Jennifer Ramsay, Ph.D

( She/Her/Hers)

Professor and Chair
(585) 395-5706
Office: Liberal Arts 324


  • PhD in Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, Canada
  • MSc. in Environmental Archaeology and Paleoeconomy, University of Sheffield, UK
  • BA in Anthropology with a Classics minor from the University of Victoria, Canada

Areas of Specialty

Archaeobotany, ancient arid agricultural land-use practices, subsistence reconstruction, cultural adaptations to environmental change and trade patterns.

Courses Taught

  • ANT 101 - The Human Condition
  • ANT 202 - Introduction to Archaeology
  • ANT 343 - Rivers, Cities and Empires
  • ANT344 – Archaeology of the Americas
  • ANT 384 - Methods in Anthropological Archaeology
  • ANT 462/52 - Museum Internship
  • ANT 448 - Roman Archaeology
  • ANT 449 - Greek Archaeology
  • ANT 465/565 - Environmental Archaeology
  • Summer fieldschool in Petra, Jordan and Legio, Israel

Research Interests

I am currently working on the analysis of plant remains from several
multi-national projects in Jordan, Israel, Turkey and Italy that range
chronologically from the Neolithic through the Islamic periods (ca. 8000 BCE –
ca. 1200 CE). Specifically my interests lie in investigating agricultural
land-use practices in arid environments. The Mediterranean region is incredibly
diverse both culturally and environmentally and has been throughout its history.
By analyzing ancient plant remains recovered from several arid archaeological
sites in the eastern Mediterranean questions related to how plants were grown in
these desert environments and how they functioned in the local and regional
economy can be examined. This research all ties into the concept of
desertification, which is the persistent degradation of dryland ecosystems by
human activities and by climate change. Analysis of preserved economic crop
remains and affiliated weed species can illuminate species success in dry areas
as well as environmental conditions supported through weed varieties identified
that have very specific habitat requirements. Therefore, research related to
ancient agricultural and water management practices in these types of
environments can help provide answers about how ancient peoples in arid regions
transformed their landscape and dealt with climate change, and through this we
may be able learn from the past to inform the future.

I have several active field projects in Jordan and Israel and have had many
students join me for archaeological fieldwork experience over the years. I am
the associate director of the Petra Garden and Pool Complex project and I have
worked as an assistant project director (Petra North Ridge Project), field
school director (Petra Pool and Garden Complex, Petra North Ridge Project,
‘Ayn Gharandal Archaeological project). I have also been a supervisor (Jezreel
Valley Regional Project – Legio Excavations, Combined Caesarea Expeditions)
and an archaeobotanical specialist most recently on the Casa della Regina
Carolina Archaeological Project in Pompeii, as well as many others. I am
dedicated to providing students with opportunities to experience real-world
applications of archaeological concepts as well as experience living with other
cultures to learn how diverse their world really is.

Professional Service


Academic Trustee for the Board of Trustees for the American Center of Research (ACOR), Amman, Jordan - Fellowship, Publications and Nominations Committee member for ACOR


Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) Undergraduate Teaching Award Committee member


Chair of the American Center of Research (ACOR) in Amman’s Fellowship Committee


Chair of the named and Jordanian fellowship subcommittee for the American Center of Research (ACOR)


Editorial board member and reviewer for the Bulletin of the American Society of Overseas Research (BASOR)

2022 External Reviewer for Nature

2022 External Reviewer for Ph.D. Candidate Research Proposal from Tel Aviv University

2022 External Reviewer for Tel Aviv Journal

2022 External Reviewer for Scientific Reports

2022 External Reviewer for Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

2021-present External Ph.D. Candidate Committee member for Cornell University 

2018 – present

Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) - Pomerance Science Award Committee


AIA-Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis - working group member

2020 External Reviewer for Antiquity


Program committee – chair of the poster session for the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research


Committee on Archaeological Research and Policy (CAP) for the American Schools of Oriental Research and Fellowship committee member (ASOR)


Co-chair and organizer for a session for the annual meeting at the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR)


Israel Science Foundation – Grant Reviewer


External Reviewer for The Journal of Islamic Archaeology

2016 & 2018

External reviewer for Vegetation History and Archaeobotany


External reviewer for ArcheoSciences

2015 & 2017

External reviewer for PLoS ONE


External reviewer for AASOR (The Annual for the American Schools of Oriental Research)


External Reviewer for BASOR (Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research).


American Center of Research’s (ACOR) National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship Committee member

2010 - 2015

Annual Meeting of the American Society of Oriental Research, Baltimore, MD. - Session organizer and co-chair (with Alexia Smith): Archaeology of the Natural Environment: Archaeobotany and Zooarchaeology in the Near East


Annual Meeting of the American Society of Oriental Research, New Orleans, LA – Session organizer and chair: Individual

Submissions: Archaeozoological and Isotope Studies


College Service

2022-2023 Chair Peer Advisory Committee to the Provost – One of five college-wide chairs on this committee

2022 Outstanding Faculty & Staff Global Engagement awards – Committee member

2021-present International Staff and Faculty Association – Committee member

2021-present Chair mentor – Peer mentoring program

2020-2022 Academic Strategic Planning Committee member

2014-present Comittee member for the Summer Undergraduate Research Internship program

2018 General Education Assessment Committee


ATP committee member for Dr. Kathryn Amatangelo (Environmental Science)


Search committee chair for the Director of International Education position


Committee member – Institute of Engaged Learning

2016 - 2018

Mid-Career Faculty Advisory Group for the Provost

2015 - 2017

Chancellor’s Award for Teaching - review committee member– two-year term


Mentor in the Peer Mentoring Program for the Center for Excellent in Learning and Teaching


Committee member for the Lipson Special Opportunity Award


College Senator for the Department of Anthropology – SUNY Brockport, State University of New York – Committees

Undergraduate curriculum committee and Faculty and Staff Policies Committee


Committee member for the development of the minor program in Museum Studies and Public History


Departmental Service

2019-2025 Anthropology Department Chair

2018-present Advisory Board for New Community Justice Major

2018-present Marketing Committee Chair

2018-present Department Advisement Co-ordinator

2018 (FALL)

Interim Department Chair of Anthropology


Marketing committee


Chair for the Periodic Program Review committee


Departmental webmaster


Search committee chair for Tenure-Track faculty line in the department of Anthropology


Committee member for the Periodic Program Review


Committee member for the development and renovation of the anthropology lab


Committee member for revisions to the anthropology departments Advancement, Promotion and Tenure (ATP) document.


APT committee member


Discretionary Salary Increase (DSI)/Award (DSA) committee member


Faculty advisor for undergraduate students


Member of the search committee for an assistant professor in physical anthropology


Anthropology club advisor