Research Interests

My PhD research focused upon the technological study of painted plaster in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. A comparative study, based on instrumental analysis, experimental replication and social theory, looked into the issue of technological transfer of the craft of painting on plaster, and its direction both in time and space. Furthermore, by placing human action central, the issue of travelling artisans was assessed within the context of the Eastern Mediterranean Middle and Late Bronze Age dynamics. Within this research project, non-destructive analytical results were compared with destructive analysis with a view to a reduced sampling strategy for future studies on material remains.

Since 1991 my research interests and activities cover aspects of material culture including architecture, craft specialisation and ancient technologies, chaînes opératoires and cross-craft interactions between a wide range of materials and technologies, and how such interactions and cross-overs influence the socio-economical and political interactions of people in pre-industrial societies, as well as the formation, negotiation and performance of people's multiple dynamic identities and social networks.

My main interest lies in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean, mainly the Bronze Age but other periods are of interest as well (Archaic Period): especially formative periods for craft specialisation, and cultural, socio-political and economic exchange/contact between the involved regions.

As a result of combining studies in archaeology and a science-based conservation degree, my PhD research led me into employing a range of analytical techniques in a case study on painted plaster. The techniques I am familiar with and continue to employ are: XRD, SEM-EDAX, LIBS, Micro-Raman spectroscopy, XRF, and a wide range of microscopy techniques some connected to digital camera equipment and image analysis software.

Archaeometry, instrumental analysis and non-destructive ways of investigation and identification of ancient materials and their production processes, together with experimental archaeology and replication as a non-destructive method to investigate ancient technologies and their social aspects are crucial methods that help us to understand the socio-political and cultural interactions of people with and within their environment and each other.

Finally, the relation between 1) technologies, life cycles, depositional and post-depositional processes of objects and 2) their level of preservation and how that influences our understanding of material culture and our approaches to its conservation/preservation are aspects that are also reflected in my teaching tasks.

New and ongoing research projects

A new exciting and innovative interdisciplinary project has been started between myself and several colleagues in the School of Archaeology, Computer Science and external archaeological departments (University of Exeter and University of Glasgow) on a Leverhulme Research Programme Grant in 2008. This project runs for 5 years and is called: 'Tracing Networks : Craft Traditions in the Ancient Mediterranean and Beyond' . For more information, please click: www.le.ac.uk/museumstudies/news/leverhulme.html and http://www.tracingnetworks.ac.uk/content/web/cross_craft_interaction.jsp for regular updates.

My specific contribution is based on the material culture from the Mycenaean site of Tiryns, Greece. director: Prof. J. Maran, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Research Associate to the Tiryns project is Dr. Melissa Vetters.

  • Investigation and analysis of 7th Century Greek painted plaster at Kalapodi. Director: Prof. W.-D. Niemeier, German Archaeological Institute, Athens.
  • Investigation and analysis of 7th Century Greek painted plaster at Isthmia. Director: Prof. E. Gebhardt, University of Edinburgh - American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
  • Investigation and analysis of Bronze Age painted plaster and pigments from Mycenae, Greece: a diachronical and intra-site investigation between palatial and non-palatial material. Director: Prof. S. Iakovidis, assistant director: Prof. Dr. Ch. Maggidis, Greek Academy of Archaeology, Athens and Dickinson College.
  • Investigation and analysis of Bronze Age painted plaster and pigments from Tiryns, Greece: a diachronical and intra-site investigation between palatial and non-palatial material. Directors:Prof. J. Maran, University of Heidelberg (Germany), dr. A. Papadimitriou (Eforia of the Argolid).
  • Ongoing work on painted plaster (towards final publication) for the sites of Hattusha, Miletus and Tell Alalakh (Turkey), and several Bronze Age sites in Greece.

Key words: eastern Mediterranean and Aegean archaeology, ancient technologies, chaînes opératoires and cross-craft interaction, archaeometry, craft specialisation, material culture, material science, experimental archaeology.

PhD's supervised:

The Painted Murals of the Sukias House, Safavid Period, Iran. Technology and Preventive Conservation Measures (K. Samanian). Started January 2006. Succesful viva: June 2009.

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