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Research Expertise and Interest
Benjamin W. Porter is Director of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology and an Associate Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology in the University of California, Berkeley's Near Eastern Studies Department. Porter is a Near Eastern archaeologist who investigates how past Middle Eastern and Mediterranean societies built resilient communities and institutions in arid and semi-arid zones. He directs field archaeology projects in Jordan at the Iron Age capitals of Dhiban and Busayra. He also co-directs a museum collections project at the Hearst Museum that is researching evidence from Peter B. Cornwall's 1941 expedition to Bahrain and Eastern Saudi Arabia.
Porter’s 2013 book, Complex Communities: The Archaeology of Early Iron Age West-Central Jordan, won the American Schools of Oriental Research 2014 G.E. Wright Book Award. A co-edited volume, Remembering the Dead in the Ancient Near East: Recent Contributions from Bioarchaeology and Mortuary Archaeology appeared in 2014. Porter’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Max Van Berchem Foundation, the Warren G. Hellman Fellows Fund, and the Louis J. Kolb Society of Fellows at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a founding board member of the Institute for Field Research (www.ifrglobal.org), a non-profit organization that supports excellence in archaeological field school training.