Kevin Fisher

Associate Professor

Research Interests

Archeological Data Analysis
Archeological Excavation Methods and Techniques
built environments
digital archaeology
Dynamics of Social Transformations
Mediterranean archaeology
Near Eastern archaeology
Social Life / Societal Life
social interaction
Urban Spaces and Urbanity

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs

Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters

Research Options

I am available and interested in collaborations (e.g. clusters, grants).
I am interested in and conduct interdisciplinary research.
I am interested in working with undergraduate students on research projects.

Research Methodology

socio-spatial analysis
geospatial technologies
digital technologies
3D modeling
virtual reality


Master's students
Doctoral students
Postdoctoral Fellows
Any time / year round

Kalavasos and Maroni Built Environments (KAMBE) Project:

Computational Research on the Ancient Near East (CRANE) Project:

Students should have a background in archaeology, preferably of the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East.  Ideal candidates will have some digital skills (e.g., GIS, 3D modeling, remote sensing, data management), but this is not essential.

I support experiential learning experiences, such as internships and work placements, for my graduate students and Postdocs.
I am interested in hiring Co-op students for research placements.
I am interested in supervising students to conduct interdisciplinary research.

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Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Mystic mountains and sacred caves : re-examining Minoan extra-urban sanctuaries (2023)

This thesis explores the functions and social organization of the Minoan Neopalatial peak and cave sanctuaries. Despite the large body of scholarship on this subject, there is much deliberation concerning the differences in architecture, the functions, and the social organization of both types of sanctuaries. Many scholars believe that the peak and cave sanctuaries were used for a range of ritual activities, where male and female worshippers were segregated in different spaces. While previous studies have only taken an aggregated approach to extra-urban sanctuaries, this study analyzes individual sites to provide a more a detailed and holistic approach to these types of sites. This study also positions itself in current gender scholarship in the field, challenging previous assumptions made about gender in the Minoan world. Instead, I use an inclusive feminist framework to approach gender in a more nuanced way. Using socio-spatial analysis, I examine the sanctuaries of Petsophas, Juktas, and Psychro to understand the architectural and social distinctions between the two types of sanctuaries and how they relate to differences in function. I also attempt to identify the groups of people using these two types of sanctuaries and determine whether they differ according to gender. Socio-spatial analysis is a useful tool to examine how the built environment can influence social behavior. Architecture can encode meanings that communicate social information to its users. This includes information about whether a space is private or public, high or low status, and male or female. The artifact assemblages found within architectural remains also provide insights into the activities taking place in certain spaces as well as the social identities of those performing the activities. The analysis of the architectural remains and artifact distributions of Petsophas, Juktas, and Psychro demonstrate that while the architecture between peak and cave sanctuaries differs, they were used for the same ritual functions including votive depositing, pouring of libations, and ritual sacrifice or feasting. This study also demonstrates that the sanctuaries were not gender segregated, but rather that male and female worshippers participated together in ritual.

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9 to 5: a study in women's work, wealth and economic agency in Cyprus and the Aegean during the Late Bronze Age (2022)

This thesis explores women’s economic agency during the Late Bronze Age (LBA) by employing a gender archaeological approach to the funerary, archaeological, ethnographic and textual records of Cyprus and the Aegean. This is done through the analysis of three socioeconomically distinct case studies, unified in their concentration on women’s participation in the economy. Firstly, I examine the historical and funerary context of a wealthy woman (Skeleton 1) at Kalavasos-Ayios Dhimitrios in Cyprus, to demonstrate that she may have used her wealth in an administrative capacity during the site’s increasing urbanization. This study is, in part, framed as a response to previous assertions that the two inscribed gold signet rings found with her right hand, which constitute some of the most socioeconomically striking objects in her burial assemblage, may have been the possession of her husband (Masson 1989). In the second study, I employ textual, ethnographic and archaeological evidence related to Cyprus to highlight the impact of the island’s increasing urbanization on non-elite women within the textile industry at Kition. Archaeological assemblages of tools and installations related to gendered divisions of textile labour demonstrate that women produced textile alongside men in both household and large-scale textile workshops. In the third study, I examine non-elite and enslaved women’s textile production in the Aegean, using Linear B texts to showcase their role in expansive systems of production and trade. This study, although geographically distinct, provides a unique perspective, specifying the women’s status, ethnicity, occupation, production quota, supervision and rations. These details further enrich my research by comparing and contrasting women’s work in Cypriot workshops with the more centralized model of Mycenaean textile manufacture.More broadly, this thesis provides a unique, integrative perspective to a growing body of feminist research that challenges androcentric narratives within LBA economy (Steel 2016a; Shelmerdine 2016; Bolger 2003; Bolger and Serwint 2002; Smith 2002). As I weave together these examples of women’s economic agency, I demonstrate their collective roles as producers, consumers and administrators of wealth. Finally, this thesis underscores the need for multidisciplinary research that considers the complexity and intersection of women’s lived experience in the ancient world.

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Evaluating entanglements at Middle-Late Bronze Age Phylakopi : a space syntax approach to the Pillar Rooms Complex and LH IIIA Megaron (2022)

Interconnectivity in the Bronze Age Aegean has often been framed in terms of ‘Minoanisation’ and ‘Mycenaeanisation’, which imply the adoption of materials and practices in regions outside of the Minoan and Mycenaean worlds. These terms do not allow for a reciprocal relationship between these implied Minoan and Mycenaean ‘cores’ and those ‘peripheral’ populations who are receiving their cultural traits. Instead of using theories of unidirectional relations, models of multidirectional interaction, specifically globalisation, appear to offer more balanced evaluations of connectivity in the archaeological record. Globalisation is complemented by recent materiality studies like material entanglement and dependency, and so together they are utilized here to develop new perspectives on connectivity as it is perceived in the archaeological record. The archaeological data under study in this thesis comprise architecture at the site of Phylakopi on Melos, an island within the Cycladic archipelago that occupies the seascape between Crete and mainland Greece. Two buildings have previously been identified as embodiments of foreign contact in the Middle–Late Bronze Age: the Pillar Rooms Complex, which demonstrates connections with Neopalatial Crete, and the LH IIIA Megaron, which aligns with examples of megara on the Mycenaean mainland. Using methodologies derived from space syntax, I produce new data on these buildings that consider the organization of their spatial components. This facilitates close comparisons with contemporaneous buildings on Crete and mainland Greece. These analyses and comparisons lead to nuanced conclusions about the adoption and adaptation of Minoan and Mycenaean spatial characteristics at Phylakopi. My analysis therefore positions architectural units in question within the physical and socio-political contexts in order to reveal the dynamic relationships represented in their material forms. The designers of the Pillar Rooms Complex made important alterations to the typical Minoan organization to send specific messages to other Melians visiting the building, whereas the LH IIIA Megaron is positioned within the wider development of megara in the Aegean, indicating that it derives its form from a long tradition that spans the entirety of the Mediterranean Bronze Age.

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Marginalised mariners: bronze age fishing in the southern Aegean (2022)

Maritime archaeology of the Aegean Bronze Age is primarily focussed on trade. Very little work has been carried out on the role of ships in the context of exploiting marine resources. This is partly due to the lack of shipwreck evidence for fishing boats, alongside the romanticised scholarly preference for studying larger cargo ships. The result is that fishing in the Bronze Age is considered in modern scholarship to have been minimally important, and conducted primarily from the shore on an ad-hoc basis as a dietary supplement in times of need. This thesis challenges those assumptions through a more detailed analysis of fishing evidence in coastal communities in Minoan sites during the Middle and Late Bronze Age, and attempts to reconstruct smaller scale seafaring patterns to create a fuller picture of regular human interaction with the sea. Three sites are used as case studies (Mochlos and Pseira in Crete, and Akrotiri on Thera), where ichthyofaunal assemblages (fish bone/otolith remains), supported by remains of fishing equipment and iconographic representations of marine life, are used to reconstruct the precise nature and scale of fishing activity. Special emphasis is placed on the marine habitats of each fish species, to ascertain how necessary seafaring was to catch them. Using ethnographic case studies on the capabilities of small seagoing craft, hypothetical ranges of fishing ‘territories’ are mapped out for each site to gauge the extent to which fishing facilitated frequent interaction with the local seascape. The conclusions from this research are threefold. Firstly, evidence from all three sites suggests that fishing has been largely understated as a consistent food source in this period. Secondly, the species that were targeted strongly indicate that seafaring was a large part of catching them, so much so that fishing is likely the most frequent way that Minoans engaged with the sea. Thirdly, the extent of the maritime zones that local fishers would have interacted with highlights the existence of small scale networks of maritime interaction, seafaring expertise, and navigational models. This places fishing as an important element in the creation and maintenance of small maritime network nodes.

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Monumental stonework at Kition Kathari : a spatial analysis of a Late Cypriot built environment (2022)

This thesis assesses the Late Cypriot IIC/IIIA (ca. 1200-1125/1100 BCE) expansion at Kition Kathari in order to better understand the Late Cypriot built environment. Specifically, I assess the use of monumental features such as ashlar masonry and stone anchors in the spatial organization of the city’s LC IIIA new temple quarter. Using space syntax (Hillier and Hansson 1984) and Fisher’s (2009a) “integrative approach”, a correlation appears between monumentality and spatial control. On one hand, I determine that ashlar masonry was used in spaces that were neither the least syntactically accessible nor the most syntactically accessible at the site. In other words, ashlar was deliberately used in spaces where it would be witnessed by a selected audience. On the other hand, I argue that large stone anchors were placed in thresholds and entryways as a means regulating spatial boundaries. These anchors served to facilitate “transpatial solidarity” (Hiller and Hanson 1984) and signal users that they were entering into ritual and cult spaces. In all, stone features at Kition Kathari materialized spatial, as well as social, order, and expressed elite control in the bourgeoning harbor city. More broadly, this thesis argues that Kition Kathari demonstrates consistency with contemporary monumental LC ritual architecture based off of Webb’s (1999, 2014) typology—so much so that we may conclude these spaces indeed facilitated cultic activity, as the site’s excavators understood (Karageorghis and Demas 1985; cf. Smith 2009). However, enough consistency is evidenced to argue the site was not the result of Mycenean colonization as Karageorghis and Demas (1985) originally reported, but instead was likely built by and intended for an audience familiar with LC ritual architecture.  

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The Byrsa's second death: reconstruction and erasure in the heart of colonial Carthage (2021)

As the spatial, historical, and cultural nucleus of Carthage, the Byrsa Hill is a stark illustration of the erasure inherent in the city’s colonial reconstructions. In 146 BC, Romans obliterated the last resisting Punic forces in the acropolis on the hill’s summit, completing the genocide that was the third Punic War. A century later, Roman colonists radically reshaped the hill into the organizational nexus of a new colony, removing and burying Punic remains to form an enormous monumental platform . Although this platform was occupied throughout Carthage’s Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic periods, following its “discovery” by European explorers in the early 1800s, it became the center of French colonial excavations in the ancient city. In the last 160 years, the hill has been excavated by many different project directors, and the published archaeological datasets for the site vary widely in accessibility, quality, and completeness.In this thesis, I use the Byrsa Hill as a case study to investigate systemic problems in the ways that archaeologists traditionally organize and publish their data. By integrating previously published architectural datasets from the Byrsa Hill, I uncover many inconsistencies and gaps, including vague, contradictory, and missing descriptions of Roman features from older and newer excavations. My restructured dataset enables new interpretations of the development of the site in the Roman period, in particular revealing the diversity of construction strategies employed during the complex’s Augustan-era construction. This interpretation contrasts with previous studies, which have uncritically and selectively used the problematic datasets to emphasize the unity of the complex’s design and construction. This lack of prior critical engagement, I will argue, shows that research on the site has been limited by divisions of labor and publication norms that remain common in archaeological research today.

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Deploying low cost virtual reality for archaeological research (2020)

In recent years powerful and inexpensive Virtual Reality ecosystems have become widely available, a side effect of the cellphone revolution. Both the archaeological and software development communities have struggled with both the pace of change and the unique properties of the medium, with the result that many projects have had mixed and inconsistent outcomes. In this thesis I argue that VR adds significant adjunctive capabilities to several areas of archaeological inquiry—wayfinding, space and place, landscape archaeology and saliency theory in particular—as well as offering real explanatory potential for questions of identity and materiality. I suggest that, to date, this potential does not appear to have been realized, and that this delay can likely be ascribed to the ‘teething problems’ of understanding, and engaging, with a novel medium.Given the expense of retaining development resources, together with growing skill shortages, I suggest that there is a requirement for a more structured and efficient approach, one that both identifies and engages with key issues and key opportunities in the field of VR-centric research and provides a framework for archaeological collaboration.

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Excavating a legacy: a contextual study of the Miniature Frescoes from the Neopalatial court complex at Knossos (2018)

Sir Arthur Evans was the first official excavator of Knossos, and his legacy is centred on his imaginative creation of Minoan society as a peaceful monarchy of liberal, goddess-worshipping people. Evans’ interpretations and reconstructions, based on his excavations of the court complex at Knossos, have proven difficult to move beyond, despite much scholarly work aimed at dismantling his legacy in order to extract aspects of our understanding of Minoan society that have been dependent on his misleading, biased, or erroneous views. I propose a new, holistic approach to analyzing Evans’ legacy data that incorporates access analysis, proxemics, and embodied archaeology. The aim of this approach is to contextualize a particular group of related artifacts from Evans’ excavations in order to facilitate analyses that might offer new interpretations of the evidence from Knossos, or perhaps confirm Evans’ initial conclusions. As a case study I analyze the Miniature Frescoes from the Neopalatial period at the court complex of Knossos, and incorporate the use of experimental archaeology, specifically an experiment designed to analyze the sensory aspects of the context. Based on my reanalysis, I conclude that the court complex at Knossos may have been a ritual centre for the regional community, and that the room where the fragments of the Miniature Frescoes were discovered may have been a location of preparation for these community events, especially considering the location of this room adjacent to both the Central Court and the North Entrance Passageway. I therefore show that new insights can be gained from engaging in a contextualizing study of legacy data, and that these insights can inform an updated interpretation of the material evidence from Knossos.

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