The conference will open on Thursday evening, 25th February 2016, with a round-table discussion led by Dr Chantal Conneller with keynote speakers, followed by poster presentations and an informal reception. Please see details of confirmed keynote speakers below. The key note abstracts will be uploaded in the near future under the abstracts tab.
Dr Carolyn Graves-Brown (Swansea University)
My interest in Egyptian Dynastic lithics began in 1997 when taking up the post of curator of the Egypt Centre at Swansea University. Previously a prehistorian, I was surprised to see lithics in the museum collection which were almost contemporary with the time of Tutankhamun. These were sickle blades from the royal site of Amarna and almost ubiquitous in Egyptological collections. However, I could find very little published on them, and few people seemed interested. Initial research not only showed that ancient Egypt provided iconographic evidence of flint knapping but also ancient texts relating to flint. This was too intriguing to ignore. Since then I have completed a PhD on the religious significance of flint in pharaonic Egypt and published a few papers on the topic. I live in Llanelli with my husband and three beautiful greyhounds
Dr Osamu Maeda (University of Tsukuba, Japan)
Osamu Maeda is currently a lecturer in Near Eastern archaeology at the Institute for Comparative Research in Human and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan. For the last couple of decades he has taken part in field work at various Neolithic sites in Syria and Turkey with British, Turkish, French and Spanish teams as well as a Japanese one. Starting from February 2016 he is planning to be a visiting scholar at the University of Manchester, where he completed his PhD in 2009.
His overarching research interest concerns the use of lithic artefacts and their role in constructing Neolithic societies in the Near East. Within this frame he is pursuing various lines of enquiry. His on-going research includes the investigation of obsidian exchange and the production of obsidian artefacts in relation to the construction of social identities of Neolithic people in the Levant and Mesopotamia. Also, as a visiting scholar at the University College London in 2015, he researched the use of flint sickle blades, integrating e quantitative data from the sickle blades with archaeobotanical evidence for cereal domestication in order to understand the development of agricultural practice in the Neolithic Near East. In addition, he is currently undertaking a research project in south-east Turkey, at Hasankeyf Höyük, a Neolithic hunter-gatherer site in the upper Tigris valley. Here he is investigating the extent to which the daily practice of lithic use contributed to the reproduction of people’s traditional identity as hunter-gatherers even in the Neolithic period. Another focus of this project is to understand non-functional aspects of ancient lithic technology. The conduct of lithic technology in prehistoric time was often culturally oriented and economically inefficient, an example of which can be is clearly seen in the practice of flint heat treatment technique at Hasankeyf Höyük. He has approached this through an experimental study and demonstrated that frequent technical failure in heat treatment was positively accepted by Neolithic people as a part of their routine practice of lithic production.
Dr Aimee Little (University of York)
Originally from New Zealand, I began my academic career at the University of Auckland, obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Printmaking and Contemporary Maori and Polynesian Art) and a Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology and Maori Studies). I then spent several years working on academic and commercial archaeology projects in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Cyprus, Scotland and Ireland. After completing a PhD at University College Dublin in 2010, where my research focused on Irish Mesolithic wetland archaeology (landscape and artefacts), I then moved to the Netherlands for a Marie Curie IEF Fellowship at the Laboratory for Artefact Studies, Leiden University. During this fellowship the ‘TRACE’ project investigated Northwestern European hunter-gatherer wetland toolkits using the microscopic methods of microwear and residue analysis. I am now working as a Research Associate on the ERC-funded POSTGLACIAL Project with Prof. Nicky Milner and team, specialising in microwear and residue analysis of artefacts (mostly the flint tool assemblages) from Star Carr and Flixton Island. This research is taking an integrated approach by combining micro-residue and microwear analysis of stone tools with technological studies and re-fitting work carried out by Dr Chantal Conneller and Co. Of key interest is identifying patterns in the spatial and temporal distribution of activities at Star Carr, including the relationship between wet and dryland areas, and considering the broader palaeoenvironmental context of these activities at a time of dramatic climate change during the early part of the postglacial period (C. 12,000-10,000 calBP).
Dr Katherine (Karen) Wright (UCL)
Dr Katherine (Karen) Wright is a specialist in the archaeology of prehistoric Western Asia and ground stone technology. She was educated at Yale University (BA, Near Eastern Languages and Literature; PhD, Anthropology). Her PhD thesis and early publications provided the first detailed classification system for ground stone tools in the Near East. Her subsequent works have greatly influenced the study of ground stone across the world, focussing on how these artefacts inform on the emergence of agriculture, households, cooking and dining, the organisation of production, craft production, specialization, and ornaments. She has studied ground stone assemblages from excavations in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Israel, Iraq and Iran. Examples include Çatalhöyük (Turkey), where she led the ground stone team (2002-2012) and co-created a methodology for collection, recording and analysis based on technology. This built on methods established at the Azraq Project (Jordan) and the Qadisha Valley project (Lebanon). She is now completing further publications based on the assemblages she has studied. Over the years her work has been funded by the USA National Science Foundation, the British Academy, the Council for British Research in the Levant and other sources. She is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London.
Dr Chantal Conneller (The University of Manchester) – Discussant
Specialist in the European Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic, with interests ranging from technology and materials, mortuary practices, radiocarbon dating of Mesolithic settlement and human responses to sea-level rise. Her doctoral work focused on understanding Mesolithic technologies in the landscape of the Vale of Pickering. Her current research has two main foci: The first explores theoretical approaches to technology and materials, which has recently produced a book An Archaeology of Materials (Routledge 2011); the second focuses on Mesolithic settlement, and as part of this she is working on a book, The Mesolithic of Britain (Routledge).
Chantal has excavated on various sites in the Vale of Pickering, and since 2004 have co-directed excavations at Star Carr. She is also a co-director of the Ice Age Island Project, which is responsible for survey and excavation of a number of Palaeolithic and Mesolithic sites on Jersey. In addition, she also co-directs excavations at Ffynnon Beuno Cave, Denbighshire, investigating a settlement of some of the last Neanderthals and earliest Homo sapiens in western Europe.