Dr Diane Bolger

Honorary Fellow; Archaeology


I am a native New Yorker and received my UG degree in Classics from the University of Pennsylvania and my PhD in Mediterranean Archaeology from the University of Cincinnati. I then joined the academic staff in Social Sciences at the University of Maryland’s European Division, based in Heidelberg, where I initially worked as Lecturer and was later promoted to Associate Professor. In 2002 I moved to Edinburgh and became an Honorary Research Fellow in Archaeology. Since then I have taught UG and PG courses on gender archaeology, theoretical archaeology and the archaeology of Cyprus and have supervised a number of UG and PG dissertations on a variety of topics. My primary research interests are ceramics of prehistoric communities in the eastern Mediterranean and southwest Asia, and the archaeology of gender.

Responsibilities & affiliations

External appointments

  • From 2005˗2018 I served as a member of the Cyprus team for the European Research Foundation Project Associated Regional Chronologies of the Ancient Near East (ARCANE) based at the University of Tuebingen in Germany.
  • In 2013 I was a visiting scholar in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Sydney, Australia.
  • From 2007˗2011 I served as a member of the Committee of Management of the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL). This was a non-renewable four-year position.

Undergraduate teaching

  • I currently contribute to courses on Theoretical Archaeology (UG/PG), The Archaeology of Technology (UG/PG) and Archaeology in Practice (UG).
  • Previously I have taught entire courses on the Archaeology of Gender, the Art and Archaeology of Ancient Cyprus, and Theoretical Archaeology (all UG/PG).

Research summary

One of the main focal points of my research throughout my academic career has been the ceramics of prehistoric societies in the eastern Mediterannean and ancient Near East, in particular Cyprus and Syria. In Cyprus, where I have been engaged in fieldwork and research for more than 30 years, I served as Ceramic Specialist for the University of Edinburgh’s excavations at four major prehistoric sites in the villages of Kissonerga and Souskiou in the Paphos District. From 1994˗2005 I also worked as a Ceramics Specialist for the University of Edinburgh’s excavations at the Uruk and Early Bronze Age site Jerablus Tahtani on the Euphrates River in Syria. All of these fieldwork projects were directed by the late Professor Edgar Peltenburg. Although it has not been possible to return to Syria in recent years for further study of the material, the first volume of the final report was published in 2015 and a second volume is currently in preparation under my direction.

My other main research interest is the archaeology of gender, with a particular focus on the areas of the eastern Mediterranean and ancient Near East. In addition to numerous articles, I have authored and edited several books and monographs on gender, including Gender in Ancient Cyprus (2003) and Gender through Time in the Ancient Near East (2008). More recently, I expanded the scope of this work by editing a handbook on gender prehistory entitled A Companion to Gender Prehistory published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2013.  This volume of nearly 700 pages contains contributions from more than 30 specialists on a wide range of themes on gender and feminist research in archaeology. This year I am contributing a chapter to a new handbook of gender archaeology, which will be published by Routledge in 2024.


  • Mediterranean
  • Near East


  • Ancient Civilisations
  • Gender
  • Material Culture


  • Prehistory

Current research interests

Over the last three years, I have been working on the publication of the Western Cyprus Survey Project, a project conducted intermittently in the 1970s-1990s under the direction of Prof. Edgar Peltenburg. I will be publishing the Neolithic and Chalcolithic pottery from the survey and co-editing the final report together with Dr. Harry Paraskeva, a former Edinburgh student. The chief aim of this project is to place the results of our excavations into a wider geographical framework and to shed light on the interactions between Neolithic and Chalcolithic communities in the various sub-regions of western Cyprus. My current work on our excavations at Jerablus in Syria involves the publication of the second and final volume of the excavation report (vol. 1 was published in 2015); I am currently writing several chapters for this book, most notably on the Uruk pottery from the settlement, as well as editing the work of the ten other specialist contributors. When these reports are completed, they will be placed onto the ADS (Archaeology Data Service) website where they will be fully accessible to the public. Finally, I have recently started work on a new gender project. Following the ground-breaking work on fragmentation by John Chapman, this project involves the analysis of hundreds of Chalcolithic figurines and pendants recovered from our excavations in southwestern Cyprus. The main objective of this research is to associate patterns of deliberate breakage with their gendered identities (male, female, dual-sexed and neutral) and to interpret the results within a framework of increasing complexity and social transformation on the island during the late 4th and early 3rd millennia BC.

In press/in preparation

Broken bodies: gender, fragmentation and social transformation in prehistoric Cyprus. Chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Gender Archaeology (eds M. Moen and U. Pedersen). Forthcoming in 2024 by Routledge.

Excavations at Jerablus Tahtani, Syria, vol. 2. This is a web-based publication (to appear on Academia and the Archaeological Data Service) which is currently in preparation by ten contributing authors under my editorial direction. Individual chapters will be published on Academia as they appear, and the entire volume will be placed on ADS at the end of the Project.

Western Cyprus Survey Project. This book is currently in preparation, with contributions by seven artefact and environmental specialists. The volume will be co-edited by myself and Dr. Charalambos Paraskeva, a former PhD student here in Edinburgh, and is scheduled for publication as a volume in the SIMA series (Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology).

Authored and edited books

Figurine Makers of Prehistoric Cyprus: Settlement and Cemeteries at Souskiou, eds E. Peltenburg, D. Bolger and L. Crewe. Oxford: Oxbow (2019). Final excavation report on the University of Edinburgh’s excavations at the Chalcolithic sites in Souskiou village, Cyprus (E. Peltenburg, director).

A Companion to Gender Prehistory, ed. D. Bolger. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell (2013). Edited volume with global coverage by 30 specialists on gender prehistory.

The Development of Prehistoric Communities in the Ancient Near East: Studies in Honour of Edgar Peltenburg, eds D. Bolger and L. C. Maguire. Oxford: Oxbow (2010). Festschrift for Professor E. Peltenburg on Cypriot and Near Eastern archaeology.

Gender through Time in the Ancient Near East, ed. D. Bolger. Lanham, MD: Altamira (2008). Publication of a workshop on gender in the ancient Near East.

Gender in Ancient Cyprus: Narratives of Social Change on a Mediterranean Island, by D. Bolger. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira (2003). Monograph on gender in prehistoric Cyprus.

Engendering Aphrodite: Women and Society in Ancient Cyprus, eds D. Bolger and N. Serwint. Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research (2002). Conference volume on gender in ancient Cyprus.

Cypriot Ceramics: Reading the Prehistoric Record, eds J. Barlow, D. Bolger and B. Kling. Philadelphia: University Museum Publications (1991). Conference volume on prehistoric Cypriot pottery.

Erimi-Pamboula: A Study of the Site in Light of Recent Evidence, by D. Bolger. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports Int. Ser. 443 (1988). Publication of doctoral dissertation.

A selection of recent articles and book chapters


Social inequality in Cyprus before the Bronze Age: A view from the Souskiou settlement and cemeteries. Pp. 21-34 in L. Hulin et al. (eds) Structures of Inequality: Studies in Honour of Alison South. SIMA Pocketbook. Uppsala: Åström.

Cypriot anthropomorphic figurines. Pp. 1-11 in M. Lebeau (ed.) Associated Regional Chronologies for the Ancient Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Interregional Vol. II: Artefacts. Turnhout: Brepols.


Re-making the self: Bodies, materialities and identities in prehistoric Cyprus. Pp. 47-54 in M. Mina, S. Triantaphyllou and Y. Papadatos (eds) Embodied Identities in the Prehistoric Eastern Mediterranean. Oxford: Oxbow.


The mortuary facilities and their contents (with E. Peltenburg et al.). Pp. 37-97 in E. Peltenburg et al., Tell Jerablus-Tahtani, Syria, Vol. 1. Mortuary Practices at and Early Bronze Age Fort on the Euphrates River.  Levant Supplementary Series 17. Oxford: Oxbow.

The pottery (with E. Peltenburg). Pp. 118-126 in E. Peltenburg et al., Tell Jerablus-Tahtani, Syria, Vol. 1. Mortuary Practices at and Early Bronze Age Fort on the Euphrates River.  Levant Supplementary Series 17.  Oxford: Oxbow.

Were they all women? Gender and pottery production in prehistoric Cyprus. Pp. 224-229 in C. F. Macdonald et al. (eds) The Great Islands: Studies of Crete and Cyprus Presented to Gerald Cadogan.  Athens: Kapon Editions.


Material and social transformations in 3rd millennium BC Cyprus: Evidence of ceramics (with E. Peltenburg). Pp. 187-198 in J. M. Webb (ed.) Structure, Measurement and Meaning: Studies on Prehistoric Cyprus in Honour of David Frankel. SIMA 143. Uppsala: Åström.

Red and black burnished pottery of early 3rd millennium Cyprus (with R. Greenberg, S. Kroll and G. Palumbi). Pp. 149-169 in M. Lebeau (ed.) Associated Regional Chronologies for the Ancient Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean. Interregional Vol. 1: Ceramics. Turnhout: Brepols.


A matter of choice: Cypriot interactions with the Levantine mainland during the late 4th-3rd millennium BC. Levant 45(1): 1-18.

Gender, labor and pottery production in prehistory. Pp. 161-179 in A Companion to Gender Prehistory (ed. D. Bolger). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.                                                                                                           

Gender in southwest Asian prehistory (co-authored with Rita P. Wright). Pp. 372-394 in A Companion to Gender Prehistory (ed. D. Bolger). Blackwell Companions to Anthropology. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Ceramics (with J. M. Webb). Pp. 39-127 in Synchronizing Regional Chronologies of the Ancient Near East in the 3rdMillennium BC.  ARCANE Vol. II: Cyprus. Turnhout: Brepols.