to agriculture. I investigate this topic using animal remains recovered from archaeological sites. Bones from domestic and wild animals reveal not only the economic adaptations in use in early agricultural societies, but also the cultural structures which accompanied them. Food distribution patterns within sites can testify to the presence or absence of hierarchies, for example, while Text Box: Figure 1: Right distal humeri from wild (left) and domestic (right) cattle. (Neolithic aurochs, Bos primigenius, and modern cow, Bos taurus).butchery practices bear witness either to intensive processing of animals for food or to more selective eating. The proportions of species with known environmental requirements, or with known effects on local environments, also shed light on the relationship of early agriculturalists with their natural surroundings.

My research area is Neolithic southwest Asia (the Near East). I am currently co-director of the faunal analysis laboratory at the early agricultural site of Çatalhöyük in Turkey.

 

Example of Current Research Project:

 

National Science FoundationEconomic Integration and Cultural Survival at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey

Project sponsor: The National Science Foundation 

 

Co-Principal Investigators: Katheryn Twiss (Stony Brook University), Amy Bogaard (Oxford)

Senior Scientists and selected affiliated researchers: Michael P. Charles (University of Sheffield), Glynis Jones (University of Sheffield), Nerissa Russell (Cornell University), Louise Martin (Institute of Archaeology, University College London), Jessica Pearson (University of Liverpool), Emma Jenkins (University of Reading), Jane Evans (Natural Environment Research Council Isotope Geoscience Laboratory)

The implications of economic integration for the long-term sustainability of early agricultural sites are a major focus of my current research. I am co-PI (with Dr. A. Bogaard of Oxford University) on an NSF-sponsored project investigating the social and economic uses of the plant and animal domesticates that sustained occupation of the large and long-lived Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük, central Anatolia, through a turbulent period (the seventh millennium BC), when major settlements across south-west Asia suffered collapse. More specifically, our research is designed to test two hypotheses: 1. close household-level integration of small-scale crop and livestock husbandry was fundamental to Çatalhöyük’s longterm success; 2. strong social pressures against household differentiation prevented site fissioning.  We explore the degree of integration in the Neolithic farming ‘package’ using a combined zooarchaeological and paleoethnobotanical research strategy.

 

If the evidence supports our model of integrated and intensive household farming as well as social pressures against household differentiation, the broader implication is that a balance between robust household production and food practices promoting social cohesion enabled the site to flourish over the long term. Thus, Çatalhöyük’s long-term success may have been as much a social as an economic feat. Such insights Text Box: 2: Çatalhöyük zooarchaeologists 2007: E. Henton, C. Christensen, S. Frame, K. Twiss, L. Martin, N. Russell, G.A. Demirergi (IDPAS, Stony Brook). Not pictured: David Orton, Kamilla Pawłowskainto cultural survival are of critical importance for continuing debate over the causes of cultural collapse elsewhere, especially among early farming ‘tell’ communities in south-west Asia and south-east Europe.

 

Relevant weblinks:

 Çatalhöyük: http://www.catalhoyuk.com/

NSF Award Description: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=0647131

Dr. Amy Bogaard’s research: http://www.arch.ox.ac.uk/research/research_projects

 

Relevant Publications:

 

Twiss, K., A. Bogaard, D. Bogdan, T. Carter, M. P. Charles, S.  Farid, N. Russell, M. Stevanović, E. Nurcan Yalman, and L. Yeomans. 2008. “Arson or accident? The burning of a Neolithic house at Çatalhöyük.” Journal of Field Archaeology 33(1):43-57.

 

Twiss, K., A. Bogaard, M. P. Charles, J. Henecke, L. Martin, N. Russell, and G. Jones. In press. “Plants and Animals Together: Interpreting organic remains from Building Text Box: Figure 3: SBU Zooarchaeology Lab, Fall 2008. Pictured L-R: Gary Geiger (hands), Elizabeth Golterman, Kathy Droesch, Thaddeus Nelson, Jennifer Everhart, Steven Goldstein, Steven Walsh (hands)52 at Çatalhöyük.” Current Anthropology.

 

** Annual archive reports and a full bibliography are available at http://www.catalhoyuk.com/

Selected Publications:

Edited Volume

Twiss, K. (ed.) 2007.  The Archaeology of Food and Identity. Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Occasional Paper no. 34. Carbondale, IL.

 

Selected Peer-Reviewed Papers

Twiss, K. 2008. “Transformations in an Early Agricultural Society: Feasting in the Southern Levantine Pre-Pottery Neolithic.” Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 27:418-442.

 

Twiss, K. 2008. “An assessment of the archaeological applicability of faunal ageing methods based on dental wear.” International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 18(4):329-351.

 

Twiss, K. 2007. “The zooarchaeology of Tel Tif’dan (Wadi Fidan 001), Southern Jordan.” Paléorient 33(2):127-145.

 

Twiss, K. 2007. “The Neolithic of the southern Levant.” Evolutionary Anthropology 16(1):24-35.

 

Twiss, K. 2007. “Introduction: the archaeology of food and identity.” In The Archaeology of Food and Identity, K. Twiss, ed. Pp. 1-15.  Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Occasional Paper no. 34. Carbondale, IL.

 

Twiss, K. 2007. “Home is where the hearth is: food and identity in the Neolithic Levant.” In The Archaeology of Food and Identity, K. Twiss, ed. Pp. 50-68. Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Occasional Paper no. 34. Carbondale, IL.

 

Twiss, K. 2006.  "A modified boar skull from Çatalhöyük". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 342:1-12.

 

In press

Bogaard, A., M. Charles, K. Twiss, A. Fairbairn, N. Yalman, D. Filipovic, G. A. Demirergi, F. Ertuğ, N. Russell & J. Henecke. in press. “Private pantries and celebrated surplus: saving and sharing food at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, central Anatolia.” Antiquity.

 

Russell, N., L. Martin, and K. Twiss. in press. “Building memories: commemorative deposits at Çatalhöyük”.  Anthropozoologica.

Twiss, K., A. Bogaard, M. P. Charles, J. Henecke, L. Martin, N. Russell, and G. Jones. In press. “Plants and Animals Together: Interpreting organic remains from Building 52 at Çatalhöyük.” Current Anthropology.

 

Courses taught:

Introduction to Archaeology

ANT 104

Agricultural Revolution

ANT 357/ ANT/ DPA 513

Archaeology of Food

ANT 359/ ANT/DPA 518

Approaches to Archaeology

ANT 363 / ANT/ DPA 515

Near Eastern Neolithic

ANT 402/ ANT/ DPA 516

Zooarchaeology

ANT 419/ ANT/ DPA 519

Text Box: Figure 4: Bucranium, Building 52, Çatalhöyük. Center: bucranium (aurochs skull installation). Left: aurochs horns protruding from a bench.