A man in front of an animal skeleton.

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Levent Atici, Ph.D.

Executive Director of Undergraduate Research

CDC-01 , Room 107
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Levent Atici is executive director of UNLV’s Office of Undergraduate Research in the Division of Research, which connects undergraduate students and faculty with the resources necessary for successful research experiences and offers rich and diverse research education programs.

Atici is also a professor of anthropology and archaeology with technical expertise in zooarchaeology, the study of hard animal tissues excavated from archaeological sites. After receiving his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2007, Atici joined UNLV’s department of anthropology as an assistant professor in the same year. He founded the UNLV Zooarchaeology Laboratory in 2009 and established large collections of modern and archaeological animal bones for research and teaching purposes.

Atici’s research probes human-animal interactions, with an emphasis on the two greatest progressive revolutions that humankind has experienced: the Neolithic Revolution, wherein humans transitioned from hunting and gathering to farming, and the Urban Revolution, wherein small-scale agricultural societies developed into sociopolitically and economically complex urban centers. Atici is committed to advancing zooarchaeology through fostering international collaboration and sharing data via open-access online data publication. His recent work promotes an integrative approach that emphasizes “big data” to extend spatiotemporal scopes so that zooarchaeologists can develop finer-resolution pictures of the animal exploitation continuum.

Atici has published extensively on the subsistence economies of last hunter-gatherers and first farmers as well as urban food provisioning in ancient Anatolia (present-day Turkey). He has been awarded prestigious competitive external grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation and National Geographic Society for his work on food provisioning systems in early cities and on the origins and spread of domesticated animals in Southwest Asia. Atici also received the prestigious UNLV Barrick Scholar Award in 2015 and the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Researcher Mentor Award in 2018.


  • Ph.D.: Harvard University, 2007
  • M.A.: Harvard University, 2003; Ankara University, 1997
  • B.A.: Ankara University 1994

Research Interests

Archaeology, prehistoric foraging economies, origins of agriculture, origins of inequalities, urbanization and state formation, evolution of pastoral economies, ancient trade, food and ethnicity, zooarchaeology and taphonomy, Eastern Mediterranean, Southwest Asia, Turkey.

Courses Taught

COLA 100 - Feast and Famine in a Global World
ANTH 101 - Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 102 - Introduction to Physical Anthropology
ANTH 105 - Introduction to World Archaeology
ANTH 331 - A Global Crisis: Food, Human Health, and Climate
ANTH 441c/641c - Peoples and Cultures of Ancient Near East
ANTH 449d/649d - Zooarchaeology Laboratory
ANTH 458/658 - Origins of Inequality: A Cross-Cultural Perspective
ANTH 751 - Food Provisioning in Complex Societies Seminar
ANTH 751 - Taphonomy Seminar
ANTH 751 - Computer Applications for Anthropologists
ANTH 758 – Origins of Agriculture Seminar