Dr. Krista A. Lewis


Ph.D. 2005 University of Chicago
M.A. 1997 University of Chicago
B.S. 1995 Southwest Missouri State University

Areas of Research/Interest:

Arabian archaeology, interrelationships of food, politics, environment, and trade; archaeological heritage preservation and engagement; public archaeology; ancient urbanism; Yemen, Oman


Dr. Lewis specializes in the archaeology and culture of the Arabian Peninsula. Her research agenda focuses on two long-term archaeological research projects in Yemen and Oman. Her work addresses human-environment interactions, ancient foodways, the early development of globalization and urbanization, and cultural heritage under threat by conflict and climate change. She is particularly interested in long-term perspectives on how people, directly and indirectly, interact over long distances and across cultures – especially where those interactions involve plants, the shaping of landscapes, trade and the development of cities.

In Oman, in the UNESCO World Heritage Land of Frankincense, she directs archaeological excavations at the site of Al Baleed, a large walled seaport famous for the export of frankincense, Arabian horses and other desert products. It was occupied for over a thousand years from the late ancient through medieval times and served as a major trading center in the Indian Ocean world. Dr. Lewis has also participated in archaeological fieldwork in Central America and the southern United States. She is the co-founder of the Arkansas ArchaeOlympics and is an member of the Board of Directors for the American Institute for Yemeni Studies and the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association.

Representative Publications

“Tracing prehistory in highland Yemen: contributions of the Dhamar Survey Project in light of new discoveries in Arabia,” Coauthored with L. Khalidi, In From Sherds to Landscapes:  Studies on the Ancient Near East in Honor of McGuire Gibson, edited by Mark Altaweel and Carrie Hritz. The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization series (2021)

“Mapping past human land use using archaeological data: A new classification for global land use synthesis and data harmonization” Multiauthored research group publication by Morrison, K.D....Lewis, K...et al. PLOS ONE 16(4): e0246662. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0246662 (2021)

“Finding Archaeology in 2017: What is archaeology and why are we doing it?  Why should we be doing it?” American Anthropologist, volume 120 (2): 291-304 (2018)

 “Trade Routes,” In Beaudry & Metheny, eds. The Archaeology of Food: an Encyclopedia, Alta Mira Press, pp. 519-521 (2015)

“New Perspectives on Regional and Interregional Obsidian Circulation in Prehistoric and Early Historic Arabia,” Lamya Khalidi, Krista Lewis, Bernard Gratuze.  Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, volume 42:1-22 (2012)

 “Mapping Masna’at Maryah:  Using GIS to Reconstruct the Development of a Multi-Period Site in the Highlands of Yemen,” first author with L. Khalidi, W. Isenberger and A. Sanabani, Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, volume 40:  213-226 (2010) 

“Moqa’ Masna’ Maryah: Dirasat athariyah jadida min muhafathat Dhamar, akhir al-nata’ij al-bahthiyah lal mosimayn 2006 wa 2008 [The site of Masna’at Maryah:  New archaeological studies in the Dhamar province, recent results from the 2006 and 2008 seasons](in Arabic). First author with L. Khalidi and A. Sanabani, Iklil: the Journal of the History of Yemeni Thought and Civilization 35-36: 198-207 (2010)

 “From Prehistoric Landscapes to Urban Sprawl:  The Masna’at Maryah region of highland Yemen,” co-authored with Lamya Khalidi, Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, volume 38, 215-230 (2008)

 “Fields and Tables of Sheba:  Food, Identity, and Politics in Early Historic Southern Arabia,” in The Archaeology of Food and Identity, edited by K. Twiss, Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University, pp. 192- 217 (2007)

 “The Himyarite site of al-Adhla and its Implications for the Economy and Chronology of Early Historic Highland Yemen,” Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, volume 35, pp. 129-141 (2005)

Title: Professor, Department Chair
Department: Department of Anthropology

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-7404

Fax: (828) 262-2982

Office address
349J Anne Belk Hall