Elsa Perruchini

Elsa Perruchini


Research Title

Consuming Identities in the Cradle of Civilizations - Food Consumption and the Emergence of Social Complexity in Greater Mesopotamia

Research Summary

Research interests :

Archaeology, Archaeological Sciences, Social and Cultural identities, Archaeology of contact, Food consumption and related practices, Material culture, Traditions and Beliefs

Summary :

Over the last two decades, the topic of food consumption practices has become a potent field of research and inquiry in the study of social complexity and identities in ancient civilizations.

This PhD project will shed new light onto consumption practices of socially significant types of food and drink (e.g. alcoholic beverages – such as wine and beer – and dairy products) and their role in the production and development of social and cultural identities at a time when the world’s first complex societies developed in Greater Mesopotamia.
This project will give us also the opportunity to develop an integrated framework using a combination of archaeological, iconographic and ancient textual sources in conjunction with geochemistry. Organic residue analysis will allow us to investigate the presence of residues of perishable substances embedded within sherds of pottery with the use of a large range of techniques - i.e. Gas Chromatography-Flame Ionization Detector (GC-FID), Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and stable isotope analysis.

My corpus includes ceramic vessels collected as part of the Sirwan Regional Project during excavations in the Upper Diyala region in Iraq, a transitional zone located between the Zagros Highlands and Lowland Mesopotamia.


Lord Kelvin/Adam Smith PhD scholarship (2015-    )


British Organic Geochemical Society conference (Imperial College London, The Royal School of Mines, 13-14 July 2016) : Oral presentation 

ASOR 2016 conference(Texas, 16-19 Nov 2016) : Poster presentation 

GU LKAS studentship event (Glasgow, 22 Nov 2016) : Poster presentation

BANEA 2017 conference (Glasgow, 4-6 Jan 2017) : Workshop co-organisation with Daniel Calderbank (PhD candidate, Manchester University) and Oral presentation

Graduate Conference “Alcohol in the Ancient World” (Penn Museum, Philadelphia, 23 -24 Feb 2017) : Oral presentation

British Institute for the Study of Iraq (British Academy, London, 14 June 2017) : Poster competition


Graduate Teaching Assistant - "Archaeology in the Modern World" : (18/01/17-22/03/17)

Additional Information

Qualifications :

  • Master’s degree in Cultural Heritage, Materials and Archaeometry, (Distinction), Master thesis with First class Honours, University Bordeaux 3, France (2012-2014)
  • Master’s degree in History and Comparative Civilizations, Speciality Identities-Alterities, (Distinction), University Paris 7 Diderot, France (2010-2011)
  • Laurea Magistrale in Scienze Storiche, Università Alma Mater di Bologna, Italy (January - July 2011)
  • Master’s degree in History and Anthropology of Antiquity (Distinction and with honours) University Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, France (2008-2010)

Past Research activities :

CNRS contract (National Center for Scientific Research) with the title of engineer during which I analysed polished stone axes for the collective project (funded by the French Ministry of Culture - Centre Region) on “the place of dolerite in the tool production of prehistoric populations of modern Centre Region”, CReAAH - UMR 6566 (Research Centre in Archaeology, Archaeological Sciences and History) University Rennes 1, France (July-August 2014)