Professor Peter DayPeter Day

Professor of Archaeological Materials

Level 2 / 3 Tutor

Deputy UG Admissions Officer

South East Asian Student Pastoral Officer

On Study Leave Semester Two, 18/19

BA Hons. Archaeology (Southampton); PhD (Cambridge).

Email address:

Telephone: +44 (0)114 2222917

Department address:

Department of Archaeology
University of Sheffield
Minalloy House. Room C07
10 – 16 Regent Street
S1 3NJ
United Kingdom



I took my BA in 1983 from the Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton. After consultancy work in ceramic analysis, I left for Greece, where from 1984-1986 I was Fellow in Ceramic Petrology at the Fitch Laboratory, British School at Athens. There I built on the work of J. Riley, R. Jones and others, demonstrating the potential of ceramic petrography in the characterisation of coarse ware production in Minoan Crete.

After this grounding, I conducted my PhD research at the Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge (Jesus College) under the supervision of Sander E. van der Leeuw. My thesis A Petrographic Approach to the Study of Pottery in Neopalatial East Crete, which examined the spectrum of pottery production in the Neopalatial period and the twentieth century AD in the Siteia peninsula, was completed in 1991.

From 1991-1993, I held a SERC Post-doctoral Research Fellowship examining production technology and exchange of Final Neolithic to Middle Minoan pottery at Knossos. I have taught and researched at the University of Sheffield since my appointment to a Lectureship in 1994.

I am committed to encouraging researcher mobility and inter-disciplinary collaboration in training and research. From 1998-2002 I was Co-ordinator of the GEOPRO “Integrating geochemical and mineralogical techniques: a new approach to raw materials and archaeological ceramic provenance” Training and Mobility of Researchers Network, funded by the European Commission. At present I direct the Ceramics work-package in the NARNIA Initial Training Network, funded by the Marie Curie Programme, under the Seventh Framework of the European Union.

Professional Roles

Member of the Ceramic and Composite Materials research group directed by Vassilis Kilikoglou at NCSR ‘Demokritos’, Greece


Research interests

  • Archaeological material culture
  • The technology of ceramics
  • Ethnographies of craft
  • The archaeology of the Aegean.

Current research projects

  • I am a member of the NARNIA Initial Training Network (Dec 2010 - Dec 2014), acting as Workpackage leader on Ceramics:
  • Ceramic Technology at Final Neolithic to Palatial Phaistos, Crete
  • Ceramic production, distribution and exchange in LHIIB Saronic Gulf, Greece
  • Analysis of Neolithic to Early Bronze Age ceramics from Akrotiri, Thera
  • The Early Helladic Korinthia and Argolid: ceramic perspectives
  • Smart Mortars – Archaeomimetics
  • Ethnography of Pottery Production in Portol Mallorca, Spain
  • Social approaches to ceramic technology in Early Islamic contexts

Research supervision:

I am happy to supervise research topics centred upon:

  • Material culture
  • The technology of ceramics
  • Ethnographies of craft
  • The archaeology of the Aegean and the application of analytical techniques to the study of ancient materials, notably through ceramic petrography.

Research in Ceramic and Composite Cultural Materials

We have close collaboration with the University of Barcelona and NCSR ‘Demokritos’ in Greece. I also work closely with ceramics research groups in the University of Barcelona (ICREA and ARQUB). The three institutions have complementary expertise in the field of archaeological ceramics and composites and we actively exchange and train each others doctoral and post-doctoral researchers, as well as carrying out a range of joint research projects.

Current research students

Clare Burke: Early Bronze Age I-II Ceramics from Korinthia and the Argolid.

Will Gilstrap: Ceramic production and exchange in the LHIIIB Saronic Gulf.

Heather Graybehl: Materialising Identities in the Panhellenic Sanctuary of Nemea.

Yvette Marks: (second supervisor) The inception and transmission of metallurgy: A regional approach.

Sergios Menelaou: Pottery production, consumption and distribution at Heraion on Samos, Greece during the Early Bronze Age (ca. 3200/3000-2000 BC) (UoS studentship)

Roberta Mentesana: Pottery production at Phaistos, Mesara from the Final Neolithic to Middle Minoan II.

Duoduo (Vicky) Qian: (second supervisor) The Bronze age Metallurgical traditions of Northern Xinjiang, China.

Jessica Slater: (second supervisor) Envaluing past practice: metal production in first millennium BC Britain.

Veronica Testolini: Continuity and change in the ceramic technology of Medieval Sicily (UoS studentship)

Lenore Thompson: (second supervisor) Writing artefact biographies: Analyzing the impacts and ramifications of culture contact as interpreted through changing procurement, production, and consumption strategies of copper among the First Nations of the Northwest Coast of North America. (UoS studentship)

Former research students

I have had the privilege of supervising the research of a range of very talented individuals:

Alexios Karytinos: Sealstones and sealing systems in Early Minoan Crete (K. Branigan co-supervisor) Ph.D.

Ellisavet Hitsiou: Provenance and technology of Late Neolithic pottery from Makriyalos. Ph.D.

Yiannis Papadatos: Mortuary practices and their importance for the reconstruction of society and life in Prepalatial Crete. (K. Branigan co-supervisor). Ph.D. Yiannis is currently Associate Professor in Prehistoric Archaeology, University of Athens.

Patrick Quinn: Ceramic Micropalaeontology: the analysis of microfossils in archaeological ceramics with special reference to its application in the Southern Aegean. Ph.D. Patrick is currently Senior Research Fellow in Ceramic Petrography, University College London.

Peter Tomkins: The Production, Circulation and consumption of ceramic vessels at Early Neolithic Knossos, Crete. Ph.D. Peter is BOF Senior Research Fellow, Archaeologie, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.

Despina Catapoti: Rise to the occasion: rethinking the emergence of the ‘Palatial Phenomenon’ in Minoan Crete. Ph.D. Despina is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Cultural Technology and Communication, University of the Aegean.

Edward Faber: Middle Minoan Polychrome pottery: production technology, decoration and provenance. Ph.D. Edward is Research Technician at the Microanalysis Research Facility of the University of Nottingham.

Eleni Nodarou Early Bronze Age pottery production and consumption in Western Crete. Ph.D. Eleni is Ceramic Petrographer at the INSTAP Study Center for East Crete.

Maria Relaki: Social Arenas in Crete: the Mesara in the Bronze Age. Ph.D. Maria is currently Associate Lecturer at the Open University, U.K. and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield

Linda Howie: Production and distribution of Classic Maya pottery from Lamanai, Belize. Ph.D. Linda is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Western Ontario.

Cho Dae-youn: Ceramics of the Hanseong Paekche Period, Korea. Ph.D. Dae-youn is Associate Professor at Chonbuk National University, Korea).

Noémi Müller: The technology of cooking vessels in the Bronze Age at Akrotiri, Thera. (V. Kilikoglou co-supervisor) Ph.D. Noemi is Postdoctoral Research Fellow, at the Institute of Materials Science, NCSR Demokritos, Greece. Noemi is currently a Post-doctoral Researcher on the NARNIA-ITN project.

Simona Todaro: Phaistos and the Mesara Plain in the Prepalatial Period. Ph.D. Simona is Associate Professor in the Dipartimento di studi archeologici, filologici e storici, University of Catania.

Ana Jorge: Late Neolithic to Early Bronze Age ceramics in North-central Portugal. Ph.D. Ana is currently Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen



Day, P.M. and R.C.P. Doonan (eds.) 2007. Metallurgy in the Early Bronze Age Aegean. Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology 7, Oxbow: Oxford.

Haskell, H.W., R.E. Jones, P.M. Day and J.T. Killen 2011. Transport Stirrup Jars of the Bronze Age Aegean and East Mediterranean. Prehistory Monographs 33. INSTAP Academic Press: Philadelphia.

Shaw, J.W., A. Van de Moortel, P.M. Day and V. Kilikoglou 2001. A LMIA Ceramic Kiln in South-Central Crete. Hesperia Supplement 30. Athens: ASCSA.

Recent papers (since 2007)

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 Aegean Bronze Age: papers from the Langford Conference, Florida State University, Tallahassee, 22-24 February 2007, 205-229.

Müller, N.S., V. Kilikoglou , P.M. Day and G. Vekinis 2010. The influence of temper shape on the mechanical properties of archaeological ceramics, Journal of the European Ceramic Society 30 (2010) 2457–2465.

Quinn, P., P.M. Day, V. Kilikoglou, E. Faber and A. Sampson 2010. Keeping an Eye on Your Pots: The Provenance of Neolithic Ceramics from the Cave of the Cyclops, Youra, Greece. Journal of Archaeological Science, 1042-1052.

A. Jorge, P.M. Day and M.I. Dias, 2009. Technological choices at the onset of the Iberian Bronze Age: pottery from the Mondego Plateau, Portugal, In: K.T. Biró, V. Szilágyi, and A. Kreiter, eds., Vessels inside and outside. Proceedings of the Conference EMAC'07. 9th European Meeting on Ancient Ceramics, Budapest: Hungarian National Museum, 241-246

Day, P.M., C.G. Doumas, H. Erkanal, V. Kilikoglou, O. Kouka, M. Relaki, and V. Şahoglou 2009. New Light on the “Kastri Group”: A Petrographic and Chemical Investigation of Ceramics from Liman Tepe and Bakla Tepe, In Arkeometri Sonuçlari Toplantisi 24, 335-346.

Muller, N.S., V. Kilikoglou, P.M. Day, A. Hein and G. Vekinis 2009. The influence of temper on performance characteristics of cooking ware ceramics. In: K.T. Biró, V. Szilágyi, and A. Kreiter, eds., Vessels inside and outside. Proceedings of the Conference EMAC'07. 9th European Meeting on Ancient Ceramics, Budapest: Hungarian National Museum, 145-149.

Baxter, M.J., C.C. Beardah, I. Papageorgiou, M.A. Cau, P.M. Day and V. Kilikoglou 2008. On statistical approaches to the study of ceramic artefacts using geochemical and mineralogical data. Archaeometry 50, 1, 142-157.

Hein, A., N.S. Müller, P.M. Day and V. Kilikoglou 2008. Thermal Conductivity of archaeological ceramics: the effect of inclusions, porosity and firing temperature. Thermochimica Acta 480, 35-42.

Wilson, D.E., P.M. Day and N. Dimopoulou, 2008: The Gateway Port of Poros-Katsambas: Trade and Exchange Between North-central Crete and the Cyclades in EBI-II, In N. Brodie, J. Doole, G. Gavalas, and C. Renfrew (eds.) Horizon, a colloquium on the Prehistory of the Cyclades. Cambridge: McDonald Institute, 261-270.

Belfiore, C., P.M. Day, A. Hein, V. Kilikoglou, V. La Rosa, P. Mazzoleni and A. Pezzino 2007. Petrographic and chemical characterisation of pottery production of the Late Minoan I kiln at Haghia Triada, Crete, Archaeometry 49 (3), 621-653.

Doonan, R.C.P., P.M. Day and N. Dimopoulou-Rethemiotaki 2007. Lame excuses for emerging complexity in Early Bronze Age Crete: the metallurgical finds from Poros Katsambas and their context. In P.M. Day and R.C.P. Doonan (eds.) Metallurgy in the Early Bronze Age Aegean. Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology 7, Oxbow, Oxford, 98-122.

Dimopoulou-Rethemiotaki, N., D.E. Wilson and P.M. Day 2007. The earlier Prepalatial Settlement of Poros-Katsambas: craft production and exchange at the harbour town of Knossos. In P.M. Day and R.C.P. Doonan (eds.) Metallurgy in the Early Bronze Age Aegean. Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology 7, Oxbow, Oxford, 84-97.

Doonan, R.C.P. and P.M. Day 2007. Mixed origins and the origins of mixing: alloys and provenance in the Early Bronze Age Aegean. In P.M. Day and R.C.P. Doonan (eds.) Metallurgy in the Early Bronze Age Aegean. Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology 7, Oxbow, Oxford, 1-18.

Quinn, P. S. and P.M. Day 2007. Ceramic Micropalaeontology: The Analysis of Microfossils in Ancient Ceramics. Journal of Micropalaeontology 26: 159–168

Quinn, P. S. and P.M. Day 2007. Calcareous Microfossils in Bronze Age Aegean Ceramics: Illuminating Technology and Provenance. Archaeometry 49: 775–793.



  • Archaeology in the Laboratory
  • Thinking through Archaeology
  • Archaeological Materials


Administrative Duties

Administrative Duties

Level 2/3 Tutor

Deputy Undergraduate Admissions Officer 

Postgraduate Teaching Course Director MA Archaeology 

South East Asian Student Pastoral Officer