Thursday, 30 May 2013

Central Mediterranean Prehistory Day: from Sardinia to the Balkans

Just when I had started to wonder, if I remembered correctly and if there was a Central Mediterranean day in May, I received an e-mail containing the programme of the research day at Cambridge. I had originally other business on that day, but it was cancelled I could have now given a paper. However, the programme was full, so I could relax and listen what other people had prepared for the day. It was a very interesting day, presenting a few of the new ERC funded projects and a lot of Sardinia.

Even if I am not going to lose my interest in English landscape, the things have taken an unexpected turn in such a way that I will mainly concentrate on central Italy the next academic year. This is not bad, since I have still a lot to prepare for publication and this spring trying to improve my teaching portfolio has taken most of my time – when I have not been finishing money applications or articles to be sent for peer review or to be submitted. At least those hours spent in writing hypothetical research proposals have not gone totally in waste. For 12 months from September I will concentrate on Archaic and colonial geographies. Not that I won’t be following a side project as well on my spare time in order to improve my chances in multidisciplinary discussions...

EUROFARM project web site

The Central Mediterranean Prehistory Day was during the same week as the social media and public archaeology workshop that I wrote about last week. This Mediterranean research day was not without its fair share of computing. EUROFARM project headed by Marc Vander Linden is going to model the early streams of neolithisation along the Mediterranean coast and inland in the Balkans, where these different innovative strands are the nearest in Europe. Craig Alexander, when not working with rock art, will be doing GIS for the archaeometric XRF project in the Neolithic Tavoliere, whereas Francesca Fulminante was presenting her network analyses. PROCON project, directed by Margarita Gleba, will not model as much as many other projects, but study textile economy and urbanisation extensively using different kinds of analyses, targeting especially visual media from 1000–500 BC. They try to find new methods to deconstruct iconography along the process.

Unusually large part of the day was devoted to Sardinia, which was delighting, since the archaeology of this island is not as familiar to me as it should be. We heard Guillaume Robin’s presentation about studying Neolithic art in the rock cut tombs whereas Florian Soula was mapping the meanings of the Sardinian standing stone phenomenon. Luca Lai tried to look at the short and long cycles of different cultural chronological groups and how the subsistence basis and cultural manifestations fluctuated accordingly. Fascinating. Especially when some authors tried to get away from the pre-Nuragic/Nuragic separation, whereas the others used it in a more traditional manner, for example when tracking the trade in the eastern Mediterranean.

I also learnt what the Rome researcher at the British School at Rome will be studying: marginality. It will be interesting to find out if Elisa Perego manages to explain why northern Italian late prehistory seems to have much more marginalisation in its funerary customs than the central Italian ones. However, we may not have observed the material with her eyes, yet.

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