Polish project in the final of the European Research Council award

Innovative approach to archaeological research of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology UW appreciated by the European Research Council.

Artur Obłuski, head of the ERC Starting Grant UMMA project implemented at the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw, is one of 3 finalists for the European Research Council’s Public Engagement with Research Award in the INSPIRE category. The award is granted to ERC grant winners who have demonstrated excellence in engaging with communities beyond the world of science during their projects.

There is also a public vote award in the prize pot, which will be decided by social media voting – this will run until the day of the ceremony scheduled for 14 July. The ERC grantee receiving the most votes will be acknowledged with a ‘special mention’ of the public at the award ceremony when the three winners will also be announced. You can help the project to win!

To vote visit the website: https://pollunit.com/polls/lhcrptmbiaac9v6i3tobjq?embed=1

Projekt UMMA promuje zbliżenie pomiędzy naukowcami a mieszkańcami Starej Dongoli © CAŚ UW
UMMA project promotes bringing scientists and residents of Old Dongola together © PCMA UW

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Ciphers from the Past – IMAGMA

Kadr z filmu IMAGMA - szyfry przeszłości
Fragment of the movie: IMAGMA – Ciphers from the Past

 Previous to the project IMAGMA, the widely accepted dating of the emergence of Early Germanic coinage was the late-fifth and sixth centuries, the time when Germanic communities established themselves on the territory of the Western Roman Empire. This view has now been fully invalidated by a ground-breaking discovery: the first Germanic coinage in fact dates at least two hundred years early, to the second half of the third century, and has its origins in what is now western Ukraine.

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Textile technology in Bronze Age Greece

We are excited to share the first in a series of videos about textiles and textile production in Bronze Age Greece. These videos are made for the educational project ‘Artefacts, Creativity, Technology, and Skills from Prehistory to the Classical Period in Greece. Communities of Learning in the Past and in Higher Education Today’ (ACTS) funded by the 4EU+ Alliance and the Erasmus+ programme.

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Berdysyčran-depe – a new site of the Oxus civilisation in the Tedjen alluvial fan

Widok na północne wzniesienie Berdysyczran-depe wraz z tymczasowym obozowiskiem lokalnego pasterza © B. Kaim
A view of the northern mound of Berdysyčran-depe with the temporary campsite of a local shepherd
© B. Kaim

Berdysyčran-depe, a hitherto wholly unknown and inconspicuous site located in Turkmenistan in the ancient Tedjen River (Hari Rud) alluvial fan, turned out to have hidden remains of the Oxus civilisation.

Just two days after the publication of the results, the news about the discovery by Polish archaeologists was described by the N+1 portal. Soon it was quoted across various services popularising science and internet forums. That prompted us to write about this discovery on the Archeowieści portal.

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Roman Imperial epigraphic traditions

In the Roman Imperial period commemorative inscriptions became omnipresent in nearly all aspects of social life, and the afterlife. Yet, quite suddenly, during the third century AD, this practice fell into decline. In the regions where the practice survived, it acquired a new face, and the so-called epigraphic cultures of Late Antiquity developed. Inscription took a new form with clumsier and less regular lettering, shaping, and their genres were now less diverse. Despite decades of research, beginning in the early 1980s, the reasons for this great transformation remain to be explained. The answer, however, may lie in the changing face of Roman workshops and how they shaped their clients’ tastes: “There is a pressing need to develop a wholly new approach to the study of cultural impact of the third-fifth century stonecutters’ and mosaicists’ workshops, a study which would encompass the entire Roman world,” said Dr Nowakowski from the Faculty of History, a laureate of the prestigious ERC grant.

Vannucci A., 1873, Storia dell'Italia antica, Domena Publiczna
Vannucci A., 1873, Storia dell’Italia antica, Domena Publiczna

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How long did women in the ancient Near East breastfeed?

The length of the period of breastfeeding depends on many factors, both individual and cultural or environmental ones. In human societies that have no access to easily digested food alternatives (this refers to foragers in particular) this period is usually longer, while in farming communities, where infants are fed with porridge or yoghurt, it can be shortened. This implies demographic consequences: a mother who breastfeeds her child for a shorter time can have more children, therefore, the breastfeeding period influences the birth rate.

Terakotowa plakietka z Babilonii przedstawiająca kobietę karmiącą dziecko piersią. Muzeum miasta Sulejmanija, Iracki Kurdystan © Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg) Opublikowano na licencji CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikipedia Commons
Babylonian terracotta plaque representing a breastfeeding woman. Sulaimani Museum, Iraqi Kurdistan
© Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg)
published under CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Scientific Activities in COVID Epoch? 4th Warsaw Seminar on Underwater Archaeology is on Next Week!

Previous year was not easy at all, also for archaeologists. Possibilities of fieldwork were very limited, especially for abroad expeditions, and the conferences happened nearly only in the virtual reality.

As the previous editions of the Warsaw Seminar on Underwater Archaeology gave both the participants and organizers loads of positive effects and satisfaction, we agreed that we don’t want to be pushed into the Internet! We succeeded in moving the funds forward in time (like in case of the previous one, also this edition is sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, DNK/SN/464684/2020) and – finally – we meet in November! And you can join us live via YouTube channel of Faculty of Archaeology, University of Warsaw!

4th Warsaw Seminar on Underwater Archaeology will take place on the 18–20 of November 2021. Deadline for applications passed in April. Also this time, despite the pandemic, a huge interest of both ‘old friends’ and ‘debutants’ is close to sensational. We will host the researchers not only from Poland, but also Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Montenegro, Turkey, Croatia, Spain, Slovenia, Germany, Russia, Wales, Austria, and Switzerland…

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Bi(bli)oArch: Bibliographic database for human bioarchaeological studies in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East

Scholars from the Cyprus Institute, Nicosia, have prepared a bibliographic database for human bioarchaeological studies in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME), chronologically covering skeletal assemblages from prehistory to early modern times.

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1739 BC – year when the Sumerian civilization collapsed

Sumerians are known as the founders of the urban civilization that dominated in southern Mesopotamia in the 4th and 3rd millennia BC. They developed a network of irrigation channels that made it possible to cultivate cereals in desert areas of the Lower Euphrates, introduced an ideographic script, initially pictographic and then simplified to the form of cuneiform characters impressed in wet clay, built the biggest cities in the world at that time, with monumental temples and enormous palaces.

Najważniejsze miasta południowej Mezopotamii pod koniec III tysiąclecia p.n.e. Sumer rozciąga się od Eridu do Nippur, obszar między Kisz a Sippar był zamieszkany przez Akadów, a w II tysiącleciu stanowił trzon państwa babilońskiego. Na mapie został zaznaczony przybliżony zasięg Zatoki Perskiej na przełomie III i II tysiąclecia Near_East_topographic_map-blank.svg: Sémhur (na podstawie licencji CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
The most important cities of Mesopotamia in the late 3rd millennium BC. Sumer stretches from Erid to Nippur, the region between Kish and Sippar was occupied by Akkadians, then in the 2nd millennium it was the core of the Babylonian state. The map shows the range of the Persian Gulf in the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC
Near_East_topographic_map-blank.svg: Sémhur(published under CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

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Rapid change of climate did not cause the fall of the Akkadian Empire

The latest issue of Antiquity published a paper presenting results of biochemical analyses of human bones from a few sites situated in north-eastern Syria, and showing on this basis that in the 22nd century BC, when the Akkadian Empire was declining, there was no change in the local economy which could be a response to a long-term drought, and even if there was a temporary climate change, the local human societies survived it in a good condition.

Stela upamiętniająca zwycięstwo nad plemionami górskimi odniesione przez Naram-Sina, króla imperium akadyjskiego w latach około 2254–2218 p.n.e. © F. Romero, France - Paris - Musée du Louvre, na podstawie licencji CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Stele commemorating a defeat of mountain tribes by Naram-Sin, the king of the Akkadian Empire in 2254-2218 BC. 
© F. Romero, France – Paris – Musée du Louvre, published under CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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