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Research project

Cross-craft interaction in the cross-cultural context of the Late Bronze Age East Mediterranean

In tracing intra-site, local and regional craft networks in Late Bronze Age Tiryns (Greece) the project aimed to understand technological changes, (dis)continuities and social practices from the Late Palatial until the Post Palatial periods in Mycenaean Greece.

2008 - 2014
Ann Brysbaert
The Leverhulme Trust Research grant The Leverhulme Trust Research grant
German-Israeli Foundation German-Israeli Foundation
INSTAP research grants INSTAP research grants
A. von Humboldt Senior Research Fellowship A. von Humboldt Senior Research Fellowship

Professor J. Maran: University of Heidelberg

Dr. A. Papadimitriou: 4 th Ephorate at Nafplio, Greece.

Research Question:

Four main research questions drove this project:

  1. How do we detect workshop activities, what parameters indicate a workshop, and how do we interpret the data?
  2. How are workshop activities interlinked, not only in the portable material finds, but also in the installations, fixed facilities and its architecture?
  3. What craft activities took place in each and how do we recognize these? What and where may inherent biases in the material record impede reconstruction of craft activities?
  4. If more than one craft was present, do we have evidence of cross-craft interaction, possibly forming professional practices networks and beyond, technically and socially, and where does it show?

Finds from LBA Tiryns workshop contexts (from left to right, top to bottom): gold foil, finger impressions in clay from hand forming the wall bracket, fragmentary clay crucible with slag deposits and copper prills, partially sawn Lapis Lakedaemonius stone.

Project description

In 2007, Ann initiated (together with L. Foxhall, University of Leicester) a 5-year funded research Programme, the Universities of Leicester, Exeter and Glasgow received 1.8 million pounds for this innovative project in 2008, entitled: ‘Tracing Networks: Craft Traditions in the Ancient Mediterranean and Beyond'.

She went on to be the PI for the ‘Cross-craft interaction in the cross-cultural context of the Late Bronze Age East Mediterranean’ sub-project (2008-2014), based at Tiryns, Greece and Dr. M. Vetters worked on the project from 2009-13 as research associate. Currently, Ann is finalizing the co-authored monograph on this project: ‘ Tracing Local, Regional and Interregional Craft Networks Viewed through a Technological  Lens at Late Bronze Age Tiryns. A Comparative Mycenaean Workshop Study. Universitätsforschungen zur Prähistorischen Archäologie. Reihe Heidelberg. Bonn: Rudolf Habelt’.         

Close collaboration with colleagues in Greece and beyond on aspects of craft specialisation, social agency, scientific and anthropological approaches to material culture studies, cross-craft interactions and the chaîne opératoire concepts, resulted in two recent edited volumes (a third one is in preparation).  The papers in these volumes discuss how these approaches to material culture influence the socio-economic and political interactions of people in pre-industrial societies, as well as the formation, negotiation and performance of people's multiple dynamic identities:

  1. 2011. ‘ Tracing Prehistoric Social Networks through Technology: A Diachronic Perspective on the Aegean’ (Routledge Studies in Archaeology, London: Routledge).
  2. 2014. ‘ Material Cross-overs. Knowledge Networks and the Movement of Technological Knowledge between Craft Traditions’ (Routledge Studies in Archaeology, London: Routledge). (jointly edited with K. Rebay-Salisbury and L. Foxhall)

Relations with other projects

Tiryns Excavations, University of Heidelberg, Professor Dr. J. Maran

Δ´ Εφορεία Προϊστορικών και Κλασικών Αρχαιοτήτων at Nafplio, Greece, Dr. Alkesti Papadimitriou

IESL, FORTH, Heraklion (Crete), Dr. Dimitris Anglos, Dr. Panagiotis Siozos, Dr. Angelos Philipidis

Partner in the Tracing Networks project: Global Ubiquitous Computing, Dr. E. Tuosto and Dr. L. Bocchi

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