Mitchell S. Rothman, PhD

rothmanProfessor & Chair of Anthropology

Degrees: Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Telephone: (610)499-4638


Research Interests: Mesopotamia from the fifth through the third millennia BC.

Courses Taught: Cultural Anthropology, Archaeology, Senior Research

Other Professional Positions

Consulting Scholar, The University of Pennsylvania Museum

At Widener

I am founder and chair of the small Anthropology Department, which features three tracks: one for those pursuing cultural anthropology, one for those who want to go into business or international development (United Nations, UDAID, World Bank) without doing a full management degree, and a biological track as an alternative for those who want to pursue Physical Therapy, Medical School, Forensic Anthropology (FBI lab), or graduate school. 

My teaching covers a wide swath of intellectual material from an Introduction to Cultural Anthropology to Archaeology, Religion, Symbolism, the modern Middle East to seminars on issues of current concern.


My research as an anthropological archaeologist has been focused on Mesopotamia and its adjoining regions from the fifth through the mid-third millennia BC.  This is a period of increasing social, economic, and political complexity. It began with chiefly society and emerging social rank and ended with the first city-states,  then territorial states, social stratification, kings, organized militias and bureacrats.  From collectives of individual producers societies there developed mass production, attached labor, specialization, and "international" trade.  It entailed the development of competing ethnicities and the movement of peoples, not only over space, but also in social rank and occupation.

My role in addressing these changes has and continues to be multi-faceted. I really began my interest through my dissertation on a site ofthis critical period, Tepe Gawra in northeastern Iraq. The monograph, Tepe Gawra: The Evolution of a Small, Prehistoric Center in Northern Iraq( to get it  ) was published in 2002 by University of Pennsylvania Museum Publications. 

Meanwhile, through the auspices of the School of American Research in Santa Fe , I was able to bring together American and European scholars for a week to discuss issues of chronology and interpretation.  A volume to report the results of our efforts was printed Fall, 2001 in Uruk Mesopotamia and Its Neighbors: Cross-cultural Interactions in the Era of State Formation (  SAR PRESS  ).In November 1998 I was invited to the University of Manchester to discuss similar issues with a largely European group of scholars. The volume on that conference, Artefacts of Antiquity, is due out in 2002.

My fieldwork at Yarim Höyük and Tilbes Höyük on the Euphrates River just north of the Syrian border has been aimed at understanding the transition period from the 4th to 3rd millennia from the viewpoint of villagers. Tilbes Höyük excavations were completed in 1999. The site was flooded in summer 2000 and a volume on the post Uruk Early Bronze Ages (4th and third millennium) will be published in 2010 or 11 by BAR Books,After the Uruk: Some Early Bronze Age Remains From Tilbes Höyük, Birecik Turkey.

As I awaited reports and collaboration with my co-director Jesus Gil Fuensanta to be completed, I fulfilled a promise to the late Cuyler Young to help bring his exacavtions at Godin Tepe in the Zagros mountains in Kangavar, Western Iran to final publication. With the help of hilary gopnik and a number of other scholars- Virginia Badler, M. James Blackman, Pam Crabtree, Lesley Frame, Robert Henrickson, and Holly Pittman, the volume, On the High Road: the History of Godin Tepe, Iran , and a web archive should be available in 2010. This site had levels of Late Chalcolithic, fourth millennium BC occupation, when major contact with lowland Mesopotamia commenced, and a following level of Early Transcaucasian settlers.

To complete the grand design, I began working on the question of the Transcaucasian culture and its effect on the rich resource areas of Northern Mesopotamia in the early 3rd millennium.I first encountered this culture during my survey of the highland valley of Muş, Eastern Turkey (west of Lake Van).

This lat interest has led me to the site of Shengavit in southern Armenia. Both are mountain sites, one in the central western Zagros, the other in the Ararat Plain.Shengavit is a southern Caucasian town that covers the whole period from before the Early Trancaucasian Cultures to the end of its first two phases (Kura Araks I and II) before the influence of Kurgan Cultures deeply affects the north and south Caucasus (see articles below).



Rothman, Mitchell S. 
2002 Tepe Gawra. the Evolution of a Small, Prehistoric Center in Northern Iraq.  Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Museum Publications.

Rothman, Mitchell S., ed. 
2001 Uruk Mesopotamia and its Neighbors: Cross-cultural Interaction in the Era of State Formation.  Santa Fe, NM: School of American Research Press.

Stein, Gil J. and Rothman, Mitchell S., editors 
1994  Chiefdoms and Early States in the Near East: the Organizational Dynamics of Complexity.  Madison, WI: Prehistory Press.

Rothman, Mitchell and Jesús Gil Fuensanta 
in preparation After the Uruk: some Early Bronze Age Remains from Tilbes Höyük, Birecik, Turkey. Cambridge: British Archaeological Reports.

Gopnick, Hilary and Rothman, Mitchell
in preparation    On the High Road: the History of Godin Tepe, Iran. Royal Ontario Museum Publications.

Articles and invited contributions in peer-reviewed books:


2007     The Archaeology of Early Administrative Systems in Mesopotamia. In Settlement and society: Essays Dedicated to Robert McCormick Adams.  Edited by Elizabeth Stone. 235-254. Los Angeles: Coetsen Institute of Archaeology UCLA.

2006     Transcaucasians: Settlement, Migration, and Trade in the Kura-Araxes Periods. Archäologische 
Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan 37: 53-62.

2005a   Issues of the Uruk and Transcaucasian Cultures at Godin.  Young Festschrift. Bulletin of the 
            Canadian Society for Mesopotamian Studies 40: 9-18. 

2005b   Sealing Function and Interaction at Tepe Gawra.  in Studi in Onore di Enrica Fiandra. M. Perna, 
            ed.  341-355.  Paris: DeBoccard.

2004a Batiuk, Stephen and Mitchell S. Rothman. Early Transcaucasian Cultres and Their Neighbors. Expedition 49 (1): 7-17.   Studying the Development of Complex Society: Mesopotamia in the Late Fifth and Fourth Millennia BC.  Journal of Archaeological Research 12 (1): 75-119.

2004b   Beyond the Frontiers: Muş in the Late Bronze to Roman Periods.  In A View From the Highlands: Archaeological Studies in Honor of Charles Burney.  Antonio Sagona, ed. 123-177. Peeters

2003 Style and Adaptation along The Turkish-Iranian Borderland. Yeki Bud, Yeki Nabud: Essays in honor of William Sumner. N. Miller and K. Abdi, eds. pp. 207-216.  Los Angeles: Coetsen UCLA Institute of Archaeology Press.

2003b Ripples in the Stream: Transcaucasia-Anatolian Interaction in the Murat/Euphrates Basin at the Beginning of the Third Millennium B.C. in Archaeology in the Borderlands: Investigations in Caucasia and Beyond.  A. Smith and K. Rubinson, eds. pp. 94-109. Los Angeles: Cotsen: Institute of Archaeology, UCLA.

2002a Tepe Gawra: Chronology and Socio-economic Change in the Foothills of Northern Iraq in the Era of State Formation.  In Artefacts of Complexity: Tracking the Uruk in the Near East. N. Postgate, ed. pp. 49-77. Wiltshire, England: British School of Archaeology in Iraq.

2002b Late Chalcolithic Mesopotamia.  Encyclopedia of Prehistory, Volume 8. P. Peregrine and M. Ember, eds. pp. 261-270.  New York: Kluwer Academic/ Plenum.

2001 The Tigris Piedmont and Eastern Jazira in the Fourth Millennium B.C. Uruk Mesopotamia and its Neighbors:  Cross-cultural Interactions in the Era of State Formation. M. Rothman, ed. pp. 349-402. Santa Fe: SAR Press.

2001 The Local and the Regional: Introduction.  In Uruk Mesopotamia and its Neighbors: Cross-cultural Interactions in the Era of State Formation. pp. 3-26. Santa Fe: SAR Press.

2000 The Commoditization of Goods and the Rise of the State in Mesopotamia. in, A. Haugerud, P. Stone, P. Little, eds., Commodities and Globalization.  Society of Economic Anthropology Publications. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

2000 Environmental and Cultural Factors in the Development of Settlement in a Marginal, Highland Zone. In The Archaeology of Jordan and Beyond: Essays in Honor of James A. Sauer. L.E. Stager, J.A. Greene, and M.D. Coogan. Pp. 429-43. Winona Lake, Ind: Eisenbrauns.

1997 Tepe Gawra. in E. Meyers, ed., Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East. Vol 5, pp. 183-186. Oxford University Press.

1994a Seal and Sealing Findspots, Design, Audience and Function  in Ferioli, P., Fiandra, E., Fisore, G. and Frangipane, M., editors.  Archives Before Writing. pp. 97-121. Universitá di Roma.

1994b Palace and Private Agricultural Decision-making in the Early 2nd Millennium B.C. City-State of Larsa, Iraq. in E. Brumfiel, ed., The Economic Anthropology of the State. pp. 149-167. Monographs in Economic Anthropology, No. 11. Lanham: University Press of America.

1994c Introduction Part I: Evolutionary Typologies and Cultural Complexity. In G. Stein and M. S. Rothman, eds., Chiefdoms and Early States in the Near East.  pp. 1-10. Madison: Prehistory Press. 

1994d Sealings as a Control Mechanism in Prehistory: Tepe Gawra XI, X, and VIII. in G. Stein and M. S. Rothman, eds., Chiefdoms and Early States in the Near East.  pp. 103-120. Madison: Prehistory Press. 

1994e The Pottery of the Muş, Plain and the Evolving Place of a High Border Land.  
 Arastirma  Sonuçlari Toplantisi (Research and Survey Summary Reports).  XII. pp. 281-304. Ankara: Culture Ministry. 

1994f Review, Kleymeyer, Cultural Expression and Grassroots Development. Journal of Third World Studies XI(2): 635-40.

1993a Another Look at the 'Uruk Expansion' from the Tigris Piedmont. in Frangipane, M., H. Hauptmann, M. Liverani, Matthiae, P., and Mellink, M. editors in Between the Rivers and Over the Mountains: Anatolia, Transcaucasia and Syro-Mesopotamian Regions in Prehistory.  pp. 163-77. Universita di Roma.

1993b Preliminary Report on the Archaeological Survey in the Alpaslan Dam Reservoir Area and Mus, Plain. Aras,t?rma  Sonuçlari  Toplantisi (Research and Survey Summary Reports). pp. 269-295. Ankara: Culture Ministry. 

1989a Re-Analysis of Fourth Millennium B.C. Tepe Gawra. Paléorient 15/1: 284-286.

1987 Graph Theory and the Interpretation of Regional Survey Data.  Paléorient 13/2: 73-92.

1983 Two Ethnoarchaeological Studies and the Questions They Raise. BASOR 252: 73-77.

Rothman, Mitchell S., ed. 
1989b Organizer’s Introduction to Workshop: Out of the Heartland: the Evolution of Complexity in Peripheral Mesopotamia During the Uruk Period. Paléorient 15/1: 279.

Rothman, Mitchell S. and Blackman, M. James 
1990 Monitoring Administrative Spheres of Action in Late Prehistoric Northern Mesopotamia with the Aide of Chemical Characterization (INAA) of Clay Sealings.. in  Miller, N., editor.  Economy and Settlement in the Near East. pp 19-45, MASCA Supplement, University Museum.

Rothman, M., Ergeç, R., Miller, N., Weber, J., Közbe,G. 
1998 Yarim Höyük and the Uruk Expansion. Part I. Anatolica.XXIV: 65-99.

Rothman, Mitchell S. and Kozbe, Gülriz 
1997 Mus, in the Early Bronze Age. Anatolian Studies. 47: 105-126.

Peasnall, Brian and Rothman, Mitchell S. 
1999 Societal Evolution of Small, Pre-state Centers and Polities: the Example of Tepe Gawra in Northern Mesopotamia. Paléorient 25/1: 101-114.

Rothman, Mitchell S. and Jesús Fuensanta
2003     The Archaeology of the Early Bronze I and II Periods in Southeastern Turkey and North Syriain Köyden Kente Dogu’da Ilk Yerleimler M. Özdogan, H. Hauptmann, N. Basgelen, ed.  583-622. Istanbul: Arkeoloji ve Sanat Yayinları

Rothman, Mitchell S.
2008 (in press, February Issue)  Comment on David Wengrow, Prehistories of Commodity Branding. Current Anthropology.

Rothman, Mitchell and Ergeç, Rifat 
1997 Yarim Höyük Excavations, 1996. Kaz?  Sonuçlar?  Toplant?s?  XIX (Excavation Summary Reports). pp. 277-290. Ankara: Culture Ministry.

Fuensanta, J. G., M. Rothman, E. Bucak 
2000 Excavations at Tilbes Höyük, 1998. Kaz? Sonuçlari Toplant?s? XXI(Excavation Summary Reports). pp. 157-166. Ankara: Culture Ministry.

Fuensanta, J. G., M. Rothman, E. Bucak 
1999 Excavations at Tilbes Höyük, 1997. Kazi Sonuçlari Toplantiisi XX. (Excavation Summary Reports). pp. 207-218.  Ankara: Culture Ministry.