Material Connections: Mobility, Materiality and Mediterranean Identities


At present, this project involves a thirteen-strong team of young scholars and established academics from across Europe, the UK and the USA, who share a strong interest in the social identity of prehistoric and historic Mediterranean peoples and in examining the ways that materiality, migration, colonial encounters, and connectivity or insularity influence social identities.

They are

  • Peter van Dommelen (Glasgow)
  • Bernard Knapp (Glasgow)
  • Michael Rowlands (London)
  • Carlos Cañete (Málaga)
  • Marina Gkiasta (Rethymno)
  • Jeremy Hayne (Glasgow/Milano)
  • Alicia Jiménez Díez (Madrid)
  • Sarah Janes (Glasgow)
  • Maria Kostoglou (Manchester)
  • Damià Ramis (Majorca)
  • Corinna Riva (London)
  • Anthony Russell (Glasgow)
  • Jaime Vives-Ferrándiz Sánchez (Valencia)

For short biographical descriptions of all project members, see below.

private pages for project members

Stormy sea on the Sardinian coast

Project Members

Peter van Dommelen

is Professor of  Mediterranean Archaeology in the Department of Archaeology of the University of Glasgow (Scotland, UK), where he has taught since 1997. He held a visiting professorship in the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology of the University of Valencia (2005-06). He received his Ph.D. in Archaeology from the University of Leiden (the Netherlands: 1998), where he had previously been awarded MA degrees in Archaeology and Classics.
His main interest lies in the archaeology and anthropology of the rural western Mediterranean. Within this field, postcolonial approaches to ancient and (early) modern colonialism, and the archaeology of rural communities and agrarian production are the main headings of his research activities. The interests come together in detailed studies of social and economic interaction and hybrid practices in rural landscapes and among colonial societies.

In chronological and regional terms, his focus falls on the western Mediterranean between the Iron Age and Hellenistic or Roman Republican periods. In conventional terms, his work may therefore be grouped together in the categories of Phoenician and Punic archaeology and to a lesser extent in the archaeologies of Republican Rome and Classical and Hellenistic Magna Graecia. He recently published, with Carlos Gómez Bellard, Rural Landscapes of the Punic World (Monographs in Mediterranean Archaeology 11, London: Equinox, 2008).

He has carried out long-term fieldwork in Sardinia with the Riu Mannu Regional Survey Project (1991–99) and he currently directs the Terralba Punic Rural Settlement Project (2002–ongoing), which includes the excavation of several rural settlement sites in collaboration with Carlos Gómez Bellard (University of Valencia).

He co-edits the Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology with John F. Cherry and Bernard Knapp and is a member of the editorial board of World Archaeology. A former founding co-editor of Archaeological Dialogues (1994-2005), he now sits on their advisory board.


A. Bernard Knapp

is Research Professor of Mediterranean Archaeology in the Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow. He received his PhD in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1979. He has held research fellowships at the University of Sydney, the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute, Cambridge University, and Macquarie University (Sydney).

His research interests include archaeological theory, social identity, gender, island archaeology (insularity), hybridisation practice, archaeometallurgy, regional survey archaeology, and the archaeologies of landscape. The time and area of focus generally is Mediterranean prehistory, in particular the Cypriot Bronze Age.
He has undertaken two major field survey projects (SCSP, TÆSP) and one excavation (Politiko Phorades) on Cyprus, all stemming from research interests in landscape archaeology and archaeometallurgy. A recently published monograph (Prehistoric and Protohistoric Cyprus: Identity, Insularity, and Connectivity, 2008, Oxford: Oxford University Press) seeks to construct a new island archaeology and island history of Bronze Age and Early Iron Age Cyprus, set in its Mediterranean context. This work draws out tensions between different ways of thinking about islands and insularity, connectivity, ethnicity, migration and hybridisation. More importantly, it addresses issues surrounding the social identity of prehistoric and protohistoric Mediterranean islanders, and seeks to lay the basis for examining these issues on some of the large Mediterranean islands (Crete, Sardinia, Corsica) as well as other, smaller islands (Malta, Balearics, Aeolian islands) that have been key points of contact and connectivity throughout later prehistory.
He co-edits the Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology with John F. Cherry and Peter van Dommelen, and is general editor of the series Monographs in Mediterranean Archaeology (both published by Equinox Press, London).




Michael Rowlands

is Professor of Material Culture in the Department of Anthropology at UCL. His research interests concern theories of material culture in relation to identities, regional systems and long term social and cultural change. His major fieldwork areas have been in Cameroon, Mali and Liberia in west Africa  where he considers local development combining archaeological and ethnographic evidence within a larger regional and comparative framework.More recently he has focused on issues of cultural heritage and identities and has been concerned with issues of materiality and memory in cultural transmission.
He is co-editor, with Chris Tilley et al. of the Handbook of Material Culture (London: Sage, 2006), and with Ferdinand de Jong of Reclaiming Heritage (Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, 2007).


Carlos Cañete

is a PhD candidate in History at the University of Málaga (Spain), where he also received a MA in Historiography. He was the recipient of a scholarship from the Spanish Government to carry out research at Mohamed V University in Rabat (Morocco). He has also undertaken research at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma, the Deutsches Archeologisches Institut (Madrid) and the Biblioteca Nacional Española (Madrid). He held a postgraduate research position from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) at the School of Arabic Studies in Granada (Spain). His PhD research involves a discursive analysis of ‘africanism’ in European thought since the 18th century, especially dealing with its north African projection and the consequences in and for Spanish culture. The study is focused not just on the divide produced by colonial representations, but also on the assimilation promoted by the ambiguous nature of this discourse. Intra-European perceptions and local appropriations are issues of great importance from this perspective. The different identities that emerged from this interaction and the current repercussions of scientific categories involved in this process are the main aspects of the conclusion. He has participated in various archaeological field projects, in both terrestrial and underwater contexts. Currently he is a member of a research undertaking in Lixus (Larache, Morocco) and also of a project concerning the 17th century Jesuit settlements in the Lake Tana region in Ethiopia. He has published several articles on these differing research interests, which focus on the relations between modern colonial expansion in Africa and scientific representations, especially in archaeology and anthropology. Finally, he is interested in the uses of the past, the construction of perceptions upon the classification of materiality and the resulting identities emerging from all these processes.

Marina Gkiasta

completed her PhD in the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University, The Netherlands in 2008 (funded by the Saripoleio Foundation, University of Athens). At the University of Athens she studied prehistoric and historic archaeologies of Greece and the wider Aegean area and in 1998 she completed a Masters degree at University College London, focusing on archaeological theory and method, landscape approaches and the use of Information Technology. She has conducted research at the University of Athens, University College London, the Foundation of Research and Technology and the University of Crete. She also has worked for the archaeological service in Greece and the Essex County Council. She has taken part in several field projects, mainly in Greece but also in Italy and the Barbados and has specialized in theoretical and methodological approaches of regional surveys and landscape archaeology. Her recently published book — The Historiography of Landscape Research on Crete — examines landscape archaeological projects undertaken on the island of Crete since the 19th century, focusing on the relationships between the theoretical background, methodological framework and interpretations. Her research interests lie in landscape archaeologies, archaeological theory and method, symbolism, materiality, social identity, insularity and connectivity, and the role of the landscape in societal development. Although she has been involved in a wide temporal and spatial range of archaeological research, she has focused mainly on the prehistory of the Aegean. Currently she is interested in exploring social identity on prehistoric Crete and investigating psycho-sociological ideas in understanding past societies.




Jeremy Hayne

first studied Archaeology and Classics at Leicester University. Through studying for his MA in Classical Studies with the Open University he became interested in the ways the study of the Ancient Mediterranean past has been framed by the literate classical past, especially in the areas considered peripheral to the Classical world.
His PhD project — Culture Contact and Exchange in Iron Age north Sardinia — carries on from the research done for his MA and focuses on an examination of how local identities were formed during the early Iron Age (900-400 BC) through an examination of the material culture and the networks of interactions between Sardinians, Phoenician, Carthaginian, Greeks and Etruscans in the Tyrrhenian sea. As well as the prehistoric Iron Age his interests include Classical archaeology (especially Greek and Phoenician colonisation and colonialism) and the links between the two in the periods of migration and movement of the first millennium BC. Drawing on anthropological and postcolonial theory he is interested in the identity, islandness, hybridization and connectivity of the peoples of the Tyrrhenian and western Mediterranean Iron Age  through examinations of their material culture.
He has excavated Iron Age sites in Scotland and the north of England and as well as in Sardinia, where he has excavates as part of the Terralba Rural Settlement Project. He is an Associate Lecturer for the Open University.


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  • Terralba Rural Settlement Project

Sarah Janes

holds a PhD in Archaeology from the University of Glasgow. She also received her MPhil in Mediterranean Archaeology from that institution and has an MA (hons.) in Classical Studies from the University of Edinburgh. Her principal research interests involve identity studies and mortuary archaeology, as reflected in her doctoral thesis: The Cypro-Geometric Horizon, A View from Below; Identity and Social Change in the Mortuary Record. Her focal research area is the eastern Mediterranean, and especially Cyprus in the Early Iron Age. Current research interests also include Iron Age sanctuaries, terracotta objects, and Cypriot Iron Age pottery. She is particularly interested in the use of computer applications in archaeological research, with a focus on data management and ArcGIS. Sarah has been involved extensively in survey and excavation work in both Cyprus and Egypt, including the Troodos Archaeological and Environmental Survey Project (TAESP), the Palaepaphos Urban Landscape Project and the Kourion Mapping Project; she is an active member of the Cypriot archaeological community. She has also worked on the North Karnak Survey Project, Egypt, an innovative project aiming to establish survey techniques in mainstream Egyptian archaeology. Forthcoming publications include contributions to the final TAESP publication – the Iron Age pottery, Archaic sanctuaries and special finds. Currently she is working with Dr Gaber at Idalion, Cyprus on the publication of a unique collection of stratified Late Bronze Age-Early Iron Age pottery from the site.

Alicia Jiménez Díez

is a postdoctoral researcher at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC, Instituto de Historia). She received her PhD in Philosophy and Letters from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, where she also received an MA in Prehistory and Archaeology of the Iberian Peninsula. She has held different scholarships from the Spanish government to conduct research at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, Yale University, University College London, the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut and the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Mainz.

She has participated in fieldwork undertaken by Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in the Iberian Peninsula (for example in Carteia, Cádiz and Torrexon de Veranes, Gijón) and by Stanford University in Italy (Montepolizzo, Sicily). She is the author of the book Imagines hibridae. Una aproximación postcolonialista al estudio de las necrópolis de la Bética (Anejos de AEspA 43. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas and a member of the editorial board of the online journal Herakleion.

Her research interests include archaeological theory (postprocessualism, postcolonialism), the transition between the Iron Age and the Roman era in the Iberian Peninsula, social change connected with colonisation, the contrast between the symbolic use of material culture in public and private contexts (i.e. fora, coins, necropolis, domestic cults) to express parallel and coexistent discourses on the meaning of ‘being Roman’ in the provinces, the resort to ‘archaisms’ or archaic looking objects in the forging of group identity, and the interaction between the past and the present in the creation of contemporary ‘myths of origins’ in Spain.

At present, she is involved in a project to study the role of coinage (Roman and Hispanic), Roman camps and the military community in the process of transformation and continuity undergone by the Iberian Peninsula during the Roman conquest.




Maria Kostoglou

is lecturer in the Archaeology of Artefacts and Technology in the University of Manchester and Research Fellow in the Manchester Museum. She received her Ph. D. in Mediterranean Archaeology from the University of Glasgow (2002 with support  from the Onassis Foundation) where she had previously completed her M.Phil. degree (1997). After studying prehistoric and classical archaeology in the department of Archaeology, University of Thessaloniki (Greece) she joined the National Archaeological Service where she undertook a number of excavation and post-excavation projects in northern Greece. Since then she has also worked in Crete and the Peloponnese (ongoing), Cyprus (Phorades, SCSP, 1998) and Sardinia (Terralba Rural Settlement Project, 2005).

The subject of her research is the social study of ancient artefacts and technology. Her main research interest lies within Mediterranean Archaeology, particularly the study of ancient Greek colonialism and ethnic identity. In this context, her research focuses on archaeometallurgy and the relationship between iron technology, technological traditions and socio-cultural change in ancient Greece and the Greco-Roman world. Social theory and anthropological studies of technology inform her analytical methodology (metallographic and Scanning Electron Microscopy). Her analytical work from North Greece is published in a volume of British Archaeological Reports, International Series: Ancient Iron in North Greece: Artefacts and Technology (forthcoming) and in various journals. Current projects include the study of tools and weapons from Iron Age sites in Crete and a recently excavated Iron Age cemetery at Mount Olympus.

She is also interested in classical archaeology and museum studies (exploring new ways to increase public dissemination of academic research and the capacity of the museums to play a central role in curriculum innovation and cross-disciplinary research and teaching). Since 2007 she has been part of CONTACT, a HEFCE funded network promoting object-based teaching in archaeology and classics and she has created an electronic resource based upon the metals collection of the Manchester Museum.


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  • Collection Networks for Archaeology and Classics Teaching

Damià Ramis

received his PhD in Prehistory from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, in 2006. He held a predoctoral research fellowship at the Institut Mediterrani d’Estudis Avançats (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas-Universitat de les Illes Balears).

His research has focused on the early prehistory of the Balearic Islands, not least on a review of the chronology of the human settlement of the archipelago and the extinction of the endemic caprine Myotragus balearicus. His main research interests have centred around several economic aspects of the Bronze Age in Mallorca; his PhD thesis dealt with extensive faunal analyses of this period.

He has directed a field survey project examining issues of early copper metallurgy in the Mallorcan mountains. Additionally, he has participated in a genetic and morphometric study of the Mallorcan local goat variety. Currently he co-directs long-term excavation projects at the Iron Age necropolis of Son Real (Santa Margalida) and at the Bronze and Iron Age site of S’Hospitalet Vell (Manacor). Previously he has directed archaeological excavations at Cova des Moro (Manacor, 1999-2002), the early cyclopean domestic structure of Arenalet de Son Colom (Artà, 2004) and the talaiot of Son Fred (Sencelles, 2005). He has also been involved —with participation in fieldwork and faunal analysis— in other excavation projects in Mallorca, Menorca and Cabrera that cover a long range of time, from the Early Bronze Age to late antiquity.

Corinna Riva

is Lecturer in Mediterranean Archaeology at University College London. She received her PhD in Etruscan Archaeology from the University of Cambridge in 2001. From 2000 to 2005 she held a Junior Research Fellowship at St. John's College, Oxford, and served as temporary Lecturer in Mediterranean Archaeology at the Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow in 2005-2006.

Her research interests cover Iron Age Italy and the 1st millennium BC in the central Mediterranean, particularly interaction between the Adriatic and the Tyrrhenian Sea regions; east-west interaction and comparative archaeology of the 1st-millennium BC Mediterranean; colonialism and colonization; ethnic identity; theoretical approaches to cultural contact and appropriation; Mediterranean 'marginal' landscape and connectivity.

She is co-director of the Upper Esino Valley Survey project (Marche, Italy), which aims to reconstruct the cultural landscape of an upper valley of Adriatic Italy, a mountainous, highly fragmented landscape and a so-called 'marginal' zone of the Mediterranean. The time and area of focus of research is Iron Age Central Italy. She has published articles on Orientalizing Etruria, Adriatic central Italy and co-edited (with Nicholas Vella) Debating Orientalization: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Change in the Ancient Mediterranean (Monographs in Mediterranean Archaeology 10, London, Equinox Press, 2006), and (with G. Bradley and E. Isayev) Ancient Italy: Regions without Boundaries, Exeter, Exeter University Press, 2008). Her own book The Urbanization of Etruria (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press) is in progress.


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Anthony Russell

is a PhD student in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Glasgow. He previously obtained an MLitt in Mediterranean Archaeology from that institution, and he also holds an MA in Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver).

His PhD research, entitled Cultural Encounters in the Central Mediterranean between 1200 – 800 BC: Insularity, Connectivity and Islanders’ Identities, involves a study of foreign contacts in Sicily and Sardinia before Greek or Phoenician colonisation, critically examining how such encounters have been represented in traditional, colonialist frameworks. His research interests include the relationship between ethnicity and material culture, the archaeology of migration, islanders’ identities, the archaeology of the ‘Sea Peoples,’ and the material and social changes associated with the mixings of peoples, objects, and practices.
He has taken part in field work in Tuscany (Cortona) and Scotland (Pollock Park, Glasgow), carried out lab work based on materials recovered in the Strathearn Environs and Royal Forteviot (SERF) project (Scotland), and created digital images for the publication of a book on Early Bronze Age Syria.
His first article, ‘Deconstructing Ashdoda: migration, hybridisation, and the Philistine identity,’ will be published in the 2009 issue of the Bulletin Antieke Beschaving.


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Jaime Vives-Ferrándiz

holds a PhD degree in archaeology from the University of Valencia (Spain), and has been Curator in the Museum of Prehistory of Valencia since 2004. His principal field of research is the western Mediterranean, and his research focus falls on eastern Iberia and on North Africa during the first millennium BC.

Currently he is field co-director of a field project in the Iberian settlement of Bastida de les Alcusses (Valencia, Spain), and he is member of another research and excavation project in Lixus (Larache, Morocco).

He is especially interested in colonial situations and exchange relations based on postcolonial approaches, about which he has published his recent monograph Negociando encuentros (Cuadernos de Arqueología Mediterránea 12. Barcelona: Bellaterra, 2005) and several papers in international publications. These studies examine the relationships between movements of people and material culture on the south-east coast of Iberia during the early Iron Age (8th-5th centuries BC). By concentrating on production, exchange and consumption, both in funerary and domestic contexts, the focus falls on questions of connectivity and power relations in the context of Phoenician commercial activities, and strategies aiming at the creation and maintenance of social distance and social groups.

As Curator of the Museum of Prehistory, he conducts research on the materiality of Iberian cultures both in the past and in the present. For one thing, he is interested in the social and material reproduction of Iberian communities from the 6th and the 1st century BC. For another, he develops projects to preserve and present Iberian sites to the public while studying their social and political roles in contemporary Valencian society.




Satellite view of the entire Mediterranean