Promised is an EU funded coordination and support project with emphasis placed on the joint cooperation of the members of the consortium. Despite the fact that the project does not fund directly research activity, numerous high-impact publications are expected to come out of the enhanced synergies between the partners. 

A constantly updated list of the exciting project related publications can be found here.


Douce et al

What’s new during the first millennium BCE in Greece? Archaeobotanical results from Olynthos and Sikyon 

Carolyne Douché, Kyriaki Tsirtsi, Evi Margaritis. (2021)

This paper investigates agricultural practices during the 1st millennium BCE in Greece. New archaeobotanical data provide fresh insights on the plant economy at the urban centers of Sikyon and Olynthos, dated to the Archaic-Classical period. The results show that the staple economy of Sikyon and Olynthos was based on a broad spectrum. However, the analysis records the presence of taxa such as sesame (Sesamum indicum) and pine (Pinus pinea) that are usually absent in assemblages from Greece. In order to understand the role and the place of these sites within the ancient Greek world, we draw a wider comparison of the ubiquity of the main economic taxa using available archaeobotanical records, covering the Protogeometric period to the end of the Hellenistic period. This paper gives an overview of plants exploited during the 1st millennium BCE and also focuses on the unusual remains recently recovered.

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 BASIC GUIDELINES COVER RSZ150BASIC GUIDELINES FOR THE EXCAVATION AND STUDY OF HUMAN SKELETAL REMAINS

Efthymia Nikita, & Anna Karligkioti. (2020)

This document is the first in a series of guides aimed at promoting best practice in different aspects of archaeological science, produced by members of the Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Centre (STARC) of The Cyprus Institute. The current document was largely developed in the context of two projects: People in Motion and Promised. This guide aims to cover the main aspects of the excavation and macroscopic study of human skeletal remains. Therefore, the current guide is meant to serve only as a general outline of best practices and the described field and lab-based methods should be modified depending on individual circumstances, such as the sample size, preservation of the material, research questions and other parameters. References are given throughout the document, but our aim is by no means to provide an exhaustive account of the literature. This document is an open resource and it is anticipated to be updated at regular intervals. We would greatly appreciate any feedback and recommendations for future improvement.

Read more at ZENODO | ACADEMIA


Thilo 2020Metal. In Archaeological Science - An Introduction

Thilo Rehren. (2020)
Metals have always fascinated humans, for reasons ranging from practical through aesthetic to philosophical considerations. More than for other materials, this fascination can be seen to cover both the production of metals and their use. In archaeology, metals not only make a disproportionately high contribution to structuring major periods of cultural development and evolution, but archaeometallurgists specializing in the study of their production have even been referred to as a ‘priesthood’ trying to exploit secret knowledge and driving hidden agendas, potentially not in the best interest of the wider scholarly community; a charge that to the best of my knowledge has not been levelled against any other science-based discipline within archaeology, such as archaeo-botany or -zoology, or ceramic petrography. Clearly, metals fascinate humans, whether it is for the right or wrong reasons.

Read more at CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS


EXCAVATION AND STUDY OF COMMINGLED HUMAN SKELETAL REMAINS 2EXCAVATION AND STUDY OF COMMINGLED HUMAN SKELETAL REMAINS

Efthymia Nikita, Anna Karligkioti, & Hannah Lee. (2020)

This document is the second in a series of guides aimed at promoting best practice in different aspects of archaeological science, produced principally by members of the Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Center (STARC) of The Cyprus Institute. The current document was largely developed in the context of two projects: People in Motion and Promised. The current guide is meant to serve only as a general outline and the described field and lab-based methods should be modified depending on individual circumstances, such as the degree of commingling, sample size, preservation of the material, research questions and other parameters. References are given throughout the document but our aim is by no means to provide an exhaustive account of the literature. This document is an open resource and it is anticipated to be updated at regular intervals. We would greatly appreciate any feedback and recommendations for future improvement.

Read more at ZENODO | ACADEMIA 


Archaeological Science Classroom Activities coverARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

Efthymia Nikita, Mahmoud Mardini, Andriana Nikolaidou, Artemios Oikonomou, Giusi Sorrentino, Anna Spyrou, & Mia Trentin. (2020)

The activities presented focus on familiarizing students with basic methods in two broad fields: a) bioarchaeology (the study of organic remains such as human and animal bones), b) archaeological materials and material culture (ceramics, glass, metals, coins and graffiti). The proposed activities are intended for students of different age. For each activity, we provide the age range of the children to be involved; however, these ranges are only general approximations and it is up to the teacher to determine which students can participate in each activity or parts of the activity. Basic information that the teachers/instructors should communicate to the students as part of each activity is provided, along with step-by-step instructions for the implementation of each activity, and printout forms. In this way, the proposed activities can be used by any teacher, with minimal preparation and extra required materials. The implementation of most activities takes between less than one hour to two hours. A key to selected activities is given at the end of this guide. Through the proposed activities, the students are expected to develop:

  • an understanding of the various methods available for reconstructing the human past, and
  • critical thinking on how approaches from different disciplines can be used in combination to elucidate ancient lifeways.

The guide is available in both English and Greek. 

Read more at ZENODO ACADEMIA (EN) | ACADEMIA (GR)  


Sex estimationSex estimation: A comparison of techniques based on binary logistic, probit and cumulative probit regression, linear and quadratic discriminant analysis and neural networks using ordinal variables. 

Efthymia Nikita, & Panos Nikitas. (2020)

The performance of six classification methods, binary logistic (BLR), probit (PR) and cumulative probit (CPR) regression, linear (LDA) and quadratic (QDA) discriminant analysis, and artificial neural networks (ANN), is examined in skeletal sex estimation. These methods were tested using cranial and pelvic sexually dimorphic traits recorded on a modern documented collection, the Athens Collection. For their implementation, an R package has been written to perform cross-validated (CV) sex classification and give the discriminant function of each of the methods studied. A simple algorithm that combines two discriminant functions is also proposed. It was found that the differences in the classification performance between BLR, PR, CPR, LDA, QDA, and ANN are overall small. However, LDA is simpler and more flexible than CPR, QDA and ANN and has a small but clear advantage over BLR and PR. Consequently, LDA may be preferred in skeletal sex estimation. Finally, it is striking that the combination of pelvic and cranial traits via their discriminant functions determined either by BLR or LDA removes practically any population-specificity and yields much better predictions than the individual functions; in fact, the prediction accuracy increases above 97%.

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Population history cvrPopulation history of southern Italy during Greek colonization inferred from dental remains

Hannes Rathmann, Britney Kyle, Efthymia Nikita, Katerina Harvati, & Giulia Saltini Semerari. (2020)

Objectives: We are testing competing scenarios regarding the population history of the ancient Greek colonization of southern Italy using dental phenotypic evidence.Materials and Methods: We collected dental metric and nonmetric trait data for481 human skeletons from six archaeological sites along the Gulf of Taranto, dating to pre-colonial (900–700 BC) and post-colonial periods (700–200 BC). We are evaluating scenarios through an individual-level biodistance analysis using a three-pronged approach: (a) by analyzing levels of mobility in pre-and post-colonial periods under a model of isolation-by-distance; (b) by quantifying differences in group means and variances in pre-and post-colonial periods utilizing permutational multivariate analysis of variance and Betadisper analyses; and (c) by identifying ancestries of post-colonial individuals using naïve Bayes classification.

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3D graphA THREE-DIMENSIONAL DIGITAL MICROSCOPIC INVESTIGATION OF ENTHESEAL CHANGES AS SKELETAL ACTIVITY MARKERS

Efthymia Nikita, Panagiota Xanthopoulou, Andreas Bertsatos, Maria-Eleni Chovalopoulou, & Iosif Hafez. (2020)

The current paper explores the effectiveness of entheseal changes as skeletal activity markers by testing the correlation between such changes and cross-sectional geometric (CSG) properties while controlling for the effect of age and body size. The originality of the paper lies in capturing entheseal changes in a continuous quantitative manner using 3D microscopy. Roughness and bone resorption were recorded on zone 1 and 2 of three humeral entheses (subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus) in a documented sample of 29 male skeletons. Our analysis found that merely 5.91% of the partial correlations between entheseal changes and CSG properties were statistically significant. Also, two unexpected patterns were identified, namely, a higher number of significant correlations on the left side entheses compared to the right side ones and a higher number of correlations between minimum roughness and CSG properties compared to mean and maximum roughness. These patterns are the inverse of that we would expect if the activity had exerted an important effect on entheseal change expression. Therefore, they support the lack of association between entheseal changes and habitual activity, even though various factors potentially affecting the above results are discussed.

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ting et al 2019The beginning of glazed ware production in late medieval Cyprus

Carmen Ting, Athanasios Vionis, Thilo Rehren, Vasiliki Kassianidou, Holly Cook, Craig Barker. (2019)
This study presents the first characterisation of the early glaze technology that emerged in Cyprus during the 13th century CE, with the glazed ware assemblage recovered from the theatre site at Nea Paphos as the main focus. By framing the results of the technological study using SEM-EDS and thin-section petrography within the historical context, we can establish the link between local production and broader technological and socio-historical developments. The early glaze technology in Cyprus appears to have followed the established traditions characteristic of the eastern Mediterranean region during the late medieval period. This is reflected in the use of high lead glaze, the addition of iron and copper oxide as colourants, and the use of painting and sgraffito as principal decorative techniques. Although the introduction of glaze production in Cyprus coincided with the time when the island fell under the Frankish rule, there is no evidence indicating that the Frankish rulers directly controlled the production or the Franks were involved in the actual production process. However, we argue that the establishment of the Frankish influence had indirectly stimulated the beginning of glazed ware production in Cyprus by facilitating the movement of labour and creating the market and demand required for such production through its link to the Crusaders' campaigns in the wider Levantine region.

 Read More at SCIENCE DIRECT