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
Archaeology and the Bible
Forensic Anthropology Methods
Forensic Anthropology Theory and Practice
Introduction to Biological Anthropology
Organization of Societies
Society and Culture Undergraduate Research Forum: Planning and Publication
To put it simply, I am a bioarchaeologist: I recover and analyze human remains from archaeological settings. My research focuses on ancient Near Eastern, Gulf, and eastern Mediterranean, which I have cultivated through fieldwork in Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, and Crete. I have also worked on osteological collections at the British Museum, Phoebe A. Hearst Museum, and Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology.
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 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 (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 year since 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 was the subject of a fantastic exhibit at the Sonoma State University Library entitled From Death to Life in Ancient Bahrain. Since then, it has traveled to the Badè Museum of Biblical Archaeology and the Sacramento State Anthropology Museum.
DBP Research Assistants Extraordinaire 2009-2013: Taylor Allcock, Amy Brandon Sears, 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
|2014||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.|
|Under review||Alexis T. Boutin. Exploring the Social Construction of Disability in the Past: An Application of the Bioarchaeology of Personhood Model to a Pathological Skeleton from Ancient Bahrain. Submitted to International Journal of Paleopathology, July 2015.|
|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.|
|Under review||Benjamin W. Porter and Alexis T. Boutin. “The Elders of Dilmun: A Bioarchaeological Analysis of Masculinity from the Peter B. Cornwall Collection.” In Life and Death in Ancient Arabia: Mortuary and Bioarchaeological Perspectives. L. Gregoricka and K. Williams, eds. University Press of Florida.|
|2014||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, pp. 31-58.|
|2014||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, pp. 97-132.|
|2014||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, pp. 1-25.|
Alexis T. Boutin and Michael Given, editors. Chapter 3: “The Karkotis Valley.” In Landscape and Interaction: the Troodos Archaeological and Environmental Survey Project, Cyprus. Volume 2: The TAESP Landscape. M. Given, A. B. Knapp, L. Sollars, J. Noller, and V. Kassianidou, eds. Council for British Research in the Levant, pp. 51-151.
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.
|2011||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
|2014||Review of “Bioarchaeology and Behavior: The People of the Ancient Near East,” ed. Megan A. Perry. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 371: 214-215.|
Review of “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 and Presentations
|2015||“Narrativizing a Bioarchaeology of Care: A Case Study from Ancient Dilmun.” Paper presented at the Society for American Archaeology annual meetings, San Francisco, April 2015.|
|2014||“Perspectives on Life and Death from Dilmun: Recent Research on the Peter B. Cornwall Collection” Paper to be presented at the American Schools of Oriental Research annual meetings, San Diego, November 2014.|
|2014||“Archaeology Should Be Bioarchaeology (Or Should It?).” Paper 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.|