Emma Blake

Associate Professor, Anthropology
Director of Undergraduate Studies

Emil W. Haury Building, Room 227

Emma Blake is a Mediterranean archaeologist whose work focuses primarily on identities in Italy in the second and first millennia BCE. Specific research interests include migrations and mobility, networks, foodways, and social memory. She is the author of Identity Studies in Archaeology (Cambridge University Press Elements series, In Press) and of Social Networks and Regional Identity in Bronze Age Italy (Cambridge University Press 2014), as well as numerous articles and book chapters. She has conducted fieldwork in western Sicily for many years, and co-directs the Arizona Sicily Project Excavations at Segesta, Sicily. The excavations are of non-elite households in the ancient city, occupied from the Archaic period through the Middle Ages. This study of daily life over the longue duree reveals what it meant to be an indigenous Elymian in a Greek and Roman world through household crafts, diet, religion, gender roles, human-animal interactions and trade. This project is a field school through the UArizona School of Anthropology, training undergraduates and graduate students alike in the methods of archaeological excavation and analysis.

 Prior to this project, Blake co-directed two archaeological field surveys, the most recent of which traced the extent of Tunisian influence in western Sicily in all periods.  This project, funded by an NEH Collaborative Research Grant, found materials from the Epigravettian period stone projectile points to the present-day traces of contemporary undocumented migrant crossings. Before working in Sicily, she conducted research in Sardinia on the Bronze Age monuments there and their aftermath in localized social memory.   

Blake is, since 2021, the Editor-in-Chief with Robert Schon of the American Journal of Archaeology.

Blake teaches ANTH 160A1 (World Archaeology) and has developed and teaches two thematic archaeology courses: Anth 342 (Archaeology of Food) and Anth 339 (Archaeology of Death), a Gen Ed. She has recently taught a graduate course: Special Topics in Archaeology: Archaeologies of Memory. She co-teaches ANTH 455a&b/555a&b: Archaeological Field School.

Selected Publications

In press (2024). Blake, E. Identity Studies in Archaeology. Cambridge University Press Elements Series.

2023. Blake, E., R. Schon, A. Wigodner, F. Ducati, and V. Moses.  Rapporto Preliminare della prima missione archeologica a Segesta dell’ Università dell’Arizona (Stagione 2022). Elymos 2: 49-73.

2022. Blake, E. Middle Bronze Age Sicily: Imports, networks, and the myth of insular unity. In S. Manning, ed. Critical Approaches to the Archaeology of Cyprus and the wider Mediterranean. (An MMA volume in honour of A.B. Knapp). Equinox Publishers, pp. 163-76.

2021. Blake, E., R. Schon, and R. Giglio. Mapping Cross-Channel Connections: the Arizona Sicily Project, preliminary report of the 2018 and 2019 seasons. In C. Prescott, A. Karivieri, P. Campbell, K. Göransson and S. Tusa, eds, Trinacria, "an island outside time". International archaeology in Sicily. Oxford and Philadelphia: Oxbow, pp. 159-65.

2019. Blake, E. and R. Schon. The Archaeology of Contemporary Migrant Journeys in Western Sicily. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 32.2: 173-94.

2017. Blake, E. Materan Myth and Materan History. In Matera Imagined/ Matera Immaginata. (L. Harris, ed.). American Academy in Rome Press, pp. 30-45.

2016. Blake, E. Commentary: States and Technological Mobility: A View from the West. In Human Mobility and Technological Transfer in the Ancient Mediterranean (E. Kiriatzi and C. Knappett, eds). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 181-92.2014. Blake, E. Late Bronze Age Sardinia: Acephalous Cohesion. In Cambridge Handbook of the Mediterranean World in the Bronze-Iron Ages (Knapp & van Dommelen, eds). Cambridge U P, pp. 96-108.

2014. Leidwanger, J., C. Knappett, P. Arnaud, P. Arthur, E. Blake, C. Broodbank, T. Brughmans, T. Evans, S. Graham, E. S. Greene, B. Kowalzig, B. Mills, R. Rivers, T. Tartaron & R. Van de Noort. A manifesto for the study of ancient Mediterranean maritime networks. Antiquity 342. http://journal.antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/leidwanger342

2014. Blake, E. Dyads and Triads in Community Detection: a view from the Italian Bronze Age. Les Nouvelles de l'archéologie 135 (March): 28-32.

2014. Blake, E.  Social Networks and Regional Identity in Bronze Age Italy. Cambridge and NY: Cambridge University Press.

2013. Modrall, E., E. Blake, R. Schon, Punic ceramics in the hinterland of Motya and Marsala: the question of hellenization in Punic Sicily and the preliminary data from the Marsala Hinterland Survey. L’Africa Romana. XIX Convegno internazionale di studi. Sassari: Editrice Archivio Fotografico Sardo, pp. 1597-1610.

2013. Blake, E. Italy in Late Bronze Age Europe: from margin to counterpoint. In (S. Bergerbrant and S. Sabatini, eds). Counterpoint. A Festschrift in Honor of Kristian Kristiansen on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday. Goteborg University Press, pp. 601-606.

2013. Blake, E. Social networks, path dependence, and the rise of ethnic groups in pre-Roman Italy. In Regional Network Analysis in Archaeology. (C. Knappett, ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 203-221.

2010. Blake, E. The Marsala Hinterland Survey: Preliminary Report. Etruscan Studies 13: 49-66

2008. Blake, E. The Mycenaeans in Italy: a minimalist position. Papers of the British School at Rome 76: 1-34.

2005a. Blake, E. and A. B. Knapp, eds. The Archaeology of Mediterranean Prehistory. Oxford: Blackwell.

2005b. A.B. Knapp and E. Blake. Introduction: The Corrupting and Connecting Sea. In The Archaeology of Mediterranean Prehistory (E. Blake and A.B. Knapp, eds). Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 1-23.

2005c. Blake, E. The Material Expression of Cult, Ritual, and Feasting. In The Archaeology of Mediterranean Prehistory (E. Blake and A.B. Knapp, eds). Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 102-29.

2004. Blake, E. Space, Spatiality, and Archaeology. In The Blackwell Companion to Social Archaeology (L. Meskell and R. Preucel, eds). Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 230-54.

2003. Blake, E. The Familiar Honeycomb: Byzantine Era Reuse of Sicily’s Rock-cut Tombs. In Archaeologies of Memory (R. VanDyke and S. Alcock, eds). Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 203-20.

2002a. Blake, E. Situating Sardinia’s Giants’ Tombs in their Spatial and Social Contexts. In The Space and Place of Death (H. Silverman and D. Small, eds). Arch. Papers of the Am. Anthropological Assoc. vol. 11, pp. 119-27.

2002b. Blake, E. Spatiality past and present: An interview with Edward Soja. J of Social Archaeology 2.2: 139-58.

2002c. I. Morris, T. Jackman, E. Blake, S. Tusa. Stanford University excavations on the Acropolis at Monte Polizzo, Sicily, II: preliminary report on the 2001 season. Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 47: 153-98.

2001a. Blake, E. Locales as Artifacts: The Spatial Relationship Between Towers and Tombs in Nuragic Sardinia. American J of Archaeology 105: 145-61.

2001b. I. Morris, T. Jackman, E. Blake, S. Tusa. Stanford University excavations on the Acropolis at Monte Polizzo, Sicily, I: preliminary report on the 2000 season. Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 46: 253-71.

1999a. Blake, E. Identity-mapping in the Sardinian Bronze Age. European J of Archaeology 2.1: 55-75.

1999b. Blake, E. Coming to terms with local approaches to Sardinia’s nuraghi. In Archaeology and Folklore (A. Gazin-Schwartz and C. Holtorf, eds). London & NY: Routledge, pp 230-99.

1998. Blake, E. Sardinia’s nuraghi: four millennia of becoming. World Archaeology 30.1: 59-71.

1997a. Blake, E. Strategic symbolism: miniature nuraghi of Sardinia. J of Mediterranean Archaeology 10.2: 151-64.

1997b. Blake, E. Negotiating nuraghi: settlement and the construction of ethnicity in Roman Sardinia. In Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference 1996 Proceedings (K. Meadows, C. Lemke, J. Heron, eds). Oxford: Oxbow, pp. 113-9.

Courses Taught

ANTH 342: Archaeology of Food

ANTH 339: Archaeology of Death

ANTH 160A1: World Archaeology 

ANTH 455A&B/555A&B Field school

Areas of Study

Sicily, Sardinia, and mainland Italy


From Summer 2022 (Current): "Arizona Sicily Project: Excavations at Segesta, Sicily"

Blake co-directs this project and archaeological field school with Robert Schon. Excavations of residential areas at the ancient city of Segesta illuminate daily life, identity, and community at this storied city.

2018-2021: “Tunisian influences in western Sicily: A deep history”.  

Blake’s research project consisted of an intensive archaeological field survey in southwestern Sicily to study the millennia-long interactions between that region and Tunisia, separated by just 90 miles across the Sicilian Channel.

Research Interests

Mediterranean Archaeology; Italy in the Bronze and Iron Ages, colonialism and diaspora, cultural identity, monuments and social memory; social networks; archaeology of food