Study in pottery yields international archaeological award

February 15 / 151

Chris Hale examining pottery shards
Chris Hale examining pottery shards

PhD student Chris Hale has been awarded the Archaeological Institute of America’s 2014 Graduate Student Paper Award.

The winning paper “Central Greek and Kean Interconnections During the Middle Bronze Age: The Evidence from Mitrou, East Locris” explores changing patterns of trade and interaction between central Greece and Kea, an island in the Cyclades archipelago in the Aegean Sea, through the study of pottery.

“By studying pottery, the most abundant artefact of the time, we can see the movements of people through trade and interaction. We can see changes in fashions and trends, and also the appearance or disappearance of different types of imported pottery,” explained Mr Hale.

Using a specialised methodology, Mr Hale explores different features of pottery – such as the mineralogical composition of the clay – that can shed light on its origins.
“I like to think of pottery as being an open book … it’s the closest we can get to the lives of people, through the objects they used everyday.

“I like to see where things come from. Much research has been about how major civilisations have collapsed, but I’m interested in how major civilisations arrive, what caused them to coalesce.

“It’s wonderful to win an international award, to be recognised by and connect with your peers, with the wider research community, with other researchers specialising in this area.”

The Graduate Student Paper Award Committee of the Archaeological Institute of America stated: “This was an excellent paper with significant ramifications regarding trade in the Middle Bronze Age Aegean not only at the site of Mitrou but in the Greek mainland at large”.

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