Alexia Smith

Associate Professor



Ph.D., 2005, Boston University


My research examines the long-term dynamics of food production, climate changes, and social organization, spanning the transition from hunting-and-gathering to agriculture (Epipalaeolithic to Neolithic), the development of early social complexity (Ubaid and Chalcolithic periods), and cycles of urbanism and collapse (Bronze and Iron Ages) across Southwest Asia. In additional to traditional archaeobotanical approaches, I examine archaeologies of food, wine, and fuel, and novel ways to study flotation residues and legacy collections that integrate archaeobotany with geoarchaeological approaches, including dung spherulite analysis. I am also interested in issues relating to contemporary food security and sovereignty.

Research Interests

Archaeobotany; Long-term dynamics of agriculture, climate change, and social stability; sustainable agriculture; food equity; archaeology of Southwest Asia; archaeology of food and bread; Research spans: Epipalaeolithic, Neolithic, Ubaid, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age of Syria, Turkey, and Armenia



  • ANTH 1000. Peoples and Cultures of the World
  • ANTH 1500. Great Discoveries in Archaeology
  • ANTH 2600. Microscopy in Applied Archaeobotany Research (Honors core course, lab)
  • ANTH 3522W. Ecological Anthropology Writing Seminar
  • ANTH 3706. Archaeobotany
  • ANTH 3515. Ancient Civilizations of the Old World


  • ANTH 5305. Anthracology
  • ANTH 5500. Professional Development in Anthropology
  • ANTH 5515. Ancient Civilizations of the Old World
  • ANTH 5522. Ecological Anthropology
  • ANTH 5706. Archaeobotany
  • ANTH 5707. Quantitative Archaeobotany
  • ANTH 5708. Plants and People through the Ages


  • Faculty affiliate, UConn Institute of the Environment
  • Faculty coordinator for anthropology, UConn Early College Experience


Peer-reviewed journal articles

Webster, Lyndell, Alexia Smith, Mike Dee, Itka Hajdas, and Glenn M. Schwartz. (in press) “Towards a Radiocarbon-based Chronology of Urban Northern Mesopotamia in the Early to Mid-Second Millennium BC: Initial Results from Kurd Qaburstan.” Radiocarbon
Glenn M. Schwartz, Andrew T. Creekmore III, Alexia Smith, Jill A. Weber, and Lyndelle Webster (2022) “Kurd Qaburstan on the Erbil Plain: Field Research 2016–2017,” Iraq 84: 189–230.

Smith, Alexia, Amy Oechsner, Peter Rowley-Conwy, and Andrew M. T. Moore (2022) “Epipalaeolithic animal tending to Neolithic herding at Abu Hureyra, Syria (12,800–7,800 calBP): Deciphering dung spherulites. PLoS ONE 17(9): e0272947. (open access)

Richards, Stephen M. Leiting Li, James Breen, Nelli Hovhannisyan, Oscar Estrada, Boris Gasparyan, Matthew Gilliham, Alexia Smith, Alan Cooper, and Heng Zhang (2022) “Recovery of chloroplast genomes from medieval millet grains excavated from the Areni 1 cave in southern Armenia,” Scientific Reports 12:15164.

Proctor, Lucas, Alexia Smith, and Gil J. Stein (2022) “Archaeobotanical and dung spherulite evidence for Ubaid and Late Chalcolithic fuel, farming, and feasting at Surezha, Iraqi Kurdistan,” Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 43: 103449.

Von Baeyer, Madelynn, Alexia Smith, and Sharon R. Steadman (2021) “Expanding the plain: using archaeobotany to examine adaptation to the 5.2 kya climate change event during the Anatolian Late Chalcolithic at Çadır Höyük,” Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 36: 102806. (Open Access)

Hovhannisyan, Nelli, Marina Dallakyan, Syuzanna Esoyan, Boris Gasparyan, and Alexia Smith (2020) “Genetic Diversity and Traditional Uses of Aboriginal Grape Varieties from the Main Viticultural Regions of Armenia,” Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 67: 999–1024.

Steadman, Sharon R., Laurel D. Hackley, Stephanie Selover, Burcu Yıldırım, Madelynn von Baeyer, Benjamin Arbuckle, Ryan Robinson, and Alexia Smith (2019) “Early Lives: The Late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age at Çadır Höyük,” Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 7(3): 271–298.

Ross, Jennifer C., Gregory McMahon, Yağmur Heffron, Sarah E. Adcock, Sharon R. Steadman, Benjamin S. Arbuckle, Alexia Smith, and Madelynn von Baeyer (2019) “Anatolian Empires: Local Experiences from Hittites to Phrygians at Çadır Höyük,” Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 7(3): 299–320.

Marica Cassis, Anthony J. Lauricella, Katie Tardio, Madelynn von Baeyer, Scott Coleman, Sarah E. Adcock, Benjamin Arbuckle, and Alexia Smith (2019) “Regional Patterns of Transition at Çadır Höyük in the Byzantine Period,” Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 7(3): 321–349.

Steadman, Sharon R., Gregory McMahon, Benjamin S. Arbuckle, Madelynn von Baeyer, Alexia Smith, Burcu Yıldırım, Laurel D. Hackley, Stephanie Selover, and Stefano Spagni (2019) “Stability and change at Çadır Höyük in central Anatolia: a case of Late Chalcolithic globalisation?” Anatolian Studies 69 (2019): 21–57.

Smith, Alexia, Lucas Proctor, Thomas Hart, and Gil Stein (2019) “The Burning Issue of Dung in Archaeobotanical Samples: A Case-Study integrating Macro-botanical, Dung Spherulites, and Phytoliths to assess Sample Origin and Fuel Use at Tell Zeidan, Syria,” Vegetation History and Archaeobotany. 28 (3): 229–246. https :// 4-018-0692-9 (Open Access)

Styring, Amy K., Michael Charles, Federica Fantone, Mette Marie Hald, Augusta McMahon, Richard H. Meadow, Geoff K. Nicholls, Ajita K. Patel, Mindy C. Pitre, Alexia Smith, Arkadiusz Sołtysiak, Gil Stein, Jill A. Weber, Harvey Weiss, Amy Bogaard (2017) “Isotope evidence for agricultural extensification reveals how the world’s first cities were fed,” Nature Plants 3: 17076.

Glenn M. Schwartz, Christopher Brinker, Andrew Creekmore, Marian H. Feldman, Adam S. Maskevich, Alexia Smith, and Jill A. Weber (2017) “Excavations at Kurd Qaburstan, A Second Millennium BC Urban Site on the Erbil Plain,” Iraq 79: 213–255.

Wales, Nathan, Jazmín Ramos Madrigal, Enrico Cappellini, Aldo Carmona Baez, José Alfredo Samaniego Castruita, J. Alberto Romero-Navarro, Christian Carøe, María C. Ávila-Arcos, Fernando Peñaloza, J. Víctor Moreno-Mayar, Boris Gasparyan, Diana Zardaryan, Tamara Bagoyan, Alexia Smith, Ron Pinhasi, Giovanna Bosi, Girolamo Fiorentino, Anna Maria Grasso, Alessandra Celant, Guy Bar-Oz, Yotam Tepper, Allan Hall, Simone Scalabrin, Mara Miculan, Michele Morgante, Gabriele Di Gaspero, and M. Thomas P. Gilbert (2016) “The limits and potential for reconstructing grape domestication using paleogenomic techniques,” Journal of Archaeological Science 72 57–70.

Smith, Alexia, Philip Graham, and Gil Stein (2015) “Ubaid Plant Use at Tell Zeidan, Syria,” Paléorient 41(2): 51–69.

Smith, Alexia, Krista Dotzel, Joyce Fountain, Lucas Proctor, Madelynn von Baeyer (2015) “Examining Fuel Use in Antiquity: Archaeobotanical and Anthracological Approaches in Southwest Asia,” Ethnobiology Letters 6(1): 192–195.

Smith, Alexia and Scott Branting (2014) “Phrygian plant and insect remains from Kerkenes Dağ, central Anatolia (Turkey),” Ethnobiology Letters 5: 44–51.

Graham, Philip and Alexia Smith (2013) “A Day in the Life of an Ubaid Household: Archaeobotanical Investigations at Kenan Tepe, Southeastern Turkey,” Antiquity 87 (336): 405–417.

Keith N. Wilkinson, Boris Gasparian, Pavel Avetisyan, Roman Hovsepyan, Diana Zardaryan, Ron Pinhasi, Gregory E. Areshian, Guy Bar-Oz, and Alexia Smith (2012) “Areni-1 Cave, Armenia: a Chalcolithic–Early Bronze Age Settlement and Ritual Site in the Southern Caucasus” Journal of Field Archeology 37(1): 20–33.

Gregory E. Areshian, Boris Gasparyan, Pavel S. Avetisyan, Ron Pinhasi, Keith Wilkinson, Alexia Smith, Roman Hovsepyan & Diana Zardaryan (2012) “The Chalcolithic of the Near East and south-eastern Europe: discoveries and new perspectives from the cave complex Areni-1, Armenia” Antiquity 86 (331): 115–130.

Pinhasi, Ron, Boris Gasparian, Gregory Areshian, Diana Zardaryan, Alexia Smith, Guy Bar-Oz, Thomas Higham (2010) “First Direct Evidence of Chalcolithic Footwear from the Near Eastern Highlands,” PLOS ONE 5 (6): e10984.

Smith, Alexia and Naomi Miller (2009) “Delving Deeper into Subsistence: Integrating Plant and Animal Data,” Current Anthropology 50 (6): 883–884. [Guest editor; Introduction to peer reviewed special issue]

Smith, Alexia and Natalie Munro (2009) “A Holistic Approach to Examining Ancient Agriculture: A Case Study from the Bronze and Iron Age Near East,” Current Anthropology 50 (6): 925–936.

Parker, B. J., C. P. Foster, K. Nicoll, J. R. Kennedy, P. Graham, A. Smith, D. E. Hopwood, M. Hopwood, K. Butler, E. Healey, M. B. Uzel, and R. Jensen (2009) “The Upper Tigris Archaeological Research Project (UTARP): A Preliminary Report from the 2007 and 2008 Field Seasons at Kenan Tepe,” Anatolica 35: 85–152.

Smith, Alexia (2007) “Plant Use at Cadır Höyük, Central Anatolia,”Anatolica 33: 169–184.

Book chapters (peer-reviewed where noted)

Smith, Alexia, Tamara Bagoyan, Ivan Gabrielyan, Ron Pinhasi, and Boris Gasparyan (2014) “Late Chalcolithic and Medieval Archaeobotanical Remains from Areni-1 (Birds’ Cave), Armenia” in B. Gasparyan, M. Arimura, and S. Fujii, eds., Stone Age in Armenia. What’s done and what must be done. Recent Achievements of Stone Age Archaeology in the Republic of Armenia. Japan: Kanazawa University, 167–194.

Smith, Alexia (2014) “The Use of Multivariate Statistics within Archaeobotany,” in Mac Marston, Jade d’Alpoim Guedes, and Tina Warinner, eds., Current Methods in Paleoethnobotany. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 181–204. [peer-reviewed]

Smith, Alexia (2014) “Examining Agriculture and Climate Change in Antiquity: Practical and Theoretical Considerations,” in Marco Madella, Carla Lancelotti, and Manon Savard, eds., Ancient Plants and People—Contemporary Trends in Archaeobotany. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 47–70. [peer reviewed]

Weiss, Harvey, Sturt W. Manning, Lauren Ristvet, Lucia Mori, Andrew McCarthy, Philippe Quenet, Alexia Smith, and Zainab Bahrani (2012) “Tell Leilan Akkadian Imperialization, Collapse and Short-lived Reoccupation defined by High-Resolution Radiocarbon Dating,” Seven Generations Since the Fall of Akkad, Studia Chaburensia 3, Harrassowitz Verlag, 163–192.

Smith, Alexia (2012) “Akkadian and post-Akkadian Plant Use at Tell Leilan,” Seven Generations Since the Fall of Akkad, Studia Chaburensia 3, Harrassowitz Verlag, 225–240. [invited, panel reviewed]

Graham, Philip, and Alexia Smith (2012) “Integrating Household Archaeology and Archaeobotany: A Case Study from Ubaid Kenan Tepe, Southeastern Anatolia,” in New Perspectives in Household Archaeology, edited by Bradley J. Parker and Catherine P. Foster. Winona Lake, IL: Eisenbrauns, 247–265. [peer-reviewed]

Smith, Alexia (2012) “Safe Drinking Water Act,” in B. Rathje and J. G. Golson, eds, Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste. Vol. 2. Sage Publications, Inc, 773–774.

Smith, Alexia (2008) “Methods of Agriculture in Antiquity,” (Introduction to the section on Agriculture), Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 19–26.

Smith, Alexia (2008) “Wine in Anatolia,” Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures. The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2281–2282.

Book Reviews and Newsletter Reports

Smith, Alexia (June 2021) Review of “Engineering Plants for Agriculture. A Subject Collection from Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology. Edited by Pamela C. Ronald. Cold Spring Harbor, NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. 2019,” The Quarterly Review of Biology 96: 138–139.

Smith, Alexia (2015) Review of “Development of the Environment, Subsistence and Settlement of the City of Urkeš and its Region, by Katleen Deckers, Monka Doll, Peter Pfälzner, and Simone Riehl, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz,” Bibliotheca Orientalis 71 (5–6): 841–845.

Gabrielyan, Ivan and Alexia Smith (2012–2013) “Establishing a Botanical Reference Collection for Archaeobotanical Studies in Armenia,” American Research Institute of the Southern Caucasus Member Newsletter 4 (2012–2013): 10–11.

Smith, Alexia (2005) “Review of Environmental Archaeology and the Social Order by John G. Evans,” Journal of Field Archaeology 30(1): 110–114.


  • University of Connecticut, Honors Faculty Member of the Year Award (2021–2022)
  • University of Connecticut, Humanities Institute Faculty Residential Fellowship (2010–2011)
  • Fulbright Fellowship, Boston University, Boston, MA (1997–1998)
Alexia Smith
Contact Information
Office LocationBeach Hall (BCH) 406
LinkArchaeobotany Lab