RUB Research School

Appropriation and use of raw materials in southern Sardinia. Approaches to nuragic production of ceramics based on landscape archaeology.

The research project

My doctoral project concerns the activities and materials connected to the production of ceramics in Bronze Age Sardinia. The objective of this research is reconstructing the appropriation and utilization of mineral resources within their social and environmental context.

The Nuragic period in Sardinia spans the Middle Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age (ca. 1650-600 BCE) and is characterized by monumental architecture and seemingly conservative pottery.

In my dissertation I want to investigate the ceramic assemblage of Gruttiacqua, a Nuragic village in the Canai-plain on the island of Sant’Antioco (SW Sardinia). By adopting a holistic approach, I am combining typological classification with petrographic analysis aiming at identifying different recipes and materials and thus understand the socio-cultural context of the production. To integrate the single site into the surrounding landscape, clays and sediments of the Canai-plain are sampled and analyzed. By identifying the raw materials that were selected for pottery production and also those which were not, I want to investigate the perception of different materials by the Nuragic craftsperson as well as the perception of the landscape. The second level of analysis comprises the comparison of the results from Gruttiacqua and the Canai-plain with other sites in southern Sardinia. The aim is to trace regularities in the appropriation and use of raw materials and identify factors that are instead related to specific environmental or social conditions.

What I need the IRB for

The IRB is providing me with the possibility to react to short-term invitations and have the flexibility to adjust my plans according to my destination. Especially in this challenging time during the pandemic it creates a reliable foundation and gives me an immense amount of freedom. To be able to participate in conferences abroad and conduct fieldwork independently is a great advantage in my further studies.

IRB Fundes Activities

27th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) in Kiel, Germany 2021

Together with my colleague Tim Klingenberg and my supervisor Constance von Rüden, I was able to present my PhD as part of our archaeological field-project for the first time in a wider international context. Within the general theme of ‘Widening horizons through human-environment interconnections’ the session that we were presenting in was concentrating on living habitat and community landscape management and therefore offered not only possibilities for comparison but also many inspirations for my own research. The 27th EAA meeting was held in virtual format which made it possible for me to attend while being in Sardinia for fieldwork. Although it is never quite as easy as attending a conference in person, it was a great opportunity to discuss and present my work and meet other researchers (virtually) interested in the same topics.

Research Stay in Sant’Antioco (Sardinia), February 2022

To proceed with the documentation of the archaeological finds from the excavation of the ‘Making Landscapes’ project at the site of Grutti Acqua, which is the foundation for my thesis, I was able to spend 4 weeks in Sardinia. With the permission of the responsible superintendent, it was possible to access the local archive of the Superintendencies in the city of Sant’Antioco, where the finds are stored, and collect the necessary data for further analysis. Aside from the documentation of the material, the time spent on site gave me an opportunity to present the projects latest results and part of my own work to our local partners, the cultural association ‘ARCI Il Calderone APS’ and advance the plans for future fieldwork. Nevertheless, the greatest advantage for my future studies was certainly to have the time to meet the local archaeologists working in the area and on similar topics in Sardinia, which is usually very difficult during the fieldwork in the summer.

Visiting Researcher at the National Research Council, Rome, March - April 2022

Building a broader network with the Italian research community has been an essential part of my internationalization concept when applying for the Research School IRB. Between March and April 2022, I was finally able to spend about three weeks in Rome, thanks to the hospitality of the Institute of Heritage Science of the National Research Council of Italy (ISPC-CNR). During this time, it was not only possible to get an insight into this important institution and meet other researchers specialized in Mediterranean Prehistory but to get access to many publications that are essential for my PhD topic. Especially helpful for the literature research was the library of the German Archaeological Institute in Rome, where I also met other (German) PhD-students and researchers working in Italy.

Conference of the Swiss Archaeology (AS) network in Solothurn, April 2022

One of the foundations for my PhD project is the identification of available clays and raw materials surrounding the archaeological excavation site on Sant’Antioco. In cooperation with Dr. Frank Gfeller and Dr. Nadja Melko who founded the Swiss company Archaeolytics together, we created a concept for a holistic study of these sediments during a 3-month research assistantship of Dr. Melko in Bochum, granted by the ResearchSchool in October 2019. Our project aims at combining landscape archaeological approaches with experimental archaeology and material analysis.

The conference "Experimentelle Archäologie - Wie geht das?" in Solothurn was organized by the Network of Swiss Archaeology (AS) and gave us the opportunity to present the concept and preliminary results of our project.