Friday, February 18, 2011

Surveying Antikythera and Delving into Social Archaeology

The most visible part of archaeological research are the various methods of data collection in the field, namely excavation and pedestrian surface survey. Given that this is done normally to answer specific questions concerning past cultures, the analysis and synthesis of the data collected are crucial components of the overall research endeavor. The findings of these investigations and their interpretation should be published promptly so that other scholars can benefit.

The research team of the Antikythera Survey Project, which held a Ministry of Culture and Tourism permit for the Institute from 2005-2007 as a synergasia with the 26th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, has just published an article on some of their work. “From Fabrics to Island Connections: Macroscopic and Microscopic Approaches to the Prehistoric Pottery of Antikythera” , by A. Pentedeka, E. Kiriatzi, L. Spencer and A. Bevan, is in the most recent issue of The Annual of the British School at Athens, 105 (2010), pp, 1-81. The authors, based on the macroscopic and petrographic study of the sherds from the survey, discuss the implications of on-island versus off-island ceramic production sources overtime.

Book of the Blog
Some of the most interesting as well as the most spectacular archaeological finds come from burial assemblages. The skeletal remains of the deceased are of equal importance at least for our understanding of past cultures. Human osteology offers many insights into specific buried individuals and into an ancient population as a whole.

The myriad of possibilities for such research are explored by the contributors to The Social Archaeology of Funerary Remains, edited by Rebecca Gowland and Christopher Knüsel (Oxbow Books, reprinted 2009). Examples from a wide variety of chronological periods and spanning from the UK to Central Europe to Central America address topics including: age, gender, social differentiation, dietary variation, disease, migration, body modification and burial practices. The Introduction by the Editors serves to unify these disparate approaches.

David Rupp

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