Ailbhe Turley

Research title: Reconceptualising archaeological practice from a multitemporal perspective.

Research Summary

I am engaged in doctoral research which reassesses the concept of time in archaeological practice, interpretation and communication with the public.

Specifically, this research project re-evaluates dating methodologies in ceramic analysis using a socio-psychological approach to how archaeologists conceptualise time, form dating classifications, and apply meaning to objects. This approach challenges the rigidity of the current stratigraphical methodology and linear-historical perspective. It provides a critique of how time and objects through time are understood by archaeologists and the public, and offers an innovative alternative approach incorporating multitemporality and lifecycles of objects into interpretations and practice.

Engaging with modern advancements in deep time and material theory, this theoretical exploration is set to tackle the question of how the limitations of our understanding of the concept of time is limiting our understanding of objects and their historical narrative. My current fieldwork objective is to apply this perspective to ceramic analysis methodology for Uruk period material from the Kurdistan region of Iraq in the Ancient Near East. This practical case study involves macroscopic ceramic analysis and petrographical analysis, and will explore specific research questions involving rates of change in material culture, and the tension between regional and local chronological narratives.

Public engagement and perspectives with be incorporated into this project through museum workshops to explore how the portrayal of time and chronology in displays impacts public engagement with exhibitions.



  • EAA 2016: A Poor Pick of Pottery? Reassessing Thessaly’s Dark Age with the Middle Helladic Problem.


  • Sicily and the Sea – Allard Pierson Archaeological Museum 2015
  • Siciliy and the Sea Publication – Contributing Author

Past Field Work Projects

  • The Halos Project – Thessaly, Greece
  • The Amsterdam Troy Project – Troia, Hisarlik, Turkey

Additional Information