University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. in Anthropology, 2008.
Dissertation: Embodying Life and Death: Osteobiographical Narratives from Alalakh.
- Click here to download a copy
- Want to read one of these narratives without having to slog through all 900+ pages of the dissertation?
Pomona College, B.A., cum laude, in History (minor in Classics), 2000.
Courses Taught at Sonoma State
Anthropology Teaching Praxis
Forensic Anthropology Methods
Introduction to Biological Anthropology
Organization of Societies
Courses Taught Elsewhere
Archaeology and the Bible
Biological Anthropology Laboratory
To put it simply, I am a bioarchaeologist. My research focuses on ancient Near Eastern, Gulf, and eastern Mediterranean cultures, which I have cultivated through fieldwork in Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, and Crete. I have also worked on osteological collections at the British Museum, University College London and, most recently, the Hearst Museum.
To put it less simply, I am a broadly trained anthropologist whose research draws from biological anthropology, archaeology, and social theory, thus bridging the anthropological subfields. I use human skeletal remains, archaeological contexts, and ancient texts to explore embodied personhood in all of its iterations --gender, sex, age, class, kin relations, religion, etc. etc. etc. I interpret these personhoods by means of fictive osteobiographical narratives, which are framed in terms of a life course model.
Much of my upper division teaching is oriented around human skeletal biology and its analysis by means of forensic methods. In addition to the lower division G.E. course Introduction to Biological Anthropology, my upper division offerings include Human Osteology, Bioarchaeology, and Forensic Anthropology. Much of my advising at Sonoma State is oriented toward students' burgeoning interest in Forensic Sciences, which they can learn more about here.
I am currently the co-director of the Dilmun Bioarchaeology Project.
From 1940-41, Peter B. Cornwall, a graduate student at Harvard University, excavated and surveyed regions that once comprised the ancient polity of Dilmun, known today as the kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Cornwall excavated multiple prehistoric settlements throughout central and eastern Saudi Arabia and also excavated thirty-five burial mounds around the island of Bahrain. From the latter, he recovered human skeletons (representing at least 32 individuals), faunal remains, and associated objects. Upon returning to the United States with this material, Cornwall published portions of the data in his Ph.D. dissertation and other journal articles. The entire collection was deposited in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley in 1945. Although the skeletal materials were catalogued in 1965 and inventoried during the museum's efforts to be NAGPRA compliant during the 1980s-90s, funds were not available for their analysis. No subsequent record of research on the collection has been found.
In Fall 2008, I came across this collection while perusing the Hearst Museum's card catalog. Joining forces with Benjamin W. Porter (Assistant Professor, Department of Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley), the Dilmun Bioarchaeology Project (DBP) was initiated to conduct a comprehensive, interdisciplinary bioarchaeological analysis of the skeletal and artifactual remains from Cornwall's expedition. A team of scholars with unique talents and complimentary research interests was assembled that consists of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and professionals. It includes individuals from a number of institutions, with interests ranging from bioarchaeology and Near Eastern Studies, to zooarchaeology and scientific illustration.
Each semester since Fall 2009, undergrads from Sonoma State joined the DBP to get hands-on experience with human skeletal remains and/or artifacts. From August 15-October 13, 2013 the DBP has been the subject of a fantastic exhibit at the Sonoma State University Library entitled From Death to Life in Ancient Bahrain.
DBP Research Assistants Extraordinaire 2009-2013: Taylor Allcock, Amy Brandon, Bianca Brenes, Emily Carleton, Mary Beth Glisson, Whitney McClellan, Natalie Sadler, Daniel Cusimano, Jessica Ruddell, Kayla Garry
Emmy and Natalie on the job
Here are a few of the other fabulous projects I have been involved with...
Excavations at Alalakh (Turkey)
Excavations at Tell el-Far'ah South (Israel)
Books and Edited Volumes
|In press||Benjamin W. Porter and Alexis T. Boutin, editors. Remembering the Dead in the Ancient Near East: Recent Contributions from Bioarchaeology and Mortuary Archaeology . University of Colorado Press.|
|2011||Aubrey Baadsgaard, Alexis T. Boutin, and Jane E. Buikstra, editors. Breathing New Life into the Evidence of Death: Contemporary Approaches to Bioarchaeology. School for Advanced Research Press.|
|2012||Alexis T. Boutin, Gloria L. Nusse, Sabrina B. Sholts, and Benjamin W. Porter. “Face to Face With the Past: Reconstructing a Teenage Boy from Early Dilmun,” Near Eastern Archaeology 75(2): 68-79.|
|2012||Benjamin W. Porter and Alexis T. Boutin. “The Dilmun Bioarchaeology Project: A first look at the Peter B. Cornwall Collection at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum,” Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 23: 35-49.|
|2010||Colleen Morgan, Alexis T. Boutin, Sheel Jagani, and Benjamin W. Porter. “Old Bones, Digital Narratives: Investigating the Peter B. Cornwall Collection in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum.” University Museums and Collections Journal 3: 113-119.|
|In press||Alexis T. Boutin, Whitney R. McClellan, and Daniel A. Cusimano. “Life and Death at Tell en-Nasbeh: A Bioarchaeological Analysis.” In "As for me, I will dwell at Mizpah ...": The Tell en-Nasbeh Excavations after 85 Years. A. Brody and J. R. Zorn, eds. Gorgias Press. Publication expected 2014.|
|In press||Alexis T. Boutin and Benjamin W. Porter. “Commemorating Disability in Early Dilmun: Ancient and Contemporary Tales from the Peter B. Cornwall Collection.” In Remembering the Dead in the Ancient Near East. B.W. Porter and A.T. Boutin, eds. University Press of Colorado. Publication expected 2014.|
|In press||Benjamin W. Porter and Alexis T. Boutin. “Introduction: Bringing Out the Dead in the Ancient Near East.” In Remembering the Dead in the Ancient Near East. B.W. Porter and A.T. Boutin, eds. University Press of Colorado. Publication expected 2014.|
Alexis T. Boutin. “Written in Stone, Written in Bone: The Osteobiography of a Bronze Age Craftsman from Alalakh.” In The Bioarchaeology of Individuals, A. L.W. Stodder and A. M. Palkovich, eds. University Press of Florida, pp. 193-214.
Alexis T. Boutin. “Crafting a Bioarchaeology of Personhood: Osteobiographical Narratives from Alalakh.” In Breathing New Life into the Evidence of Death, A. Baadsgaard, A. T. Boutin, and J. E. Buikstra, eds. School for Advanced Research Press, pp. 109-133.
|2011||Jane E. Buikstra, Aubrey Baadsgaard, and Alexis T. Boutin. “Introduction.” In Breathing New Life into the Evidence of Death, A. Baadsgaard, A. T. Boutin, and J. E. Buikstra, eds. School for Advanced Research Press, pp. 3-26.|
|2010||Alexis T. Boutin. “The Burials.” In Tell Atchana, Ancient Alalakh, Volume I: The 2003-2004 Excavation Seasons. K.A. Yener, ed. Istanbul: Koç Universitesi Yayınları, pp. 111-121.|
Reviews and Reports
|In press||“Bioarchaeology and Behavior: The People of the Ancient Near East,” ed. Megan A. Perry. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. Publication expected November 2013.|
“Social Bioarchaeology,” ed. Sabrina C. Agarwal and Bonnie A. Glencross. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 22 (1): 135-136.
|2010||Michael D. Meyer, Alexis T. Boutin, and Michael Stoyka. “Results of Human Remains Recovery at the Abalone Point Waterfall Site, Point Reyes National Seashore, Marin County, California.” Anthropological Studies Center, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California. Prepared for Point Reyes National Seashore.|
|2009||Benjamin W. Porter and Alexis T. Boutin. “The Peter B. Cornwall Collection, P.A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology: Collections Assessment.” University of California eScholarship.|
|2009||Review of “Sacred Spaces: Religious Architecture in the Ancient World,” by G.J. Wightman. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 19 (2): 284-286.|
Partial List of Conference Symposia, Presentations, and Posters
|n.d.||“Archaeology Should Be Bioarchaeology (Or Should It?).” Paper to be presented at the Society for American Archaeology annual meetings, Austin, April 2014.|
|2012||“Osteobiography of a Body with Disabilities from Ancient Bahrain.” Paper presented at the American Anthropological Association annual meetings, San Francisco, November 2012.|
|2012||Alexis T. Boutin and Whitney McClellan, “Collection, Curation, and Commingling: The Stories of Two Near Eastern Museum Assemblages.” Paper presented at the Society for American Archaeology annual meetings, Memphis, April 2012.|
|2011||Alexis T. Boutin and Whitney McClellan, “Bioarchaeological Analysis of Human Remains from Tell en-Nasbeh.” Paper presented at the American Schools of Oriental Research annual meetings, San Francisco, November 2011.|
|2011||Alexis T. Boutin and Benjamin W. Porter, “Dying in Dilmun: Revisiting the Peter B. Cornwall Collection.” Paper presented at the American Schools of Oriental Research annual meetings, San Francisco, November 2011.|
|2011||Co-organizer (with Benjamin W. Porter) of symposium, “Remembering and Commemorating: The Mortuary Archaeology and Bioarchaeology of Ancient Near Eastern Societies.” Held at the Society for American Archaeology annual meetings, Sacramento, April 2011.|
|2011||Alexis T. Boutin and Benjamin W. Porter, “Dying in Dilmun: Revisiting the Peter B. Cornwall Collection.” Paper presented at the Society for American Archaeology annual meetings, Sacramento, April 2011.|
|2011||Invited discussant, “The Future of Bioarchaeology: A Forum in Honor of Jane E. Buikstra, the 2010 Fryxell Award Winner.” Held at the Society for American Archaeology annual meetings, Sacramento, April 2011.|
|2009||Colleen Morgan, Alexis T. Boutin, Sheel Jagani, and Benjamin W. Porter, “Old Bones, Digital Narratives: Re-Investigating the Cornwall Collection in the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum.” Paper presented at the 9th International Conference of UMAC (University Museums and Collections), Berkeley, September 2009.|
|2009||“Objectified Bodies: Reconstructing a “Foundation Burial” from Late Bronze Age Alalakh (Ancient Syria).” Paper presented at Theoretical Archaeology Group, Stanford, May 2009.|
|2008||Co-organizer (with Aubrey Baadsgaard and Jane Buikstra) of SAR Short Seminar, “Breathing New Life into the Evidences of Death”. Held at the School for Advanced Research, September 11-12, 2008.|
|2007||Co-organizer (with Aubrey Baadsgaard) of symposium, “Breathing New Life into the Evidence of Death: Contemporary Approaches to Mortuary Analysis.” Held at the Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, Austin, April 2007.|
|2007||“Osteobiographies of Life and Death from Ancient Alalakh.” Paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, Austin, April 2007.|
|2007||“Written in Stone, Written in Bone: The Osteobiography of a Bronze Age Craftsman from Alalakh (Turkey).” Poster presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Association of Physical Anthropology, Philadelphia, March 2007.|
|2005||“Mortuary Practices and Bodies of Identity: The ‘Plastered Tomb’ at Ancient Alalakh.” Paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, D.C., December 2005.|
|2005||“Life and Death at Alalakh: A Bioarchaeological and Phenomenological Reconstruction of the ‘Plastered Tomb.’” Paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the American Schools of Oriental Research, Philadelphia, November 2005.|