Ellen Belcher
Associate Professor and Special Collections Librarian
Phone number
212 237 8238
Room number
Lower Level, Library

Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
PhD 2014 – Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology 
MPhil 1998 – Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology
MA 1996  – Ancient Near Eastern Art and Archaeology

Columbia University, School of Library Service
Adv. Cert. 1992 – Preservation of Library and Archival Materials
MS-LS 1990 – Rare Books, Archives and Special Collections  

Drew University
College of Liberal Arts B.A. 1984 – Art History


As Special Collections Librarian, I develop, manage and provide access to our collections of rare books, manuscript collections and College Archives. I am also manage and catalog our Digital Collections and digitized books on the Internet Archive. As Reference Librarian, I provide reference assistance to the John Jay community and outside researchers Gender Studies, Anthropology and Art and Music depts. I also write and update several web-based research guides on topics relating to John Jay curriculum and our Special Collections.  

I am also an archaeologist and art historian of the Ancient Near East. My research is on gender, embodiment, adornment and identity related to the Halaf cultural period in prehistoric Mesopotamia (6th Millennium BCE).  I also excavate in southeastern Turkey and study beads, pendants and figurines from the sites of Domuztepe and Tell Kurdu. And am the bead and other ornaments specialist for the sites of Barcın Höyük and Boncuklu Höyük.

Scholarly Work

Selected publications:

Belcher, E. and K. Croucher (in press) "Daily Negotiations with Materiality: Re-Assembling Halaf Ornamentation." Chapter in, PMMG Akkermans and B. During (eds.) Style and Society in the Later Prehistory of the Ancient Near East, in Honour of Olivier Nieuwenhuyse. (Leiden: PALMA/Sidestone Press).

Belcher, E. (2021) "Peopling Pots and Potting People: Anthropomorphic Vessels in the Halaf Culture and Chalcolithic Anatolia." Chapter 19 in, R. Özbal, M. Erdalkıran and Y. Tonoike (eds.) Neolithic Pottery from the Near East: Production, Distribution and Use. Istanbul: Koc University Press, pp. 257-272.

Croucher, K and E. Belcher. (2017) “Prehistoric Figurines in Anatolia (Turkey).” Chapter 20 in, T. Insoll, Ed. Oxford Handbook of Prehistoric Figurines. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 443-467.

Belcher, E. (2016). “Identifying Female in the Halaf: Prehistoric Agency and Modern Interpretations.Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory. doi: 10.1007/s10816-016-9291-1

Belcher, E and K. Croucher. (2016) “Exchanges of Identity in Prehistoric Anatolian Figurines.” In, R. A. Stucky, O. Kaelin & H. P. Mathys (Eds.) Proceedings of the 9th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East (9th ICAANE). Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, Vol. I, pp. 43-56. http://academicworks.cuny.edu/jj_pubs/57/

Belcher, E. (2014) Embodiment of the Halaf: Sixth Millennium Figurines from Northern Mesopotamia. Unpublished Dissertation, Columbia University.

Belcher, E. (2010) “Halaf Bead, Pendant and Seal ‘Workshops’ at Domuztepe:  Technological and Reductive Strategies.”  In, E. Healey, S. Campbell and O. Maeda, Eds. The State of the Stone: Terminologies, Continuities and Contexts in Near Eastern Lithics. Studies in Early Near Eastern Production, Subsistence and Environment (Berlin: ex-Oriente.) 13: 135-143. http://academicworks.cuny.edu/jj_pubs/72/

Data publications:

Belcher, E. (2016-present) "Halaf Figurines Project: A Catalog of Figurines Excavated from Sixth Millennium Northern Mesopotamian Sites in Syria and Turkey". Released: 2016-08-18. Open Context. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.6078/M7736NTG

Belcher, E. (2015 –present) Lost Ornaments Survey of NYC. From a restriction in movement, a string is broken, a fastening is pulled and an ornament is lost. This is a walking and biking archaeological survey of the context of tiny lost ornaments in the big city.

Library digitization projects:

Belcher, E. (2016) Digitizing Policing: Opening Access to Law Enforcement Resources. This ongoing project, in part grant funded, offers digital access to library resources on law enforcement resources.

Belcher, E. (2016) Law Enforcement News Digital Library: Released in 2016, this webpage provides digital access to all issues of Law Enforcement News, published by John Jay College, 1975 – 2005 and now available digitally on the Internet Archive.

Lloyd Sealy Library Digital Collections:  Released in 2014, I am content manager and the principal metadata cataloger for thousands of digital assets made available here, digitized from our Special Collections. http://dc.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/

Belcher, E. and Sexton, E. (2007) Crime in New York 1850-1950 Digital Library. Released in 2007, this grant-funded scholarly resource was the Library’s first digital project, which provided unrestricted access to primary archival resources from two collections held in Lloyd Sealy Library's Special Collections.  www.lib.jjay.cuny.edu/crimeinny

see also: Library Research Guides (LibGuides) authored by me.