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Felicitas Ruschel

Research Student

Research Student in the Department of Archaeology


I am a PhD student in Archaeology at Durham University. I studied Archaeology of Ancient Western Asia at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich (2013 – 2014) and at the Free University of Berlin (2014-2020). I focussed my postgraduate studies on the archaeology of the Kurdistan region of Northern Iraq and the Chalcolithic period of Southwestern Iran. For my master's thesis, I analysed the interior painted pottery of Tepe Sohz (Khuzestan province) and studied the emergence of early complex societies and modes of interaction between prehistoric communities of ancient Iran and Mesopotamia. I have participated in several field projects in Germany, Italy, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. My long-term involvement in the “Kurdish-German Archaeological Mission in Dohuk” (collaboration project between the University of Tübingen, Germany, and the Directorate of Antiquity at Duhok, Iraq), raised my interest in urbanism of northern Mesopotamia in the Early Bronze Age and household archaeology. 

PhD research


  • Prof Dan Lawrence, Prof Graham Philip (Durham University)
  • Dr Lisa-Marie Shillito (Newcastle University)
  • Prof Peter Pfälzner (University of Tübingen)

New evidence at the archaeological site of Bassetki (ancient Mardaman, Duhok province, Iraq) suggests that indicators of urbanism predate the so-called second urban revolution in the later Early Bronze Age (EBA) thereby challenging conventional models of urbanisation in Ancient Mesopotamia. I evaluate the Mardaman excavation data with a focus on early EBA architecture, material culture, stratigraphy, and microstratigraphy from domestic contexts, taking a multi-scalar GIS-based approach. Results from thin-section micromorphology, phytolith analyses and geochemistry will be integrated with architectural, stratigraphic and artefact distribution data using spatial statistics and GIS analysis to identify and interpret activity areas. A diachronic evaluation of these architectural contexts will show how the organisation of the site changed as it grew into a major centre and will help me to reassess the state of urbanisation in Northern Mesopotamia at that time.

Scholarships and Grants

  • 2022-2025: AHRC Northern Bridge 2 Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship