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This is the second in a series on the theme of Science and Technology: Ancient Greek Astronomy and Astronomers (I); Celsus and the Earliest Printed Latin Medical Text (III).
The application of scientific method and techniques in archaeology is transforming the ability of scholars of the ancient world to understand the nitty gritty of past lives. Studies of ancient DNA and chemical isotopes in bodily tissues provide ever more detail about the ancestry and diet of the peoples of the past, while geochemistry allows us to trace ancient trade networks in goods and foodstuffs. As science-based dating is combined with good old fashioned stratigraphy to ever refine our chronologies of past events, the use of geophysics and geology allow us to find and understand sites with less need for costly and time consuming excavation, whose efficiency is being ever improved through the use of computer-based data collection and analysis. Using examples from Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean, including the speaker's own research on Neolithic and Bronze Age societies, this lecture will look into some recent examples of how science and technology are opening an ever bigger and clearer window on the past.
The speaker is an archaeobotanist trained at The Institute of Archaeology UCL who has worked in the UK, across Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and Australasia. He worked for The Museum of London Archaeology Service, Cambridge University, the Australian National University, amongst others, before taking up a position as Lecturer in Archaeology at UQ in 2006. Andy is co-director of the Boncuklu excavation project in Turkey and investigates ancient economic change at a range of Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age sites in Anatolia, including Can Hasan III, Catalhoyuk, Kultepe, Kaman Kalehoyuk, Buklukale and Kinet Hoyuk. He is currently an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2014-2017) researching the development of crop trade by early civilisations of the eastern Mediterranean.