Kevin D. Fisher
Postdoctoral Fellow in Archaeology
Phone: (401) 863-6935
Office: Rhode Island Hall, Room 214
BIOGRAPHY AND INTERESTS
I am an anthropologically-trained archaeologist who is primarily interested in the mutually-constituting relationship between people and the places they build and dwell in. My current research broadly focuses on the emergence of complex societies in the eastern Mediterranean and Near East and particularly on the role of the built environment in the rapid social changes that occurred on the island of Cyprus during the Late Bronze Age (c. 1650-1100 BCE). I take an approach to studying past built environments that integrates theory and method from a variety of disciplines. It acknowledges the agency of both social actors and the material world they inhabit, examining how architecture structures daily practice and interaction and encodes and communicates meanings. Its aim is to re-populate and “flesh out” the contexts in which past social interactions took place and understand the role of these interactions in social reproduction. I outline this “integrative approach” in a recent article in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology (vol. 29: 439-57). Based on my dissertation research, my forthcoming book Monumental Architecture, Place and Social Interaction in Late Bronze Age Cyprus (Equinox Press, London) investigates the creation and use of monumental buildings as places for social interactions through which statuses, roles and identities were negotiated and reproduced during the Late Cypriot Bronze Age.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve been involved in numerous survey and excavation projects in Greece, Cyprus and Jordan, ranging from the Neolithic through Roman periods. At the same time, I have worked as a consulting archaeologist in my home region of southern Ontario, Canada, supervising survey and excavation projects from Archaic campsites to historic cemeteries. Yet, ever since my first archaeological field school at the Roman site of Kalavasos Kopetra in 1989, I’ve been most fascinated by the archaeology of the island of Cyprus. I’m currently a co-director of the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments Project, an interdisciplinary project funded by the National Science Foundation that is using geophysics, spatial analysis and digital mapping and modeling to investigate the important role of cityscapes and urbanization in the profound social transformations that took place in Late Bronze Age Cyprus. We have recently completed the first of three seasons of geophysical survey at Kalavasos- Ayios Dhimitrios and Maroni-Vournes/Tsaroukkas, urban centers in neighboring river valleys in south-central Cyprus that flourished in the 14th and 13th centuries BCE. I have also recently become involved in a UCLA-based project that is using laser scanning, modeling and visualization to investigate the Inka urban centers of Cuzco and Machu Picchu in Peru.
In both regions, I’m interested in how the production of space in ancient cities through time was the result of multiple layers of agency, including top-down planning by ruling/political authorities in which cities can be seen as intentional creations; actions by particular socio-economic groups or communities seen at the level of neighborhoods or districts; and “grassroots” actions seen in the daily practice of households and individuals. It is clear that these operated simultaneously in most ancient cities and that the various agents had competing and conflicting interests that materialized in the interplay of public and private space through time. I hope to shed light on the dynamics of these processes, which, at present, are not well understood. Toward this end, my colleague Andy Creekmore (Colorado State) and I are co-editing a volume entitled Making Ancient Cities: the Production of Space in Early Urban Environments, based on a symposium that we organized at the 2009 Society for American Archaeology annual meeting.
Other areas of interest include cultural resource management and the uses of the past in the present (and the past) and public archaeology.
Ph.D. in Anthropology (University of Toronto)
M.A. in Regional Planning and Resource Development (University of Waterloo)
B.A. (First Class Honours) in Classics (Brock University)
RECENT academic positions
Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Lecturer—Dept. of Classics, Cornell University (2008-2010); Faculty member in Intercollege Archaeology Program.
Lecturer—Wilfrid Laurier University, Dept. of Archaeology and Classical Studies and Dept. of Anthropology (2005, 2007-08)
Lecturer—University of Toronto, Dept. of Fine Art (2005-2006)
AWARDS, GRANTS AND FELLOWSHIPS
National Science Foundation Senior Research Grant for the Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments Project; Co-PI (2009-12; Award # BCS-0917732)
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada) Postdoctoral Fellowship (2008-10)
Cornell University, Dept. of Classics Travel Grant Awards (2009)
Society for American Archaeology Dissertation Award (2008)
Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty Association Research Grant (2005, 2008)
American Schools of Oriental Research Travel Grant Award (2006)
Archaeological Institute of America Harriet and Leon Pomerance Fellowship (2004-2005)
Archaeological Institute of America Dorot Foundation Travel Grant Award (2002, 2004)
O’Donovan Fellowship, Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (2000)
University of Toronto School of Graduate Studies Travel/Research Grant (2000)
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (1998-99)
University of Toronto Open Doctoral Fellowship (1996-97, 1997-98, 1999-2000)
Society for American Archaeology
Archaeological Institute of America
American Schools of Oriental Research