- PhD researcher Mediterranean Archaeology
Mediterranean archaeology, Bronze Age – Iron Age transition, interconnectivity, networks
Work title PhD-research
Keeping in touch in a changing world. Network dynamics and the connections between the Aegean and Italy during the Bronze Age – Iron Age transition (ca. 1250 – 1000 BC)
The dynamism of today’s world is to a high degree defined by ever-expanding networks and increasing interconnectivity. The swine flu epidemic of 2009 and the current economic crisis are just two examples of how our daily life is affected by interconnections that go around the globe. Networking is becoming increasingly important: companies, for instance, have started to check potential employees’ Facebook pages to screen the quality and extent of their social networks. Networks and connectivity, however, were as much a thing of the past as they are of our own time, as the project presented here will demonstrate. The research concerns the contacts between the Aegean and Italy during the Bronze Age–Iron Age transition (ca. 1250–1000 BC), a highly distinctive period during which the ancient world experienced a severe crisis. Around 1200 BC the palace centres in the Aegean were destroyed, and this had very serious repercussions on the existing socio-economic system and on networks of long-distance contacts. Yet in order to survive this crisis, it was crucial to remain connected.
This research project starts from the position that understanding networks and interconnectivity holds the key to understanding this critical period. Understanding this period, in its turn, means understanding a decisive turning point in the course of early Greek history. This is exactly what makes this research relevant and how it seeks to accomplish its ultimate goal: to provide a fundamental re-evaluation of the post-palatial era. There is a certain urgency to it, too, as the period following the destructions is generally treated as one of decline and deterioration, whereas recent discoveries and new insights show that this period also marks a fresh start, during which some of the foundations of the later Classical civilization were laid. This period should therefore be studied in its own right. What is more, models used for the palatial era divide the Mediterranean in centres and peripheries, but these models are not applicable to the decentralized world that came into being after ca. 1200 BC. The post-palatial period therefore requires a fresh approach, using another theoretical toolkit. Especially significant for our purposes are models that are currently being developed under the influence of post-colonial and network theory; they embody a shift away from thinking in centre–periphery dichotomies and fixed patterns of contact, towards networks, fluidity and multidirectional communications.
The geographical focus of the research is on the Aegean and southern Italy. By incorporating the evidence from both regions, it will provide a systematic study of the interrelations between them. A new element in the approach is that these mutual contacts will be considered from both an ‘Aegean’ and an ‘Italian’ perspective. The chronological range chosen for this study (ca. 1250–1000 BC) allows a comparison between the evidence from the periods before and after the fall of the palaces, so that elements of both change and continuity in interconnectivity can be identified. Italo–Aegean interrelations will be studied at two levels. First, general trends in the functioning and the dynamics of interconnectivity will be examined. Next, the contexts in which imports and influences figured will be analysed for five regions in both the Aegean and Italy, which will give us detailed insights into the regional diversity in interconnectivity and into regional trajectories of network dynamics. The project is multidisciplinary in character: the research incorporates archaeological and social theory, and pursues an integrated use of evidence from both the Aegean and Italy during the Bronze Age–Iron Age transition, thus deliberately cross-cutting the geographical and chronological divides that traditionally exist between prehistory and Classical archaeology, and between Greek and Italian archaeology. The research results will lead to the writing of important new chapters on the early history of both Greece and Italy. The research also has a wider reach, as it will contribute to a better understanding of other historical or archaeological periods of crisis and transition.
For the full version, click here
Academic work environment
2010-2015: VU University Amsterdam, PhD researcher.
2010-present: VU University Amsterdam. PhD research.
Working title thesis: Keeping in touch in a changing world. Network dynamics and the connections between the Aegean and Italy during the Bronze Age – Iron Age transition (ca. 1250 – 1000 BC).
2008-2010: VU University Amsterdam, Research Master Ancient Studies. Cum Laude.
Title MPhil-thesis: A gateway to Greece? Interregional network dynamics in Achaia during the Bronze Age – Iron Age transition (ca. 1250 – 1000 BC).
2005-2008: VU University Amsterdam, Bachelor Archaeology and Prehistory.
Title BA thesis: De westelijke connectie. Over de aard en intensiteit van contacten tussen Kreta en de Italische wereld van LM I tot en met LM IIIC.
(The western connection. On the nature and intensity of contacts between Crete and the Italian world from LM I to LM IIIC)
2014: Argos, Greece. Two and a half weeks of organizing the packing of Lerna material in the storerooms of the Argos Museum in preparation of the museum’s renovation.
2013: Mitrou, Greece. Five weeks as storeroom manager and pottery assistant (study season).
2012: Mitrou, Greece. five weeks as apotheke manager and pottery assistant (study season).
2011: Mitrou, Greece. Five weeks as administrative assistant (study season).
2009: Geraki, Greece. Two weeks as trench assistant, two weeks as supervisor.
2008: L’Amastuola, Italy. Five weeks as trench assistant.
2007: L’Amastuola, Italy. Five weeks as student.
2006: Eersel, The Netherlands. Two weeks of field courses, two weeks as field intern at VUhbs.
Selection of other activities
2013-2014: Boardmember Stichting Archaeological Dialogues, among other things organization of 21st Archaeology & Theory Symposium ‘Archaeology Today: challenges, approaches, ethics’.
For a selection of talks, the program and abstracts, click here.
2010-2014: Fellow organizer Promovendipraat [now PhD Colloquium], informal meeting for PhD reseachers at the Faculty of Arts, VU University Amsterdam.
under review: Barbarian Ware Strikes Again: Problems and Potential Significance of a Particular Ceramic Assemblage for Understanding Past Networks, in: J. Hilditch, A. Kotsonas, C. Beestman-Kruijshaar, M. Revello-Lami, S. Ruckl and S. Ximeri (eds.), Connectivity in the Ancient Mediterranean: Ceramic Perspectives on Island, Mainland, Coastland and Hinterland, Proceedings of the conference held at the University of Amsterdam, Feb 1-3rd 2013, Amsterdam.
2014: Network Analysis in Archaeology: New Approaches to Regional Interaction, Norwegian Archaeological Review 47.2, 220-223 (Book Review). Click here for online version.
2012: Introductie promotieonderzoek (Introduction PhD research), Tijdschrift Mediterrane Archeologie, jrg. 24, nr. 47, 42. Click here for online version.
2012: The right connections: a network perspective on Achaia’s overseas contacts during the Bronze Age-Iron Age transition, Soja Bundel 2011 [CD-ROM]. Click here for online version.
2011: Aegean Interconnections during the Bronze Age-Iron Age Transition (ca. 1250-1000 B.C.E.): A Network Perspective, 113th Annual Meeting Abstracts, vol. 35
2010 [update in 2013]: The central Mediterranean from the Neolithic through the Final Bronze Age (contribution to workbook Mediterranean Pre- and Protohistory, taught by dr. M. Prent and/or dr. J.P. Crielaard).
2009: Vissen in het verleden (Fishing in the Past), in: Westerheem, jrg. 58 (juni), 112. Click here for online version.
2012: Good to Think With: exploring the potential of networks as a concept metaphor or intellectual tool, Southampton, Symposium The Connected Past. People, Networks and Complexity in Archaeology and History.
Click here for online version.
Selected papers at seminars and symposia
2013: Network Theory. An Introduction, Meeting Bronze Age Architecture Group, American School of Classical Studies in Athens.
2013: Barbarian Ware Strikes Again: Problems and Potential Significance of a Particular Ceramic Assemblage for Understanding Past Networks, NPAP Connectivity Conference, University of Amsterdam.
2012: Regional Trajectories in Network Dynamics: the case of continued connections between the Aegean and Italy during the Bronze Age – Iron Age transition, IGBA Symposium, VU University Amsterdam.
2012: Aegean Interconnections During the Bronze Age-Iron Age Transition (ca. 1250-1000 B.C.E.): A Network Perspective, 113th Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, Philadelphia.
2011: Good to Think With: exploring the potential of networks as a concept metaphor or intellectual tool, Birmingham, 33rd Meeting of the Theoretical Archaeology Group.