Naomi Miller

Penn Museum Consulting Scholar

Penn Museum MW-305

Research Interests

Naomi F. Miller focuses on the environment and land use in the ancient West and Central Asia through the study of plant macroremains. Through her interest in long-term vegetation change at Gordion, Turkey, she began to work on ways to preserve biodiversity as well as archaeological sites through the passive and active management of native vegetation. In addition to the archaeobotanical site report, Botanical Aspects of Environment and Economy at Gordion, Turkey (2010), she wrote and illustrated a short archaeological memoir, Drawing on the Past, An Archaeologist's Sketchbook (2002), both published by the University of Pennsylvania Museum. She has co-edited several books: The Archaeology of Garden and Field, with K.L. Gleason (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994), Yeki bud, yeki nabud, Essays in on the Archaeology of Iran in Honor of William M. Sumner, with K. Abdi (Cotsen Institute, 2003), and Sustainable Lifeways: Cultural Persistence in an Ever-changing Environment, with K.M. Moore and K. Ryan (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011). She maintains a website that provides bibliographies of archaeobotanical reports from sites in West and Central Asia ( Along with Katherine M. Moore, she organized the ongoing Plants, Animal, People archaeobiology discussion group at the Penn Museum (For further information see:


Selected Publications


2010 Botanical Aspects of Environment and Economy at Gordion, Turkey. University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia. To order: call (800) 537-5487 or visit website
Data and color photos can be downloaded from the tDAR 'The Digital Archaeological Record' website.

2002 Drawing on the Past, An Archaeologist's Sketchbook. University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia.
To order: call (800) 537-5487 or visit website.


2016 Miller, Naomi F., Philip Jones, and Holly Pittman. Sign and image: Representations of plants on the Warka Vase of early Mesopotamia. Origini 39: 53-73. [Available on Penn Scholarly Commons]

2016 Miller, Naomi F., Robert N. Spengler, and Michael Frachetti. Millet cultivation across Eurasia: Origins, spread, and the influence of seasonal climate. The Holocene 26: 1566-1575. [Download pdf]

2015 Miller, Naomi F. Rainfall seasonality and the spread of millet cultivation in Eurasia. Iranian Journal of Archaeological Studies 5: 1-10.

2016 Miller, Naomi F. Archaeobotanical and botanical activities. In El-Kurru 2015-16: Preliminary report, by R.J. Dann and G. Emberling. Sudan & Nubia 20: 35-49 [p. 46].

2015 Miller, Naomi F., Philip H. Jones, and Holly Pittman. The ethnobiology of the Warka Vase. Revised version (pptx format) of a paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Austin, Texas, April 26, 2014. [download ppt]

2015 Miller, Naomi F. Gordion. In The Archaeology of Food: An Encyclopedia, vol. 1, eds. Mary Beaudry and Karen Metheny, pp. 239-241. Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, Maryland. [Download pdf]

2014 Miller, Naomi F. Vegetation proxy data and climate reconstruction. In Ancient Plants and People. Contemporary Trends in Archaeobotany, eds. M. Madella, C. Lanceolotti, and M. Savard, pp. 120-134. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. [Download pdf]

2014 Miller, Naomi F. and Dirk Enneking. Bitter vetch: Ancient medicinal crop and farmer's favorite for feeding livestock. In New Lives for Ancient Crops, ed. Paul E. Minnis, pp. 259-268. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. [Download pdf]

2013 Miller, Naomi F. Agropastoralism and archaeobiology: connecting plants, animals and people in West and Central Asia. Environmental Archaeology 18: 247-256. Published online July 31, 2013: DOI 10.1179/1749631413Y.0000000003. [Download pdf

2013 Miller, Naomi F. Symbols of fertility and abundance in the Royal Cemetery at Ur, Iraq. American Journal of Archaeology 117: 127-133.