Experimental Archaeology and Archaeobotany: Contemporary interdisciplinary practices in Aegean Archaeology

On the 31st of March, PhD candidate Alexandra Kriti will be in Rethymno (Crete, Greece) to offer a lecture for the Archaeology Unit of the University of Crete:

Experimental Archaeology and Archaeobotany: Contemporary interdisciplinary practices in  Aegean Archaeology
Alexandra Kriti, Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology
31/03/23 19.30h (Greek time)

Within the research frame of ‘DarkRevisited’ (PI Dr Alexandra Livarda, Ramon y Cajal Researcher at The Catalan Insititute of Classical Archaeology ICAC, Project  I+D+i PID2019-107605GB-100), my ongoing PhD research aims to contribute towards the creation of a new tool that will utilize AI in order to suggest the origin of landrace of charred barley grains.

A proud Alexandra Kriti showcasing the ripen crop in the closed experimental fields in 2021

Experimental barley cultivations were undertaken for 2 years at the premises of ELGO Demeter in Thermi Thessalonikis, utilizing grain from the Greek Gene Bank. A total of (21) traditional landraces of barley were cultivated under various sets of controlled conditions. Throughout the plants’ growth circle, the crop was systematically monitored and tended utilizing a variety of methods to extract a plethora of agronomical data.

The harvested grain is analysed further with the use of a high precision 3D scanner. The 3D images of the grains are used to extract Geometric Morphometric data, that are providing with rich information on the morphology of each grain. Those data are then fed into a algorithm, that is gradually trained to recognize and identify the different landraces based on their morphology.

A series of subsequent charring experiments will help us investigate the impact of charring on the morphology of the grains. As such, the charring effect will be considered as a set of GMM data that will be fed into the algorithm. Consequently, the algorithm will be able to recognize and identify charred barley grains by origin ie.landrace.

This new tool will revolutionize the discipline of archaeobotany, providing a cheap and reliable method to access small assemblages of charred grain reliably. Furthermore, the synergy of archaeology and agronomy, are providing the opportunity to further expand our knowledge on biodiversity, agricultural planning and decision making, as well as informing agronomy on current challenges, such as climate change. 

Research funded by:

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