Friday, February 27, 2015

We know what you ate a few millennia ago! Lecture rescheduled

This coming Wednesday evening, March 4th will be the second lecture In the Athenian Friends’ Association of CIG winter program. Dr. Calla McNamee will give a lecture entitled Grounded in Practice: Changing Bronze Age Subsistence at the Site of Mitrou, East Lokris”. Calla is in Athens this year as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science, at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. She is a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Calgary.

Until recently, the reconstruction of subsistence practices in the Aegean has relied heavily on the recovery and identification of charred macrobotanical remains from site contexts, typically from storerooms. This type of reconstruction provides us with an understanding of the foods present at an archaeological site, but it is heavily dependent on specific circumstances of preservation and does not inform us directly about food processing or consumption. Her lecture is focused on the use of another type of evidence: starch grains and phytoliths. Commonly preserved on grinding implements, these microbotanical remains provide a means to identify not only which staple resources were processed at a site, but also to reconstruct practices employed in the preparation of these resources.

Calla’s talk provides a background on microbotanical residue analysis and presents the results of a pilot study of starch grains and phytoliths extracted from ground stone artifacts recovered from the prehistoric site of Mitrou, East Lokris. The occupation of Mitrou spans from the Final Neolithic to the Late Protogeometric period and provides an uninterrupted archaeological sequence that encompasses the rise and decline of Mycenaean palatial society and the subsequent transition from urban centre to rural community. The pilot study of Mitrou ground stone tools demonstrates the ability of starch grain and phytolith research to enhance our understanding of not only Bronze Age resource processing, but the relationship between subsistence practices and socio-political organization.

The moral: don’t clean your ground stone tools after use!

The lecture will begin at 7:30 pm in the Library of the Institute.

Lecture Rescheduled

In case you have not received a message or seen the announcement (physically or electronically), Lana Radloff’s lecture that had to be canceled on February 18th is now rescheduled. The new date of her lecture, entitled Ideology, Identity and Power: Harbor-Agora Connectivity at Hellenistic Miletos”, is on Wednesday, March 11th at 7:30 pm in the Library of the Institute.

We look forward to seeing you at both lectures. If you can’t attend in person you can always watch the livestreaming of them at

David Rupp

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