Dr. Lauren Ristvet from the University of Pennsylvania joined us today to speak about her research and collaborative projects. Lauren is a Near Eastern archaeologist who has worked in Syria and Iraq for close to 20 years. Her work began at the site of Tell Leilan in Syria. She is currently working in Azerbaijan in the southern Caucasus. It’s here Lauren is co-directing an excavation of the fortress site of Oglangala (Iron Age 1200 – 300 BCE) in Naxcivan.
In the interview, we also discussed the exhibition at the University of Pennsylvania that she is involved with. The exhibit called, “Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria and Iraq” showcases the material culture from these countries while taking patrons through the devastating impact that years of conflict have had on both country’s cultural heritage. This is a serious topic of an ever changing situation that the public needs to be made aware. Lauren and her colleagues are doing important work bringing attention to an underreported global issue.
Finally, we have a light hearted talk about the life of an archaeologist. One of the most memorable aspects of this job is when you actually become part of the local community where you are working. As Lauren mentions it’s truly one of the unspoken perks of the job. The recipe she shares with us is inspired by her work in Azerbaijan. Hope you enjoy it!