About the Project


CRANE (Computational Research on the Ancient Near East) is an international and interdisciplinary research project that is changing our understanding of archaeology in the Near East.


Over 150 years of research – where humans developed agriculture,  interregional trade, the first sedentary communities, state-level societies and political networks – has resulted in a huge amount of complex and interrelated data ranging from settlement patterns to ceramics.


The problem


Until now, it has been difficult to transform our varied research data into a better overall understanding of how human communities developed in the region and how they interacted with the natural environment. This is mostly due to a lack of  an analytical framework that can integrate the full range of data produced by this uniquely rich cultural legacy.

CRANE’s solution


CRANE’s goal is to create this framework and provide a platform for data integration and analysis. Beginning with several archaeological sites in the Orontes Watershed of southeast Turkey and northwest Syria, CRANE is building an international collaboration of researchers who will use these data to model and visualize connections between social, economic and environmental factors at various spatial and temporal scales. The information will be compiled in the OCHRE software platform (University of Chicago). Researchers from around the world will be able to access comprehensive and rich dataset about the region in one location and share their work and ideas with each other.




The project will shed light on the rise and development of complex societies in this pivotal region and provide insight into a number of pressing contemporary issues, including the:

• ecological impact of human activities

• socioeconomic and political impact of climate change

• long-term health consequences of human dietary practices and subsistence strategies

• role of cultural conflict in affecting social and political change


The CRANE Project is funded primarily by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.




Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Conseil de recherches en

sciences humaines du Canada