Melissa Cradic

2016 Hellman Graduate Awardee

Sixth Year PhD student in the Ancient History & Mediterranean Archaeology Graduate Group
UC Berkeley

Cradic joined the Ancient History & Mediterranean Archaeology Graduate Group at UC Berkeley in 2011 after completing an MPhil in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge. I received my B.A. in Archaeology (special honors) and Classical Humanities at The George Washington University in 2010.

Visiting museums from a young age first sparked my interest in archaeology and later inspired me to become involved in public outreach as an undergraduate intern in Exhibitions Department at the Smithsonian Institution. Since then, Cradic has curated exhibitions at The George Washington University and the Badè Museum (Pacific School of Religion) and worked as a collections volunteer at the Harvard Semitic Museum and as a research assistant at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Cradic has been involved in archaeological fieldwork since 2008, most recently as senior staff at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Tel Megiddo (Israel). Melissa also direct the Educational Program at the Jezreel Valley Regional Project, which offers field school courses for undergraduate and graduate students.

Her research focuses on the intersection of material culture, ritual texts, and funerary practices in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East. I am particularly interested in treatments of the human body and the status of the dead after burial. Cradic’s dissertation, “Transformations in Death: Funerary Practices and Personhood in the Bronze Age Levant” investigates the relationship of the body, materials, and the phenomenon of ancestorhood by means of focused archaeological case-studies from the 2nd millennium B.C.E. Levant and eastern Mediterranean (Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and Cyprus). Cradic compares this evidence with contemporaneous textual sources in order to understand who was selected to become an ancestor and how these transformations were achieved.

Cradic would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Hellman Fellows Fund for supporting my work. It is an honor to join this distinguished group of fellows whose important and wide-ranging scholarship will inform my own interdisciplinary approach. The award allows me to collaborate internationally with scholars whose work closely impacts my current project. In the past year Cradic has conducted research at the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago, Tel Aviv University’s Institute of Archaeology, and the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research (Jerusalem). Melissa has also recently held appointments as Fellow in Harvard University’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and as Lecturer in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Boston University, where Cradic taught a course on the material culture of ancient Greece in spring 2016. Most importantly, the support has given me the opportunity to publish five book chapters and a journal article, all forthcoming in 2017, on topics related to my dissertation.