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Ann Brysbaert

Professor Ancient technology, crafts and materials

Prof.dr. A.N. Brysbaert
+31 71 527 5328

Current Research

Ann works on aspects of monumental architecture and human ecology in Bronze Age Greece and the East Mediterranean, pre-industrial technologies and related social practices, the integration of science-based studies with theoretical approaches and science-based topics relating to pyrotechnologies, painted plaster and mortars, and workshop contexts.

From 2015 until 2020, Ann is Principal Investigator of an ERC Consolidator Grant project (grant nbr. 646667), based at the University of Leiden, entitled:

SETinSTONE. A retrospective impact assessment of human and environmental resource usage in Late Bronze Age Mycenaean Monumental Architecture, Greece’.

Since 1999, Ann’s work focussed on the following projects, some are still ongoing:

Finished projects

In 2007, Ann initiated the ‘Tracing Networks’ project, together with Lin Foxhall, at the University of Leicester, and this received a large Leverhulme Research Grant of 1.8 million pounds for 5 years (2008-2013) and divided over three UK universities and nine sub-projects. From then until 2014 she was the PI for the ‘Cross-craft interaction in the cross-cultural context of the Late Bronze Age East Mediterranean’ project, based at Tiryns, Greece (via Leicester University) 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’.

For more details on this Tiryns-based project and its publications, see the project website.

In 2017, she was awarded the World Cultural Council Special Recognition Award. See the video here.

Her ongoing passion for anything handmade, from crucibles to citadels, and its effects on people’s identities and well-being, resulted in the production of a Leiden University Research Dossier called: “Making and Creating with Ages-Old Knowledge. Handcrafted Creations fom the Past Provide Solutions for Issues Today”. Ann composed this dossier together with several colleagues from across the Faculty of Archaeology.

Curriculum Vitae

Ann Brysbaert (PhD 2004, University of Glasgow) is Professor/Chair of Ancient Technologies, Crafts and Materials at the Faculty of Archaeology, Department of Archaeological Sciences, Leiden University, and Director of Research for the Faculty Board. Until 2017, she was Associate Professor/Reader in Material Culture Studies and Archaeological Sciences. Previously, she held academic positions at the University of Leicester (UK: 2004-2009); DIKEMES, Athens (Greece: 2009-2012); and at the University of Glasgow (UK: 2015). Between 2010 and 2013 she held a Senior A. von Humboldt Research Fellowship (University of Heidelberg, Germany) and between 2013 and 2014 a Senior Marie Curie – Gerda Henkel Research Fellowship at Leiden University. Since 2014, she is Professeur Invitée, University of Bordeaux-Montaigne, and is member of the International Scientific Committee of the LaScArBx (France).

Ann is also a trained conservator of archaeological remains (BSc. Hons, UCL, Institute of Archaeology, London, 1996). She has built up c. 20 years of hands-on experience, has set up field labs and equipped conservation labs, and has been functioning as a conservation consultant for over 10 years. She has worked as a conservator in Lebanon (UNESCO project, National Museum, Beirut), the Athenian Agora (American School of Classical Studies, Athens, Greece), INSTAP-SCEC (Crete, Greece), Kythera Survey Project (British School, Athens, Greece), Vander Kelen-Mertens Museum (Leuven, Belgium), among several other places. Since 2009, she consults on the Kylene Harbour project (Director: Dr. J. Pakkanen) concerning conservation treatments of the materials that are found during the coastal survey seasons, mainly on objects found near the coastline in the sea water and thus prone to heavy weathering and corrosion patterns. She regularly advises on storing archaeological materials both in museums (display and storage) and on site, and on environmental control issues, topics she was teaching and supervising at the University of Leicester between 2004 and 2013.

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Teaching activities

Ann (co)teaches BA and MA courses in:

  • BA Material science/Materiaalkunde I and II

  • BA World Archaeology: Aegean and East Mediterranean Bronze Age (Minoan, Mycenaean, Cycladic and related East Mediterranean Cultures until the Archaic period)

  • MA seminars on Material/Objects Biographies and the Built Environment

  • MA/PhD seminars on BA Aegean and East Mediterranean archaeology: selected topics

  • PhD seminars on Theoretical questions: selected topics

Key publications

  1. 2008. The Power of Technology in the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean. The Case of the Painted Plaster. (Monographs in Mediterranean Archaeology, 12). London: Equinox. 2015. 2nd print (paperback). Also see the reviews.
  2. 2011. Tracing Prehistoric Social Networks through Technology: A Diachronic Perspective on the Aegean. (Routledge Studies in Archaeology). London: Routledge. 2014. 2nd print (paperback)
  3. 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)
  4. 2017. Artisans versus Nobility? Multiple Identities of Elites and ‘Commoners’ Viewed Through the Lens of Crafting from the Chalcolithic to the Iron Ages in Europe and the Mediterranean. Leiden: Sidestone Press. (jointly edited with A. Gorgues)

Here you can find her full list of publications.

Since 2004, she regularly functions as anonymous reviewer for the following:

  1. journals: ‘Antiquity’, ‘Studi Micenei ed Egeo-Anatolici’; 'Journal of Anthropological Archaeology'; 'Studies in Conservation'; ‘Periodico di Mineralogia’; ‘Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology’; ‘Archaeometry’; ‘Journal of Cultural Heritage’; ‘Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry’; ‘Talanta. International Journal for Pure and Applied Analytical Chemistry’; ‘Museologia’.
  2. research project proposals submitted to: the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (Daresbury, UK); Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK); the Israel Science Foundation; Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO); EU proposals (e.g. Marie Curie applications).

PhD supervision

Within the context of SETinSTONE, Ann supervises 3 PhD projects:

  • Yannick Boswinkel, MA
  • Riia Timonen, MA
  • Daniel Turner, MA

Together with prof. Dr. J. Maran, she also co-supervises the PhD research by Maribel Dorka-Moreno: ‘Metall und Gesellschaft – Metallobjekte der mykenischen Zeit aus Tiryns’. Expected defense year: 2018.

Ann is interested in supervising PhD projects in the following fields:

  1. BA Aegean and East Mediterranean archaeology: ancient economies and contacts, material culture production and consumption
  2. Greek Archaeology and ancient economies
  3. Ancient technologies and social practices, esp. workshop studies, pyrotechnologies (ceramics, metals, plaster/mortars, pigments, glass)
  4. Science-based methods and theoretical interpretation of the material world
  5. Archaeological, anthropological and socio-political approaches to material culture
  6. Material and social aspects of use cycles, recycling, reuse, creativity in and crafting and innovative materials usage

Science in Archaeology Lunch Talks

Ann initiated the SALT lunch talk series (Science in Archaeology Lunch Talks) and together with professor Annelou van Gijn and Irini Vikatou, an active and widely diverse programme brings 2-3 talks to the Faculty per semester. See the SALT archive for a list of previous lectures.

Professor Ancient technology, crafts and materials

  • Faculteit Archeologie
  • Archaeological Sciences
  • Material Culture Studies

Work address

Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Room number C1.22



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