News and Events
MATCH networking event Friday 20th May: 10am – 1pm
This event is aimed at celebrating past achievements and reinvigorating MATCH as we move forward. It will be a chance to reconnect with or get to know fellow members, share your research interests with them and listen to how their research maps onto the core themes of MATCH – Materiality – Artefacts – Technology – Culture – History. We will also be canvasing you for your ideas about where you would like MATCH to go in the future.
You are welcome to come along for as long as your schedule allows, please email Bridget Kennedy by Friday 13th May if you wish to attend.
If you would like to make a short presentation about how your research relates to one or more of the MATCH research areas, then please email Dr Camilla Bertini by Wednesday 11th May. We will be asking presenters to show 3 slides only and be prepared to talk for 3 mins about how their research maps onto one or more of the 5 MATCH research areas
Room ARMB.1.48 (St3DO)
Conference report: The Materiality of Ancient Greek Identities, 9th to 2nd Centuries BC (Newcastle University, 21st April 2021)
The conference was a delightful day, with a series of stimulating papers that examined ideas of materiality and identity in a number of ways. Discussions ranged from the invisibility of the migrant experience, to how material culture could be crafted in a certain way to enhance and fuel attributes akin to ‘stereotypes’. More traditional material culture was coupled with epigraphy to provide a an inter-disciplinary approach (a key concern of the conference). Throughout, one thing became clear: we must be careful in our examination of the past, for often many aspects of identity are invisible. Throughout Greece, from the 6th century to the 4th century BC, identity was constantly evolving, being pushed and pulled between many actors. Materiality aids in its dynamic nature as each Greek community, possessed with agenda and ambition, seeks to further their influence and adapt their local society.
The keynote adresses from Professor Katharina Lorenz (Justus-Liebig University Giessen) and Professor Robin Osborne (University of Cambridge) and ten further papers explored a range of methodologies, topics and case studies relative to the creation and transformation of ancient Greek identities, and their relationship with material culture.
The event was very well received both in the room and on Zoom with an audience of 14 in-person and 38 online attendees. The hybrid nature of the event broadened both the range of speakers and audience members able to attend, and the in-person audience paryicularly enjoyed the opportunity to interact and network with fellow scholars in the same room. A selection of the papers are available online, as recordings, and steps are being taken to publish the proceedings of the conference as an edited volume.
The Materiality of Ancient Greek Identities, 9th to 2nd centuries BC
We warmly invite you to attend our conference, The Materiality of Ancient Greek Identities, 9th to 2nd centuries BC, taking place on Thursday 21st April 2022. The conference will be presented in a hybrid format; colleagues are welcome to attend either in person online.
The conference brings together archaeologists, ancient historians, classicists, and scholars from across the Social Sciences to explore individual and communal identities in ancient Greece, and in particular how those identities were created, communicated and changed by material culture. Our keynotes are Professor Katharina Lorenz (Justus-Liebig University Giessen) and Professor Robin Osborne (University of Cambridge), and our speakers discuss a wide range of themes relative to identities in the Geometric, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Greek world. Attending the conference is free, and tea/coffee and lunch will be provided for in-person attendees. For the conference programme and to register please visit eventbrite.
We look forward to welcoming colleagues in person at The Boiler House on campus at Newcastle University. Further details about travelling to the Newcastle University campus can be found here.
Colleagues are also welcome to attend online, via Zoom. Please email us for the zoom link.
As Newcastle University is working towards sustainability on campus, we request that attendees bring their own stationery or electronic devices for making notes.
In an effort to make the event Covid safe, we request that attendees also bring and wear a face mask; hand sanitiser will be made available throughout.
If you have any queries about the event, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
With all best wishes,
Emma Gooch and Jerome Ruddick
Two MATCH grants awarded
23 March 2022
We are delighted to be able to support two research projects with small grants:
'Thames Glass' - Seeking an alternative more sustainable future for glassmaking whilst taking influence from ancient techniques and recipes. Lulu Harrison
Lulu Harrison is a second year MA Material Futures student studying at Central Saint Martins and founder of ‘Thames Glass’. Inspired by ancient glass making processes and techniques, she has been creating unique batch recipes from local and waste materials. With extraction of raw materials becoming a pressing environmental issue, as well as constantly rising transportation costs and emissions, Lulu is interested in finding alternatives to the highly processed and finite materials that are often used in glassmaking. By combining crafts, design and science, Thames Glass actively seeks to redefine the meaning of 'luxury', through working with waste materials and local communities. As part of a joint project for the British Glass Biennale in August 2022, Lulu has teamed up with members from the PEGG (Post Disciplinary and Experimental Glass Group) and in May they will be building a furnace from scratch, firing some of Lulu’s batch recipes and creating a piece inspired by water in collaboration with a glass blower.
As an awardee of The MATCH funding award, the money will help enable Lulu and the team to buy the equipment they need for this project. This is an exciting opportunity to showcase how old methodologies can be applied today, with dedicated expertise and furnace building skills from the PEGG. It will also help answer Lulu’s research question, ‘How can we make glass from local and waste materials, whilst taking influence from Ancient methodologies?’ As 2022 sees the arrival of the United Nations International Year of Glass, this project will explore the benefit of working with local materials, local production and the local community within the glass industry, as well as raising some new exciting possibilities for the future of the material itself.
An Experimental Investigation: The Efficacy of Synthetic Bone and Animal Bone in Reproducing Violent Trauma Niamh Rushton
Through the grant provided by MATCH, I have been afforded the opportunity to perform experimentation on the efficacy of synthetic bone versus animal bone in recreating violent perimortem trauma. Using recreated Bronze Age spears, trained HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) fighters will hit the bones in a series of controlled strikes before the bones are taken to the lab and examined. Many academics have argued the values of synthetic bone over animal bone in experimental research; however, no study offers direct comparisons between strikes created on both materials.
Spears were also purposefully chosen due to their neglect within the panoply of Bronze Age weaponry, previously being deemed a low-status weapon, recent studies into wear analysis have argued for the parity of skill in their wielding and call for far more attention to them in Bronze Age combat research.
Due to the lack of experiments into sharp force trauma patterns on bone, academics rarely ascribe trauma marks to specific weaponry. A large segment of my work will focus on finding genuine osteological examples of Bronze Age sharp force trauma. The patterns I will recreate on synthetic bone and animal bone will then be compared side by side to these genuine examples. Hopefully, helping to provide diagnostic criteria for perimortem spear injuries.
New temporary MATCH Co-convenor appointed
1 March 2022
We are delighted to announch that Dr Camilla Bertini (History Classics and Archaeology) is joining us as a temporary Co-convenor of MATCH.
Camilla is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellow and specialises in chemical (EMPA and LA-ICP-MS) and isotopic analysis (Sr, Nd, Pb) of ancient and historical glass. Her research is mostly dedicated to the identification of glass compositions and their raw materials during the 1st millennium AD focusing in particular on Western European artefacts. She is also interested in identifying and isolating secondary glass-working processes, such as recycling and mixing of glass compositions.
We are looking forward to working with her over the coming months.
MATCH reading group: New for 2022
15 Febuary 2022
The first meeting of the reading group for 2022 will take place on Friday 25th February between 4:30 and 5:30pm via ZOOM.
We will be reading Cornelius Holtorf & Anders Högberg (2016) The Contemporary Archaeology of Nuclear Waste: Communicating with the future. Arkæologisk Forum nr.35 | November 2016 pp31-38
For the zoom link and a copy of the paper please contact Bridget Kennedy.
New members of the MATCH team
10 December 2021
We are delighted to introduce two new members to the MATCH family: Eleanor Gilchrist is joining us as MATCH coordinator as John Pearson is stepping down from the role, while Jerome Ruddick has been appointed as PGR steering committee member in lieu of Victoria Lucas. Please join us in thanking John and Victoria for their valuable service to the research group, and in welcoming Eleanor and Jerome to their new roles.
Seeking new MATCH Steering Committee member...
3 November 2021
The Materiality, Artefacts and Technologies in Culture and History (MATCH) Faculty Research Group is seeking to recruit a new voluntary Steering Committee member from the NU postgraduate community. The role offers the successful applicant the chance to develop valuable skills and experience for a variety of future professional opportunities including research and project management, digital, web and social media management, and communication and organisational experience. Participation in steering committee meetings (typically 2-3 per year) and in helping to design research and networking events will develop the student’s communication skills and build their curriculum. The successful candidate will be actively engaged in (broadly defined) Material Culture research and be able to work across disciplinary boundaries. A two-year commitment to the role is desirable.
MATCH coordinates inter- and cross-disciplinary material culture research in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences focusing on (1) Materiality, Arts and Heritage, (2) Artefact and Material Culture Studies, and (3) Physical and Digital Technologies. The group has a growing staff and PGR membership, which it supports through research events, training, networking, and small grants. MATCH is managed by two convenors and a steering committee comprising five staff members and a PGR student. Please see our website for details: https://research.ncl.ac.uk/match/
Please send your queries and applications to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Applications (as email attachments) should say why you think you are qualified for the post, what skills you would bring to MATCH, and how you would contribute to group development (500 words maximum). Deadline: Tuesday 30th November
Good News! Viva success, congratulations to Emma Gooch
2 November 2021
We are very pleased to report that Emma Gooch passed her viva last Friday with no corrections. Emma’s thesis is entitled ‘The Material Culture and Extended Life Course of Children in Ancient Greece: An Inter-Disciplinary Exploration of Identity’ and was supervised by Drs. Sally Waite, Matthew Haysom, and Chris Fowler. Her examiners were Dr. April Pudsey (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Dr. Mark Jackson.
MATCH are delighted to congratulate Emma and her supervisory team for this well-deserved success.
Spaces of Making - project update
2 November 2021
This online project initiated by Bridget Kennedy ran between May and July 2021. It worked with a core group of 10 participants who sent videos or text and image based documents responding to a loose set of questions. ‘Making’ and ‘Spaces’ were interpreted broadly, as were the formats in which the responses came. These included a video about the production of images in the Bio-imaging facility, a song about the facilitation of exhibition space for artworks, text and images from an Instagram feed about the creation of architectural models in a shared space and a video diary about the importance of the specific arrangement of objects in a private home office.
The project has opened up new areas of investigation beyond the traditional model of single subject use workshop or lab space and has led to a consideration of multi-use, flexible spaces of making and learning. Conversations with Research Centre for Learning and Teaching (CfLaT) and CoRed (Collaborative Redesign with schools) that came out of this project have highlighted and how the university has worked with ideas from architecture and interior design in order to accommodate a broad range of needs from students and staff in library and study spaces.
MATCH supports forthcoming conference: The Materiality of Ancient Greek Identities, 9th to 2nd centuries BC
20 October 2021
MATCH is delighted to announce its support through a small research grant for this conference. The conference explores how material culture was involved in the construction, presentation, and transformation of identities from the Iron Age to Hellenistic Greece, 9th to 2nd centuries BC. The emphasis will be upon exploring how changes in identity (at an individual and/or community level), resultant of changes in socio-political and cultural circumstance, are evidenced and constructed by changes in material culture.
Date of event: 21st April 2022 – Boiler Room, Newcastle University
Organisers: Emma Gooch and Jerome Ruddick
If you would like more details, or to get involved, please contact Jerome (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Emma (email@example.com).
Seeing Slavery in Roman Britain
14th October 2021
Newcastle University’s Dr Jane Webster will be delivering the 10th Joan Pye Lecture – “Seeing Slavery in Roman Britain” – in association with the Roman Research Trust, on Thursday 4th November at 7.30pm via Zoom. Attendance is free of charge. Please contact RHobbs@britishmuseum.org for details.
Spaces of Making project
11 June 2021
How do spaces of making shape us?
This project run by Bridget Kennedy with the help of Mattie Matter, PGT film student is interested in two things:
- We want to understand the range of making that takes place within the university and by extension the types of spaces this making takes place in.
- We also want to know how those spaces impact on the process of knowledge accumulation and production, as well as how they impact on the lives of the people who spend time in them.
We welcome and encourage a broad range of responses, which can be as light-touch or as profound as you want them to be. We are working towards a deadline of 4pm Friday 25 June.
If you are interested in participating, please contact Bridget Kennedy now for further details.
14 May 2021
We are delighted to share some very good news with you all. Ben Elliott has obtained an excellent 2.5 year position as Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of the Highlands and Islands. He will start in the new post in August (luckily he’ll stay with us until then).
New MATCH Steering Committee members
28 April 2021
We are delighted to announce that Kate De Rycker and Jennifer Orr (both from the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics) are joining the MATCH Steering Committee. Kate is a Lecturer in Renaissance literature; she is interested in the intersection between material culture and literature, for example the history of print (both textual and visual) and of the professional stage. Jennifer is a Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth Century Literature; in her research, she uses intellectual correspondence and scientific notebooks to reconstruct the roles and relationships of intermediary figures in intellectual history with an emphasis on working-class migrant figures in the transatlantic world.
We are excited by the new research perspectives they bring to MATCH and look forward to working with them in new voyages of exploration at the nexus between material culture and the written word.
As Kate and Jennifer are welcomed in, Annie Tindley steps down from the Steering Committee due to other commitments. We are sad to see Annie go, though we take solace that she stays on as a member of MATCH. We would like to thank Annie for her sterling work and many years’ service to the Steering Committee, and wish her all the best.
Seeking new MATCH Steering Committee Member...
MATCH is seeking a new Steering Committee Member, who will help the three convenors and four steering committee members (including a PGR student) to manage the group (ideally in the next 2-3 years) and expand its membership to currently under-represented Schools and subject areas. Colleagues at any career level from the HaSS Faculty are invited to apply for the post. Applications from Early Career Researchers and colleagues from outside Archaeology and Fine Arts are especially encouraged.
Deadline: Wednesday 31st March. Informal queries are welcomed. We would love to have new people involved with the MATCH management team, and welcome fresh ideas on what we do and how we do it! Queries and applications should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
GOOD NEWS! £739k secured to support NeMCAS
19 February 2021
Congratulations to Lisa-Marie Shillito who has secured funding from the AHRC Capability for Collections scheme. This fund supports a series of targeted, capital investments to renew and upgrade research facilities within UK galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAMs), including university collections. Newcastle has been awarded £739k from this fund to support NeMCAS (Newcastle Material Culture Analytical Suite), a new initiative which brings together a consortium of expertise from MATCH, NU Digital Heritage, NuCoRE Heritage, the McCord Centre and the Great North Museum.
The grant will enable us to upgrade and expand our facilities for heritage science research, and to establish new collaborative projects with Tyne and Wear Museums, English Heritage and other partners across the North East and beyond. Key items of equipment include a microCT scanner (one of only a handful available for archaeological and heritage applications in the UK), Bookeye A2 archive scanner, new high precision 3D scanning equipment, and a suite of automated microscopes with integrated LIBS (elemental fingerprinting capability to determine the composition of materials such as glass, metals and ceramics).
New MATCH Co-convenor appointed
11 January 2021
We are delighted to announce that Bridget Kennedy (Fine Arts) is joining us as co-convenor of MATCH. Bridget investigates the impact and evidence of societal change on landscapes through installation, sculpture, photography and video. Re-presenting different types of information about these places, she seeks to bridge the gap between conventional forms of knowledge and a more sensory, material experience. We are thrilled about her appointment and look forward to working with her soon.
SMA Rahtz Award
7 December 2020
Congratulations to MATCH coordinator John Pearson for receiving the SMA Rahtz Award for his MA dissertation titled ‘Text, Transformation and Practice: Experimental Experience and the Archaeology of Glassmaking in Medieval Spain’. It is notable that the panel was unanimous in recommending him for the award. Very many congratulations on this achievement!
Origin and authenticity of Victoria Cross medals
20 November 2020
X-Ray fluorescence data collected by Andrew Marriott (former MATCH PhD student) and another data set from the Royal Armouries have been subject to highly detailed cluster analysis in a new study just published in Scientific Reports. Andrew and his colleague James Prendergast show that the Victoria Cross medals fall into four distinct clusters based on the metal from which they were cast, addressing long-running controversies over their origin and authenticity.
Their joint paper can be found here:
Marriott, A., Prendergast, J.G.D. Investigating the origin and authenticity of Victoria Cross medals using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry. Sci Rep 10, 19953 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-76783-y
Endangered Material Knowledge Programme - call for applications
11 November 2020
The Endangered Material Knowledge Programme (EMKP) hosted by the British Museum is opening its third call for grant applications. EMKP gives grants to support the documentation of material knowledge systems that are actively pursued but under threat and in danger of disappearing.
Knowledge holders, practitioners, and scholars (including PhD students) can apply for funds to support work that explores knowledge systems associated with the making, use, repair and re-purposing of material objects, spaces, architecture, performances and environments. EMKP strongly advocates for a working approach that centres community epistemologies, close collaborative working and celebration of the diverse knowledge networks that affect the material world.
Further details about EMKP and the grant can be found at www.emkp.org
Changes to MATCH online Material Culture Reading Group
30 October 2020
This group has moved from its old weekly slot on Thursdays to a new fortnightly slot 1600-1700 every other Friday. The next of the new sessions will be on Friday 6 November when we will be tackling the broad theme of moving home, using Caron Lipman’s “Living with the past at home: The afterlife of inherited domestic objects”, published this year in Journal of Material Culture Studies, and a BBC Radio 4 documentary, Geoff Bird’s “Packing Up The Family House”, which was originally broadcast on September 24th this year and is 28 mins long.
The group is run by our recently-appointed co-convener Ben Elliott - if you haven't already received Ben's email invitation and you wish to join in (no obligation) please contact Benjamin.Elliott@newcastle.ac.uk.
New MATCH Co-Convener appointed - further applications welcome!
1 September 2020
MATCH is delighted to welcome Ben Elliott as our newly appointed co-convenor. Ben is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology. He is currently working on a Leverhulme funded research project entitled "Masks Unmasked: Rethinking concepts of personhood 40,000- 4,000 BC". The project draws on detailed analysis of masks from the Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods to explore past ontologies: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/hca/staff/profile/benjaminelliott.html#background
As Ben steps in, Bruce Davenport is stepping out - many thanks indeed are due to Bruce for his sterling work managing the group and contributing important research to it. He will, of course, remain a member of MATCH.
MATCH is still intending to recruit a co-convenor from outside the School of History, Classics and Archaeology - the call has been extended to 31st October. Please see the previous news item for details. Anyone who is interested in the position and would like more information should contact email@example.com.
Seeking new MATCH Co-Convenor...
18 July 2020
MATCH is seeking to appoint a co-convenor (from any School in the HaSS and SAgE Faculties except History, Classics and Archaeology) to help Andrea Dolfini and the MATCH steering committee run the group in the next three years. The successful candidate will (a) help expand the MATCH membership outside its History, Classics and Archaeology (HCA) core; (b) create meaningful opportunities for research, debate and networking on material culture themes, cutting across disciplinary boundaries and subject areas; and (c) work with current members on MATCH-led initiatives including generation of research income, dissemination, impact, and public outreach.
Applications from NU staff at any career stage and from any School in the HaSS and SAgE Faculties except HCA will be considered. Applications from early career researchers; from colleagues from diverse backgrounds; and from colleagues with research interests complementing those of the current convenor and steering committee members are especially welcome. Applications will comprise (1) a brief cover letter (1 A4 page max) explaining why the applicant is interested in the role; how they would contribute to group development; and how convening MATCH would benefit their career; and (2) copy of their CV (max 2 pages plus publications). Applications should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31st August.
Andrea will happily answer any queries concerning the convenor’s role and workload.
Catrin Huber - new MATCH Steering Committee member
11 May 2020
We are delighted to welcome Catrin Huber, Professor of Fine Art in the School of Arts and Cultures, to the Steering Committee of MATCH. Already a member, Catrin’s research interests and expertise add to the diversity of our group and will help us develop new, exciting research strands at the crossroads between Fine Arts, Heritage Studies, Archaeology and History. We look forward to working with her!
New research reveals Bronze Age swords bear the marks of skilled fighters
11 May 2020
Warriors during the Bronze Age used their weapons in skilful ways that would have required lots of training in specific techniques. A team led by Newcastle University worked with Newcastle-based Hotspur School of Defence, a club dedicated to medieval European combat, to stage realistic sword fighting sequences based on moves in a medieval combat manual, using specially commissioned replica Bronze Age weapons, revealing how swords and shields could have been used, and the type of damage that different strikes made to the weapons.
The team then used sophisticated use-wear analysis techniques to examine 2,500 wear marks on 110 ancient swords Great Britain and Italy, comparing the damage marks on both the ancient and replica weapons to better understand how they might have been used in the Bronze Age and the combat techniques that were needed. This indicated that fighters used their weapons to control and dominate the blade of their opponent, suggesting that much combat took place at close quarters.
The sword combat and use-wear analysis were led by former Newcastle MATCH PhD student Raphael Hermann. Talking to the journal Science Magazine, Dr Hermann, who is now at the University of Göttingen, said: “In order to fight the way the marks show, there has to be a lot of training involved, and because the marks are so consistent from sword to sword, they suggest that different warriors weren’t swinging at random, but were using well-practiced techniques. We also saw that wear patterns were linked to geography and time, suggesting distinct fighting styles developed over centuries.”
Dr Dolfini, convenor of MATCH and PI for this project, says that the Bronze Age Combat Project has, for the first time, created a meaningful blueprint for carrying out future experimental research into prehistoric combat, building a much greater understanding of how ancient weapons were used and the role of warriors in Bronze Age societies. Full details of this innovative research can be found in the Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, and a new BAR monograph:
‘Bronze Age Swordsmanship: New Insights from Experiments and Wear Analysis’ Raphael Hermann, Andrea Dolfini, Rachel J. Crellin, Quanyu Wang and Marion Uckelmann. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory (2020). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10816-020-09451-0
Hermann, R., Crellin, R.J., Uckelmann, M. & A. Dolfini, 2020. Bronze Age Combat: An Experimental Approach. Oxford: BAR Publishing. https://www.barpublishing.com/bronze-age-combat.html
Image shows two people in protective gear staging a realistic sword fighting sequence using specially commissioned replica Bronze Age weapons
New research challenges orthodoxy on sources of material for Victoria Cross medal castings
27 April 2020
Recent examination of Victoria Cross medals – Britain’s highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy – and putative sources of their metal by X-ray fluorescence have challenged the common belief that the medals are cast from the bronze of Russian cannon captured at Sebastopol during the Crimean War. There is no corroboration for this belief beyond an entry in The Times in 1857, and historical sources suggest that neither the Queen nor her Prime Minister would have favoured an association of the medal with Sebastopol. From 1914, however, it is likely that many Victoria Crosses were indeed sourced from captured ordnance, but probably using Chinese guns. Some may even have been cast from entirely unprovenanced metal. The new analysis, just published in Post-Medieval Archaeology, indicates a much more complex picture involving multiple sources of material, presenting medals variously of bronze, brass and copper.
Andrew Marriott (2020). ‘Manufactured tradition? – the Victoria Cross’, Post-Medieval Archaeology, DOI: 10.1080/00794236.2020.1750150 https://doi.org/10.1080/00794236.2020.1750150
New MATCH online Material Culture Reading Group established
22 April 2020
In the wake of the ongoing coronavirus ‘lockdown’, a new online reading group is being led by MATCH member Ben Elliott, providing an opportunity for members to stay connected through a weekly Zoom video discussion of a short reading suggested by participants. All MATCH members, associate members and PhD students are receiving, and will continue to receive, weekly email invitations to join the discussion on Thursdays 1600-1700 – there is no obligation to join nor to give any notification of your intentions, just turn up whenever you wish by following Ben’s weekly email instructions! If anybody else reading this would like to participate in the group, please email Benjamin.Elliott@newcastle.ac.uk in the first instance.
MATCH small grant supports elemental analysis at British School of Athens
21 April 2020
A MATCH small grant enabled PhD student Mara Schumacher to travel to Athens to spend a month at the Fitch laboratory at the British School at Athens conducting geochemical analysis on archaeological sediments from the Classical site of Olynthos, Northern Greece. Olynthos is best known for its exceptionally preserved houses that are seen as the archetype for typical domestic buildings in ancient Greece.
Wavelength-dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (WD-XRF) was used to analyse archaeological deposits from an Olynthian house to determine elemental composition of samples. Characteristic elements or compounds can be linked to human activities such as metal-working, animal stabling, food-processing or pyrotechnology. The aim of the analysis was to identify activity areas within the house based on elemental composition and micromorphological observations of deposits.
Preliminary results are very promising and show significant differences in elemental composition between the archaeological and reference samples of local soil that may be linked to human activity at Olynthos.
MATCH meeting 28 April 2020 CANCELLED
20 April 2020
Due to the ongoing coronavirus 'lockdown', the MATCH lunchtime meeting on 28 April has been cancelled. The meeting was to have been a fun and informal ‘speed-dating’ session, providing participants with a quick introduction to everyone involved in MATCH or who would like to be, sharing research and scholarship expertise across our many disciplines and laying the groundwork for future collaborations. Consideration is now being given to rescheduling the session later in the year.
'Speed-dating' at MATCH lunchtime meeting 28 April 2020!
19 February 2020
Come and meet the MATCH team at our informal and fun ‘speed-dating’ session! This facilitated session will provide you with a quick and fun introduction to everyone involved in MATCH or who would like to be, sharing research and scholarship expertise across our many disciplines and laying the groundwork for future collaborations.
Now rearranged for 1-2pm on Tuesday 28 April 2020 in Barbara Strang Teaching Centre Room G.36
New MATCH / Material Culture lunchtime meetings
6 February 2020
MATCH has launched a new series of lunchtime meetings in 2020 Semester 2 comprising seminars from invited speakers, presentations of current research, reading groups, and informal get-togethers.
The series was kicked-off on Tuesday 4 February with an excellent research seminar by Catherine J. Frieman of the Australian National University on ‘Innovation, continuity and the punctuated temporality of our narratives of the past’. Her talk reflected on ways in which twentieth-century understandings of technology have dominated archaeological models of time, wherein linear change and spikes of innovation are privileged, and argued instead for ‘thicker’ stories in which, for example, ‘tradition’ might be understood as a conscious, constant and dynamically reactive reinvention of practice and technology.
Forthcoming MATCH / Material Culture meetings will be held from 1-2pm on Tuesday 10 March in Armstrong Building Room 1.06, 1-2pm on Tuesday 28 April (Barbara Strang Teaching Centre Room G.36) and from 1-2pm on Tuesday 19 May (Old Library Building Room 2.21). Details of each will be publicised in due course.
Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship to carry out first study of prehistoric awls
6 February 2020
A Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship recently awarded to Newcastle University will reveal the uses and social significance of some of the earliest metal objects from Europe. Research Fellow Dr Stefano Viola will move from Italy to Newcastle in January 2021 to carry out WHAM (WHat this Awl Means), the first ever study of prehistoric awls. This is a class of long copper/bronze points commonly found in Europe (including the British Isles) in the late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, from 5000-1600 BC. Despite being widespread, these enigmatic objects – some of the earliest to be made from metal in prehistoric Eurasia – have never been studied for their ancient functions and social meanings.
Working with project PI Andrea Dolfini, the Fellow will investigate both prehistoric awls and the materials and objects that were worked with them through a multidisciplinary approach integrating experimental archaeology and Metalwork Wear Analysis (a technique in which Newcastle University is world leader). By focusing on the humble workaday tools that were used by various gender and age groups in Neolithic and Bronze Age society (as opposed to the axes and daggers that have drawn most researchers’ attention), the project will shed new light on the transition between stone and metal ages and overturn orthodox narratives claiming that prehistoric metallurgy was a male-dominated skilled craft.
New study on the nature of copper import and exchange in Copper Age Italy
30 January 2020
A new study published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE by Dr Andrea Dolfini of Newcastle University, and Gilberto Artioli and Ivana Angelini of the University of Padova, Italy, confirms the importance of the Tuscan region as a source of copper for Copper Age communities in Italy, reaching as far as the Tyrolean area home of the Alpine Iceman, but also reveals the unexpected finding that non-Tuscan copper was a significant import to the region at this time. The researchers analysed 20 copper items, including axe-heads, halberds, and daggers, from central Italy dating to between 3600 and 2200 BC, comparing archaeological data and chemical and isotopic signatures of these items to nearby sources of copper ore, as well as to other prehistoric sites. They were able to determine that most of the examined objects were cast from copper mined in Tuscany, with the rest sourced from the western Alps and possibly the French Midi. These data contribute to a growing picture of multiple independent networks of Copper Age metal exchange in Italy, the Alps and neighbouring regions.
Dolfini, A., Angelini, I. and Artioli, G. (2020). 'Copper to Tuscany – Coals to Newcastle? The dynamics of metalwork exchange in early Italy', PLoS ONE 15 (1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227259
Image shows the kind of Copper Age burial site where the research team sourced the metals they analysed.
Evan Scherer passes his PhD viva
14 January 2020
Congratulations are due to Evan Scherer who was awarded his PhD in Archaeology with a thesis entitled "Terrae Amissae: A comparative study of Southwest Germany and Transylvania in the mid-third century AD". Evan's supervisors were Prof Ian Haynes and Dr James Gerrard. The external examiner was Prof Martin Millett FBA, University of Cambridge, and the internal examiner was Dr Mark Jackson.
14th of October 2019
Congratulations to our former MATCH/CIAS member Dr Cristiano Iaia who worked at HCA from 2015-17 as a Marie Curie Fellow on the TEMPI project. Cristiano has obtained a tenure-tracked position as Associate Professor of Prehistory and Protohistory at the University of Turin, Italy.
Amber Roy passes her PhD viva
23 September 2019
Many congratulations to Amber Roy, who passed her PhD viva.
Amber’s PhD thesis, The Use and Significance of Early Bronze Age Stone Battle-axes and Axe-hammers from Northern Britain and the Isle of Man, was examined by Professor Andy Jones (University of Southampton) and Dr Chantal Conneller (Newcastle). Amber’s research was supervised by Drs Chris Fowler and Andrea Dolfini.
Violeta Tsenova secures a placement through the AHRC International Placement Scheme
15 June 2019
Many congratulations to our PhD student Violeta Tsenova who has recently secured a placement through the very competitive AHRC International Placement Scheme. Violeta will be joining the Smithsonian and in particular the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum for three months beginning this October. Her project is titled Designing for Permanence: Design Criteria for Successful and Durable Technology in the Heritage Context. She will be working with the Cooper-Hewitt's newly opened Interaction Lab and their Digital Team doing participatory work with visitors and audiences.
Experimental Archaeology at Newcastle University
27 November 2018
A documentary featuring the work of EXARN, the Experimental Archaeology Newcastle group has just been released.
EXARN are a cohort of PhD students specialising in experimental ways to conduct archaeological research. This documentary was created by a team of Creative Arts Practice MA students at Newcastle University's Culture Lab. In this documentary you'll learn about the unique and vital ability of experimental archaeology to connect people in an exciting, tangible and meaningful way to the past.
Raphael Hermann and Andrew Marriott passed their PhD viva
27 November 2018
Many congratulations to Raphael Hermann and Andrew Marriott, who passed their PhD viva.
Raphael's thesis is entitled 'Unlocking Bronze Age Combat: sword experiments and wear analysis' and was supervised by Dr Andrea Dolfini and Dr Jan Harding.
Andrew's thesis is entitled 'Trench Art of the North East: material culture, memory and perception from the First World War to the present' and was supervised by Dr Jane Webster, Dr Martin Farr and Kate Reede.
Raphael Hermann awarded a postdoctoral position at the University of Göttingen, Germany
1 October 2018
We are pleased to announce that that doctoral candidate Raphael Hermann has been awarded a postdoctoral position at the University of Göttingen, Germany. He will be researching Bronze Age weighing systems as part of the ERC-funded ‘Weight and Value’ project led by Professor Lorenz Rahmstorf.
Details of the project can be found here: https://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/572018.html
New book released on Prehistoric Warfare and Violence
24 September 2018
We are pleased to announce the publication of the following book: Dolfini, A., Crellin, R.J., Horn, Ch. & M. Uckelmann (2018) (eds.) Prehistoric Warfare and Violence: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches. New York: Springer.
The book, which brings to conclusion many years of Newcastle-led research, is the first to explore prehistoric warfare and violence by integrating qualitative research methods with scientific techniques of analysis. It discusses four broad themes: skeletal markers of violence and weapon training; conflict in prehistoric rock-art; the material culture of conflict; and intergroup violence in archaeological discourse. It includes a wide range of case studies from the Neolithic to the Iron Age and from Western Europe to East Asia.