The GIAP team gets bigger! Meet our new MSCA postdoctoral fellows

We are glad to finally be able to welcome our new team members to Tarragona! Three brilliant postdoctoral researchers joined GIAP (ICAC) this September. Skyscapes, religion, plants and ancient irrigation are some of the themes to be investigated by the three successful postdoctoral MSCA fellows. 

STAR-AGESS: Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Ritual and Ancient Greek Experience of Sacred Spaces (H2020-MSCA-IF-2020-101026674)

Efrosyni Boutsikas

Dr. Boutsikas is an established scholar and with this fellowship aims to amplify her analytical toolkit with cutting-edge techniques on advanced 3D modelling and landscape analyses, while delving into current theoretical approaches on the cognitive formation of space and experience in ritual performance. This will be achieved through applied research on ancient Greek ritual practice collaborating and guided by Dr Hector Orengo at GIAP and also by Dr Schjødt’s team at the Department of the Study of Religion at Aarhus University (Denmark), where she will have a short stay of about 2 months. Her project, STAR-AGESS aims to recreate immersive environments that incorporate ancient sky and astronomical simulations, horizons, detailed topography and architectural 3D models of the sanctuaries at Sounion, Aegina and Perachora in Greece.

Efrosyni Boutsikas brief biography: Dr. Boutsikas is a Senior Lecturer in Classical Archaeology at the University of Kent and a member of the Council of the International Society for Archaeoastronomy in Culture (ISAAC). Her research focuses on ancient Greek religious experience, memory, myth and the role of time, space and landscape in ritual performance. She has written and co-authored papers on the role of astronomy and catasterism myths in shaping ancient religious experience and ritual practice. She has directed research projects in Greece, Cyprus, Sicily and Turkey funded by the British Academy, the Society of Antiquaries (London) and the Royal Society of New Zealand. Her research has been published in a range of classical, archaeological, and archaeoastronomical journals. Efrosyni is currently also a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Astronomy in Culture and the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology, and a co-director of the University of Kent’s Interdisciplinary Centre in Spatial Studies (KISS). She is the author of The Cosmos in Ancient Greek Religious Experience: Sacred Space, Memory, and Cognition (Cambridge University Press, 2020) and a co-editor of Studies in Cultural Astronomy in Honour of Clive Ruggles (Springer, 2021).

UnderTheSands: Ancient irrigation detection and analysis using advanced remote sensing methods (HORIZON-MSCA-2021-PF-01-101062705)

Nazarij Buławka

Dr. Buławka is an early carrier researcher specializing in GIS and computational methods in the archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Central Asia and Iran. He will join GIAP with the project ‘UnderTheSands’ under the guidance of Hèctor A. Orengo. The project aims to develop a novel workflow for the large-scale analysis of irrigation networks in the Near East, combining advanced remote sensing and hybrid Machine/Deep Learning methods.

Nazarij Buławka’s brief biography: Dr. Buławka completed his PhD in 2020 at the Faculty of Archaeology (University of Warsaw). His main research interest is irrigation network, landscape archaeology, ancient economy, settlement pattern, and Iron Age in Central Asia and northeastern Iran. He gained much experience managing field survey projects in Turkmenistan and Poland through digital documentation methods and using local relief models and CORONA imagery to study irrigation networks of alluvial plains. Nazarij’s previous research under his doctoral thesis focused on changes in settlement patterns and the irrigation of three oases in Turkmenistan during the Iron Age: Serakhs oasis, Tedjen and Murghab alluvial fans. He is a co-cocreator of MobileGIS SIG at CAA International.

DarkSeeds: A new explanatory paradigm for the agricultural economies of the Aegean Late Bronze and Early Iron Age using Machine Learning-aided 3D morphometrics and stable isotope analyses (H2020-MSCA-IF-2020-101024917)

Charlotte Diffey

Dr Diffey is a talented early career researcher, who is specialized in archaeobotany and stable isotope analysis, having been trained in one of the best research teams in the field led by Prof. Amy Bogaard at the University of Oxford, UK. Despite the early stage of her career, Charlotte has a very strong field, laboratory and publication record, with work in Europe, Asia and the Americas, including research at the iconic sites of Çatalhöyük in Turkey and Knossos in Greece. She will join GIAP with the project ‘DarkSeeds’ under the guidance of Dr Alexandra Livarda. Her project aims to provide a new explanatory model of the economic changes observed during the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age in the Aegean, a period often referred to as ‘Dark Ages’, through the application of standard archaeobotanical and stable isotope analyses alongside newly developed methods at GIAP that combine 3D photogrammetry and Machine Learning-aided Geometric Morphometrics (GMM).

Charlotte Diffey brief biography: Dr. Diffey completed her PhD in 2018 and since then she held two post-doctoral positions. First at the University of Oxford and then at the University of Reading where she currently continues working. In her current position Charlotte is working on the ERC-funded ‘Middle East Neolithic Transition: Integrated Community Approaches’ (MENTICA) project. This research concentrates primarily on the establishment of early farming practices and communities at several Neolithic and Chalcolithic sites in Iraq and Iran. Her previous research has focused on large-scale Bronze Age farming and politics in the Eastern Mediterranean and Northern Mesopotamia, working on archaeobotanical assemblages from the major urban centres of Hattusha (Turkey) and Tell Brak (Syria).

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

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