GIA Newsletter

Fall/Winter 2017

A word from the Director

Dear reader,

I take the opportunity at the outset of the Fall/Winter newsletter to wish you all a successful archaeological year! Also in 2018 we will keep you updated on new projects, incoming staff and researchers, awards granted, research activities and other newsworthy events. While 2017 was a real busy year with lots of activities, various GIA members found the energy during the break to prepare and submit in early January research proposals for the Free Competition and VENI schemes of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific research (NWO). Let’s hope that their applications will be successful and again bring new research and researchers to the GIA in 2018!
GIA newsletter
Fall/Winter 2017
New staff members

New PhD student - Taravat Talbei 
A new sight into the landnam history

In the last decades, different reconstructional studies had clarified obscure history of human life. Nowadays, by the aid of these studies, it seems easy to have a look into the past. However, some points had remained dark and hidden. Archaeo/palynological studies has shown that first farming activities in the southernmost part of the Netherlands started from 5300/5000 cal. BC. However, “there are faint indications that representatives of this culture also occupied the higher sandy soils of northern and eastern Netherlands”1. Current studies show that the 'landnam' phase in this part of the Netherlands had started after a considerable delay in compare to the southern parts. Therefore, in order to achieve new findings of farming transition phase in the north part of the Netherlands, a palynological PhD project organized.
Studying material have retrieved from small bogs, which called pingo scars. Having proper situation for pollen reservation, pingos prepared unique record of past cultural activities.
In addition, this study tries to find whether the pollen signal related to farming transition dates to same time in all diagrams or Not? To find a proper answer for this question, some other analysis such as Magnetic susceptibility, CaCo3 measurement, Sedimentology, Charcoal analysis, C14 dating, Macrofossil analysis and Non pollen palynomorph analysis will be done.
Finally, we try to explore a new type of representation of the results of pollen analysis to make this interesting data more understandable for everyone.
1: Bakker, R. (2003). The emergence of agriculture on the Drenthe Plateau [Groningen]: University of Groningen.
Taravat Talebi

New PhD student - Safoora Kamjan
The Neolithic’s long way: Investigating the evolution of Neolithic cattle husbandry between Anatolia, Bulgaria and the Netherlands

The aim of this project, supervised by Daan Raemaekers and Canan Çakırlar, is understanding the varieties in human-animal relationships, particularly cattle, in different ecological zones and cultural settings during the Neolithic period. During this research the regional variations in cattle husbandry will be compared particularly the modalities of diet, reproduction, mobility, and exploitation patterns of cattle. Cattle dairy production is one of the central points of this research.
As case studies, the faunal assemblages from three early Neolithic sites in Anatolia, Bulgaria, and the Netherlands have been targeted for this research. The framework of this research consists of zooarchaeological methods, including osteoarchaeology and stable isotope studies (δ18O, δ13C, and δ15N) on cattle teeth and bones.
In this area of inquire, there is clearly a lack of investigations carried out on the Anatolian Peninsula, Bulgaria, and the Netherlands, in comparison with studies on Central Europe and the Balkans. Aiming to help close this knowledge gap, this research can enable us to fill the gap for understanding spatial and temporal variations of Neolithic cattle husbandry.
Safoora Kamjan

New PhD student affiliated with the GIA

A student at Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris, Marie Laguardia has studied funerary archaeology and biological anthropology. She wrote her master thesis on ancient burials at Ej-Jaouzé (Lebanon) where she has excavated for three years. Currently a PhD candidate supervised by F. Villeneuve (Panthéon-Sorbonne University) and L. De Jong (Groningen University), she is carrying out an archaeological and anthropological study of the necropolis of Thāj (Eastern province of Saudi Arabia), a major East-Arabian caravan city settled from the ‘Hellenistic’ to the Early Sassanian period. Marie’s research is part of the Thāj Archaeological Project (SCTH/CNRS/Leiden University) and aims at achieving a
first comprehensive study of the necropolis, in order to clarify the social organization and the cultural identity of the buried population. She studies these issues through spatial analysis (based on aerial images, surveys, geophysics and GIS), archaeological excavation of selected tombs and anthropological analysis of the human remains. She also actively collaborates with specialists in geophysics, epigraphy, pottery, environmental studies and palaeogenetics.
In February 2018, Marie will come to Groningen to take the course Death as a Mirror of Life (Mortuary archaeology and theory) and join the GIA research group on mortuary practices.
Marie Laguardia
New publications

New book on the Archaeology of Death in Roman Syria

In the first centuries of the Common Era, an eclectic collection of plain and embellished underground and aboveground tombs filled the cemeteries of the Roman province of Syria. Its inhabitants used rituals of commemoration to express messages about their local identity, family, and social position, while simultaneously ensuring that the deceased were given proper burial rites. In this book, Lidewijde de Jong investigates these customs and the belief systems that governed the choices made in the commemoration of Syrian men, women, and children. Presenting the first all-inclusive overview of the archaeology of death in Roman Syria, this book combines spatial analysis of cemeteries with the study of funerary architecture, decoration, and grave goods, as well as information about the deceased provided by sculptural, epigraphic, and osteological sources. It sheds a new light on life and death in Syria and offers a novel way of understanding provincial culture in the Roman Empire.

de Jong, Lidewijde. 2017, The Archaeology of Death in Roman Syria: Burial, Commemoration, and Empire, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

New book on Mycenean Cemetery

Olivia A. Jones published a chapter of her bioarchaeological analysis of human remains in the book by Konstantina Aktypi titled. “The Mycenaean Cemetery at Agios Vasilios, Chalandritsa in Achaea”.

Aktypi, Konstatntina, 2017. The Mycenaean Cemetery at Agios Vasilios, Chalandritsa in Achaea.

Paleo-aktueel vol. 28

The latest volume of Paleo-aktueel was presented at the annual GIA Research Day on December 15th 2017. According to GIA's director Peter Attema Paleo-aktueel 28 is  "full of interesting and highly readable scientific narratives illustrated with attractive maps and photos in a very appealing design".
A copy can be ordered on the publisher's website.

Second season in Puntone (Scarlino, GR)

In September/October, the second excavation season took place at the site of Puntone Nuovo (Tuscany) on the northern Etrurian coast within the framework of the PhD thesis of Maria Rosaria Cinquegrana, a Final Bronze / early Iron Age site with abundant evidence for what is assumed to have been salt production and related marine exploitation activities. The project is a collaboration of GIA, the University of Naples and the Superintendency of Tuscany (SABAP-Si). In the campaign participated a small group of students from Denmark and a student from Italy. Prof. Attema and Prof. Pacciarelli, respectively promotor and co-promotor, were present to supervise the excavation activities. Prof. Jan Sevink and GIA’s Arnoud Maurer performed a pollen core to study the vegetation history of the site and possible environmental impacts due to use of local wood resources. They also performed on-site soil sampling for chemical and magnetic susceptibility analyses in collaboration with Wieke de Neef.

Part of the excavation targeted a strong anomaly visible in the geomagnetic mapping that was made of the site by the geophysical prospecting company Eastern Atlas in 2015. It revealed a firing structure that finds a parallel in the firing structures known from sites specialised in the exploitation of marine resources.
Another part of the excavation partially overlapped last year’s excavation area. Here, alongside ceramic debris heaps, a number of pits were recorded yielding potentially important data on specific, but as yet not conclusively interpreted, aspects of the production processes taking at  Puntone.
During the campaign the (very many) pottery finds from the first season were processed. Thanks to an agreement with the Superintendecy, selected finds from that season andfrom the 2017 season can temporarily be exported to GIA for further study and documentation.
The excavation team with GIA PhD Maria Rosaria Cinquegrana (holding the shovel).

PHD/Postdoc Day at Leegkerk

On the 15th of September the third PhD and post-doc day was held in the church of Leegkerk. This year the day was organized by PhD’s Eirik Roe and Iris Rom in a different format than before. The morning was dedicated to the presentation of new PhD and post-doc research, the afternoon to a well-prepared plenary discussion on communication and collaboration between research domains. The day involved all GIA community members meaning that beside staff members also support staff were present and active during the meeting.

Evaluating the new format of the PhD-Post-doc day, we found that such plenary discussions on research and research strategies are much needed and beneficial for the GIA community. Therefore, we plan to continue this format in 2018, with separate meetings to discuss specialist topics such as research data management and archiving and meetings to explore possibilities of setting up specific collaborative projects between GIA’s research groups.

GIA Research Day

Peter Attema: "Looking back on 2017, what first comes to mind is the very lively and interesting GIA research day we had on the 15th of December in the new location of ‘Het Kasteel’, more or less marking the finish of a for the GIA successful 2017.

Attended very well, the day consisted of a reflection of research done at - or linked with - the GIA, illustrating the broad thematic, geographical and methodological scope of GIA’s interests. We heard about research in the Netherlands (sedimentological research in Groningen, the maritime culture landscape and Van Giffen’s Ezinge excavations) and on research in pre- and protohistoric Greece, Italy and northern Eurasia. As usual, there was attention for new applications in archaeology, this time featuring the fields of high resolution radiocarbon dating, 3D-GIS and application of pXRF to pottery."

GIA Centennial

The GIA Research Day closed with a series of announcements: the first one was on the GIA Centennial Website, which GIA develops to support and make known the activities that it will promote in the period between now and December 2020. It is then that we plan the actual centennial celebration in the form of a special 2-day international edition of the GIA Research day. To brand the centennial activities in the intermediate period (that will consist of lectures, writing a wiki-type history of the GIA, a photo archive, possibly a centennial excavation) GIA held a logo contest that was won by GIA’s Stijn Arnoldussen. Compliments for Stijn for having designed a very appealing logo!
The winning logo - by Stijn Arnoldussen

Marjolein Admiraal selected for Arctic Frontiers emerging leaders program

Arctic Centre PhD Marjolein Admiraal is selected to represent the Netherlands in the Arctic Frontiers Emerging Leaders program.
Emerging Leaders will take place from 17 – 23 January 2018. Thirty selected candidates from different countries will participate in a blend of technical, social and cultural events accompanied by mentors from business, politics and academia. The program starts in the city of Bodø, then continues onboard the Norwegian Coastal Express “Hurtigruten” and ends in Tromsø, “the gateway to the Arctic”. To explore the marine resources and potential in the Lofoten Islands, a stopover will be made in Svolvær. The participants will be challenged to engage in discussions and presentations during the program.
Participation of Marjolein Admiraal is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Hurtigruten coastal express in northern Norway (photo:
Grants - awards - prizes

Master Thesis Award won by Ellen Edens

On the last GIA Research day, the thesis award committee announced the 2018 winner of the GIA master thesis award, Ellen Edens. She received a prize worth €500.- for her thesis (In)Visibly Crowned? Research on ‘maiden crowns’: their presence and archaeological visibility in graves from Plechelmusplein, Oldenzaal.

Rocco Palermo new member of YARN

Rocco Palermo has been appointed as a new member of the Young Arts Network (YARN), part of the Young Academy Groningen.

Wenner-Gren Foundation grant for Canan Çakirlar

Çakirlar, lecturer in zooarchaeology, has won the Wenner-Gren Foundation's competitive research grant to continue her research on the origins of hybrid camels. The new grant will allow the GIA scientist to investigate the origins of this enigmatic 'breed' using osteomorphology, radiocarbon dating, and ancient DNA. She will lead a group of international scientists will work in no less than five countries (Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Austria and Israel) to test the hypothesis that the emergence of hybrid camels dates back to the early 1st millennium BC as a result of unique encounters along long-distance trade routes, leading to unique multi-ethnic ceremonies. The hybrid camel is the world's first engineered hybrid transportation. It is more powerful and resilient than its parents, the Bactrian and Dromedary camel. Other than being a magnificent beast-of-burden, it is a great provider of meat, milk and wool. Other than being useful, hybrid camels are charismatic cultural vehicles. The interest in the origins of hybrid camels lies in the fact that hybrid camels led to unprecedented forms of cultural hybridisation between peoples speaking different languages, between nomads and urbanites, and between elite traders and herders. The project will continue for a year and engage hybrid camel 'wrestlers', artists and photographers who are interested in present-day camel cultures. 
Digging a camel skeleton in Gordion -courtesy of the Gordion Project (

Research support grant for Annet Nieuwhof

Annet Nieuwhof has received a grant from the Faculty of Arts as support for a future grant application (VIDI/ERC Starting Grant).

Dr. Catherine van Tussenbroek fund for Fasanella Masci

Marianna Fasanella Masci received €1000,- from the Dr. Catherine van Tussenbroek Foundation for a working visit to Calabria, in order to prepare a publication on the cultural encounter between native and immigrant populations in the Sibaritide. 
Marianna Fasanella Masci (far right).

Dinner invitation for Peter Attema

Being formal main applicant of the successful proposal  "Integrating Archaeological Field Surveys - Rome and Beyond" (but in close collaboration with Wim Jongman and Martijn van Leusen), GIA Director Peter Attema befell the honour to attend the December diner of the University of Groningen in the Aula of the Academy. The proposal brings together researchers from Groningen, Rome, Durham, St. Andrews, Köln and Melbourne in a number of international workshops to further the integration of survey data from the Suburbium of ancient Rome. The first workshop already took place in October, hosted by Peter Attema in his home in the countryside of Groningen and at the 'Kasteel' int he city of Groningen, where also the 2017 GIA Research day was held. The international consortium has since then submitted a lenghthy Horizon 2020 application within the Cultural heritage scheme that goes by the name "Unseen Heritage: realizing the potential of landscape archaeology for the past, present and future of Rome's hinterland". This project foresees a cooperation between the consortium and cultural heritage Institutions at Rome in the field of valorisation and protection of the ancient rural past in Rome's current hinterland.
Copyright © Groningen Institute of Archaeology

Our mailing address is: