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Suzanne Pilaar Birch

Postdoctoral Fellow in Archaeology
Phone: (401) 863-2306
Email: Suzanne_Pilaar_Birch@brown.edu

Biography

I am interested in human adaptation and resilience to climate change and natural resource unpredictability in prehistory, and how our understanding of past human response to environmental change informs current thinking about these issues. My doctoral research at the University of Cambridge explored these themes during the early Holocene in the north-eastern Adriatic, an especially important region for understanding the effects of rapid sea level rise on local human populations.

At Brown, I will be using zooarchaeology and stable isotope geochemistry to investigate changes in diet, mobility, and settlement systems in the period spanning the transition from hunting and gathering to herding and agricultural lifestyles, particularly in the Balkans and Anatolia.

My current research interests include the initial domestication of livestock, diffusion of domesticates across Eurasia, the transition from hunting to herding, seasonality and human mobility, human paleoecology, traditional ecological knowledge, and the integration and advancement of methodologies in zooarchaeology and stable isotope analysis.

Degrees

Ph.D. Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Thesis Title: Human Adaptations to Climate Change and Sea Level Rise at the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition in the Northeastern Adriatic

2009
M.Phil. with distinction Archaeological Science, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Thesis title: The Fauna of Vela Spilja on the island of Losinj, Croatia: Taphonomy, Ecology, and Subsistence 

2008
B.Sc. summa cum laude Evolutionary Anthropology, Paleoecology, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University
Thesis title: Using Dentition to Document Sheep and Goat Domestication in the Near East

Grants and Awards

2012   National Environmental Research Council/Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Radiocarbon Facility Funding

2011   University of Cambridge School of Humanities and Social Sciences Graduate Student-Run Conference Grant

2010   University of Cambridge Department of Archaeology research grant

2009-2012   Benefactors' Scholarship, St John's College, University of Cambridge

2008-2012   Gates Cambridge Scholarship