The Andrew Sherratt Fund
Grants of up to £1000 awarded to postgraduate students of any academic institution in the world for research projects in Old World Prehistory.
Applications for the 2018 fund are now closed. The 2019 fund will open for applications in December 2018.
In celebration of the gifted vision of our colleague Prof. Andrew Sherratt regarding old World Prehistory, a memorial fund was established after his death in 2006 by the Department of Archaeology, University of Sheffield, to support international scholarship particularly for those at the beginning of their careers.
The purpose of the fund is to assist postgraduate students in Old World Prehistory, from academic institutions anywhere in the world, to travel or gain access to resources that would otherwise be unavailable to them.
The Department of Archaeology invites applications annually for grants from the Fund for amounts up to £1,000.
Applications for the 2018 Fund are now closed but will open again before the end of December 2018 for the 2019 fund. Applicants are required to provide their name, affiliation and qualifications, the name and email address of a referee, and a statement explaining in no more than c. 300 words (2000 characters) how much they are applying for, exactly why it is needed and the relevance and importance of the proposed research trip to their current research project.
Reports from previous Andrew Sherratt Fund recipients
PhD Candidate, University of Lisbon
Mid-Holocene hunter-gatherers and shell midden site structure and functionality in Atlantic Europe and Japan
Shell middens are a world-wide phenomenon, with sites found adjacent to different aquatic environments. Japan is one of the densest areas in prehistoric shell middens, having more than 3000 sites attributed to the Jomon period (Takahashi et al., 1998; Matsui, 1999; Habu et al., 2011), which is generally defined as the time when the Japanese Archipelago was inhabited by mainly hunter-gatherers groups with pottery use for more than 10000 years (Habu, 2004).
The Andrew Sherratt Fund covered part of the travel expenses of my six-month stay at the Laboratory of Archaeology of Okayama University, Japan, where I was supervised by Prof. Naoko Matsumoto. During this period, I was able to collect a large amount of information, through bibliographical research and the analysis of lithic material, and I could analyse diverse Jomon shell midden sites and aquatic contexts. I also profited from the discussions on shell middens and the Jomon period with different researchers.
English publications on Japanese Archaeology have recently increased, but they are far from being representative of the overall research. During this stay, I could notice the particularities of archaeological practise in Japan, dominated by rescue archaeological fieldworks made on an administrative basis. The amount of obtained data is impressive, but most results are only published in Japanese-written field reports, local/regional journals and monographies. Despite recent efforts to publish the field reports online, many of them are still inaccessible. Moreover, a lot of Japanese archaeologists lack fluency in other languages, limiting the contact with foreign researchers and the internationalization of their work. Under these circumstances, directly approaching the documentation sources and researchers becomes essential.
During my stay, I undertook my bibliographical research on the Jomon period, shell middens and lithic production, namely at the libraries of the Laboratory, Okayama University and Prefecture. I re-analysed the knapped lithic material from Hikozaki shell midden (Okayama pref.), the largest Early Jomon shell midden in Western Japan, with an extensive occupation from the Initial to the Final Jomon. The material was deposited at the History and Culture Centre of Nadasaki and the Centre for Archaeological Operations of Okayama City. A techno-typological and spatial analysis supported by GIS software allowed me to obtain more information on lithic production at the site and the contexts of deposition of the artefacts in relation to the structures and the stratigraphy. I also observed Jomon lithic collections from Okadai Tsushima site at the Centre of Archaeological Operations of Okayama University and Asanebana shell midden at the Okayama University of Science.
By visiting distinct sites, associated museums / archaeological operations centres and aquatic environments in the Seto Inland Sea, Tokyo Bay and Biwako lake, I established contact with different realities and archaeologists, and was able to better understand the diversity of the Jomon shell middens, especially the differences between Western and Eastern Japan, as well as the research problems of these sites. I also received some training on Jomon archaeology and Japanese research methodologies, by joining the doctoral course seminars and other activities of the Laboratory of Archaeology in Okayama University, conferences and fieldworks, notably the shell gathering fieldwork at Banzu tideland, Tokyo bay (organized by Prof. Takeji Toizumi from Waseda University and Shinya Shoda from Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties), and the excavation of the Jomon site Iwabushi, at Tottori Prefecture, directed by Prof. Naoko Matsumoto.
I am extremely grateful for the support of the Andrew Sherratt Fund and to all the Japanese archaeologists who assisted me on this (not so easy) journey to collect data on Jomon shell middens, which represents a crucial step for my comparative research project.
Habu, J., 2004. Ancient Jomon of Japan. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge [etc.].
PhD candidate, University of Belgrade
The Andrew Sherratt Grant covered my travel and living expenses during one month stay at the Laboratory of Technological and Functional Analyses of Prehistoric Artefacts (LTFAPA), 'Sapienza' University of Rome, Italy.
Work and training at LTFAPA were under the supervision of professor Cristina Lemorini, where I was involved in series of activities that had a goal to extend my knowledge on use-wear analysis on chipped stone artefacts. Activities described beneath were directly connected to my PhD thesis entitled Mesolithic-Neolithic
1) observation and analysis of the LTFAPA’s reference collection
The first stage of the study consisted of observing one of the most famous reference collection located at LTFAPA. All sorts of materials (hard, medium, soft) and activities were analysed under the Stereomicroscope (Nikon SMZ-U 0.75x to 7.5x). All the observations and notes were checked with the professor and discussed in details. The key points were examining the edge rounding and differences between the materials together with the impact of the other variables (a motion that was used for, raw material quality, etc). All the experimental tools from reference collection were later on treated with the Metallographic microscope as well.
The main goal of these series of experiments was to see how the traces developed and note the process using the highpower approach. This was of the utmost importance for my future research and thesis since the
The experiment I made helped me also with an understanding of the cognitive strategies of prehistoric communities or individuals. Edge efficiency, raw material quality, but also the chosen area for use, angle, and
This study stay at LTFAPA, 'Sapienza' the University of Rome would not be possible without the generous Andrew Sherratt Grant, and I am extremely grateful for this tremendous opportunity. This award supported my complete travel and living cost in Rome in September 2017, together with laboratory equipment fundamental for use-wear analysis.
Che Hsien Tsai
PhD Candidate, University of Sheffield
A time of change? Technological transfer in Ceramics of the EBI-II Aegean
Studies of the Early Bronze Age Aegean have often stressed the transition from EB I to EB II as a turning point in terms of technology, the organisation of craft production, and the ways in which people socialised and interacted in a material world. Such discussions involved craft specialisation, developments in pyrotechnology (primarily metallurgy) and in ceramic terms, an increase in the exchange of pottery and its increased use in more formalised settings of commensality. Pottery provides us with the possibility of examining technological and organisational changes through examining production, such as standardisation, developments in firing technology, and its imitation of other materials, primarily metal vessels.
The recent excavations at the prehistoric settlement of Kontopigado-Alimos in West Attica presents the rare opportunity to examine such early development in pottery production. Not only does it have clear evidence for pottery production, it also has plentiful evidence of metallurgical activity (silver and copper alloys) and obsidian working. It hosts well-dated deposits of EH I and EH II periods which have a unique potential to study the technological changes in pottery in the diachronic sequence.
The Andrew Sherratt Fund has supported part of my travel expenses to West Attica between January and June which allow me to investigate the Early Helladic pottery assemblage (approximately 6000 sherds) at Kontopigado.
During my trips to West Attica, I was able to carry out an in-depth study of the pottery assemblage in terms of style, fabric and forming techniques. The preliminary result confirmed the following:
1) Kontopigado is one of important pottery production centres during the EB I-II period. The EH I pottery is characterised by medium fine slipped and burnished shallow bowls and bowls, semi-coarse plain pottery and coarse cheesepots. The EH II pottery assemblage shows a spectrum of closely related fabrics which is possibly developed from the EH I period. The new appearance of small fine tableware and a wider range of shapes such as cups and dishes are mostly associated with the very fine fabrics. The highly burnished surface and the colour of the slip leads to the metallic appearance of the fine tableware. Furthermore, the discovered wasters not only indicate the existence of pottery production workshop(s) on the site but also confirm the fine tableware are produced on the local workshop(s).
2) Close connection with other production centres such as Aegina and the Cyclades. Both EH I and EH II periods present the Aeginetan and possibly Cycladic fabrics all over the pottery units. The decorated feature on the lip is shared by both the Aeginetan and few local vessels suggesting a possible imitation or sharing decorative elements. Furthermore, discussions with Dr Kerasia Douni have confirmed that the local white-slipped finewares from Kontopigado are present as imports in nearby Koropi, Attica.
3) The revolutionary technological changes in pottery production during the EB I-II period. The change from red slipped and burnished pottery in the EH I to the early EH II pottery which is thin-walled, skeuomorphs metal drinking and pouring vessels requires a radical change in firing technology. The introduction of fine tableware with the metallic appearance in the EB II period and the marked stylistic and technological changes in pottery production existed not only at Kontopigado but also throughout the wider Aegean area at the same time.
By the end of my trip, it is worth asking how distant centres come to be characterised by similar practices at the same time? Therefore, the aim is to explain how such specific technological developments, particularly in the control of temperature and atmosphere in firing, but also in the radically changed choices of raw materials, happen simultaneously. Considering the existing ceramic traditions in different areas and the common phenomenon of very fine tableware in the EB II Aegean suggests we might rethink the level of connectivity and the flow of information and techniques in potting communities. It allows us to consider the relationship between horizontal and vertical technological transmission and the differences in scale of technological change from local communities of practice to broad patterns of the adoption and innovation over a wider geographical area.
I am extremely grateful for this award as it helped me to start my research trip to gain access to the core material and information that are not able to obtain in the UK.
PhD Candidate, University of Zagreb
Dietary Practices of Neolithic populations in Croatia
PhD Candidate, University of York
Archaeological implications of the MIS 5 coastal geomorphological reconstruction in central Italy
The coastal area of southern Latium between Rome and the Monte Circeo is characterised by a considerable presence of prehistoric sites, with particular reference to Middle Palaeolithic open-air sites, of which over eighty have been identified at present (Gatta et al. 2016). This density makes the region an excellent place to study Neanderthals.
Unfortunately, most of these open-air sites returned abundant lithic industries but no bones or other datable remains, which mostly did not preserve due to the destructive action of the acidic volcanic component of the coastal area deposits. Therefore, a dating of these sites has often only been possible basing on typological studies of lithic industries recovered. However the so-called “Pontinian” (Blanc, 1939), the particular lithic industry of the region, cannot provide detailed small-scale chronologies since it is highly standardised and uniform for thousands of years. A different approach was, therefore, necessary to provide further age constraints to the archaeological sites of the region.
The Andrew Sherratt award offered me the extraordinary opportunity to carry out extensive investigations in the coastal Latium area, together with a collaborative group of researchers including geologists and palaeontologists, fulfilling a first chronological constraint for some areas where several sites have been discovered. The project consisted of three phases: the first involved surveys of the coastal area and collection of the abundant lithic finds and rare faunal remains; the second phase concerned a geomorphological study of the paleosurfaces combined with U-series, ESR and 40Ar/39Ar dating, following the methodologies already successfully outlined by Marra et al. (2015; 2016); finally, a complete study of finds from each site has been carried out. Lithic industries were compared to analyse whether technological or typological changes were detectable among sites with different chronologies, similarly, bone remains were analysed to age constraint the presence of several faunal taxa in central Italy.
Results obtained so far, albeit preliminary, are of great scientific interest and improve our understanding of the region during prehistory. We have been able to provide an age reference to several key sites of the Latium region and carried out a complete study of finds discovered. The latter allowed us to notice some striking evidence regarding the local palaeontology and lithic technology and will soon be published. In addition to shed light on some relevant Middle Palaeolithic sites and the Neanderthal presence of central Italy, this study also has a secondary role, improving the understanding of geological processes at the origin of deposits formation. This research indicates that there is a potential for future studies. A large number of open-air sites are still undated at present or generally considered to be Middle Palaeolithic, the application of this multidisciplinary approach to further paleosurfaces could partially remedy this situation and provide at least a relative dating for some of them.
I am extremely grateful to the Andrew Sherratt Fund that has contributed to the travel expenses of this research. Moreover, I had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge of the region, learn new scientific skills and create new work connections with international scholars.
Blanc, A.C. 1939. Un giacimento aurignaziano medio nella Grotta del Fossellone al Monte Circeo, Atti della XXVII Riunione della Società Italiana per il Progresso delle Scienze: 1–7.
PhD candidate, University of Sheffield
Being the only known Early Bronze Age (EBA) site on the island of Samos (eastern Aegean), Heraion has offered the opportunity to undertake a holistic study of the pottery and related domestic, stratified contexts. Recent excavations (2009-2013) revealed rich ceramic assemblages spanning the 3rd millennium BC, which among other research objectives form the basis for defining the locally-manufactured versus imported pottery and, therefore, determining for the first time a secure provenance through the application of an integrated typological/morphological, macroscopic, petrographic, and SEM analytical methodology.
The diachronic examination of the ceramic data includes two broad objectives which form part of my ongoing PhD research and were partly implemented due to the generous Andrew Sherratt Fund grant. More particularly, this award offered me the opportunity to carry out a number of trips between December 2016 and May 2017 with the aim to investigate both pottery circulation issues and questions related with the reconstruction of the local ceramic production system (firing regime, surface modification, etc.). Since the ceramic material under study is almost completely unpublished, the data collected over the period of these trips is highly significant and original and provide a complete picture to date regarding specific research questions of the project.
The second aim was focused on the reconstruction of certain technological steps of the pottery manufacturing process through the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) analysis. The training on the use of the SEM equipment was carried out at the NCSR Demokritos Institute at Athens, where I also selected the potential samples that represented the main fabric groups identified through the petrographic analysis and various vessel shapes and function categories. A number of 50 samples were singled out while in Athens, although finally 22 were analysed at the University of Barcelona. The SEM aimed at characterising micromorphologically the fabrics and surface of the samples under examination, including the estimation of the firing temperature and atmosphere, microstructure of the clay body and discrimination between calcareous or non-calcareous compositions, and surface treatment (slip, decoration, etc.). The acquired data were further integrated with the macroscopic and microscopic (petrographic) analytical results, the overall study of which offer a unique opportunity to unravel diachronic changes/continuities of the technological processes and subsequently infer possible craft or cultural developments at a local scale.
I am grateful to the Andrew Sherratt Fund award that has contributed towards my travel and accommodation expenses, for without I would not be able to undertake significant parts of this work and especially the SEM analysis in Barcelona. Through these research trips I had the opportunity to deepen my knowledge on certain aspects of my PhD topic, learn new scientific and analytical techniques, and expand my networks with international scholars working at different areas.
PhD Candidate, Bournemouth University
Colour Out of Space – Colour in the monuments of Neolithic Atlantic Europe
Colour is an important human experience – the colours in our daily lives can signify danger, special occasions, social class, membership of certain groups, and many other expressions of human behaviour. The aim of this research is to survey a sample of Neolithic monuments across Atlantic Europe, and see if there are any commonalities, significant patterns, and demonstrable signs of specific colour selection that may hint at colour being an important part of Neolithic cosmology – regionally, locally, or culturally. To supplement data recorded at sites in Wales and England, this research trip was aimed at visiting sites in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, to look at similarities and differences as compared to British sites.
Sites were visited and recorded in three ways – by use of a reflective journal to document weather conditions, lighting, the setting and atmosphere of the sites, and any reactions by visitors; by using a purpose built colour sensor to record stone colours; and recording my own perception of the colours present in the site.
The boulder clay of the region is rich in stone deposited by receding glaciers at the end of the last ice age. The stones are everywhere – gardens are built around them, streets lined with them, art crafted from them. The Hunebeds of the Drenthe region represent a dense clustering of Neolithic funerary monuments, and today they are connected via a series of paths and cycles routes, a modern day procession around the ancient ritual landscape. Beginning at the Hunebed Centre in Borger, where the largest hunebed in the region is located, a survey of over a dozen monuments was overtaken over the course of several days. Although data is yet to be formally analysed, it is immediately clear that the stone here has a distinct element of colour selection – the vivid pink and oranges of the granite, contrasted with deep greys, or pale beige – some with a surface that sparkles with surface inclusions, others smooth to the touch. The initial pattern seems to be one of contrast – that in one area of each monument; stones stand out from their neighbours due to a particular colour or, in some cases, noticeable texture. Over the coming weeks analysis will occur to see if this occurs in particular spots in relation to compass direction, particular solar orientations, and specific areas of each monument (i.e., in a specific corner of a chamber or section of passage).
An island popular with tourists for its white cliffs, beaches, and unspoilt natural landscapes, Møn is a small island with a big story to tell. The remains of Neolithic chambered tombs are well preserved, for the main part easy to access, and entering them is an experience in itself. A small sample of five sites was taken on the island, due to accessibility of sites (some are sited in wheat field that cannot be accessed in the summer). As was the case in Drenthe, initial readings of the data collected suggests a deliberate choice of contrasting stone, particularly for the stones within the chambers themselves; the most startling example of this was the chamber at Sprovedyssen, where the stone opposite the entrance to the chamber stood out not only for its striking pale orange colour, but for the tactile, rugged surface.
Another region rich in monuments, lying in clusters across the landscapes. The town of Falköping was the hub for this portion of the trip, home to both the Falbygdens museum and a cluster of monuments that have become intricately woven into the fabric of suburbia, forming parts of gardens, parks, and even industrial estates. Sites around the town were surveyed, along with the group just outside the town at Karleby, and a passage grave at the multi-period funerary landscape at Ekornavallen, just north of Falköping. Interesting patterns emerged – some of the sites used almost uniform colour in their construction, with only a single stone in contrast; whilst others used dramatically contrasting stones throughout construction. Small nuances in colour will be picked up by analysis of the colour readings taken with the sensor. Interestingly, the local stone here is rich in fossils (polished examples can be seen in local buildings, notably for the internal steps of the Falbygdens museum), though they are rarely seen in the stones selected for monument construction – with the exception of Kyrkerör in Falköping, where one of the passage stones has a large fossil in relief on the internal face.
Further analysis of these and other site visits will be presented at EAA Maastricht (paper available online after close of conference), online at http://suspiciousminds.wordpress.com, and in forthcoming papers.
|Laura Baiges Sotos||
Laura Baiges Sotos
PhD candidate, University of Sheffield
Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda
PhD candidate, University of Sheffield
My doctoral research aims to investigate and understand the phenomena of the Early Bronze Age Aegean marble figurines which specific roles and functions remained enigmatic. What is particularly interesting is that similar marble figures appear in different but related cultures in a wide region of the Aegean world, not just including figurines from the quiet well-known Cycladic island and Crete, but also the generally less well investigated western Anatolia and to a certain extent, the Greek mainland. Using careful contextual information I am investigating how these figures crosscut and interconnect cultures in different but related regions and whether and in what ways their roles and functions may differ in different regions. The functions and roles of these figurines remain enigmatic, because until very recently the major part of them have had little or no associated contextual information. However, in the last few years excavations and publications have greatly increased the number with full and reliable contextual information, and my project is to collect, systematize and analyse such information in the hope that this may help shed light on the functions and significance of these artefacts.
The figurines in question are in different museums in Greece and Turkey. One of my major aims is to gain access to the archaeological materials and observe all of these artefacts in order to examine the figures at first-hand, looking for further information about their patterns and regularities in their physical features, characteristics and conditions such as signs of pigments, breakage, repairs, which are not always clear from publications.
The Andrew Sherratt memorial fund helped me to undertake and carry out a research trip in Turkey where I gained access to a significant number of the southwest Anatolian figurines on display in different Museums in southwest Turkey. I am so grateful for this generous grant which gave me an excellent opportunity and entirely covered my travel costs and living expenses during one month stay (23 October – 19 November) in Turkey.
During this period I was able to visit the Archaeological Museums in Antalya, Afyon Archaeological Museum in Afyonkarahisar, Archaeological Museum in Konya, Hierapolis Archaeological Museum in Denizli, Istanbul Archaeology Museum in Istanbul and the Museum of Anatolian Civilization in Ankara. These museum visits allowed me to see and observe more than 100 figurines on display coming from secure archaeological contexts. They also enabled me to observe the archaeological materials from a close viewpoint with several aspects and allowed me to take photos, make notes and draw the figurines from first-hand.
Besides the analysations of the figurines, I visited not only important archaeological museums and sites such as Kusura, Beycesultan, Çatalhöyük but also I found opportunity to work on my database in research centres (such as Research Center for Mediterranean Civilizations, Koç University, Antalya) and in the libraries of different Archaeological Departments ( such as Ankara University in Ankara, Boğaziçi University in Istanbul) where I had the chance to build out academic relationships. Expending my networks and using my recently gained connections, I also would like to take the opportunity to undertake and carry out further research and study in Turkey in the near future.
I am so grateful for the Andrew Sherratt fund which entirely covered my travel and living cost allowing me to gain access to the archaeological materials with further study and observation of the artefacts, expanding my database of my research. All of these freshly gained data and information will be able to contribute to the better understanding of the phenomenon of the southwest Anatolian marble figures which has been essential for my research.
PhD candidate, Indian Institute of Science Education & Research Mohali
Discovery of Prehistoric Sites in the Central Thar Desert (India)
This project has been started with the aim of discovering new prehistoric sites in the central Thar Desert. The Andrew Sherratt fund supported the travel, food, stay and field supply expenses of this research. The target area was arid core of the desert which is covering Jaisalmer district of Western Rajasthan State. The objective of selecting this area was to fulfil the gap between Middle Palaeolithic of the Sindh (Pakistan) and the Prehistoric Site Complex of Didwana in the Rajasthan (India). These two ends are shaping western and eastern margins of the Thar Desert respectively. About thousand km distance has been covered by a car from the benchmark Palaeolithic site of the Thar Desert, 16R (of Didwana complex) to the 400 km west near the Kanod playa lake of Jaisalmer district. About twenty locations have been marked for calcrete deposit in the geological formation to understand quaternary stratigraphy and about ten localities have been identified for archaeological potential. Palaeolothic site of Jankipura (Didwana), Kathoti, Jayal, have been revisited in Nagaur district. Dharna, Rol (east), Chenar, Nagaur town, Indas, Singar, Panchori, Palina, Lordiyan, Jaloda has been visited (Nagaur and Jodhpur District) for the archaeological potential in the intermediate zone from eastern margin towards arid core.
Rich Palaeolithic site in primary context has been discovered near Jayal village, and many other sites are marked for the similar artefacts occurrence in the surroundings. The landscape in this area is filled with aeolian/ glacial silt successively followed by lithic artefact occurrences along with thick calciumrich hard sediments (calcrete). Although calcrete layer in contact with red sediment does not reveal any Palaeolithic. However, the superimposing red sediment has microlithic (i.e. fluted core from the bank of a pond in Nagaur town) and uppermost sand formation is containing the antiquity of ceramic-based younger cultures (chalcolithic or early historic) e.g. Singar village. Remarkably, in this region Microlithic technology did continue during late Mesolithic, Chalcolithic and Iron Age. Sometimes fine sediment based on hard kankar deposit also yielded microlithic and pottery remains together.
Eóin Wesley Parkinson
PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge
This research investigates variations in body size and habitual behaviour in human populations from the central Mediterranean during the Neolithic and Copper Age through 3D scanning technology and metric analysis of long bone morphology. This PhD project ‘Body size, skeletal biomechanics and habitual behaviour in the Neolithic and Copper Age central Mediterranean’ informs on how socio-cultural, environmental and economic change impacted on the human skeleton in prehistory.
Osteologists have used skeletal biomechanics to reconstruct activity in archaeological populations, with methods traditionally focused on structural analysis of the long bones in cross section. This project uses 3D laser scanning technology and cross sectional geometric (CSG) properties to biomechanically examine the morphology of the humerus, femur and tibia (Davies, Shaw and Stock, 2012). Analysis was undertaken using a portable NextEngine 3D laser scanner and standard osteometric equipment. Previous studies of long bone biomechanics have lent insights into subsistence strategies, mobility behaviours, activity and sexual dimorphism in past populations, whilst analysis of body size, represented by body mass and stature estimations, acts as a general indicator of health in past populations (Ruff, 2008; Larsen, 2015).
The Andrew Sherratt fund contributed towards my travel expenses for a three week research visit to northern Italy to analyse human remains from the Copper Age necropolis of Forlì-Celletta curated at Università Ca' Foscari di Venizia and Middle Neolithic caves of Liguria curated at the Museo Archeologico del Finale, Genova. During this period I was able to collect a large amount of data from northern Italy which will be drawn into broader comparative analysis other with Neolithic and Copper Age groups from Malta, Sardinia, central and southern Italy and the Alps.
My time in northern Italy also provided me with an opportunity to visit the Museo Civico Archeologico, Bologna, which allowed me to further engage with the archaeology of northern Italy and contextualise my ongoing research, whilst also allowing me to work alongside active researchers in Italian bioarchaeology and prehistory.
Hannah Jingwen Lee
MSc Student, University of Sheffield
The generous donation of the Andrew Sherratt Fund allowed me to undertake a six-week field season on the University of Cambridge/Boeotian Ephorate of Antiquities excavation at Prosilio, Boeotia, central Greece. The goal of this excavation was to open Tomb 2 from the Prosilio chamber tomb cemetery, excavate the dromos and undertake excavation and analysis of the chamber. The Prosilio tombs date from the Mycenaean period (Late Bronze Age) and are located ca. 1km away from the palatial centre of Orchomenos, which dates to the same time period. Mycenaean chamber tombs are rock-cut tombs cut into soft limestone deposits, comprising a dromos, or passageway, a stomion, the entrance to the chamber which is often blocked with a dry-stone wall, and the chamber, where burials and grave goods are deposited. Such tombs can be variable in terms of construction and deposition patterns; for example, benches are sometimes found running along chamber walls and burials have sometimes been found in dromoi. The project design emphasised a holistic and multidisciplinary excavation which aimed to obtain as much data as possible about Prosilio Tomb 2. To this end, the team included a GIS and survey specialist, an osteologist, a geoarchaeologist and a curator as well as the usual complement of students and workmen.
I have pre-existing ties with the Prosilio project, and it was significant in informing my interest in osteology and Greek prehistory. Having participated in the very first field season in summer 2014, I was present for the discovery of Tomb 2 and the realisation that what we had here was a monumental chamber tomb with an 18-metre long dromos. After the 2017 field season, it can confidently be said that Tomb 2 is one of the largest Mycenaean chamber tombs ever discovered. Thus, having the opportunity to be there right from the start was an incredible experience, cementing my budding interest in funerary archaeology and allowing me to realise that I was also interested in studying osteology, preferably in the context of Bronze Age Greek archaeology. Indeed, I am currently completing a part-time MSc in Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology at the University of Sheffield. The Prosilio project also had ties to Sheffield, and I was extremely grateful and honoured to have been able to meet Dr John Bennet, currently on secondment at the British School at Athens, and work again with Dr Ioanna Moutafi, who completed her PhD in human osteology at Sheffield.
Therefore, my summer fieldwork allowed me to gain more experience in all aspects of a field season – survey, excavation and finds processing. Most pertinently, I was able to assist Dr Moutafi in excavating and removing the human remains found in Tomb 2, valuable experience which will stand me in good stead for my MSc dissertation, which will also focus on a Late Bronze Age chamber tomb and the analysis of the skeletal material found there. I am grateful to the Andrew Sherratt fund for covering accommodation expenses for this trip, which has been a formative experience in many ways.
MA Student, University of Basque Country
The Cantabrian Mountains in the North of Spain are a natural accident which delimits the cultural transmission between the Ebro valley and the Cantabrian Region. Abundant evidence of contacts has been attested between both during the Pleistocene showing the circulation of raw materials and, probably, technological knowledge. However, no research has been undertaken to highlight the cultural influences during the Holocene.
My MD research aims to explore the cultural influences in pottery technology during the Bronze Age, focusing on an important and relevant archaeological site, San Adrian Cave. This cave is located at Aizkorri range and it constitutes a natural pathway between the Golf of Biscay and the Ebro Valley. Applying mineralogical techniques, this research aims to explore the raw material procurement in pottery technology, and the different technological choices employed in the manufacture. The relevance of the research is focused on the current state of the art of the period in the Basque Country. It is an unknown period and the research is somewhat obsolete, also, the studies carried out in the Cantabrian Region are focused on prestige goods and funerary contexts, something that makes we ignore how was the structure and organization of this communities. Focusing on pottery technology, this research has allowed us to reconstruct the social behaviour of the population who lived in San Adrian during the Bronze Age.
The Andrew Sherratt Award Fund covered the expenses of my one-month research trip to University of Sheffield, to assist to the course of Introduction to Ceramic Petrography at the Department of Archaeology, in order to perform thin section analysis on the Bronze Age pottery technology, which was a crucial trip and give me the opportunity to improve my skills in this topic. In Sheffield I worked under the supervision of prof. Peter Day and his team in the laboratory of petrography, one of the leading teaching departments in UK, specially in ceramic petrography and it has a very strong record supporting research in different parts of the world. I am extremely grateful for this award as it helped me during a crucial stage of my research and offered me the opportunity to study a new technique, for without I would not be able to undertake significant parts of this work.
MSc Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology student, University of Sheffield
The Perspective of the Invisible: An Osteoarchaeological Approach to Understanding Childhood in Ancient Boeotia, Greece
The generous award provided by the Andrew Sherratt fund supported my one-month research trip to Athens, Greece in order to perform data collection on a subadult population as a part of my MSc dissertation. The subadult demographic, in this study defined as any individual aged 18 or younger, has been widely ignored, overlooked, and discarded in past archaeological contexts. This research was conducted at the Fitch Laboratory located at the British School at Athens. The ability to study this material at the BSA also allowed me access to key bibliographic resources, which are not available at the University of Sheffield library, as well as the ability to translate the previous studies of this site which were only published in Greek.
The osteological material was excavated from the site of Acraephia in Boeotia, Central Greece. This material, as well as cemetery information from this site, was studied in an attempt to shed new light on childhood and mobility (social as well as genetic) over the course of the Archaic period to the Roman period (700BC-400AD) within one continuously used cemetery. Relevant previous studies on subadults have exhibited a centralized focus on Athens and drew conclusions using cultural materials and literary sources as primary data. The very limited and biased historical accounts on the region of Boeotia necessitates the study of all available archaeological evidence, which studying at the BSA has provided me with.
The cemetery’s periods of use span a time of intermittent war and peace with tensions both within and between the regions of Greece starting in the late archaic which culminated to the Persian wars (480BC), the Peloponnesian war (431–404 BC), the imposition of the Macedonian rule by Phillip the First and Alexander the Great (353 BC – 323 BC) and others, which eventually ended with the occupation of this region by the Romans. The city of Acraephia and its associated cemetery survived the entirety of these events. The constant periods of war and destruction would not only have a direct health effect on the population, but it would also encourage population mobility within and between the regions of Greece. This would manifest as fluidity in culture, kinship relations, and social mobility, which can be observed within skeletal and mortuary data. The two main questions my research aims at addressing pertain to:
a) life quality changes within the subadult population as attested through osteobiographical markers on health and disease
My analysis employed an interdisciplinary approach utilizing traditional osteological methods and limited published funerary data from the cemetery at Acraephia to analyze childhood and the role of subadults in ancient Boeotia contemporary with the cemetery’s use. This data was then compared with the popularized Athenian model of childhood to observe correlations and deviations. The osteoarchaeological evidence of the non-adult subsample were also combined with data on adults collected by Dr. Efthymia Nikita (The Cyprus Institute), as well as with mortuary data provided by the excavators of this material (Drs. Victoria Sabetai and Alexandra Harami) and historical information.
The examination of preservation, demography, paleopathology, and kinship provided insights to:
Given the poor preservation, the wealth of information provided by the skeletal material further affirms the assertion that the study of the osteology of subadults provides valuable insights in bioarchaeological contexts. This ongoing project headed by Dr. Efthymia Nikita promises to yield a wealth of comparative information of an important region of ancient Greece through the study of adults as well as children, enabling a holistic view of each time period based on skeletal and mortuary analyses.
The ability to study this material at every phase of the post-excavation process, collaborate with academic professionals during research collection, and being exposed to an exemplary laboratory environment made this an invaluable experience for myself as an archaeologist. I am incredibly grateful to BSA for hosting me and to the Andrew Sherratt fund for making my travel and stay possible.
MA student, Ege University
First of all, I would like to thank Sheffield University for making it possible for me to take advantage of the Andrew Sherratt Fund 2017. This fund have been covered the costs of visiting the Mesolithic sites in Greece, which constitute an important part of my Master's thesis.
The subject of my thesis is “The Evaluation of Taş Ocakları Mevkii (Mordogan) Chipped Stone Tools In The Context of The Mesolithic Aegean”. Within the scope in this research, I'm examining the Western Anatolia, Aegean islands, the mainland of Greece and Eastern Mediterranean Early Holocene hunter collecting communities. The basis of my research is the technological and typological examination of the Mesolithic chipped stone tools are found in 2015 Karaburun Archaeological Survey and the examination of the relationship with other regions. In Western Anatolia, until researched the Karaburun, there isn't any area dating the period of Mesolithic. For this reason, Greece and islands, where intensive studies have been carried out, constitute the main Mesolithic areas that I can compare.
In the first part of my research trip, I visited Stélida, which a Palaeolithic and Mesolithic site in Naxos Island. I took part in the project for a week as a team member with the support and approval of the director of the Stélida Archaeological Research Project Assoc. Prof. Tristan CARTER. I joined the fieldwork and found the opportunity to study the Mesolithic chipped stone tools that were unearthed in the Naxos Archaeology Museum. I have studied the chipped stone tools typologically and compared it typologically and technological with the chipped stone tools found in Karaburun Archaeological Survey. In addition to, I visited a new Mesolithic area named Roos, which was discovered in Naxos Island. I would like to thank Assoc. Prof. Tristan CARTER and his team members for their hospitality and helping me with my research.
In the second part of my research, I visited Ikaria Island, one of the island near the Western shores of the Anatolian Peninsula. Despite the completion of the excavations, I found the opportunity to visit the Mesolithic settlement area and examined the natural environment of the Mesolithic hunted-gatherers.
PhD Candidate, University of York
Understanding Late Pleistocene landscapes of Central Italy: a multidisciplinary approach
The primary case study of this thesis are the finds collected from the site "Cava Muracci", a travertine quarry which has been the subject of archaeological investigations since 2012. This site has provided faunal remains among the most numerous of the region, a large number of coprolites of cave hyena and a good lithic assemblage. A multi-disciplinary approach, based on archaeozoological, palaeoecological and geological data, provided the original contribution of this research to the archaeological knowledge of the territory. The integration of these approaches will allow us to paint a broader and more complex picture of environmental factors on a regional scale, making a great contribution to shed light on a field of Italian prehistory still in shadow. The study is well established, a range of focused analysis have already been undertaken, including radiocarbon dating, stratigraphic analyses (Gatta et al., in press; Gatta & Marra, in press), pollen analysis on coprolites (Gatta et al., 2016) and taphonomic and taxonomic studies of fauna remains. The results obtained so far, although preliminary and worthy of further study, have exceeded all expectations demonstrating the importance of this research not only for archaeology but also geology and ecology of the region.
The Andrew Sherratt Award supported a series of crucial trips between UK and Italy for the realisation of surveys in the excavation area, collection and transport of samples for analyses and the realisation of the summer excavation. I am extremely grateful for this award as it helped me during a crucial stage of my research and offered me the opportunity to carry out analyses which had a huge impact on my PhD and were subsequently published.
Thirdly, being able to see material evidence from the sites which is not published, allowed me to see the larger picture of craft within these societies. Being able to look at ceramic vessels as well as metallurgical ceramics allowed me to understand craft and traditions. On Crete, there is a tradition of pyrotechnical ceramics, where the vessels bear perforations. Vessels from braziers, to incense burners, all bearing perforations. This shows a development of pyrotechnical ceramics from domestic items to metallurgical. Showing how craftspeople have adapted their skill from one pyrotechnical activity to another.
This research trip not only allowed me to gain access to material and information, but allowed me to gain a better insight to craft and life on Crete and therefore better understand the response to metallurgy.
PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge
My project is looking at whether there is any co-relation between the spread of Chinese crops and material culture before the 2nd millennium BC. It consists of two parts, i.e. a comparative study on painted pottery from Cucuteni-Tripolye Culture (Southeast Europe), Anau Culture (Central Asia) and Yangshao Culture (China); and a re-examination of early Chinese millet evidence in Europe. It is significant in terms of not only clarifying the chronological sequence, but relating to the larger debate over whether the migration in Neolithic is stimulated from the bottom up, or the top down.
On the one hand, after having a comprehensive literature review on the typology and technology of concerned painted pottery, I conducted research trips to Romania, China, Ukraine and Russia for first-hand study. On the other hand, co-relating with findings of ‘similar Chinese painted pottery’, there are increasing numbers of Chinese millet findings (both grains and imprints on other materials) in Cucuteni-Tripolye culture as well (Pashkevich, 2000).
I analysed flotation samples from Baia (a Cucuteni culture site in Romania, dated to be around 4534cal. BC) and identified as many as 84 millet grains, from which I had 5 AMS C14 radiocarbon dating. The results however, turned out to be more than 4,000 years later than the site itself, which put such evidence in a problematic situation. The other half of evidence, i.e. millet impressions, thus becomes very crucial. There are a number of millet imprints found across Neolithic sites in East Europe.
In Cucuteni-Tripolye culture sites particularly, individual imprints of millet started to appear during the first phase (4550-4200 cal BC), though there are question marks after them due to the ambiguity of identification. When it comes to the third phase, the prevalence of millet imprints was highlighted. According to Kuzminova et al (1989: 119), millet impressions were found on as many as 70 fired clay figurines. However, no image of such impressions at all were presented in any paper before. The identification method is unclear either, leaving the results doubtful. After all, archaeobotanists tend to put question marks after the findings of Panicum miliaceum, the imprints of which, are actually very difficult to be differentiated from those of Setaria viridis, setaria glauca or Echinochloa crus-galli (Rassmann et al, 2015). Moreover, there are no equivalent millet grains with secure dates accompanying these imprints. Therefore, it is still problematic whether there is indeed any robust evidence of Chinese millet in Europe at all before the 2nd millennium BC.
In order to answer this question, with the help of Andrew Sherratt Fund, I conducted this research trip to Ukraine and spent 2 weeks over there re-examining crop impressions found on materials from Bolsoy-Kuyalnik, Usatovo and Mayaki. I was focused on materials from these three particular sites, because it was highlighted in previous literature that findings of millet impressions are concentrated in the settlements of Bolsoy-Kuyalnik, Usatovo and Mayaki which are in the steppe zone on the border with tribes of Usatovo culture (Yanushevich 1976, 1986; Kuzminova 1990: 126; Pashkevich 1980:234 – 242; Pashkevich 1990: 131 – 134; Pashkevich 2003: 194 – 200; Pashkevich 2005: 231 – 245).
During my visit at Odessa Archaeological Museum, I examined 5697 pieces of ceramics sherd from hillfort and grave of Usatovo - Bolshoy Kuyalnik, 456 pieces of ceramic fragments and 2 boxes of clay daub from hillfort Mayaki; and 21 anthropopathy figurines and their fragments from grave of Usatovo. Using plasticine and Coltene President dental impression material, I made casts of ‘voids’ with similar dimension to that of millet, and then have them examined under microscope first, before choosing out the most likely ones and re-examining them with Scanning Electron Microscope. Eventually, I shall be able to present, what the ‘millet imprints’ are actually like in SEM images.
I brought back overall 31 pieces of impressions casts, all of which were made on ceramic fragments or clay daubs, rather than figurines as in Kuzminova et al (1989: 119). I am currently still in the middle of laboratory work but my recent SEM images does not agree with the argument that these voids could be millet impressions at all. Further analysis is yet to be conducted. If all of these casts turn out to be otherwise, then Pre-2000 BC millet evidence in Europe is invalid, referring to an even horizon with crops and metallurgy circulating together in the 2nd millennium BC, while communication of painted pottery technology may have occurred earlier, according to the result of my other half of PhD project.
I am most grateful to the Andrew Sharratt Bursary for this award, as it has allowed me to locate and analyse primary materials which would otherwise have been unavailable to me. The data gleaned during this trip will form a crucial component of my postgraduate research, and I am thankful for the opportunities provided to me by this grant.
PhD Candidate, University of Liverpool
Iron Age pottery material from Sabuniye and Alalakh
Thanks to the generosity of the Andrew Sherratt memorial fund I was able to travel to Antakya, Hatay and to Istanbul to study part of the material dated to the early Iron Age levels coming from the sites of Sabuniye and Alalakh. The opportunity to study this material has been crucial in realising the full-potential of my Ph.D project at the University of Liverpool.
The transition from the Late Bronze to the early Iron Age in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East is recognised as a period of major social and historical significance. It witnesses the end of the Hittite Empire and the emergence of new polities in these areas. Despite being at the centre of these changes, the Late Bronze-Iron Age transition in the Amuq region and the Orontes Delta Valley remains poorly understood, in terms of chronology and its local impact. A key question is the degree to which changes evident in the archaeological records should be credited to population movements or to the reorganization of social, economic and political structures by the local population. The former explanation has been emphasised by recent study of locally-made Late Helladic IIIC pottery in the Amuq and adjacent regions. However, the issue of continuity and change can only be understood by considering the entire corpus of pottery found in the principal sites of the Amuq and the Orontes Delta. The local pottery coming from Sabuniye and Alalakh should be a sensitive indicator of cultural and economic change, reflecting local ceramic traditions.
The material coming from the 2008-2009 excavation seasons are kept in the Hatay Archaeological Museum and I analysed them in February-March 2016. Unfortunately the site has been heavily plowed and the archaeological remains have been disturbed by modern cultivations. Because of this I was not able to properly study the material in its context but only from a typological point of view. The majority of the material can be dated to Iron Age II-Iron Age III (11th/10th to 4th century BC) and I particularly focused on the Iron Age II material that is mainly composed by simple local ware, red slip ware and Cypro-Geometric III and Cypro-Archaic I ware (ca. 850-600 BC).
The site of Alalakh is located in the Amuq Valley and during the Late Bronze Age it was the capital city of the kingdom of Mukish. The site was first excavated by Woolley and renewed survey and excavations took place in 2003 with a team directed by Prof. Yener. Scholarship believed the site was destroyed at the end of the Late Bronze Age by the Sea Peoples, but new findings are proving the previous statements wrong. Iron Age levels have been found in recently opened squares located on top of the mound and close to the Palace and Temple area first excavated by Woolley while residual Iron Age vessels have been found in almost all the excavated area in the topsoil levels. The material coming from these levels are kept in the dighouse depot and in Koç University, Istanbul. I was able to study them in June-July 2016 and in September-October 2016. The pottery from Iron Age Alalakh can be dated to early 12th-10th century BC and it mainly consists of local simple ware, red slip ware and painted ware.
All the material analysed from both of the sites has been registered and the relevant pieces were drawn and photographed. The study of the pottery material coming from the Iron Age levels of the two sites allowed me to have a general overview of what was going on in between the Late Bronze-Iron Age transition in the Amuq Valley and Orontes Delta valley.
PhD Candidate, University of Exeter
I used the Sherratt Award funding to travel to Ireland and Northern Ireland, to study material related to my research interest held in their museum collections. My PhD was focused on fossils discovered on archaeological sites from the Neolithic and Bronze Age in Britain and Ireland. I had managed to visit and study most of the English and all of the known Scottish and Welsh material, but not the Irish examples.
I arranged to visit all of the known collections in a period of one week, working my way north up the island of Ireland. I began by travelling to Tralee in Co. Kerry to view the important collection of fossils from the Ballycarty Chambered Tomb, ones which are argued to be humanly placed within the chamber and not merely accidental inclusions or background noise.
Following this I spent two days at the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin, where I examined all of their fossil holdings. Many of these are unfortunately unprovenanced. Several highlights are the fossil shark’s teeth (which are probably imported), an amulet from a crannog which is the twin of one from Iron Age Denmark and possibly assigning a find to its correct chambered tomb by comparing it with the antiquarian illustration of the find.
Whilst at Dublin I also had the pleasure of meeting Dr Matthew Parkes of the Natural History Department of the Museum. He kindly looked at some of the fossils with me and provided very useful information for further study.
The next stop was the Institute of Technology, Sligo, where Dr Marion Dowd kindly let me examine the unpublished fossil finds from Glencurran Cave, Co Clare.
The final collection to be studied was at the Co Fermanagh Museum, Enniskillen in Northern Ireland. A curious fossil object from Altanagh and a small collection of fossil crinoids from Kiltierney Deerpark are held in their collections.
Although it had no material to be specifically studied, my arrival in Belfast on the Friday afternoon left me with enough time to visit the Ulster Museum and study objects on display in their prehistoric, geological and natural history galleries. This provided further information about the context of the material I had been studying.
In addition to thanking the trustees of the Andrew Sherratt Fund, I extend thanks to the following in particular: Sarah O’Farrell, Collections and Documentation Officer, Kerry County Museum, Tralee; to Mary Cahill, Keeper of Irish Antiquities, and Margaret Lannin, Senior Technical Assistant and Matthew Parkes, all of the National Museum of Ireland; to Marion Dowd, Institute of Sligo and Sinead Reilly, Development Officer: Collections and Exhibitions, Enniskillen Castle Museum. I also extend thanks to all of the people who rendered me assistance with enquiries and other matters whilst visiting the above institutions.
PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge
The generous support of the Andrew Sherratt Fund enabled my successful completion of fieldwork in pursuit of my doctoral dissertation at the University of Cambridge. My dissertation work centres on the environmental reconstruction of a river valley in the forest-steppe of northern Mongolia, focusing particularly on anthropogenic landscape and vegetation changes after the introduction of nomadic pastoralism in the region in the late 2nd millennium BC. Using a combination of buried soil data, pollen analysis and monumental and settlement archaeological sites, this work seeks to better understand the relationship between people, land use, environment and climate in the sensitive forest-steppe ecotone where the boreal forest and grassland steppe interface.
In addition to contributing to archaeological knowledge of nomadic pastoralism, this research has important modern implications for climate change and land use. The forest-steppe ecotone is significantly at-risk from contemporary rising global temperatures under a general pole-ward vegetation shift. Because the region is a considerable carbon sink, such destabilisation could have major climate-forcing effects in terms of atmospheric CO2 release. To better understand and predict the environmental effects of rising temperatures, it is imperative to understand how human land use has affected and maintained the forest-steppe vegetation balance.
The funds provided to this project by the Andrew Sherratt Fund significantly contributed to fieldwork travel costs and sample shipment from Mongolia to the UK.
Katia Francesca Achino
PhD Candidate, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
This project was initially aimed at recollecting and analysing the available data about the occurrence and distribution of lakeside settlements in Slovenia and its surroundings, with a particular focus on the possibility of reconstructing the formation and deformation processes which produced the preserved archaeological record. This would allow me to carry out intra-site spatial analysis of the recollected data in an attempt to explore the spatiality of activities performed during the past in pilot sites.
When this application was prepared, it was thought to be quite exclusively focused on two case-studies with close affinities between their chronological framework and subsistence activities (especially deer hunting) 1) Mali Otavnik, in Slovenia; 2) Villaggio delle Macine, a Bronze Age lakeside settlement located near Rome, in Italy, that was analysed in the applicant’s PhD thesis.
Thanks to the kind cooperation of researchers (as Andrej Gaspari and Miran Erič), that organized and participated in both the rescue activities of the Slovenian submerged site and the analysis of the retrieved material evidence, I was able to recollect all the available data (publications, databases, photographic materials and maps) related to this site, that I could have not fully accessed and analysed without their help. Moreover, the kind availability of other researchers from the Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU) (especially Anton Velušček and Borut Toškan) enabled me to include other pilot case-studies, such as Resnikov Prekop, in my research. They allowed me to have total access to the published archives as well as excavation reports and maps, which were only partially available to me before my stay in Ljubjana. Thanks to them and to the additional cooperation of Irena Šinkovec of Muzej in galerije mesta Ljubljiane (MGML), I was able to analyse the material evidence recollected during all the excavation campaigns.
Gaining my working data from their primary sources enabled me to gather the necessary technical information required to compile a database of evidence essential to perform intra-site spatial analysis.
Regarding the site of Resnikov Prekop, the dataset was particularly focused on the three trenches excavated during fieldwork carried out by ZRC SAZU (coordinated by Anton Velušček) in 2002 at the site. Once the database was produced, I had to process the spatial information using the indispensable high-quality software and programs in the LAQU (Laboratory of Quantitative Archaeology) of Barcelona (Autonomous University of Barcelona), to which I am scientifically and academically affiliated, in order to carry out intra-site spatial analyses. The combination of results provided by previous multidisciplinary studies performed by members of ZRC SAZU, published in the monograph dedicated to the site, together with newly edited research on the environmental changes of the area and the new intra-site spatial analyses shed new light on the formation and deformation processes which took place at Resnikov Prekop.
Moreover, during the review of material evidence from all the excavation campaigns carried out at the site, a horse anklebone was identified among the remains of the 1950-60s’ fieldwork, which has raised interest for local researchers as this species was not included in previous reports related to this archaeological context. In view of the briefly mentioned achieved results, an extension of my stay for two additional months was arranged. The aim of this additional visiting period is two-folded. On the one hand, it will allow me to expand my intra-site spatial analysis research on specific categories of material evidence (as, for instance, faunal remains) from further Slovenian case-studies. On the other hand, it will enable me to continue the study of horse domestication and exploitation during the Prehistory of this geographic area, following the discovery of the above-mentioned ankle bone. I am most grateful to the Andrew Sherratt Bursary for this award that has partially covered the travel and living costs of this research; it also offered me the outstanding opportunity to obtain a better understanding of Slovenian pile-dwelling archaeological contexts through a direct collaboration with researchers that performed the analyses and to do extremely interesting exchanges of opinions and knowledge.
PhD Candidate, University of Liverpool
Textile activity and its tools: indicators of cultural identity and interaction processes in Sicily and Aeolian Islands (XIII-VI century BC)
The Andrew Sherratt Fund has allowed me to travel to Sicily and Aeolian islands in order to collect and analyse material from a number of museums. The analysis constitutes the core of my Ph.D project which aims to investigate the traditions of textile manufacture in the indigenous cultures of Sicily and the Aeolian Islands between the XIII and VI centuries BC.
These islands have been crossroad of cultures for millennia and the Iron Age represents one of the best stage to explore cultural interactions with Greek and Punic incomers who established colonies in Sicily from the eighth century B.C. Moreover, according to the references in ancient authors, it is widely believed that Sikels, Ausoni and Morgeti entered the Aeolian Islands and Sicily from continental Italy during the Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages. This movement of peoples and consequent interaction and impact upon the populations already resident on the islands are crucial in the literature. Moving from the surviving literary sources, the archaeological work has searched to identify the different people, although it is often difficult to reconcile such references with the material remains. Nevertheless, the results of cultural contacts were varied and distinctive and brought changes in a range of fields varying from domestic and funerary architecture to material culture. Also, the attention has been focused on how communities perceived and constructed their own identities and recently archaeologists have stressed the importance to investigate the response of the indigenous communities, for long time neglected, to the interaction process.
The study of textile tools and technologies aims to understand the changing in social and individual identity as expressed through dress and clothing more widely. In particular, the analysis of textile implements allows to examine any changes in textile technology and to explore the indigenous peoples’ agency in adopting, adapting or rejecting foreign technologies.
A key question is the degree to which intense and prolonged contacts with incomers affected indigenous textile traditions, and vice versa. By collecting and recording spindle whorls, loom weights, spools and other kind of textile implements, I am able to investigate the range of indigenous traditions of making and using textile tools and how these were used for spinning and weaving specific types of thread and cloth, beyond the economic role of this craft. On the other hand, it enables to explore the entanglement of this craft with society and individuals who perform it. This study aims also to add a female dimension by considering the implications for women as agents in cultural interaction and by investigating the emotional ties between the textile tools and their owners. Because women seem regularly to be involved in manufacture and decoration, it is possible sometimes to access the habits of the owners for personalising their own textile tools, for example, by impressing objects to which they were closely and emotionally attached. The specific roles of individuals involved in craft production can be approached particularly well by studying burials. The presence of textile equipment can be a way of tracking movements of women as so in some cases may be explained as consequence of inter-marriage and other kinds of social phenomena.
More than 500 textile tools that come from a number of sites and different contexts (settlements, cemeteries and sanctuaries) across Eastern, Central Sicily and the Aeolian islands (Lipari, Milazzo, Naxos, Metapiccola, Cugno Carrube, Monte Finocchito, Grammichele, Centuripe, Noto, Siracusa, Megara Hyblaea, Morgantina, Sabucina, Polizzello, S. Giuliano) have been recorded in the database, drawn and photographed. It has been recorded the details of each item, such as location, site-type, period, find-context, type/shape, decoration/marking/modification, use-wear marks, preservation; raw material; fabric and inclusions; dimensions and weight. Quantitative and qualitative analyses will show how these tools were used and distributed over time and space. Further, technical features (size, shape, weight, thickness etc.) help to reconstruct the type, quality, properties and uses of the textile produced. This approach will make it possible to understand the role of textile craft and the degree of cultural impact on this craft, on indigenous communities and women during the Iron Age.
PhD Candidate, University of Sheffield
The Sherratt fund gave me the possibility to cover the expenses for the trips to Greece that I have done between February and May in order to study the larnakes on which my research project focuses. Larnakes are clay coffins and represent one typology of burial receptacle adopted during the last phase of late Bronze Age in the island of Crete.
My research firstly aims to answer the following two questions:
To address my research questions, I have collected and built a database with the information on larnakes and their burial context (including grave goods and skeletal remains) from publication, preliminary reports and my examination of study collections. In particular, I have examined the larnakes stored in museums in Crete, Mainland Greece and the United Kingdom. This took extensive time and effort given the amount of material (over 850 larnakes) and their location (in museums in East, West and Central Crete as well as Mainland Greece and the United Kingdom). Therefore, the funds from the Sherratt fund have been essential in allowing me to travel around Greece and complete a fundamental step of my research.
I have received through the British school of Athens the permits to study 104 larnakes stored in the exhibition spaces and the storages of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and the archaeological museums of Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Rethymno, Chania, Sitia and Ierapetra. My study took eight weeks and involved completing a macroscopic analysis, measuring and taking photos of coffins and fragments of coffins and, in some instances, understanding the region or even the site of provenience of the item.
For each larnax, I completed a data form in which I registered information concerning conditions of preservation, restoration method, dimensions (height, width, length) and morphological features (e.g. shape, feet, handles, holes, panel work, base framework, presence of plastic figurine, fabric characteristic, slip, painted decoration). Each data form is complete with photos of the item. All these information have been compared to the pre-existing preliminary reports and publications and registered in my database. Once my research will be completed I will provide all the data and photo documentation to the museums where the materials are stored to update the museum collections archives. Furthermore, this study will provide data currently missing from publications and preliminary reports.
As mentioned above, some of the larnakes examined lacked precise information about context and provenance (e.g. larnakes, lids and fragments stored at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and larnakes stored at the Ierapetra collection). Thanks to the macroscopic study of these items combined with the information in the museum entry registers, I was able to identify the region of provenance of these items and, in some instances, to hypothesize the site from which they come from.
Four museums allowed me to take notes on unpublished materials (Archaeological Museum of Rethymno, Chania, Sitia, Ierapetra collection). This is very relevant for my research because it will allow me to build a wider repertoire which will be very useful for analysis and comparison. Visiting the museum collections allowed me to view a considerable amount of grave goods related to the burial contexts, to explore the burial landscape of Crete and thus develop a better knowledge of the different geographical contexts in Crete.
As shown above, the data collected during the study trips funded by the Andrew Sherratt fund has been essential for my research. Having direct access has allowed me to collect information using a standard methodology and to build the core case study for the analysis that I have done on the artefacts. Not only was I able to collect information that I couldn’t get anywhere else (i.e. measurement, manufacture characteristic, complete and precise study of painted decoration) but I also developed a better knowledge of the different regional geographical contexts which has a primary importance for the contextual study of Late Minoan larnakes burials.