The A.G. Leventis Chair is actively involved in numerous current research projects covering many aspects of archaeological materials science in the wider Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME), including culturally related neighbouring regions such as the Balkans, North Africa and parts of Central Asia. The chronological coverage of our projects spans from the emergence of metallurgy at the end of the Neolithic period, c 5,000 BC, right through to the last surviving traditional technologies of the late 19th and early 20th century AD.
Complementing existing strong activity in human osteoarchaeology and environmental archaeology at STARC, the main focus of the Chair is on the characterization of artificial materials such as glass, metals and ceramics, with special emphasis on deciphering the ancient technologies and practices that underpinned their production from the raw materials.
Major vs smaller research projects
Archaeological science research is a dynamic and highly successful field at STARC. Most activities are conducted in the framework of specific projects, typically funded through competitive grants from a variety of national and international funding bodies. Two major EU-funded projects in particular are led by the Chair as PI and provide strong strategic long-term support for its mission.
The first is called Promised – Promoting Archaeological Science in the Eastern Mediterranean and is funded through the H2020 Widening and Spreading Excellence ‘Twinning’ Action. In this project, STARC teams up with the Department of Archaeology and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research of the University of Cambridge and the Department of Geology of the KU Leuven in a 4-year series of training, mentoring and public events such as a regular summer school.
More recently, in March 2021, we started the MSCA-ITN PlaCe – Training the next generation of archaeological scientists: Interdisciplinary studies of pre-modern Plaster and Ceramics from the eastern Mediterranean. As a doctoral network, its activities are primarily focused on the training of Early Stage Research Fellows, hosted by a consortium of eight members spanning from the UK to the Cech Republic and from Greece to Belgium, led by the Cyprus Institute.
Other projects with archaeological science faculty at STARC as PIs are supported by major funding bodies such as RIF, the Cypriot Research and Innovation Foundation, INSTAP, the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, or the Leventis Foundation, and are presented by their own web pages and only briefly summarised here.
However, as part of our firm commitment to support the wider archaeological science community in the eastern Mediterranean, we provide also analytical and other support to existing projects hosted elsewhere or led by individual scholars; some of these are also presented below.