Megan Perry

(PhD, New Mexico, 2002)
Office: 221 Flanagan Building
Telephone: 252-328-9434

About Me

I am Professor of Biological Anthropology and have been at ECU since 2003. I teach courses on human osteology, death and disease in Classical antiquity, and human diseases and ancient environments. Most of my research focuses on 1st century B.C. – 7th century A.D. Jordan, but I supervise graduate students interested in numerous aspects of bioarchaeology. Some recent examples of MA theses that I have directed include bioarchaeological analyses a late 17th and early 18th century A.D. family cemetery in North Carolina, isotopic analysis to understand diet in ancient Petra, and paleopathological analysis of metabolic disease in 19th century Jordan.

I have been working on archaeological projects in Jordan for 30 years and am a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Center of Research (ACOR) in Amman, Jordan. I currently am Director of the Petra North Ridge Project, which focuses on the excavation of 1st century A.D. tombs and 1st – 4th century domestic structures .

Educational Background

2002 PhD in Anthropology, University of New Mexico
1993 MA in Anthropology, Case Western Reserve University
1992 BA in Anthropology, Boston University

Current Field and Research Projects

  • Petra North Ridge Project (Jordan)
  • 87Sr/86Sr and δ18O perspectives of population mobility (Jordan)
  • Dietary variability in Nabataean and Early Roman Jordan using δ13C and δ15N
    • Isotopic investigations of weaning in antiquity
    • Metabolic disease in Late Ottoman Jordan

    Selected Publications

    (*co-authored with a student)


    Bikai, P.M., M.A. Perry, and C. Kanellopoulos. (2020) Petra: The North Ridge Project. American Center of Research, Amman.

    Edited Volumes

    Parker, S.T. and M.A. Perry (eds.) (expected 2023) The Roman Aqaba Project Final Report: Volume 2 – Excavations of Aqaba, Soundings at Qasr El-Kithara, Analysis of Material Culture, and Interim Historical Synthesis. Alexandria, VA: ASOR Archaeological Reports.

    Perry, M.A. (ed.). (2012, reprinted 2018) Bioarchaeology and Behavior: The People of the Ancient Near East. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

    Selected Journal Articles

    *Perry, M.A., M.S. Cherry, C.R. Ewen, D.W. Owsley, and K.S. Bruwelheide. (in press) Remains of the invisible: reconstructing 19th century plantation life through the biohistories of an eastern North Carolina family. Historical Archaeology.

    Robbins Schug, G., J.E. Buikstra, S.N. DeWitte, B.J. Baker, E. Berger, M.R. Buzon, A.M. Davies-Barrett, J. Goldstein, A.L. Grauer, L.A. Gregoricka, S.E. Halcrow, K.J. Knudson, C.S. Larsen, D.L. Martin, K.C. Nystrom, M.A. Perry, C.A. Roberts, A.L. Santos, C.M. Stojanowski, J.A. Suby, D.H. Temple, T.A. Tung, M.Vlok, T. Watson-Glen, and S.R. Zakrzewski. (2023) Perspective: Climate Change, Human Health, and Resilience in the Holocene. PNAS 120: e2209472120.

    Perry, M.A. and R.L. Gowland. (2022) Compounding vulnerabilities: Syndemics and the social determinants of disease in the past. International Journal of Paleopathology 39: 35-49.

    Perry, M.A., K. Killgrove, L.A. Gregoricka, and T.L. Prowse. (2022) Towards accurate meta-analyses in Mediterranean bioarchaeology: A critical response to Leppard et al. (JMA 33, 2020). Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 35:108-132.

    Ramsay, J. and M.A. Perry. (2022) Funerary dining or offerings for the dead? An archaeobotanical analysis of remains from shaft tombs in Petra, Jordan. Levant 54:50-64 DOI: 10.1080/00758914.2022.2055287.

    *Perry, M.A., and E. Edwards. (2021) Differential diagnosis of metabolic disease in a commingled sample from 19th century Hisban, Jordan. International Journal of Paleopathology 33:220-233.

    Wenning, R. and M.A. Perry. (2021) Cybele, Atargatis, or Allat? A surprising tomb artifact from Petra’s North Ridge. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 386:

    *Perry, M.A., M. Provan, R.H. Tykot, L. Appleton, and A.J. Lieurance. (2020) Using dental enamel to uncover the impact of childhood diet on frailty and mortality in Petra, Jordan. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 29:

    Perry, M.A. (2017) Sensing the dead: mortuary ritual and tomb visitation at Nabataean Petra. Syria 94:99-106.

    *Perry, M.A., C. Jennings, and D. Coleman. (2017) Strontium isotope evidenced for long-distance immigration into the Byzantine port city of Aila, modern Aqaba, Jordan. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 9:943-964.

    *Perry, M.A., K. Parker, and R. Taylor Montgomery. (2015) Homicide at Early Islamic Qasr Hallabat. Near Eastern Archaeology 78: 236-246.

    Perry, M.A., Coleman D.S., Dettman D., Grattan J.P., and A.H. al-Shiyab. (2011) Condemned to metallum: The origin and role of 4th – 6th century A.D. Phaeno mining camp residents using multiple chemical techniques.  Journal of Archaeological Science 38:558-569.

    Perry, M.A., Drew S. Coleman, David L. Dettman, and Abdel Halim al-Shiyab.  (2009) An isotopic perspective on the transport of Byzantine mining camp laborers into southwestern Jordan.  American Journal of Physical Anthropology 140:429-441.

    *Perry, Megan A., Jessica A. Newnam, and M.G.F. Gilliland.  (2008) Differential diagnosis of a calcified object from a 4th-5th century A.D. burial in Aqaba, Jordan.  International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 18:507-522.

    *Perry, Megan A., D. Coleman, and N. Delhopital.  (2008) Mobility and exile at 2nd century A.D. Khirbet edh-Dharih: strontium isotope analysis of human migration in western Jordan.  Geoarchaeology 23:528-549.

    Perry, Megan A., Robert L. Williams, Nina Wallerstein, and Howard Waitzkin. (2008) Social capital and health care experiences in low-income persons.  American Journal of Public Health 98:330-336.

    Perry, M.A. (2007) Is bioarchaeology a handmaiden to history? Developing a historical bioarchaeology.  Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 26:486-515.

    Perry, M.A. (2006) Redefining childhood through bioarchaeology: toward an archaeological and biological understanding of children in antiquity.  Pp. 89-111 in:  Children in Action: Perspectives in the Archaeology of Childhood.  Jane Eva Baxter, ed.  Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association (AP3A) 15.

    Perry, M.A. (2003) Life and death in Nabataea: the North Ridge Tombs and Nabataean burial practices.  Near Eastern Archaeology 65: 265-270.

    Selected Book Chapters:

    *Perry, M.A., A. Propst, and M. Price. (2022) Assessing age-related mortality at Petra, Jordan using cementochronology and hazard modeling. Pp. 351-363 in: Dental Cementum in Anthropology, S. Naji, W. Rendu, and L. Gourichon, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    *Perry, M.A. and A.J. Lieurance. (2020) The Nabataean urban experiment and dental disease and childhood stress. In: The Bioarchaeology of Urbanization – The Biological, Demographic, and Social Consequences of Living in Cities. T. Betsinger and S. DeWitte, eds. Springer.

    *Perry, M.A. and E. Edwards. (2020) Resilience and change: a biocultural view of a bedouin population in the emerging modern Middle East. Pp. 237-254 in: The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Environmental Change. G. Robbins Schug, ed. London: Routledge.

    Perry, M.A. and A. Osterholtz. (2020) Mingled bones, mingled bodies: diversity in the poetics of death at Nabataean Petra, Jordan. Pp. 166-185 in: The Poetics of Processing: Memory Formation, Cosmology, and the Handling of the Dead, A. Osterholtz, ed. University Press of Colorado.

    Perry, M.A. (2018) ‘Anatomy of restlessness:’ strontium isotopes and human migration in the Greco-Roman Near East. Pp. 187-213 in: Migration and Migrant Identities in the Near East from Antiquity to Middle Ages, J. Yoo, A. Zerbini, and C. Barron, eds.  London: Routledge.

    *Perry, M.A. and J.L. Walker. (2018) The Nabataean Way of Death on Petra’s North Ridge. Pp. 121-137 in: Death and Burial in the Near East from Roman to Islamic Times, Christoph Eger and Michael Mackensen, eds. Münchner Beiträge zur Provinzialrömischen Archäologie. Wiesbaden: Reichert Verlag.

    Perry, M.A. (2018) Slouching towards Theory: Implementing Bioarchaeological Research at Petra, Jordan. Pp. 151-158 in: Engaging Archaeology: 25 Case Studies in Research Practice, S. Silliman, ed. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

    Perry, M.A. (2017) Impacts of imperial interests on health and economy in the Byzantine Near East.  Pp. 226-246 in: Colonized Bodies, Worlds Transformed: Toward a Bioarchaeology of Contact and Colonialism, M. Murphy and H. Klaus, eds. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

    Perry, M.A. (2014) Tracking the second epidemiological transition using bioarchaeological data on infant morbidity and mortality. Pp. 225-242 in: Modern Environments and Human Health: Revisiting the Second Epidemiologic Transition, M.K. Zuckerman, ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley- Blackwell.

    * Montgomery, R.T. and Perry, M.A. (2012) The social and cultural implications of violence at Qasr Hallabt. In: The Bioarchaeology of Violence, D.L. Martin, R.P. Harrod, and V.R. Perez, eds. University Press of Florida, Gainesville (Publication date: August 19, 2012).

    Perry, M.A. and P.M. Bikai.  (2012) The Abandonment of Petra: Remains of the Invisible: Post-Byzantine Archaeology of Petra’s North Ridge.  Pp. 93-97 in La Transgiordania nei secoli XII-XIII e le ‘frontiere’ del Mediterraneo medievale.  G. Vannini and M. Nucciotti, eds.  BAR International Series 2386, Oxford.

    Perry, M.A. (2012) History of paleopathology in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Pp. 451-469 in History of Paleopathology. JE Buikstra and C Roberts, eds. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

    Perry, M.A. and P.M. Bikai. (2007) Petra’s churches: the Byzantines and beyond. Pp. 435-443 in: Crossing Jordan: North American Contributions to the Archaeology of Jordan. T. Levy, P.M. Michèle Daviau, R.W. Younker, and M. Shaer, eds. Equinox Publishing, London.

    Personal Pages and Links

    Bioarchaeology Page
    Petra Project

    Megan Perry at a field site