OREA e-lectures

27.5.2020, 17:30 Uhr

Investigating contact spaces in the Middle Nile (Sudan)
The Munich University Attab to Ferka Survey Project 2018–2020

Julia Budka (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Since 2018, the Munich University Attab to Ferka Survey Project (MUAFS) investigates a stretch along the Nile including various islands between Attab and Ferka in northern Sudan. This area comprises a rich variety of archaeological sites from Palaeolithic times until the Islamic age which have never been studied in detail. The region is primary a geological boundary zone being located next to a cataract region, and secondly a frontier in terms of cultures. The major goal of the MUAFS project is to evaluate the specific living conditions throughout the ages and to reconstruct biographies of landscapes in this ‘contact space’ shaped by encounters of various cultural groups. The lecture presents the most important results of two fieldwork seasons between 2018 and 2020 with a focus on Bronze Age sites.

6.5.2020, 17:30 Uhr

Dental Abrasion in Children
Dental wear analysis for childhood paleodietary reconstruction

Marlon Bas (OREA)

Teeth are composed of the hardest tissue in the human body; it is therefore not surprising that they are well preserved in the archaeological record. For over a century, dental anthropologists have endeavored to extract as much information as possible from these tiny biological time capsules. One area of interest is the analysis of tooth wear for age determination and paleodietary reconstruction. Dental wear analysis can be both microscopic (microwear) or macroscopic (macrowear or gross dental wear). It has long been established that the rate and pattern of macrowear and the microscopic texture of the enamel surface are influenced by diet, food preparation, and the environment.

Like most mammals, humans generally begin life on a diet of milk. As their dental system develops, solid foods are introduced gradually into the diet until the child is weaned. The timing of this process is dependent on the availability of suitable soft foods with implications for fertility and childhood mortality. Further variability in diet can occur as a result of social status and a gender-b(i)ased treatment of children. Dental wear analysis is a promising approach for investigating these aspects of diet during childhood as it directly relates to the physical properties of foods.

Here we discuss how modern methods dental wear analysis, such as DMTA SSFA can best be used to investigate dietary transitions during childhood in the past.

22.4.2020, 17:30 Uhr

Making Stones Talk
The innovative Multi Layered Chert Sourcing Approach

Michael Brandl (OREA)

Chipped stone tools are amongst the most ubiquitous finds at prehistoric archaeological sites. Therefore, they are best suitable for understanding economic behavior in the past, which involves the procurement, use and distribution of lithic raw materials such as chert and flint (silicites). The results of such studies have far reaching implications, with the potential to reveal circulation networks, intercultural exchange and routes of migration. Successfully reconstructing these processes however crucially depends on the ability to trace these materials back to their original sources.

Despite the obvious importance of chert and flint provenance studies in archaeology, attempts to generate characteristic “fingerprints” of particular silicite raw materials were in most cases unsatisfying. This is mainly due to the oftentimes high similarities of such materials related to similar geological formations, and relying on a limited number of analytical techniques. To remedy this situation, an innovative multi-scalar analytical technique was implemented and successfully applied in various international case studies: The Multi Layered Chert Sourcing Approach (MLA) combines visual grouping, stereo-microscopic analyses and geochemical trace element analyses using LA-ICP-MS (Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry).

Here we demonstrate how the MLA achieves a clear assignment of lithic artefacts to identified geological sources, and the future potential of this method for studying resource management of prehistoric societies.

15.4.2020, 17:30 Uhr

Kalba – Ein frühbronzezeitlicher Handelsstützpunkt am Golf von Oman?
Ergebnisse der Feldforschungen 2020

Christoph Schwall (OREA)

Erstmals können im 3. Jahrtausend v. Chr., während der Frühbronzezeit, ausgedehnte Handelsnetzwerke belegt werden, die von der Ägäis bis zur Indusregion reichen. Insbesondere die Arabische Halbinsel bietet aufgrund ihrer geostrategischen Lage optimale Bedingungen für Knotenpunkte dieser frühen Netzwerke und fungierte wahrscheinlich als Vermittler zwischen West und Ost.

Die Feldforschungen in Kalba am Golf von Oman (VAE, Emirat Schardscha) belegen eine regelmäßige Besiedlung des Fundortes von der frühen Bronzezeit bis zur Eisenzeit (ca. 2500–600 v. Chr.). Daher eignet sich besonders Kalba zur Erforschung und Bewertung von frühen Handelsnetzwerken auf der südöstlichen Arabischen Halbinsel.

Die Ausgrabungen der frühbronzezeitlichen Besiedlung haben eine monumentale Turmkonstruktion freigelegt, die sicherlich als Landmarke an der Küste von weit her zu sehen war. Abgesehen von der Architektur legt auch importierte Keramik aus Mesopotamien, dem Iran und dem Indusgebiet eine überregionale Bedeutung der Siedlung nahe. Zudem lassen Rohstoffe wie Kupfer und Silex vermuten, dass Kalba ein Handelsstützpunkt war, der als Bindeglied der Netzwerke zwischen Routen über See und ins Landesinnere der Arabischen Halbinsel gedient hat.