Yoko Nishimura

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Archaeology of
East Asia and the
Near East
Contact Information
Office Address: 
424 Museum
Office Hours: 
Spring 2017: Wednesday, 11:30AM to 1:30PM, or by appointment
Email Address: 



PhD, UCLA, 2008

Research and Teaching Interests: 

I have research skills and teaching experience in the archaeology, history, religions, and languages of early civilizations, particularly those of the ancient Near East and East Asia. 

My research centers around the household archaeology and domestic rituals of third-millennium city-states in northern Mesopotamia and, more recently, of Jōmon-period communities in Japan.

I am particularly interested in the material culture and everyday activities of non-elite inhabitants in their dwelling and mortuary contexts. For instance, by examining ancient burials made beneath house floors, I am also investigating the complex relationship between the quotidian activities and intramural mortuary practices of ordinary city inhabitants in the past.

Methodologically, I specialize in quantitative and distributive analyses of archaeological remains, particularly of architectural features, domestic implements, and ceramic sherds. I am currently writing up a manuscript on the development and use of Early/Middle Jōmon magatama stone beads that became an important imperial and status symbol in later periods. 

Recent Courses: 

Ancient Mesopotamia
Ancient Near East
East Asian Arts and Civilizations
International Relations in Ancient East Asia
Archaeology of East Asia
Ancient Japanese Civilization
Japanese Civilization
Early Shintō and Pre-Buddhist Beliefs and Practices in Japan
Domestic Life of Commoners in Ancient Civilizations
Origins of Complex Societies
Introduction to Archaeology
Readings in Advanced Japanese


Selected Publications: 

The Development of Magatama in Context: Comma-Shaped Beads in Early-Middle Jōmon Sites, Japan. (A journal article in preparation for submission).

2015 “A Systematic Comparison of Material Culture Between Household Floors and Residential Burials in Late Third-Millennium B.C.E. Mesopotamia. American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 119 (4): 419-440.

2014 North Mesopotamian Urban Neighborhoods at Titriş Höyük in the Third Millennium B.C. In Making Ancient Cities: Space and Place in Early Urban Societies, edited by Andy T. Creekmore and Kevin D. Fisher. Pp.74-110. Cambridge University Press, New York.

2012 The Life of the Majority: A Reconstruction of Household Activities and Residential Neighborhoods at the Late-Third-Millennium Urban Settlement at Titriş Höyük in Northern Mesopotamia. In New Perspectives on Household Archaeology, edited by Catherine P. Foster and Bradley J. Parker. Pp.347-372. Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, IN.

2007 “The North Mesopotamian Neighborhoods: Domestic Activities and Household Space at Titriş Höyük,” Near Eastern Archaeology, Vol. 70 (1): 53-56.