Universiteit Leiden

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Lucy Bennison-Chapman

NINO Visiting Research Fellow

Dr. L.E. Bennison-Chapman
+31 71 527 2037

Dr Lucy Bennison-Chapman is a post-doctoral researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Near East (NINO). Her research project is entitled: "The Origins and Development of Non-Written Administrative Technologies in the Ancient Near East" (see 'Research' for further details').

More information about Lucy Bennison-Chapman

Fields of interest

My main research interest centres on the development of complex societies; the social developments that commenced with the appearance of sedentism and agriculture in Neolithic period; culminating in the appearance of the complex, literate city-states of West Asia in the 3rd to 1st millennium BC. In particular, I am interested in reconstructing the human experience, and associated changes in social roles that occurred over this large time period. I am most interested in the diverse mechanisms employed in maintaining social structures including craft specialisation, ritual practices, and the evolution of artistic expression.


The two year project ‘The Origins and Development of Non-Written Administrative Technologies in the Ancient Near East’ is an investigation into the functioning of non-written information storage and related administrative technologies from the end of the 7th into the 1st millennium BC will be investigated.

During the Neolithic, small geometric-shaped clay objects or “tokens” appear. It is commonly assumed that from their inception, geometric clay objects acted as mnemonic accounting tokens, invented specifically for this purpose, with the meaning held in their shape remaining constant throughout millennia. Recent research demonstrates that although many commonly held pre-conceptions regarding the invention and use of clay objects in the Neolithic are unsubstantiated, several late Neolithic sites in Mesopotamia demonstrate evidence for the beginnings of the use of clay objects as basic accounting tools c. 6,000BC. The current research project investigates how clay objects might have been used as tokens alongside seals, sealing’s and other administrative tools at two discrete villages at Tell Sabi Abyad (north Syria) c. 6,000 BC. It traces the continued use of tokens as administrative tools into the Early Historic period up until the 1st millennium BC, where despite the inv ention o f writing to facilitate account, tokens continue to be recovered in administrative contexts, alongside related technologies such as cylinder seals, bullae and writing.


2015: PhD. Archaeology, University of Liverpool 2015. Thesis title: The Role and Function of “Tokens” and Sealing Practices in the Neolithic of the Near East: The question of early recording systems, symbolic storage, precursors to writing, gaming, or monitoring devices in the world’s first villages.

2008-2009: MA Archaeology-Distinction, University of Liverpool, 2008-2009.
Dissertation title: To what extent might identity be represented in the mortuary practices of Third Millennium BC Upper Euphrates Sites? A study of burial practices in the Early Bronze Age.

2004 - 2007: BA The Archaeology of Ancient Civilisations-1st class (honours), University of Liverpool, 2004-2007. Dissertation title: A study of the function, form and symbolism of Early Bronze Age female figurines from Anatolia and North Syria.

Academic positions
•Assistant Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology (Jan 2016-Oct 2017). Bülent Ecevit University, Zonguldak (Turkey)
Turkish speaking, teaching focused state university
•Graduate Teaching Assistant (Sep 2009-July 2011). Department of Archaeology, Classic and Egyptology, University of Liverpool (UK)


NINO Visiting Research Fellow

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
  • NINO

Work address

Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 4
2311 BZ Leiden
Room number 1.15C


No relevant ancillary activities

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