Theses - Archaeology


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 126
  • ItemEmbargo
    Early Agricultural Communities in Lejja Southeastern Nigeria: An Archaeobotanical Investigation
    Ngonadi, Chioma; Ngonadi, Chioma [0000-0002-8504-8112]
    This thesis investigates food production and subsistence practices among early iron using communities in southeastern Nigeria. Lejja is a cluster of villages in Igboland, southeastern Nigeria where iron smelting flourished on an industrial scale from around the late first millennium BC. The huge number of slag blocks on the surface reveals that ironworking here was a highly sophisticated, long lived and well developed tradition with its technique that involved large scale metal production. Despite the research conducted into iron production, little attention has been paid to domestic archaeology and archaeobotanical studies of food production in Lejja are rare. Rather, previous scholarship on food production was based on hypothetical assumptions drawing from oral history and ethnographic data. Prior to this study, there had been no previous archaeobotanical studies conducted in southeastern Nigeria. Thus, this study is the first to examine the subsistence practice and food economy in ancient Igboland to understand how these iron smelters sustained life, fed themselves and navigated the quest for food. The thesis demonstrates that earlier inhabitants of Lejja had longstanding agricultural practices that supported the sophisticated industrial scale technology of ironworking from at least 840-2100 BP This is evidenced by archaeobotanical remains recovered from deeply stratified excavations at Amaovoko (AM) and Amaebo-Attamah (AA) Lejja. This thesis demonstrates the presence of oil palm and tubers but the absence of cereal crops such as pearl millet. These data are further used to argue that the past inhabitants of Lejja consisted of a single community engaged in both smelting and farming who were involved in local production and the exchange of materials and ideas between themselves.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Bayesian regional models of gold and copper alloys from pre-Hispanic Colombia
    Vieri, Jasmine; Vieri, Jasmine [0000-0002-3826-2167]
    Throughout the two millennia preceding the European conquest of the Americas, the region of present-day Colombia was witness to the emergence and development of highly sophisticated metallurgical technologies. Alloys of gold, silver, copper, and platinum were used in the creation of a wide range of artefacts intended for personal ornamentation, ceremonial use, funerary goods, functional tools, and votive offerings. While our understanding of the region’s societies has been transformed by a century of research highlighting the diversity of its metallurgical practices, many aspects remain less well understood. This is particularly the case when it comes to understanding the variability of alloy selection and use across space. For the first time, this thesis collates all known compositional data (>2,300 object analyses) on archaeological alloys from within the region, dating to before c. 1600 AD. It addresses research questions relating to the role of technological, environmental, and cultural factors behind alloy selection, at two different scales of analysis. The first focuses on an overview of alloy use across the whole of present-day Colombia. The second presents in-depth modelling of alloying practices for one of the metallurgical regions of Colombia, the Muisca (600-1600 AD). These Bayesian models provide a significant contribution to the field of archaeological science, by introducing a novel set of statistical approaches (multilevel, Gaussian Process, and beta regression modelling) that simultaneously account for sampling uncertainties and interdependencies; allow for the explicit modelling of spatial autocorrelation; and accommodate for the compositional nature of analytical data. It is argued that other archaeological research projects working with large-scale, regional datasets have much to gain from adopting similar methodologies that mitigate the risk of reaching incomplete or biased conclusions. The archaeological implications are used to discuss how Muisca metalworking practices were embedded within complex symbolic frameworks and politically and ritually intertwined exchange networks. The cross-regional Colombian analyses, in turn, are used to highlight the importance of pre-Hispanic metal synergies, where the use of both gold and copper was highly interlinked through space. Notable variations of technological practices across space are also witness to the variability of human responses to different environmental and cultural stimuli – with local adaptations not readily explained by dichotomous metal symbolism, or by the local availability of ore sources.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Liminal heritage and political transition in Burma/Myanmar since 1824
    Stevens, Alicia
    Since the turn of the 21st century, an anxious presentism has taken hold of global politics. Human beings are living through a deeply transitional moment characterised by a rise in authoritarian populism (Bugaric 2019) and a ‘brokenness of political reality’ that is both cause and effect (Wydra 2015a, p. 1) of the wicked problems that plague us, from the threat of nuclear warfare to the climate crisis. Infused with powers of annihilation, these crises suspend whole societies in uncertainty, requiring that we learn to live life in the transitional (Horváth, Thomassen, and Wydra 2017). Such extraordinary circumstances demand innovation of heritage critique, which lacks a framework for understanding cultural heritage amid the crisis of extreme forms of transition. This study presents an innovative approach to the problem, arguing for transferring the paradigm of contemporary liminality from political anthropology into heritage studies. Contemporary political anthropologists have adapted liminality’s ritual structure to wholesale experiences such as war, revolution, and transition, to understand these phenomena at the level of the communities living through them. Data are from Burma/Myanmar, where, since 1824, the difficult heritage of British colonial and military oppression and its concomitant heritage of civilian revolution has led to generations of overlapping transitional crises. Public commemoration of the atrocities endured might have provided Burmese people with the means for social recovery and transitional justice. Instead, enduring collective uncertainty has disrupted this potential. Cultural heritage is in the political fray amid transitional crises; as power shifts among competing political factions, its established meanings and symbols loosen. For those who learn to manipulate its interpretation, heritage becomes a tool for legitimising power or achieving empowerment amid extreme transition. The lens of contemporary liminality aids in deciphering these political uses of heritage and leads to a second innovation of this study – a new heritage taxonomy forged from transitional crisis.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Modelling spatio-temporal changes in the ecological niches of major domesticated crops in China: Application of Species Distribution Modelling
    Krzyzanska, Marta; Krzyzanska, Marta [0000-0002-3677-3086]
    This thesis explores how the dispersal of crops in the past related to their ecological niches. In particular, it presents the niche models for five historically significant crops in China: rice, millet, wheat, barley and buckwheat. These models are rooted in the Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) methodology and infer the potential areas suitable for the cultivation of each crop from the present distributional data. Model predictions are extrapolated on the palaeoclimatic reconstructions to obtain suitability estimates extending back to the initial uptake of each crop in China. Those are compared against the patterns of crops’ dispersal deduced from archaeobotanical data to assess the contribution of climatic factors and human niche construction to agricultural trajectories. Specifically, the study draws on ecological niche theory, niche construction theory, cultural evolution and gene-culture co-evolutionary theory to interpret how the observed patterns could result from different pathways to niche construction and distributional expansion. The analysis identified two modes of crop dispersal based on whether those pathways involved more deliberate efforts at spreading and maintaining cultivation or passive responses to the environment. Niche-forming characterised major domesticates which originated in China: rice and millet. It manifested in the gradual broadening of the environmental range occupied by the crops over time and was associated with the pathways that implied prioritisation by farmers. In contrast, a stable environmental range identified the niche following trajectories, expected when the spread of crops was more opportunistic than intentional. Foreign domesticates (wheat and barley) and buckwheat, a comparatively minor crop, exemplify this model. Furthermore, the analysis provided insights into factors that shaped the dispersal patterns of individual crops. Notably, it demonstrated that climate constrained buckwheat movement along major transcontinental dispersal routes, followed by crops such as millet, wheat and barley. In conjunction with the niche-following pattern identified for this crop, this provides an explanation for the delayed westwards spread compared to other East Asian domesticates. Furthermore, the models revealed the discrepancy between the high suitability of environmental conditions predicted in northeast China, and the relatively slow pace of agricultural developments documented in the area, opening up a discussion about possible explanatory factors. Finally, the analysis exposed the climatic shift in the inland southern part of the country. The models demonstrated that this shift opened up a corridor of dispersal for millet and might have facilitated the spread of agriculture in this direction.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Rajgir and Its Hinterland
    Harding, Robert
    This thesis is based on an archaeological survey of Rajgir, onetime capital of Magadha and one of the most important Early Historic urban sites. Its principal conclusions are: 1. The "walls" are more walkways than defensive structures and it's clear they were used as such during the first millennium AD. In a number of stretches they are clearly not defensive and for some areas they are easily the best means of moving around. Read the right way it's clearly what the monks are saying. 2. Despite the common assumption that the walls form a unified system, Marshall's map had already shown the north side was disconnected; and the survey showed the southern is also. 3. That they are related to the siting of Buddhist and Jain sites raises chicken and egg questions as to relative dating; but all one can say is that such huge, monumental structures are unique in the mid-first millennium BC. 4. A good candidate for the Elephant Stupa is the Balarama Temple. Some other sites mentioned by monks may be along the hill roads rather than on the flat. 5. The Rajgir topography found in Pali sources is irreconcilable with topographies of Sanskrit sources and with current names. 6. Bimbisara's Jail is a first-millennium AD monastic site. 7. Much of the "Inner Fortification", around the northern entrance to the valley is actually an occupation mound going back to at least c. 1000 BC if not before. 8. Finds of NBP and associated material of pre-Mauryan type (including in Inner Fortification walls) does lend support to arguments that the valley centre was occupied; the chronological relationship of Old Rajgir - New Rajgir has yet to be properly confirmed. 9. Giriak’s Daktar English mound on the river has plentiful Early Historic and "Kushan period" evidence to show that it must be included in a network of sites centred on the hills. 10. From the 19thC Rajgir and other Early Historic cities have been construed as “Buddhist sites”; and this had led to an under-emphasis of their urban functions.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Understanding the selection and co-existence of tin bronze alloying techniques in Antiquity. An experimental and archaeological approach with Northeast Iberia as case study (2800-200BC).
    Montes Landa, Julia; Montes Landa, Julia [0000-0001-9672-465X]
    From co-smelting through cementation to co-melting, there are different ways to make tin bronze. We can only tell these techniques apart through the analysis of production slag. Interestingly, archaeological evidence indicates that the oldest techniques were not replaced by more modern and ‘advanced’ ones, and that several techniques often co-existed in the same production contexts. This situation requires an explanation. This thesis evaluates how environmental and socio-economic factors may have affected the selection of bronze alloying techniques in the past. To do so, it was firstly necessary to assess differences in performance between techniques through a set of field-based alloying experiments. The results suggest that, although the end-product was of comparable quality, different techniques offer alternative trade-offs during production. Secondly, to evaluate the impact of socio-economic and environmental dynamics in technique selection, a series of archaeological assemblages from Northeast Iberia dated between Chalcolithic and Iberian times (2800-200BC) are presented. Archaeometallurgical by-products of these collections were analysed using pXRF, OM, SEM-EDS, and LIA to characterise technological choices through time. These choices were considered in relation to their performance characteristics, and subsequently contextualised within the relevant environmental and socio-economic dynamics. It was found that alloying technique choices were dependent on (1) the degree of instability associated to raw material procurement networks, and (2) the high or low selective pressures operating on the different performance characteristics of each technique. Socio-economic factors were generally conditioning both, but discrete combinations of these two variables can explain instances of co-existence of different alloying techniques, and examples of commitment to a single technique. The study of selection patterns behind bronze alloying techniques is presented as a promising tool to re-question existing models of bronze production organisation, and technological diffusion across Europe and beyond. The approach developed can be easily adapted to study other instances of counterintuitive adoption, rejection, or discontinuation of innovations in other technologies.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Scales of Interaction across the South China Sea between 6000 and 4000 BP. A chaîne opératoire approach to the Neolithic stone adzes of the Min River Delta, Pearl River Delta and Taiwan.
    Sponza, Francesco; Sponza, Francesco [0000-0002-6011-8612]
    This thesis investigates the variability of the Neolithic stone adzes (6000 to 4000 BP) retrieved from different sites located on the coasts of the South China Sea. The aim of this research is to provide an answer or multiple answers to the nature of the actors behind the emergence of this complex patterns of variability. For several decades the “Neolithicization” processes across the Asian-Pacific region were explained as the result of the diffusion of Proto-Austronesian speakers: the spread of Neolithic material cultures, food production, rice farming, animal domestication, etc. The assumed underlying cause was the migration of agriculturalists that started in China c.9000 years ago, passed through Taiwan and the Philippines c.4000 years ago, and eventually spread over the wider Pacific region. General criticisms of this “Out-of-Taiwan” model include the primacy of linguistic inferences over archaeology, its use as a mass migratory meta-narrative, and the lack of strong archaeological evidence of for the Neolithicization process. In broad critical terms, this synthesis is seen as a form of Culture-History oversimplification of complex sea-based interactions that, eventually, could lead to the emergence of material cultural similarities and differences in distant part of the Asian-Pacific region. To translate this complexity into sizeable and interpretable measures, this thesis uses an approach based on the study of the dynamic processes of production, use and discard of tools: namely the reconstruction of the *chaîne opératoire*. This approach is applied to the ground stone adzes retrieved from four sites of the Pearl River Delta (Fu Tei, Kwo Lo Wan, Sha Ha, Yung Long), one site from the Min River Delta (Tanshishan) and one site from Southwestern Taiwan (Nanguanli). The resulting figures are statistically charted and combined using a multivariate analysis approach across sites, adze types, and materials used, to explore patterns of dependency. The ultimate aim of this type of analysis is to demonstrate that the complexity of material culture variability in the South China Sea is not the result of a direct people diffusion, but a combination of different factors that are variously environmental, techno-cultural, and based both on pragmatic and representational choices. The dissertation reaches the conclusion that the variability in the archaeological record is the outcome of a mix of local particularism, cultural diffusion and demic diffusion, and that it was part of a multi- directional network of connectivity that linked the ‘Neolithic’ nuclei of Southern China and Southeast Asia. These movements of materials and ideas did not flow only on one level but on many levels: some reached a small distance from a propagating nucleus, spreading some material elements, some instead reached the furthest reaches of the South China Sea and spread other elements of material culture. This approach demonstrates that the complexity of the interactive networks, as emerging from the patterns of material culture variability in the Asian-Pacific region, cannot be tackled with the adoption of wide-encompassing meta-narrative models, revolving around purely cultural frameworks and rooted in 20th century Culture-History. It is instead necessary to take into account that the emergence of some material traits can be mechanical outcomes (forms of environmental adaptation, the exertion of material constraints over the morphological templates of the lithic workers) or super-structural outcomes (forms of socio-technological, socio-cultural acceptance or rejection of certain material innovations), and not simply mirrors of past diffusions or migrations of peoples.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The evolution of exploitation through mimicry
    Goodman, Jonathan; Goodman, Jonathan [0000-0002-6831-6189]
    The aim of this thesis is to propose that mimicry of signals in human communication is an effective behavioural strategy for exploiting social systems. Detection of mimicry may consequently have evolved as a counterstrategy, creating a competitive co-evolutionary relationship between signaller and receiver, potentially driving signal complexity and diversity. This perspective relies on previous work on social selection, kin recognition, and tag-based cooperation, which together suggest that mimicry, when successful, is likely to be an evolutionarily beneficial strategy for signallers. Insofar as receivers confer cooperation to those signallers with whom they perceive a shared social or kinship origin, free riding on signals indicating such a relationship will be evolutionarily favoured. The aim of this thesis is to defend these claims, both through analysis of previously published work and through the presentation of empirical research and agent-based modelling. In chapter 1, the introduction, I introduce the general questions I aim to address and introduce the project’s overall theoretical framework. Chapter 2 is a review of strategies for exploiting relationships, both interspecific and conspecific, across taxa, which suggests that, both in human and non-human relationships, barriers — for example, policing in hymenopterans and social norms in humans — evolve to prevent exploitation. I present evidence in several species, with a particular focus on non-human animal and human social relationships, in support of this view, and conclude that, in competitive relationships where barriers exist, mimicry is likely to be a common strategy for exploitation. In chapters 3 and 4, I explore, in two empirical studies, human signal mimicry detection in the context of accents, which have previously been proposed as likely tags that direct cooperative behaviours. The aim of these chapters is to suggest, within the context of sociolinguistic and evolutionary literature, that humans are effective at discerning whenspeakers are faking signals of the listeners’ shared social identity, with potential consequences for group boundaries and linguistic diversity. Chapter 5, an agent-based model, aims to show that detection of mimicry is, itself, an effective barrier against free riding by mimics in social systems. In chapter 6, I develop a novel agent-based modelling paradigm that specifically compares the results in a series of one-shot Prisoner’s Dilemmas when individuals can mimic a cooperative tag. This chapter aims to bring the preceding four together, and proposes that covert mimicry allows free- riding individuals to proliferate successfully in groups of conditional cooperators. In a final discussion chapter, I evaluate these findings in the context of previous work on strong reciprocity and cultural group selection, and suggest that barriers to exploitation, such as social norms, preclude the possibility of exploitation only insofar as individual actions are detectable. Mimicry is, I propose, a potentially common strategy for evading these barriers, and insofar as a small subset of individuals mimic effectively, an otherwise cooperative system will be open to exploitation. I discuss this proposal in the context of the preceding chapters, and suggest that human signal mimicry detection is not, on average, effective enough to entirely prevent free riding — with implications for human social interactions in modern life.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring Prehistoric Technology at the Tràng An Landscape Complex, Ninh Bình Province, Vietnam
    Utting, Benjamin
    This thesis investigates the relationship between environmental change and stone tool technology during the terminal Last Glacial Maximum at six archaeological cave and rockshelter sites throughout the Tràng An Landscape Complex, Ninh Bình Province, northern Vietnam. Historical analyses of stone tool assemblages from Southeast Asia have relied on cultural-typological methods, which are poorly suited for assemblages that comprise tools that are rarely curated and exhibit limited evidence for recurrent imposed morphological design. More recent approaches incorporating technological organization, attribute analysis, and behavioral ecology have proven more profitable for both identifying and interpreting variability in such assemblages and placing tool use in its greater environmental context. Furthermore, stone tool assemblages from this region are generally thought to be comprised of tools made of locally sourced raw materials. This thesis presents the results of a geochemical sourcing analysis that challenges this idea, and in doing so, introduces another way of identifying variability in unretouched, expedient Southeast Asian stone tool assemblages. Furthermore, it is argued that Bayesian statistical methods provide a quantitative framework that can be specifically tailored to address archaeological questions in a more nuanced way than traditional frequentist statistical methods can offer. Therefore, this thesis incorporates geochemical sourcing analysis with a Bayesian attribute analysis to test a human behavioral ecological model of tropical hunter-gatherer behaviors before, during, and after the Last Glacial Maximum.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Mediterranean Highlanders: Violence and Identity in the pre-Roman Aterno Valley (Italy)
    Scarsella, Elena
    This PhD dissertation aims to investigate the formative dynamics of identity in mountain societies, through the case-study of the late Iron Age Aterno Valley (Central Apennines). The approach adopted in this PhD is not limited to one source of data, but involves landscape, cemeteries, macro and micro topography, and spatial and temporal distribution of material culture. Here, I advocate that peculiar and fragmented human landscapes such as Mediterranean mountains are prone to a constant scarcity of resources and hence to a fierce competition over them. This forces the people inhabiting these landscapes to adapt constantly their social and economic strategies to maintain a critical balance in the availability and circulation of resources. In this frame, violence, both in its display and practice, plays the pivotal role of redistributing and facilitating the (not always consensual) circulation of materials and wealth. This is particularly true for the period between the 7th and the 5th century BC, when a widespread display of aggressive power is clear both on the landscape and the material culture. This balance came to an end around the second half of the 5th century BC, when, for a combination of factors, the archaeological visibility of the area is blurred. By the end of this period of crisis, in the second half of the 4th century BC, a different balance gradually emerged, still competitive, but on the ground of trade, rather than violence. The Vestine identity formation process, as seen in the longue durée, is hence not a linear process but an ever-changing picture of which Roman literary sources were able to catch but a glimpse.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Scrimshaw: unlocking the cultural and biological archive of sea mammal art
    Courto, Laura
    During the middle decades of the nineteenth century the folk-art tradition ‘scrimshaw’, predominantly using the teeth of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus), flourished among the crews of industrial whaling ships. Scrimshaw collections represent a unique cultural and biological archive of pre-industrial/industrial sperm whale populations, but the rarity, collectability, and high value of genuine nineteenth century scrimshaw specimens have precluded meaningful scientific investigation. Building on classical art historical methods, the multidisciplinary approach applied in this thesis allows for the examination of scrimshaw artefacts beyond imagery and carving techniques, providing additional insight into the biological history of the whales caught through detailed micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) scanning and biomolecular analysis. The Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI), in Cambridge, United Kingdom, holds a significant collection of pictorial sperm whale scrimshaw from the early nineteenth century, depicting clear British iconography/imagery. Relevant scrimshaw specimens from the SPRI collection, and undecorated sperm whale teeth, were scanned utilising high-powered micro-CT technology to investigate internal tooth morphology, assess preservation, and create a digital archive of the artefacts prior to, and post, destructive sampling. This research demonstrates that high powered micro-CT imaging can reveal more detailed information about the internal structure of sperm whale teeth and scrimshaw specimens than has been achieved in past studies. Dentine samples were then taken from the concave tooth roots of select samples for biomolecular analysis. This study demonstrates the efficacy of a novel sampling method using medical bone scrapers that better facilitate in situ sampling of scrimshaw artefacts and ivory in museum collections than traditional sampling methods such as drilling and longitudinal sectioning. For this study, biomolecular analysis was primarily utilised to molecularly sex the scrimshaw specimens, and to determine the efficacy of the selected sampling technique for collagen extraction and stable isotope analysis. This research illustrates that biomolecular analysis of scrimshaw artefacts can provide valuable biological and ecological information about pre-industrial/industrial nineteenth century sperm whales.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Fire Assay, Cupellation and the Dissemination of Technical Knowledge in Post-Medieval Europe
    Hsu, Yi-Ting; Hsu, Yi-Ting [0000-0003-0554-8182]
    This PhD thesis focuses on the study of assaying practices in the post-medieval Europe (c. 14th-17th centuries), especially on silver assaying. Modern analytical chemistry is an offspring of fire assay and cupellation, a method used to quantify the amount of precious metals such as silver and gold in ores, ingots or coins. Small-scale cupellation was used to determine quantitatively the richness of metalliferous ores, and for quality control in metals trade and coin minting. The stringent requirements in the efficiency and accuracy of these quantitative processes are reflected not only in the amount and purity of the silver available in post-medieval Europe, but also in the evolving procedures and materials used to carry out cupellation. This thesis combines a critical evaluation of historical texts describing assaying practice with the analytical study of contemporary archaeological remains, and experimental replications. Particular emphasis is placed on the manufacture of assay vessels (scorifiers and cupels) and the efficiency of the assay methods. The primary case studies include the Royal Mint and Jesuit College in Kutná Hora (Czech Republic), the Jáchymov Mint (Czech Republic) and the Porto Mint (Portugal), but samples from Middelburg (Belgium) and Paris (France) are also examined. The analytical techniques employed include portable X-ray fluorescence, optical microscopy, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry/atomic emission spectroscopy, and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectrometry. Compared with ceramic crucibles, made industrially and traded over long distances, cupels were more likely made by the practitioners and therefore show higher variability. The analyses of cupels from the sites have identified three different recipes: bone ash, wood ash, and a mixture of bone ash and wood ash, which is the dominant recipe. These are all recorded in historical sources, but the analytical study coupled with the new experiments allows further insight into regional manufacturing differences, possible reasons behind choices, and the effect of cupel materials on manufacture and performance. While cupels from the Porto Mint are made of a mixture of bone ash and wood ash in similar proportions, cupels from the Czech Republic are richer in wood ash. Using silver loss in cupels as a proxy for efficiency, the operations in the mints appear more standardised than in other workshops. The experimental project helped assess the performance of different cupel recipes and furnace structures reported in historical and archaeological data. Though bone ash is recognised today as ideal material for cupels, the experiments revealed challenges in obtaining reproducible results with these materials when the cupels are made by inexpert users. Scorifiers in this study were used for testing ores. The experiments demonstrated the difficulties in fully refining silver using ceramic scorifiers, hence helping explain the reasons for the historic transition to ash-based assaying vessels. Overall, the reconstruction of assaying practices through archaeological and contemporary technical treatises allows new insight into regional variability in silver metallurgy, the transfer of technical knowledge in post-medieval Europe, and the development of quantitative analytical chemistry.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Neanderthal and Modern Human Adaptations to Climate Change in Southwest Asia: Climate Reconstruction of Marine Isotope Stage 5 to 3 based on small mammal records from Shanidar Cave (Iraqi Kurdistan)
    Tilby, Emily; Tilby, Emily [0000-0002-9735-7510]
    Understanding the link between environmental and climatic fluctuations and changes in hominin populations and their distribution is one of the major challenges facing archaeologists and palaeoanthropologists. One notable key demographic event is the expansion of Homo sapiens (‘Modern Humans’) and the extinction of Neanderthals in Eurasia between 50,000 to 30,000 years BP (Higham et al. 2014). The exact causes of Neanderthal extinction are still widely debated, but one widely considered theory is that Neanderthals were less able to cope with rapid climate change in this period than Modern Humans. Within this context the overall aim of this thesis is to investigate the potential of microfaunal remains to provide high resolution and localised records of the environment and climate experienced by Neanderthals and Modern Humans using Shanidar cave in the Zagros mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan famously excavated by Ralph Solecki in 1951-1960. The project analyses 2592 microfaunal remains collected in renewed excavations at the site (2015-2018) from a stratigraphic sequence dated from c.85,000 to 30,000 years ago including from sediments adjacent to Neanderthal skeletal remains dating to c.75,000-50,000 years ago and overlying sediments associated with Baradostian archaeology assumed to be associated with Modern Humans. A variety of methods is applied to the material: taphonomic studies of breakage and digestion patterns of teeth and long bones to investigate the role of different predators in the formation of the assemblage; species presence and absence; changes in species abundance; shape change in the Arvicoline component using geometric morphometric methods; and changes in Arvicoline tooth enamel thickness. The sequence is dominated by one species, Microtus c.f. socialis, and displays a relatively constant taphonomic signature, though breakage from rockfall increases in the upper section of the stratigraphic sequence. The study indicates that the broad environmental conditions remained relatively constant throughout the sequence, with no major faunal turnover, though smaller fluctuations in community composition occurred. The smaller fluctuations indicate that the conditions in the earliest part of the sequence were relatively humid and vegetated, and that conditions became progressively arid, with occasional periods of humidity. The sequence has allowed some inferences to be drawn about the link between environment and hominin occupation of the cave. It appears that Neanderthals and Modern Humans preferentially occupied the cave, and in the case of Neanderthals more intensively, when environmental conditions were humid, with more vegetation. There are hints that Modern Humans were also able to occupy the site at times when conditions were harsher, though both groups are absent in the most arid periods. The findings of this thesis emphasise the importance of investigating local environmental signals in addition to global signals, as the former may provide a different perspective on the conditions experienced by past individuals and populations.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Traits and Trees: Exploring the edges of phylogenetic methods
    Yaxley, Keaghan
    Phylogenetic methods are central to the study of biology and in recent years more formal techniques involving computational methods have been developed and widely applied. While these have focused on building the Tree of Life from molecular data, other approaches have extended to phenotypes, behaviour, cultural evolution, and languages. However, underlying these methods, are some issues that relate to the structure and nature of the trees. This thesis sets out to explore some of these issues, and particularly how trees behave under conditions which may stretch the boundaries of phylogenetic approaches. In the first set of analyses, I tackle the problem of asymmetry in trees. It has been observed in many contexts that phylogenetic trees are asymmetrical – that is, descendants are not shared equally across sister clades. This asymmetry, known as phylogenetic imbalance, has been widely studied but primarily concerning trees that include only living lineages. In this chapter, I look at trees that include both extinct and extant lineages and explore how diversification dynamics and preservation biases influence phylogenetic imbalance. Trees were simulated and sampled under a variety of diversification and preservation models and compared with a range of empirical phylogenies. I find that while multiple model combinations can make combined-evidence phylogenies more imbalanced, only a few make them as imbalanced as empirical trees. The second set of analyses also looks at combined-evidence trees. In this case, I explore the impact of imbalance, and specifically long branches, on the ability of current methods to resolve combined-evidence phylogenies. Including extinct lineages appears to mitigate some of the problems associated with long branches and thus improve reconstructions of highly imbalanced trees. Another aspect of phylogenetic methods relates to how trees can be used to explore ecological and evolutionary patterns. A simple assumption might be that lineages that are more distantly related will also be more different in terms of their phenotypes and their ecological functions, however, empirical support for this is mixed. Using a near-complete morphological database and phylogeny for birds, and over 16000 bird assemblage recordss, I systematically explore the relationship between phylogenetic diversity and functional dispersion. Globally, I find that while phylogenetic diversity and functional dispersion are negatively correlated the relationship varies with latitude and longitude and is largely driven by the morphological constraints placed on birds by migration. Recently uplifted tropical mountains show exceptional levels of functional dispersion and regions with exceptionally high phylogenetic diversity fall along established biogeographical boundaries. These analyses indicate the power of linking phylogenetic approaches with morphological studies on a global scale. Phylogenetic approaches were developed initially for biological systems where gene-based heritability is well-understood. Anthropologists and linguists have also applied these methods to contexts where different systems of heritability are in place – for example, vertical transmission of material culture. The evolution of stars in the galaxy offers an interesting and untested field in which to explore the applicability of phylogenetic methods in an entirely new setting. Using separate chemical surveys of Milky Way stars, I evaluate the phylogenetic signal within each dataset and systematically explore how measurement error influences the resolution of two stellar phylogenies. The broader implications of these analyses are discussed in terms of the power, potential and limits of phylogenetic methods, and, how the structures of trees themselves provide more than simply an opportunity to rebuild the Tree of Life.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Social Transformations and Ceramic Production during the 4th millennium BCE in the Shahrizor Plain and Bazyan Valley, Iraqi Kurdistan. A Geochemical and Petrographic Study.
    Lewis, Michael; Lewis, Michael [0000-0001-6998-9257]
    The Late Chalcolithic (c.4400-3200 BCE) in Mesopotamia featured new forms of socio-political and economic organisation, increasing material cultural homogeneity, resource accumulation and (re)-distribution. The Uruk Phenomenon (traditionally dated to c.3600-3200 BCE) is characterised by the presence of a distinctive suite of southern material culture including pottery, architectural styles, and accounting devices across northern Mesopotamia. This phenomenon remains a key, yet contentious issue in archaeological literature following three decades of debate: Current arguments for the transmission of the Uruk Phenomenon are however, primarily based on evidence from archaeological investigations on the Middle Euphrates and include emulation, trade or exchange, and transhumance. Despite the influx of archaeological investigations into Iraqi Kurdistan over the last decade, the majority of current discussion on the processes and transmission of this phenomenon is based upon investigations along the Middle Euphrates. The mechanisms underpinning the transmission of the Uruk Phenomenon, or how it was maintained within Iraqi Kurdistan remain poorly understood. This thesis investigates the effects of the Uruk Phenomenon upon local communities in Iraqi Kurdistan. I analyse pottery assemblages from three sites located in the Shahrizor, and Bazyan Valley of Iraqi-Kurdistan. Detailed analysis of the pottery assemblages allows for identification of chronologically sensitive forms, to allow for more accurate relative dating of future assemblages in the region. Using an adapted version of the chaîne opératoire, I utilise ceramic petrography to investigate provenance which I couple with pXRF for bulk ceramic composition, and to compliment the petrographic study. FTIR enables examination of pottery firing temperature. This PhD provides new insights into the Uruk Phenomenon’s transmission. I demonstrate variable local responses to a supraregional network, through active choices in the pottery production of local communities. Furthermore, I explore the ways that Iraqi Kurdistan, a regionally diverse area interacted with and was influenced by southern Mesopotamia, and vice versa. Material cultural transformations are deemed locally driven and inspired, despite arguments that southern Mesopotamian influence meant elimination of local traditions and homogenisation of material culture, particularly pottery. My approach takes a regional view focussing upon one area of Iraqi-Kurdistan to assert that local patterns should be understood and assimilated to understand the larger picture of this highly complex, regionally diverse process.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Fibre Production Among the Coastal Hunter-gatherers of South America’s West Coast: New Narratives from Plant Fibre Technologies
    Alday Mamani, Camila
    This research investigates textile technologies among the people of the coastal Andean Preceramic Period (10,000 – 3,500 BP) by studying the technological production of bast fibre artefacts from six archaeological sites in Peru and Chile. The raw materials, technological processes and manufacturing techniques were identified through archaeobotanical, structural and morphological analyses to reconstruct the chaîne opératoire of bast fibre production. By analysing fibre materials from archaeological sites of different ages and locations, this study finds the dominant use of wild-gathered plants in the production of nets and gathering bags, as well as clothing, mats and yarn. Bast fibres from Typha sp. leaves and Schoenoplectus sp. stems were used to make these artefacts, although bast fibres – likely from stems of an unidentified species from Apocynaceae (Asclepias sp.) plant family were used in a few artefacts.. Remains of the ‘epidermis’ of bast fibres in the artefacts indicate decortication as a method of extracting bast fibres from the plants, while the presence of cut marks reveals that sharp tools were used to process the fibres. Splicing was the technique to produce thread and the patterns in manufacturing techniques through techniques such as looping and twining, which remained fairly consistent at the sites found along the Pacific coast. Together, these features suggest a fairly standardised production method for fibre artefacts in the Preceramic Period that enabled me to suggest that bast fibre technologies represent a long-term ‘technological tradition’ among the coastal hunter-gatherers of the Preceramic Period. Furthermore, this research shows that new elements were being added to fibre production, such as camelid hair and various pigments near the end of the Preceramic Period, which coincided with the appearance of more elaborate artefacts. The function of the fibre artefacts in coastal activities is also crucial for understanding the social dimensions of the marine subsistence strategies that developed during this period. Through this work I discuss how coastal hunter-gatherer groups articulated marine subsistence activities by proposing two alternative theoretical frameworks: ‘Points of Ecological Awareness’ (PEA) and a dance metaphor that are inspired by spatial and ecological dynamics that bast fibre production as a technological system posed. I use dance to explain the social dynamics of coastal hunter-gatherer groups by establishing the conceptual tools and the analytical lens that I will be using when characterising Preceramic social dynamics, with an emphasis on the chaîne opératoire as collective actions across the Pacific coastal landscape. The concept of ‘PEA’ – a term for the collective of the non-human world of plants, animals, geological and meteorological forces – conveys information about ecological behaviours and actions. These ecological entities grow and change cyclically with the varying climatic conditions of the Pacific coastline throughout the millennia of the Preceramic Period, creating a network of intersubjectivity among the coastal hunter-gatherer groups. Ultimately, I argue that plant fibre technologies founded the ecological and technological knowledge for advancement of textile production. That, in turn, has enabled me to propose that wild-gathered textile technology offered templates to textile crops, and r to stress that plant-fibre textiles are the first art forms on the Pacific coast, and are undoubtedly predecessors to the long-standing textile tradition in the Andean Region. That also constituted socio-economic and ecological foundations for the shift from wild Typha sp., Schoenoplectus sp. and Apocynaceae plants to cotton (G.Barbadense.). That shift from wild plant to domesticated raw materials impacted the ecology, economy and technology of the early communities of South America’s west coast, raising questions of the critical implications of the Preceramic fibre textile technologies had in our understanding of the social and economic dynamics of early coastal communities of the Peru-Chile area.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Paranthropus paradoxes: Patterns of morphological variation in East African 'robust australopithecines'
    Nadal Urias, Lucia
    The genus Paranthropus represents an iconic taxon in the hominin fossil record. Its early discovery, together with its morphological distinctiveness, have defined this genus as a unique hominin lineage parallel to our own. Paranthropus boisei, who lived in East Africa between 2.3 and 1.4 million years ago, stands out amongst ‘robust australopithecines’ for its hyper expression of the megadont features diagnostic of the genus, while its vast dental and mandibular hypodigm makes it the best represented species in the early hominin fossil record. Yet, while megadont traits allow the clear identification of fossils as Paranthropus rather than Homo or Australopithecus, their expression is far from homogenous. This has resulted in a paradox of a seemingly morphologically ‘well-defined’ species that, nevertheless, encompasses a large intraspecific variability that does not always respect this definition. This paradox has been at the centre of conflicting interpretations regarding the evolutionary history and taxonomy of P. boisei. This work represents a critical examination of the degree of variation in the size and shape of mandibles assigned to P. boisei combining anatomical descriptions, high-resolution imaging, landmark-based 3D geometric morphometrics, and machine learning methodologies. Comparisons of ca. 60% of all original P. boisei fossil mandibles to those of living hominoids reveal the first sex estimation of individual fossils with an associated statistical likelihood, and a unique expression of sexual dimorphism in the extinct group. Further analyses reveal that the high morphological variability observed is structured independently of sexual dimorphism. In contrast, this thesis presents a novel interpretation to this variability and recognizes two distinct craniomandibular ecomorphotypes within the species’ hypodigm, typified by the two most emblematic cranial specimens ascribed to P. boisei (i.e. OH 5 and KNM-ER 406). Moreover, this work discusses the potential evolutionary scenarios leading to the morphological and ecological differences underlying this partitioning with significant implications for our current understanding of the taxonomical affinities, ecological interpretations and evolutionary history of P. boisei. Finally, this thesis presents the first description of two P. boisei mandibles from the site of Koobi Fora, Kenya, and discusses these new fossil hominin specimens in the context of the ecomorphotypes identified.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Stepping over the threshold of time: The Brezhnev era and the rise of the heritage temporality (1964-1982)
    Weppel, Simon
    The present thesis investigates the concept of temporality and its applicability within the scope of heritage studies. It argues that cultural notions of time, or temporalities, are of considerable consequence for the emergence of heritage, understood as a discursive formation, in any given society. Taking as its case study the example of the Brezhnev-era Soviet Union, the study examines the relationship between changing notions of time and the rise of a sensibility for heritage preservation in the Soviet 1960s to 1980s. The thesis offers a historical discourse analysis based on visitor guidebooks and brochures related to three museums dedicated to Vladimir Lenin, settings its findings in contrast with the wider literature on the Brezhnev period. Noting that a rise of concern for heritage preservation matters in the Soviet Union coincided with a broader turn towards discourses of tradition and history, the dissertation explores the common roots of a number of features of late Soviet culture. The work builds on the theoretical tools developed by Reinhart Koselleck and Francois Hartog to offer a perspective on the cultural phenomenon of heritage through the prism of temporality. In doing so, it formulates the notions of the ‘heritage temporality’ - a cultural relationship to time it argues is a precondition for the emergence of heritage - and of the ‘chronotope’, a methodological tool facilitating analysis of a given heritage site’s temporal and spatial aspects.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Production and Consumption of Middle Islamic Ceramics (1000-1500 CE) in Western Asia: Regional Practices in an Interconnected World
    Kaercher, Kyra
    The thesis presents a stylistic and technological study on Western Asian ceramics dating from 1000–1500 CE. The production and consumption of ceramics is used as a proxy to explore how social practices at the local level were formulated within the broader framework of Islam. The Islamic world has been studied as a relatively cohesive whole, due to the perceived connectivity of religion. This top-down approach favors elites (economic or political), larger cities, and precious materials (silk, porcelain, metals, etc.). This bias is mirrored in archaeological research which tends to focus on large palaces/castles/mosques, capital and large cities, and prestige goods. This dissertation focuses on the full repertoire of ceramic assemblages, not just glazed wares, to emphasize the potters’ choices in creating the ceramics, as well as the consumers’ choices in acquiring and using the ceramics. Both choices (production and consumption) are influenced by a myriad of factors, including vessels’ function, environment, and socio-cultural contexts. For this dissertation, I have three main questions: (1) What is the range of ceramic technology and style across Western Asia in the Middle Islamic period? How can the study of ceramic technology elucidate the ceramic traditions existing at these sites/regions? What is the structure of ceramic craft organization in these areas? (2) How can the ceramic traditions in combination with social dimensions of ceramic production be used to connect sites, regions, and interregional areas? How does the consumption of ceramics indicate links between these areas? (3) What can the study of ceramic traditions in the Middle Islamic period tell us about the connections between rural areas and larger urban areas? This dissertation focuses on 12 ceramic assemblages from various sites across Western Asia, all dating from 1000 – 1500 CE. These ceramics are recovered from both survey and excavation of sites of different natures, including eight rural sites (Erbil Plain Archaeological Survey (seven sites), Firuzabad), three intermediate types of sites (Nippur, Hasanlu, Chal Tarkhan), and a capital city (Rayy). The majority of the assemblages are from rural sites, but a few are from non-rural sites to lend a comparative edge and help define what is and is not rural. The ceramics are analyzed using a combination of macroscopic observation, thin-section petrography, portable X-Ray fluorescence (pXRF), and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR). These analyses are specifically selected to establish the potential provenience of the ceramics, reconstruct technical choices and social practices, and characterize production and consumption traditions. This area has been discussed as a homogenous whole (from 600 CE to present) under the assumption that the spread of Islam brought all areas under the larger cultural mainframe. However, this dissertation shows that there is heterogeneity in both ceramic consumption and production. The established overarching links do not seem to be influenced by the spread of Islam as the ceramic traditions identified (forms, fabrics, functions) also are present before the rise of Islam in these areas. This bottom-up approach marks significant contributions to Islamic Archaeology by shedding light on the diversity of dynamics that existed in local areas and among local populations and how these local dynamics play in the interconnected societies of Western Asia during the Middle Islamic period.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Archaeology in the British Mandate of Palestine between WWI and WWII
    Torp-Hansen, Thomas Løth
    The administration of archaeology in the Mandate of Palestine took place in a very particular situation, both within the British Empire and outside of it. The Department of Antiquities (DAP) operated within the rules and framework of a bureaucracy answerable to the directions and ideals of the League of Nations on whose behalf the British Government had accepted responsibility for the administration of Palestine. The international scrutiny entailed in this unusual situation affected the administrative decision-making process, the recording of that process, and its resulting policies. This dissertation addresses what the practices of the DAP tell us about the ways that the Department and the Palestine Government related to and were affected by the mandate principles of archaeology, and the international community of the League of Nations. Those practices in turn tell us about the efficacy of the mandate antiquity laws and principles followed. This enables us to identify a number of core challenges and aims, and how these were administered and adjusted over time: securing archaeological standards, observing international obligations, and administering land and expropriations. Overall, this study is a contribution to archaeological historiography and to discussions of the formation of disciplinary knowledge and practices within a particular setting, and the role this had in advancing the procedures of archaeology in the region. The study traces the points at which individuals and small-scale organisations and institutions met larger and broader political forces, providing insight into the reality of a local, ‘colonial’ time and place. This is done through a close critical reading of archived documents, informed by their historical context, most of which were archived by the DAP. The analysis first identifies major themes and patterns in a chapter that ranges across several excavation projects. The subsequent chapters then offer deeper insight into selected thematic problems through case studies of specific sites – Shiloh, Tell Fara, Tell Ajul, Balata, and Et-Tell. The study concludes that the administration of archaeology in Palestine conducted itself according to mandate principles – and took on the nature of a ‘mandate’ department, often in opposition to other parts of the administration. This policy of the DAP reveals that the antiquity laws were efficient tools with which to secure the observance of archaeological standards, international obligations, and religious neutrality, while they were considerably less well adjusted to handle issues of land administration and expropriations. The administrative focus on proper standards and procedures became part of modernising the archaeological approaches that had been in use until the advent of mandate oversight.