Dr. Nancy Coinman

 Emeritus Associate Professor

Dr. Coinman is an Emeritus Associate Professor of Anthropology. Her current research interests include the Upper Paleolithic of the Levant where she has been conducting field research since 1984. Between 1997 and 2000, she co-directed the Eastern Hasa Late Pleistocene Project (EHLPP) in west-central Jordan with D.I. Olszewski (University of Pennsylvania Museum), and funded by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the National Geographic Society. Field investigations were focused on late Pleistocene hunter-gatherer sites in the eastern Wadi al-Hasa (ca. 40,000-12,000 years ago), Dr. Coinman’s current research is concentrated on understanding the intersection of settlement patterns, subsistence strategies, and technological organization at Upper Paleolithic sites in the Wadi al-Hasa. Long-term goals of the research seek to identify and disentangle the subtle archaeological signatures of different but interdependent human organizational strategies by linking subsistence strategies more explicitly with hunting and processing technologies and with specific site types and changes in settlement organization.

Dr. Coinman conducts laboratory analyses on the lithic assemblages from Upper Paleolithic sites in the EHLPP lab in the Department of Anthropology (325 Curtiss Hall). She has done archaeological field work on prehistoric and historic sites in San Diego County, Mogollon sites in New Mexico, Hohokam and Sinagua sites in Arizona, and Neolithic and Paleolithic sites in Jordan. She is the editor of a two-volume monograph on the archaeology of the Wadi al-Hasa published in 1998 and 2000 by Arizona State University’s Anthropological Research Papers (ARP). In addition to research interests in Near Eastern Paleolithic archaeology and lithic analysis, Dr. Coinman also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the department: Introduction to Biological Anthropology and Archaeology, Archaeology, World Prehistory, Archaeological Lab Methods, Andean Archaeology, Southwestern Archaeology, and the graduate Seminar in Archaeology.


Archaeological research on the paleolithic of Jordan is part of the Eastern Hasa Late Pleistocene Project, a project conducting surveys and excavations in the Wadi al-Hasa, west-central Jordan , which has been co-directed by Nancy Coinman ( Iowa State University ) and Deb Olszewski ( University of Pennsylvania ). During the summers of 1997, 1998, and 2000, investigations were carried out at a series of Upper and Epipaleolithic sites spanning the time period of ca. 40,000 to 12,000 bp. Long-term research goals of the project have been focused on understanding ancient human adaptations during the Late Pleistocene when Lake Hasa and a series of smaller lakes, ponds and marshes dominated the landscape of the eastern end of the Hasa. Archaeological surveys and excavations at open sites around the ancient shoreline of the lake and at rockshelters in the nearby tributary drainages are investigating changes in site location, hunting strategies, and stone tool technologies as the environment in the Hasa responded to global climatic warming at the end of the Pleistocene.

Coinman’s ongoing research at Upper Paleolithic sites seeks a better understanding of human adaptive strategies and behavior within a dynamic and changing pleistocene ecological context comprised of extensive lacustrine and marsh environments during the waning years of the Pleistocene (~40-20,000 years ago). The research integrates archaeological and geoarchaeological information from a series of sites found along the former shorelines of Pleistocene Lake Hasa and from rockshelter sites found in the lower drainages between Lake Hasa and the former Lake Lisan, the remnants of which are represented by today’s Dead Sea. Geoarchaeological research at these archaeological sites is reconstructing a chronological sequence of paleoenvironmental changes in the local landscape, archaeological site geomorphologies, and a detailed record of human responses to environmental shifts, particularly those associated with the onset of the Last Glacial Maximum beginning c. 25,000 years ago. The archaeological record in the Wadi al-Hasa is particularly rich in evidence for a wide array of prey species and sophisticated tool kits at different types of archaeological sites in various ecological contexts. Current research is focused on identifying similarities and differences in two lakeshore sites (Ayn al-Buhayra and Tha’lab al-Buhayra) where dense faunal remains representing Bos, Equus, Sus, and Gazella are well-preserved. The faunal assemblages suggest that different activities associated with processing animal carcasses and the consumption of meat may have occurred at these two sites. Detailed analyses of the stone tool assemblages also support the notion that different activities occurred at the two sites.

Relevant Publications and Manuscripts
Coinman, N. R. 2005. Subsistence and Technology: Implications for Settlement Organization in the Levantine Upper Paleolithic. Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society Vol. 35: 159-177.

Coinman, N. R. 2004. The Upper Paleolithic of the Wadi al-Hasa, Jordan. In STUDIES IN THE HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY OF JORDAN VIII, pp.79-96. Department of Antiquities of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Amman.

Coinman, N. R. 2003. The Upper Paleolithic of Jordan: New Data from the Wadi al-Hasa. In More Than Meets the Eye: Studies on Upper Paleolithic Diversity in the Near East, edited by N. Goring-Morris and Anna Belfer-Cohen, pp. 151-170. Oxbow Books, Oxford.

Coinman, N. R. 2002. New Evidence of Ksar Akil Scrapers in the Levantine Upper Paleolithic. Paléorient. Vol. 28/2:87-103.

Olszewski, D. and N. Coinman 2002. An Ice Age Oasis in Jordan: Pleistocene Hunter-Gatherers in the Wadi al-Hasa Region. In EXPEDITION, pp. 16-23. Bulletin of the Musuem of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia.

Fox, J. R. and N. R. Coinman 2004. The Emergence of the Levantine Upper Paleolihtic: Evidence from the Wadi al-Hasa, Jordan. In The Early Upper Paleolithc Beyond Western Europe, edited by R. Brantingham, S. Kuhn, and K. Kerry, pp. 102-119. University of California Press. Los Angeles.

Coinman, N. R. 2000. The Upper Paleolithic in the Wadi al-Hasa. In The Archaeology of the Wadi al-Hasa, West-Central Jordan, Vol. 2: Excavations at Middle, Upper, and Epipaleolithic Sites in the Hasa, edited by N. R. Coinman, pp. 143-160. Arizona State University Anthropological Research Papers NO. 52. Tempe.

Coinman, N. R. (Editor) 1998. The Archaeology of the Wadi al-Hasa, West-Central Jordan, Vol. 1: Surveys, Settlement Patterns and Paleoenvironments. Arizona State University Anthropological Research Papers No. 50. Tempe.

Coinman, N. R. 1998. The Upper Paleolithic of Jordan. In The Prehistoric Archaeology of Jordan, edited by D. O. Henry, pp. 39-63. BAR International Series 705. British Archaeological Reports. Oxford.

Coinman, N. R. 1997. Upper Paleolithic Technologies: Core Reduction Strategies. In The Prehistory of Jordan II. Perspectives from 1996, edited by H-G Gebel, Z. Kafafi and G. Rollefson, pp. 111-124. Studies in Early Near Eastern Production, Subsistence, and Environment 4. ex oriente, Berlin.

Coinman, N. R. 1997. Worked Bone in the Levantine Upper Paleolithic: Rare Examples from the Wadi al-Hasa, West-Central Jordan. Paléorient 22/2: 113-121.

Olszewski, D. and N. Coinman 1998. Settlement Patterning During the Late Pleistocene in the Wadi al-Hasa, West-Central Jordan. In The Archaeology of the Wadi al-Hasa, West-Central Jordan, Vol. 1: Surveys, Settlement Patterns, and Paleoenvironments, edited by N.R. Coinman, pp. 177-203. Arizona State University Anthropological Research Papers No. 50. Tempe.