Dr Maria Relaki

Department of Archaeology

Teaching Associate in Archaeology

Dr Maria Relaki
m.relaki@sheffield.ac.uk
+44 114 222 2900

Full contact details

Dr Maria Relaki
Department of Archaeology
Minalloy House
Regent Street
Sheffield
S10 2TN
Profile

I completed my first degree, in History and Archaeology, at the University of Athens, Greece and then went on to gain a MA and a Ph.D from the Department of Archaeology, at the University of Sheffield, UK . 

I held a series of post-doctoral positions at the University of Sheffield between 2004 and 2007, working on ceramic assemblages from Crete, Asia Minor, the Cyclades and the Dodecanese. 

Between 2017 and 2019, I was a Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Fellow at the Université Catholique de Louvain working on the project: “House Poetics. An ‘assemblage’ approach to the production and transmission of value in Bronze Age Crete.”

I was a temporary Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Sheffield (2007), before being appointed an Associate Lecturer in Classics at The Open University, UK

Qualifications
  • PhD (The University of Sheffield, UK)
  • MA Archaeology and Prehistory (The University of Sheffield, UK)
  • BA Archaeology and History of Art (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece)
Research interests

I work on the archaeology of the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean with a special interest in social and cultural anthropology, archaeological theory, material culture and the social dynamics of technology, gender, collective identification, ownership and economic systems in prehistory, kinship. 

My thesis, on the "Social Arenas in Minoan Crete: A Regional History of the Mesara, South-central Crete, from the Final Neolithic to the end of the Protopalatial period", critically interrogated the concept of the region as a core analytic unit in archaeological studies,  examining the link of regional dynamics with processes of social negotiation and transformation. 

Regional, inter-regional and local social process is a recurrent theme in my work. I have co-edited a volume on the Archaeology of Land Ownership, re-assessing the idea of ownership and its role in archaeological analysis by looking at the ways by which people have created associations with land and the social, economic and cultural implications of these practices. My own contribution focused on gender aspects of these relationships by problematizing the ways in which land and women are constructed as a unified reproductive category. 

I have worked extensively on archaeological ceramics (using both scientific analysis and macroscopic methods) and have a strong interest in the social dynamics of ancient technologies. My most recent work reconsiders the traditional boundaries of material objects (ceramics, metal, stone, bone etc), arguing that analysis should move away from categorizations based on concrete objects and instead frame itself through the exploration of technical ensembles.

A large part of my research concerns strategies of collective group representation particularly through the examination of seals and sealing practices across the Bronze Age Aegean, especially their role in the construction of collective identities. This is a pervasive theme in my research, and in my latest project I re-examined the model of Levi-Straussian House societies from a new materialist and post-humanist perspective, to explore kinship structures in prehistory and the recent past. 

I have a background on online and digital learning in the Arts and Humanities with expertise in novel and blended pedagogies, particularly on issues of accessibility and the employability of students in the Humanities. 

Grants
  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Fellowship- “House Poetics. An ‘assemblage’ approach to the production and transmission of value in Bronze Age Crete”. Grant No. 752179.
Teaching activities

Undergraduate 

  • World Civilisations (co-ordinator)
  • Minoans: Crete in the Bronze Age (co-ordinator)
  • Towards Modernity: Archaeology, Anthropology & Colonialism 
Professional activities

Roles in professional and other organisations

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Assistant Reviews Editor and Member of the Editorial Board, The European Journal of Archaeology

Conferences & Invited Lectures 

Co-organiser
  • 2018- OIKOS. Archaeological approaches to House societies in the ancient Aegean (Co-organiser with Prof. J. Driessen). International workshop hosted by the Aegean Interdisciplinary Studies centre (AEGIS) at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, 6th-7th December 2018. 
  • 2010- From the Foundations to the Legacy of Minoan Society. International Round Table in honour of Professor K. Branigan (Co-organiser with Dr Y. Papadatos), University of Sheffield, Department of Archaeology, Sheffield Centre for Aegean Archaeology (SCAA), Sheffield 29-31 January 2010. 
  • 2008- Analytical Limitations and Potential in Studying Land Ownership in Prehistory, (Session co-organised with Dr D. Catapoti), 6th World Archaeological Congress, Dublin, Ireland, 29th June-4th July 2008.
Presentations
  • 2019- Textures, gestures, recipes: crafting embodied skill. European Association of Archaeologists Annual Conference, EAA 2019, 25 years, Beyond Paradigms, 4-7 September 2019, Bern, Switzerland.
  • 2018- Ecologies of belonging: Houses as commons in Bronze Age Crete. International conference “OIKOS. Archaeological approaches to House societies in the ancient Aegean”. UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, 6th-7th December 2018. 
  • 2018- Fragmented belongings: material culture and place-making in Bronze Age Crete (co-authored with C. Tsoraki). European Association of Archaeologists Annual Conference, “EAA 2018, Reflecting Futures”, 5-8 September 2018, Barcelona, Spain. 
  • 2018- ‘Own it!’ Reflections on the value of indigenous archaeological ethnography as community engagement. Society for Historical Archaeology, SHA 2018 Conference, “Landscapes, Entrepôts, and Global Currents”, New Orleans, USA, 3-7 January 2018. 
  • 2015- Variability and differentiation. A first look at the patterns of use and deposition of stone vases in the Petras cemetery (co-authored with C. Tsoraki). International Symposium “Petras-Siteia, The Pre- and Proto-palatial cemetery in context”, the Danish Archaeological Institute at Athens, Athens, Greece, 14-15 February 2015.
  • 2011- Ceramic skeuomorphs in Bronze Age Crete: cheap imitations or something more? “Material Worlds of the Aegean”, 11th International Round Table of the Sheffield Centre for Aegean Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, UK, 4-6 February 2011.
  • 2010- ‘A dialectic of routes and roots’: examining the politics of Prepalatial regional identities through craft activity. “From the foundations to the legacy of Minoan Society. Meeting in honour of Professor Keith Branigan”, 10th International Round Table of the Sheffield Centre for Aegean Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, UK, 29-31 January 2010. 
  • 2010- New Perspectives on the ‘Kastri Group’: analysing late EBII ceramics from the Cycladic Islands and the Izmir Region (co-authored with P.M. Day, C. Doumas, H. Erkanal, S. Kariotis, V. Kilikoglou, O. Kouka, V. Şahoğlu, and D.E. Wilson), International Congress on Archaeological Sciences in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East, Paphos, Cyprus, 29th April- 1st May 2010. 
  • 2009- Ceramic intruders in the Cyclades? Provenance and technology of a ‘Kastri Group’ deposit from Akrotiri, Thera (co-authored with P.M. Day, D.E. Wilson, S. Kariotis and O. Kouka), 10th European Meeting on Ancient Ceramics EMAC 2009, The British Museum and University College London, UK, 10-13 September 2009. 
  • 2008- Resource, Commodity, Property. The role of land ownership in archaeological approaches to social complexity, 6th World Archaeological Congress, Dublin, Ireland, 29th June-4th July 2008.
  • 2008- New Light on the “Kastri Group”: a petrographic and chemical investigation of ceramics from Liman Tepe and Bakla Tepe (Co-authored with P.M. Day, C. Doumas, V. Kilikoglou, O. Kouka, V. Sahoglu and D.E. Wilson), International Archaeometry Symposium, University of Ankara, Turkey, 26-30 May 2008. 
  • 2008- The Social Arenas of Tradition. Investigating corporate and individual social strategies in Prepalatial and Protopalatial Mesara, Crete. International Conference “Back to the Beginning. Re-assessing social, economic and political complexity in the Early and Middle Bronze Age on Crete”. Leuven, Université Catholique de Louvain, Département d’Archéologie, Belgium, 1-2 February 2008. 
  • 2007- Debating administration. Minoan Prepalatial sealing practices in their social context.  International workshop at the British School at Athens, “Back to the starting line: new theoretical and methodological approaches to Early Bronze Age Crete”, Athens, Greece, 21st December 2007.  
  • 2007- Living from Pots: Ceramic Perspectives on the Political Economies of Prepalatial Crete (co-authored with P.M. Day and S. Todaro). Langford International Conference “Political Economies of the Aegean Bronze Age”, Tallahassee, Florida State University, USA, 22-24 February 2007. 
  • 2007- Regions within the Region. Aspects of Community in Prepalatial Mesara, 108th Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), San Diego, USA, 4-7 January 2007. 
  • 2006- The World in a Chamber: The Kastri Group and a Late ECII Deposit from Akrotiri, Thera (Co-authored with P.M. Day, D.E. Wilson, S. Kariotis, and O. Kouka), 107th Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), Montreal, Canada, 5-8 January 2006. 
  • 2005- Prepalatial Imports at Akrotiri, Thera: New Evidence for Interaction between Crete and the Cyclades (Co-authored with P.M. Day, D.E. Wilson, and Irene Nikolakopoulou), 106th Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), Boston Massachusetts, USA, 6-9 January 2005. 
  • 2003- Pottery making and Social Reproduction in Bronze Age Mesara, Crete (co-authored with P.M. Day and E. Faber). “Analytical Approaches to Prehistoric Ceramics: Technologies and Exchange in the Aegean”, 8th International Round Table of the Sheffield Centre for Aegean Prehistory, Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, 30th January-1st February 2003. 
  • 2002- Constructing a Region: The Contested Landscapes of Early Minoan Mesara. “The Emergence of Civilisation in Bronze Age Aegean: Retrospect and Prospect”, 7th International Round Table of the Sheffield Centre for Aegean Prehistory, University of Sheffield, Department of Archaeology, 25-27 January 2002. 
  • 2001- Minoan Architectural Design: Towards an Alternative Spatial Approach. The Archon International Symposium, “New Approaches to the Archaeology of the House”, University of Leiden, The Netherlands, May 2001. 
  • 2000- Social arenas in Minoan Crete. The Mesara in the Bronze Age. Symposium of Mediterranean Archaeology, 4th annual meeting of Postgraduate Researchers, The University of Sheffield, February 2000. 
Invited Lectures
  • 2020- Did Perfume Complete the Story? Stone Vessels from the Petras Cemetery.  One-day Symposium on “Minoan Luxury and Magic: Jewellery from the Cemetery at Petras" accompanying the Exhibition “The Stories We Wear”. The University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia, USA. 13-14 November 2020. 
  • 2020- Carved in memory: stone vases from the Early and Middle Bronze Age Cemetery of Petras in East Crete.  The Bristol Anglo-Hellenic Cultural Society, Bristol, UK, 22 January 2020.  
  • 2017- Beyond Imitation: Material interconnections in Bronze Age Crete. The Università degli Studi di Catania, Dipartimento DISUM, Seminari di Preistoria-Prehistory of the Mediterranean up to II millennium BC, Sicily, 9 May 2017.  
  • 2007- Community, Identity and Representation. Investigating Corporate and Individual Social Strategies in Prepalatial and Protopalatial Mesara, Crete. Mycenaean Seminar, Institute of Classical Studies, University College London, UK, 5December 2007.
  • 2006- Region and Community in Prepalatial Mesara. Research Seminar, University of Oxford, Institute of Archaeology, 30November 2006.
Publications
Books
  • Relaki, M. and J. Driessen (eds.) 2020. OIKOS. Archaeological approaches to House societies in the ancient Aegean. AEGIS Actes de colloques 16. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain.
  • Relaki, M. and Y. Papadatos (eds.) 2018. From the Foundations to the Legacy of Minoan Archaeology. Studies in honour of Professor K. Branigan. Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology 12. Oxford: Oxbow. 
  • Relaki, M. and D. Catapoti (eds.) 2013. An Archaeology of Land Ownership. Routledge Studies in Archaeology 9. New York and London: Routledge. 
Journal articles and book chapters in peer reviewed volume
  • Catapoti, D. and M. Relaki (forthcoming), “Fields of Discourse” revisited: a Simondonian perspective. In M. Boyd and R. Doonan (eds.), Far from equilibrium: an archaeology of energy, life and humanity. A response to the archaeology of John Barrett. Oxford: Oxbow books. 
  • Relaki, M. and C. Tsoraki (forthcoming). The stone vases from House Tombs 2, 4 and 10 at the Early and Middle Minoan cemetery of Petras, Siteia. In Tsipopoulou, M. (ed.), The Early and Middle Minoan cemetery of Petras, Siteia. House Tomb 2, House Tomb 4 and House Tomb 10. Philadelphia: INSTAP Academic Press.
  • Relaki, M., 2020. Ecologies of care. Examining the practices of belonging in Bronze Age Crete. In M. Relaki and J. Driessen (eds.) OIKOS. Archaeological approaches to House societies in the ancient Aegean. AEGIS Actes de colloques 16, pp. 316-330. Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain.
  • Catapoti, D. and Relaki, M., 2020. Why the Neolithic is (r)evolutionary. Journal of Material Culture. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359183519894012 
  • Relaki, M. 2018. Roots and routes: Technologies of life, death, community and identity. In M. Relaki and Y. Papadatos (eds.), From the Foundations to the Legacy of Minoan Society. Studies in honour of Professor K. Branigan, pp. 10-35. Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology 12. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Relaki, M. and C. Tsoraki 2017. Variability and differentiation. A first look at the patterns of use and deposition of stone vases in the Petras cemetery. In M. Tsipopoulou (ed.), Petras Sitia: The Pre- and Proto-palatial cemetery in context, pp.159-178. Monographs of the Danish Institute of Athens, vol. 20.
  • Relaki, M. 2016. Some Early and Middle Minoan Pottery from House I.1, Petras, Sitia. In M. Tsipopoulou (ed.), Petras, Siteia I: A Minoan Palatial Settlement in Eastern Crete. Excavation of Houses I.1 and I.2, pp. 93-124. Prehistory Monographs, vol. 53. INSTAP Academic Press. 
  • Relaki, M. 2013. Pervasive assumptions of ownership: land, gender and reproductive narratives. In M. Relaki and D. Catapoti (eds.), An Archaeology of Land Ownership, pp. 93-125. Routledge Studies in Archaeology 9. New York and London: Routledge.
  • Catapoti, D. and M. Relaki 2013. An archaeology of land ownership: introducing the debate. In M. Relaki and D. Catapoti (eds.), An Archaeology of Land Ownership, pp. 1-20. Routledge Studies in Archaeology 9. New York and London: Routledge. 
  • Relaki, M. 2012. The Social Arenas of Tradition. Investigating corporate and individual social strategies in Prepalatial and Protopalatial Mesara. In I. Schoep, P.D. Tomkins and J. Driessen (eds.), Back to the beginning: Reassessing social and political complexity in Crete during the Early and Middle Bronze Age, pp. 290-321. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Day, P.M., M. Relaki and S. Todaro 2010. Living from pots? Ceramic perspectives on the economies of Prepalatial Crete. In D. Pullen (ed.), “Political Economies of the Bronze Age Aegean”, Proceedings of the Langford Conference held at FSU Tallahassee Florida, 22-24 February 2007, pp. 205-229. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Relaki , M. 2009. Rethinking administration and seal use in third millennium BC Crete. Creta Antica 10/II: 353-372.  
  • Relaki, M. 2008. Community, Identity and Representation in Prepalatial and Protopalatial Mesara. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, 51: 187-188. London. 
  • Day P.M., C. Doumas, H. Erkanal, V. Kilikoglou, O. Kouka, M. Relaki, and V. Sahoglu 2008. New Light on the “Kastri Group”: a petrographic and chemical investigation of ceramics from Liman Tepe and Bakla Tepe. International Archaeometry Symposium, University of Ankara, Turkey, 26-30 May 2008, pp. 335-346.  Arkeometri Sonuclari Toplantisi. Ayri Basim.
  • Day P.M., M. Relaki, and E. Faber 2006. Pottery making and social reproduction in Bronze Age Mesara, Crete. In M. H. Wiener, J. L. Warner, J. Polonsky and E. E. Hayes (eds.), Pottery and Society: The Impact of Recent Studies in Minoan Pottery. Gold Medal Colloquium in Honor of Philip P. Betancourt, 104th Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, New Orleans, Louisiana, 5 January 2003, pp. 22-72. Boston: Archaeological Institute of America. 
  • Day P.M. L. Joyner, E. Kiriatzi and M. Relaki 2005. Appendix 3: Petrographic Analysis of some Final Neolithic-Early Minoan II Pottery from the Kavousi Area. In D.C. Haggis, Kavousi I, The Archaeological Survey of the Kavousi Region, pp. 177-196. Philadelphia: INSTAP Academic Press.
  • Relaki, M. 2004. Constructing a Region: the contested landscapes of Prepalatial Mesara. In J.C. Barrett and P. Halstead (eds.), The Emergence of Civilisation Revisited, pp. 170-188. Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology 6. Oxford: Oxbow.
  • Day P.M., L. Joyner and M. Relaki, 2003. A petrographic analysis of the Neopalatial pottery. In K.A. Barnard and T.M. Brogan (eds.), Mochlos IB. Period III. Neopalatial Settlement on the Coast: The Artisan’s Quarter and the Farmhouse at Chalinomouri. The Neopalatial Pottery, pp. 13-32. Philadelphia: INSTAP Academic Press. 
  • Day P.M. and M. Relaki 2002. Past factions and present fictions: palaces in the study of Minoan Crete. In J. Driessen, I. Schoep and R. Laffineur (eds.), Monuments of Minos. Rethinking the Minoan Palaces. Proceedings of the International Workshop held at the Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-La-Neuve, 14-15 December 2001, pp. 217-234. Aegaeum 23. Liège.