Kaitlyn Stiles, a PhD candidate in Anthropology at UT, recently received two awards that will allow her to extend her time in Greece to conduct her dissertation research. One of these awards is the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship, offered by the Archaeological Institute of America, while the other is a research associate position at the Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
Stiles’ work in the coming year will primarily be finishing up data collection for her dissertation on the human skeletal material from the Mycenaean chamber tomb cemetery at Golemi Agios Georgios. Her project incorporates theory and method from Bronze Age Aegean archaeology, biological anthropology and classics to examine the combined biological and social (i.e., biosocial) expression of Mycenaean identities in the Late Helladic IIB-IIIC phases (15th – 12th centuries BCE) of central Greece in the context of the expansion of Mycenaean culture at this time. She is collecting data on biological features like age, sex, activity and markers of health/disease as well as evidence of trauma. Because the material in each of the tombs being studied is commingled, meaning that there are not individuated skeletons, but rather a mix of skeletal elements, she is approaching her questions a bit differently. Using spatial statistics, she hopes to find patterns of biological features that correlate meaningfully with the spatial arrangement of the tombs in the cemetery. It is her belief that the arrangement of groups of individuals in death may reflect significant social relationships in life, which will provide useful information about how a non-palatial community adopted the “Mycenaean” identity and what that looks like on a physical level. Stiles is also using strontium isotope analysis to try to trace the introduction of the rock-cut chamber tomb, which is reflective of Mycenaean culture, at Golemi and in the broader regions of East Lokris and Phokis in central Greece.