Area of Study
Email Address
Taylor Science Center 2008

Hannah Lau is an anthropological archaeologist whose research uses zooarchaeological data to examine the relationship between ancient peoples’ animal management practices, the environment, and sociopolitical complexity in Southwest Asia and the South Caucasus.

A focus of her research is to understand how communities engaged in social and economic cooperation and coordination in agropastoral production at the 6th millennium BCE sites of Domuztepe and Tell Kurdu in southern Anatolia. She examines ancient peoples’ animal management practices in both daily subsistence activities and large-scale communal feasting events and the implications such practices had for emergent social complexity during the late Neolithic.

She also studies pastoral communities in the Bronze and Iron Ages in Azerbaijan. She has worked with the Naxçivan Archaeological Project as an excavator and zooarchaeologist since 2009. She is a co-director of the Lerik Azerbaijan-America Archaeological Project, which focuses on late Iron Age communities in the Talis Mountains in the south of Azerbaijan.

Recent Courses Taught

The Archaeology of Food
Environmental Archaeology (Short Course)
Biogeochemical Analyses in Zooarchaeology

Select Publications

  • Lau, Hannah, Gwyneth W. Gordon, and Kelly J. Knudson. “Reconstructing Feast Provisioning at Halaf Domuztepe: Evidence from Radiogenic Strontium Analyses.” Journal of Archaeological Science 131:105408.  
  • Lau, Hannah, Lucas Proctor, Hilary Gopnik, and Veli Bakhshaliyev. “Agropastoralism in Middle Bronze through Early Iron Age Naxçivan: Zooarchaeological and Paleoethnobotanical Data from Qizqala.” Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 33:102535.  
  • Lau, Hannah and Sarah Whitcher Kansa. “Zooarchaeology in the Era of Big Data: Contending with Interanalyst Variation and Best Practices for Contextualizing Data for Informed Reuse.” Journal of Archaeological Science 95: 33-39
  • Campbell, Stuart, Sarah Whitcher Kansa, Rachel Bichener and Hannah Lau. “Burying things: practices of cultural disposal at late Neolithic Domuztepe, southeast Turkey,” in Remembering and Commemorating the Dead: Recent Contributions in Bioarchaeology and Mortuary Analysis from the Ancient Near East. Porter, Ben and Alexis Bouton, eds. University of Colorado Press, Boulder, pp. 27-60.
  • Ristvet, Lauren, Hilary Gopnik, V?li Baxs?liyev, Hannah Lau, Safar Asurov and Robert Bryant. “On the Edge of Empire: 2008 and 2009 Excavations at Oglanqala, Azerbaijan.” American Journal of Archaeology 116: 321-62.

Professional Affiliations


Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
M.A., University of California, Los Angeles
B.A., University of Pennsylvania

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