On Monday, 30rd of August 2021, Dr Anastasios P. Leventis and Professor Charalambos Bakirtzis visited STARC’s facilities. Hosting the meeting was STARC Director, Professor Thilo Rehren, who welcomed Dr Leventis and Prof. Bakirtzis, and had the opportunity to present his vision for the A.G. Leventis Chair in Archaeological Sciences. Following a short briefing on STARC’s current activities, the delegation was given a guided tour of STARC laboratories and other archaeological science labs and research infrastructures, where several STARC researchers presented their current projects.
STARC Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr Artemios Oikonomou demonstrated the Scanning Electron Microscope, showing how the analysis of glass furnace fragments from Amathus can reveal important technical details of ancient glassmaking in the Byzantine period. Professor Thilo Rehren, explained the Nigerian glass-making project of Dr Babalola, a recent Leventis Research Fellow at STARC, and recipient of the Field Discovery Award from the Shanghai Archaeological Forum 2019.
STARC Associate Research Scientist Dr Maria Dikomitou-Eliadou and STARC Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr Jelena Živković showcased the Ceramic Petrology Lab and the Optical Microscope, focusing on their projects including the MSCA-ITN “PlaCe” project hosted by STARC, as well as the project on Early Modern Ceramic Workshops in Greece and Cyprus. Using the example of the MSc thesis on medieval glazed ceramics from Polis by Christiana Kelepeshi, which STARC supported on short notice during the COVID-19 lockdown when she could no longer access the labs at Oxford where she was enrolled at the time, Professor Rehren highlighted the importance STARC places on cooperation and support of excellent research particularly for Cypriot archaeology.
Last but not least, Dr Leventis was briefed on the wide range of environmental archaeology activities at STARC. STARC PhD student Carly Henkel, working with STARC Assoc. Prof. Dr Evi Margaritis, showed carbonized barley seeds and how finds such as these were preserved and what they tell us about ancient cereal production and storage.
Mahmoud Mardini, another STARC PhD student, presented the open access literature search tool Bi(bli)oArch and how we are planning to expand the open-source material for other fields in archaeological sciences. He also showed how research by STARC Assistant Professor Dr Efthymia Nikita, jointly with the Department of Antiquities, helps us understand the changing pattern of mobility of people in the Nicosia district from the Late Roman to the Byzantine and medieval periods.
Dr Leventis’ visit concluded with an in-depth conversation with Dr Anna Spyrou regarding her research on the role of zebu cattle (bos indicus) in the Late Bronze Age of Cyprus, and how this is still genetically visible in the domestic Cyprus cattle breeds.