Dr. Michael FisherResearch Group Leader
MAPSS Research Group
Mike works with digital methodologies for archaeology and cultural heritage preservation, using semantic modelling and linked open data methods to integrate remote sensing discovery with other datasets for the archaeological landscapes of countries such as Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and currently Mongolia. His research applies quantitative methods to investigating sociopolitical change in protourban and early urban societies of the Ancient Near East and Afghanistan, presently focussing on changing distribution patterns of production debris in Chalcolithic households and institutions of Upper Mesopotamia. Other research interests include integrating cognitive neuroscience models of craft innovation and tool adoption with archaeological datasets, and exploring the role and identification of brewing and alcohol consumption in antiquity.
Mike Fisher is a Group Leader in Digital Archaeology at the Max Planck Institute for Geoanthropology, primarily working with the Mongolian Archaeology Project: Surveying the Steppes (MAPSS) research group to implement a geospatial database and digital recording system for the archaeological landscape of Mongolia.
He received his BA from the University of Notre Dame in History and Middle Eastern Studies and his MA and PhD from the University of Chicago in Near Eastern Art & Archaeology. Focussing on the emergence of complex sociopolitical systems in Late Chalcolithic Syria, he began developing digital methods for capturing, storing, and interrogating archaeological data. While still a graduate student, Mike pursued a parallel interest in digital cultural heritage preservation and became the Field Director of the University of Chicago partnership with the National Museum of Afghanistan, overseeing the digital inventory, conservation, and rehousing of the archaeological and ethnographic collections stored in Kabul and provincial museums. While finishing his PhD, he began working for the University of Chicago's Afghan Heritage Mapping Project, using remote sensing methods to detect at-risk and damaged archaeological sites across Afghanistan. He co-edited the volume Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Afghanistan, which documents the rich cultural patrimony of the country and the means available for protecting it, against the backdrop of four decades of armed conflict and political turbulence.
As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford, Mike oversaw the further development and population of the EAMENA (Endangered Archaeology in the Near East & North Africa) project's geospatial graph databases, while researching the impact and ethics of remote sensing and data management systems for archaeological landscapes. He is also the Co-Director of the University of Chicago field excavations at Tell Surezha, within the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq, which expands on his doctoral research exploring sociopolitical transformations in late-prehistoric Mesopotamia.
2022. Fisher, M. Intrasite Variability and Changing Social Practices during the Ubaid-Late Chalcolithic Transition at Tell Zeidan, Syria. Paléorient 48 (1), 101-125.
2021. Fisher, M., M. Fradley, P. Flohr, B. Rouhani, and F. Simi. Ethical Considerations for Remote Sensing and Open Data in Relation to the Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa Project. Archaeological Prospection 28 (3), 279-292.
2021. Price, M., M. Fisher, and G. Stein. Animal Production and Secondary Products in the Fifth Millennium BC in Northern Mesopotamia: New Data from Tell Surezha (Iraqi Kurdistan). Paléorient 47 (2).
2021. ten Harkel, L. and M. Fisher. The EAMENA Database and its Potential Impact on Research and Heritage Management: A Case Study of Crusader Heritage in Lebanon. Levant, 1-20.
2020. Stein, G. and M. Fisher. Surezha Excavations 2019: Erbil Plain, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. Oriental Institute Annual Report 2020, 127-145.
2019. Stein, G. and M. Fisher. Surezha Excavations 2018, Erbil Plain, Kurdistan Region, Iraq. Oriental Institute Annual Report 2019, 125-138.
2018. Stein, G., A. Gallego-Lopez, and M. Fisher. Tracking Down Missing Treasures from the National Museum of Afghanistan. Oriental Institute News & Notes, 14-16.
2017. T. Paulette and M. Fisher. Potent Potables of the Past: Beer and Brewing in Mesopotamia. The Ancient Near East Today 5 (4).
2015. M. Fisher and M. Stolper. Achaemenid Elamite Administrative Tablets, 3: Fragments from Old Kandahar, Afghanistan. Achaemenid Research on Texts and Archaeology, 1-26.
2017. Fisher, M. Partnership for Preservation: The Digital Inventory of the National Museum of Afghanistan. Stein, G., M. Fisher, A.H. Latify, N. Popal, and N.H. Dupree, eds. Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Afghanistan: Proceedings of the International Conference Held at Kabul University, November 2014. Chicago: Oriental Institute Press, The University of Chicago, 43-48.
2016. Fisher, M. and G. Stein. Aks of War: A Digital Inventory for a War-torn Afghanistan. A. Jameison, ed. Collections at Risk. Proceedings, 9th ICAANE 1, 449-463. Basel: Weisbaden.
2017. Stein, G., M. Fisher, A.H. Latify, N. Popal, and N.H. Dupree, eds. Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Afghanistan: Proceedings of the International Conference Held at Kabul University, November 2014. Chicago: Oriental Institute Press, The University of Chicago.
2018. Fisher, M. The New Chronology of the Bronze Age Settlement of Tepe Hissar, Iran. By A. Gürsan-Salzmann. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 77 (2), 316-318.