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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Department of Anthropology

Program in
Human Ecology and Archaeobiology


Melinda Zeder is a Senior Research Scientist and Curator of Old World Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Zeder received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 1985. She came to the Smithsonian in 1981 as a pre-doctoral fellow, and was a Smithsonian Research Associate from 1982 until 1989, during which time she headed her own independent consulting firm. She served as Deputy Chair of the Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology from 1989 to 1992 when she assumed the position of a research scientist in the Archaeobiology Program, which she directed from 2002 to 2010.


Zeder’s research interests include the domestication of animals, the social and environmental implications of early agriculture in the ancient Near East, and the development of specialized subsistence economies in early complex societies. She is also interested in the intersection of archaeology and genetics in documenting the domestication of plant and animal species. She has worked in Iran, Israel, Turkey, and most recently in Syria. … link to Zeder Research Page

Links—Recent Publications in PDF

Melinda Zeder photo

Phone: 202-633-1886

Fax: 202-357-2208


Mailing Address:

Department of Anthropology, NHB 112
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution
PO Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012

Courier Delivery Address:

Smithsonian Institution
National Museum of Natural History
10th and Constitution Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20560-0112

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