Dr. Pınar DURGUN

Art Historian


I am an art historically trained archaeologist with a background in anthropology and museum studies, fascinated by the diversity of human reactions to death and dying. I analyze cemeteries, study mortuary practices, and work on funerary objects. I spend a lot of time thinking and writing about the ways we bury (or do not bury) our dead.

My research focuses on Anatolia (ancient Turkey) and on the wider ancient Middle East, Egypt, and Aegean. I look at how perceptions of death were expressed in the form of objects, images, texts, and architecture. With an anthropological framework, I use this information to think about how we react to death and dying today and how we present ancient people and display objects in museums.

I am also interested in how museums help us understand, protect, and engage with the past. I have worked at several museums including Anatolian Civilizations Museum, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology on archaeological, ethnographic, and archival materials, as well as as a docent and educator. I have worked with collections from Turkey, Egypt, Mediterranean, and North America. At the moment, I am a fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art conducting research on the ancient Anatolian collection. I recently curated the exhibit "Blind Origin" at Brown University.

As I am dedicated to education and public scholarship, I am always looking for accessible, inclusive, and exciting ways to communicate academic knowledge and information about the ancient world to larger audiences. You can find me on Youtube and Skype a Scientist, and my work on EnCompass and Mainly Museums. I am now working on a "Handbook for Teaching about the Ancient World" that will enable educators to access and exchange teaching activities.

I am the founder of Project Visiting Scholar, a non-profit database project that aims to lower accommodation costs and increase inclusivity at academic conferences. 

When I am not in the classroom or in a museum, I am at a historical cemetery somewhere in New England admiring gravestones. 







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