Bartek Lis has just joined the Fitch Laboratory team to undertake research, in collaboration with Evangelia Kiriatzi, on a project entitled ‘Travelling ceramic technologies as markers of human mobility in the Aegean (TRACT).
The main aim of TRACT (H2020-MSCA-IF-2016, project no 753569) is to demonstrate that the informed and interdisciplinary study of ancient pottery can shed new light on past human mobility. Based on the premise that the spread of technology involved in pottery making requires the physical movement of people, the project will adopt an inter-disciplinary methodology designed to investigate instances of technological transfer and hence mobility of potters. The methodology comprises macroscopic study of vessel-forming methods in combination with petrographic and chemical analysis of pottery and raw material samples. An important addition is the study of modern instances of potters’ mobility in the Aegean. Altogether, this represents a novel approach, which will be applied in a specific study focused on potters from the island of Aegina during the Late Bronze Age. TRACT will investigate the spread of a particular pottery tradition developed on the island of Aegina along the Euboean Gulf, an important corridor that facilitated movement of goods and people. Furthermore, the chosen case study will aim to shed light on the underpinnings of such movement, its duration, scale, as well as interaction of potters with new landscapes and receiving communities. TRACT will therefore contribute to the current debate on mobility by presenting a thoroughly researched case study of the mobility of craftspeople and developing a coherent methodology that can be universally applied. The choice of the Fitch Laboratory of the British School at Athens as a host institution will not only enable a high-level of training through research but also constitutes a perfect match with the mentor’s established interest in potters’ mobility and previous research on pottery production on Aegina, which will provide enhanced career opportunities for the researcher while strengthening the Fitch’s position as a centre of excellence in the study of craftspeople mobility.