Christoph Bachhuber


Associate Faculty Member 

Faculty / College Address:

School of Archaeology / Wolfson College


Research Interests:

I am an archaeologist with wide-ranging interests in the ancient material culture of the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean, and have published widely on the Bronze Age with a regional specialism in Anatolia. I have worked in Turkey as a field archaeologist for many years, including in underwater (shipwreck) archaeology and, more recently, as principal investigator of the Early Bronze Age excavations of Zincirli (ancient Sam’al) in southeastern Turkey, under the aegis of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago. 

My current research based at the Center for Area Studies, Freie Universität, a project that is provisionally titled: 'Recurrent Hegemonies: Iron Age Monuments  in Southeastern Turkey',  has three interrelated goals: 1) to understand how Iron Age monuments in southeastern Turkey  have mediated asymmetrical power relationships and related discourses during imperial or state interventions in this region in both the past and the present; 2) to revitalize material culture studies in Middle Eastern scholarship through engagements with postcolonial and post-humanist critiques; and 3) to facilitate interdisciplinary approaches between different academic fields that engage with the material remains of the past. It explores these themes within four fields of enquiry: archaeology; Assyriology; heritage studies; and Ottoman history. The unifying question is: what is the relationship between the materiality of Iron Age monuments, engagements with the past, and identity and power discourses in globalizing contexts in the Assyrian Empire, in the Ottoman Empire, and in southeastern Turkey today? 

The project develops a biographical approach to Iron Age monuments that challenges archaeologists to rethink their relationship with the past and the present, and reveals other disciplines that are better placed to study many aspects of Iron Age monuments, for example as they are located in the present. Similarly, it creates a framework of historical precedents to address problems related to Iron Age monuments in the present, in particular as they have become the focus of national heritage initiatives in southeastern Turkey in the creation of archaeological parks. The project anticipates two sources of tension in the wake of such initiatives: one related to the communities that live on or near these Iron Age sites; and one related to heritage discourses between Turkey, and countries like Germany, that have invested in research on such sites in the past. The project’s engagement with these eventualities, backed by unprecedented interdisciplinary research, will significantly re-orient how ancient material culture is investigated and understood in the Middle East.

Current Projects:

  • Recurrent Hegemonies: an analysis of Iron Age monuments in southeastern Turkey
  • The Early Bronze Age at Zincirli in its Regional Context in Southeastern Turkey

Recent Publications:


  • in press (September 2014). Citadel and Cemetery in Early Bronze Age Anatolia.Monographs in Mediterranean Archaeology 15. London: Equinox

Edited Volume:

  • 2009.  C. Bachhuber and R.G. Roberts (eds.) Forces of Transformation: The End of the Bronze Age in the Mediterranean, Proceedings of an International Symposium held at St. John’s College, Oxford on the 25‒6th March 2006. Themes from the Ancient Near East BANEA Publication Series, Vol. 1. Oxford: Oxbow

Journal Articles:

  • 2009. ‘The Treasure Deposits of Troy: Rethinking Crisis and Agency on the Early Bronze Age Citadel,’ Anatolian Studies 59: 1‒18
  • 2006. ‘Aegean Interest on the Uluburun Ship,’ American Journal of Archaeology  110: 345‒63

Peer-Reviewed Papers:

  • 2013. ‘James Mellaart and the Luwians: A Culture‒(Pre)history’, in A. Mouton, I. Rutherford, and I. Yakubovich (eds.) Luwian Identities: culture, language and religion between Anatolia and the Aegean, 279‒304. Leiden: Brill
  • 2011. ‘Negotiating Metal and the Metal Form in the Royal Tombs of Alacahöyük in North‒Central Anatolia’, in T. Wilkinson and S. Sherratt (eds.) Interweaving Worlds: systemic interactions in  Eurasia, 7th to 1st millennia BC, 158‒74. Oxford: Oxbow
  • in press (2014). ‘The Anatolian Context of Philia Material Culture on Cyprus’ (length 9000 words) in A.B. Knapp and P. van Dommelen (eds.) The Cambridge Prehistory of the Bronze-Iron Age Mediterranean. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • in press (2014). ‘Citadels in spectacle‒scapes in Bronze Age Anatolia’ (length 6000 words) in J. Osborne (ed.) Approaching Monumentality in the Archaeological Record. Albany: SUNY Press

Invited Contributions:

  • 2012. ‘Bronze Age Cities of the Plains and the Highlands: the Anatolian Plateau’  in D. Potts (ed.) Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, 575‒95,Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
  • 2012. ‘Sumer, Ebla, Akkad and Anatolia’, in H. Crawford (ed.) ThSumerian World, 466‒514.  London: Routledge
  • 2012. ‘Cape Gelidonya Shipwreck’, ‘Keftiu’, ‘Sea Peoples’, ‘Troad’, ‘Troy’ and ‘Uluburun Shipwreck’, in R. Bagnall, K. Brodersen, C. Champion, A. Erskine and S. Hübner (eds.) Wiley‒Blackwell Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Oxford: Wiley‒Blackwell;
  • in press with L. Keskin (2014). ‘Metal Objects and Metallurgy of Anatolia’ (length 3000 words) in H.   Erkanal and V. Şahoğlu (eds.) ARCANE: Associated Regional Chronologies of the Ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean. IIIrd Millennium: Western Anatolia. Brepols: Turnhout
  • in press with V. Şahoğlu (2014). ‘Small Finds and Figurines of Anatolia’ (length 3000 words) in H. Erkanal and V. Şahoğlu (eds.)  ARCANE: Associated Regional Chronologies of the Ancient Near East and Eastern Mediterranean. IIIrd Millennium:Western Anatolia. Brepols: Turnhout
  • in preparation (2015). ‘Shipwrecks’ (length 4500 words) in I. Lemos and A. Kotsonas (eds.) Companion of the Archaeology of Early Greece and the Mediterranean.

Book Reviews:

  • Review of  The Gurob Ship Model and Its Mediterranean Context, by Shelley Wachsmann, Institute of Nautical Archaeology Quarterly  40.3 (Fall 2013)
  • Review of Community Identity and Archaeology: Dynamic Communities in Aphrodisias and Beycesultan, by Naoíse MacSweeney, Classical Journal-Online (May 2013)
  • Review of Materiality and Consumption in the Bronze Age Mediterranean, by Louise Steel, Classical Review-Online (submitted)

Non-academic Media:

  • 2012. ‘Metal, mystification and the origins of money: a dialogue with the art of Lucy Skaer’, The Federal 3: 23-28

Further Info:

Institutional Affiliations:

  • Center for Area Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
  • Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology, Freie Universität Berlin

Photograph of Christophe Bachhuber
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