Ayşe Bursalı


Ayşe received her M.A. in Prehistoric Archaeology from Koç University in Turkey (2017), and her B.A. in Anthropology and Classics from McGill University in Montréal, Canada (2013). Her master’s thesis focused on identifying the material and coloring techniques of blue beads recovered from Barcın Höyük, a Neolithic settlement in northwest Turkey, as well as exploring their social significance and the possibility of imitation. Her B.A. Honours thesis looked into the historical archaeology of Ottoman remains.

Ayşe's current research at the University of Notre Dame concentrates on how Syrian refugee women navigate political, gendered, and economic structures with an ethnographic focus on Istanbul, through the handcrafts that are produced by them and are sold by various organizations to Turkish and international customers. By looking at different actors' interactions with and attitudes towards these products in the online and offline arenas where they are sold, she investigates the narratives of charity, integration, empowerment and solidarity that surround the products, crafted as responses to displacement, immobility and the neoliberal market. 

Her other interests include the use of internet and social media in outreach and public archaeology/anthropology projects — especially with the co-founded website Arkeofili.com in Turkish, and language ideologies in Turkey. Prior to her doctoral studies, she served as a Collection Supervisor at Pera Museum in İstanbul, Turkey.


Bursalı, A., Özbal, R., Baysal, E., Özbal, H., Yağcı, B. 2017. “Neolithic Blue Beads in Northwest Turkey: the Social Significance of Skeuomorphism” Selected Papers in Ancient Art and Architecture vol. 3: Dress and Identity. 123 – 141. Archaeological Institute of America.

Bursalı, A., Özbal, H., Özbal, R., Şimşek, G., Yağcı, B., Yılmaz-Akkaya, C., Baysal, E. 2017. “Investigating the Source of Blue Color in Neolithic Beads from Barcın Höyük, NW Turkey”  Proceedings of the conference The Exploitation of Raw Materials in Prehistory. Sourcing, Processing and Distribution. 492 – 505. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.