I am interested in using zooarchaeological methods to investigate the religion, ethnicity and cultural diversity of societies in the past. In particular, I focus on taphonomic studies of butchery and consumption practices, which may reveal some of the most pronounced differences between cultures and religions. My research revolves around the Jewish communities of the European Diaspora in medieval and early modern times. Additionally I am interested in changes in human-animals relations throughout the European Neolithic.
PhD project: The Identification of Jewish Patterns of Food Preparation and Consumption: a Zooarchaeological Approach to the Medieval and Early Modern Evidence from Central-Eastern Europe
Jewish culture is very distinct in terms of food consumption and its restrictions. Judaic laws which regulate butchery and meat consumption are well known and their history of observance has been researched, but the topic has been barely touched as concerns the most direct evidence of past consumption: the animal bones from archaeological sites. Zooarchaeological data can provide information not available from written sources, however an extensive study which combines those two lines of evidence on this topic is still largely missing, and this project aims to fill out this gap. It will focus on the characteristics of animal bone assemblages that can help in identifying ethnic and religious identity and use them to provide new details on the patterns of food production and consumption that characterised the central-eastern European Jewish Diaspora.
Due to strict religious rules on meat preparation and consumption – which include pork taboo, distinct ways of carcass processing, and prohibition of certain animal body parts – an archaeological assemblage of animal bones left by a Jewish community is likely to present distinct patterns, as demonstrated by largely preliminary studies on the subject carried out in different geographic areas. This project will use the analysis of archaeological animal bones, e.g. species and body part representation, and butchery patterns, to try to distinguish between Jewish and non-Jewish archaeological sites, and provide information about activity patterns as well as the social and economic status of Jewish communities. The issue of the meat trade between local Jewry and other communities will also be investigated. Case studies will be used to compare this information between different geographical regions and time periods. Zooarchaeological data will be used alongside contemporary local written history sources for comparative as well as integration purposes.
This project will contribute in a novel way to our knowledge of the history and culture of Jewish habitation in Europe. By analysing zooarchaeologically a culture that is long-lasting and well documented, the project will also make an excellent case study for the potential of the study of animal bones for the identification of ethnic identities.
Masters in Methods and Theory in Archaeology (Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, 2012)
Dissertation title: Zooarchaeology and taphonomy of faunal remains from Early and Middle Neolithic site Kopydłowo 6, located on Kujawy-Wielkopolska border, Poland.
|Awards and Scholarships:
Awards and Scholarships:
University of Sheffield Faculty Scholarship 2013-2016
University of Sheffield Arts & Humanities Research Council Scholarship 2013-2016
Before undertaking my PhD I worked as a contract field archaeologist for over 4 years and spent over 700 days in the field on various sites from every time period from middle Palaeolithic cave sites to modern age city sites. My work included all aspects of field work including excavation, recording, survey, and leading a team, as well as undertaking post-excavation analysis and writing site reports.
2013, autumn semester. Graduate Teaching Assistant, AAP107 The Origins of Humanity (Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield)
2013, autumn semester. Demonstrator, AAP317 Archaeozoology (Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield)
|Conferences and Publications:
Conferences and Publications:
Lisowski, M. (forthcoming 2013). A pit filled with pigs: an investigation of butchery and consumption of pork from a Middle/Late Neolithic pit from the site of Widziszewo 17, Poland. In Proceedings of PZAF 2012, Assemblage, eds. A. Trentacoste, and E. Wright. Sheffield: University of Sheffield.
Lisowski, M. (forthcoming 2013). Hides and horn sheaths: a case study of processed skulls and horn cores from the Early-Middle Neolithic site of Kopydlowo 6, Poland. In Proceedings of PZAF 2012, Assemblage, eds. A. Trentacoste, and E. Wright. Sheffield: University of Sheffield.
Vlaciky, M., and M. Lisowski. 2012. Taphonomical study of faunal remains from Stajnia Cave, Poland – preliminary results. In Stajnia Cave monograph, ed. M. Urbanowski. Szczecin.
Lisowski, M. 2012. Live history of animals in zooarchaeology of feasts. In Biografie żywiołów. Kulturowy wymiar świata, eds. M. Kania, and D. Kobialka. Poznan: KNSA IP.