Graduate short course in archaeological science at STARC, The Cyprus Institute

By Artemios Oikonomou, Associate editor for archaeological glass

Between 12 and 23 of April an exciting online Graduate Short Course in Archaeological Science took place as part of the Promised project (Promoting Archaeological Science in the eastern Mediterranean, H2020 Twinning project: Grant No 811068). The course was a collaboration between the Cyprus Institute’s Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Center (STARC) and the Archaeological Research Unit, University of Cyprus, with support from the KU Leuven and the University of Cambridge. In total, there were 66 participants and every day a class took place from 16.00-18.00 with an average of 17 participants per day. The Promised Graduate Short Course concluded 20 hours of training from 9 expert lecturers and the attendees were from Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon, and the UK. 

The subjects taught included archaeomaterials, geochemistry, animal bones and statistics. In particular, the first day Prof. Th. Rehren made an introduction to archaeometallurgy highlighting ore mining and beneficiation as well as the smelting processes including information about the economy and procurement of raw materials. The next day, Dr M. Dikomitou-Eliadou shared useful information with the attendees regarding the analysis and study of pottery and how useful the analytical approaches are in the identification of the technology and provenance of ceramics. The third day, Prof. Th. Rehren and myself gave a lecture on the history of glass highlighting the four main glass industries, from LBA to Islamic glass. First week ended with Dr. E. Nikita who lectured in two days about the usefulness of statistics in archaeology and she demonstrated this through very specific examples and case studies.

Second week started again with archaeometallurgy; this time Dr M. Gener-Moret addressed the concept of chaîne opératoire and how archaeometallurgy, both as technology and function, affects past societies. The next two days, Prof. P. Degryse, through his interactive teaching, demonstrated the significance of geochemical prospecting in archaeological research through case studies in small and big scale sites in SW Turkey. On Thursday, Dr A. Spyrou discussed zooarchaeology matters and in particular the application of stable isotopes and aDNA to reconstruct the early history and the presence of cattle in Cyprus. Last but not least, Dr C. Ting, our Editor, showed exciting examples of glazed pottery and their use in interpreting human past by reconstructing consumption patterns and production technology.

Stay tuned for the next Promised Summer School which will be held this summer in Cyprus. More information TBA.