Aimee Miles, M.A.

Projekttitel: Inhabiting coastal worlds: Marine resource use and human-marine ecodynamics in the Iron Age Eastern Mediterranean

Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Detlef Gronenborn, Prof. Dr. Alexander Pruß

This project focused on marine resource use and conceptualizations of the marine world by coastal inhabitants in the Eastern Mediterranean region during the Iron Age. The source material included marine faunal remains (ex. vertebrate fish and shell), as well as other categories of material evidence, including artifacts and structural remains. Textual and iconographic evidence were also used as supplementary sources.

During the aforementioned period I developed a protocol for analyzing fish bone and shell assemblages from coastal sites, which included recording of taxonomy, skeletal elements, portions, taphonomy, siding, selected osteometric measurements, and contextual data. I developed a relational database in Access for compiling raw faunal data, based on work I had done in the field at Tell elBurak (Lebanon). Additionally, I compiled existing marine faunal data from various sites in the Eastern Mediterranean, including published data, ‘grey literature’ including excavation reports, and unpublished data obtained from other zooarchaeologists. The relevant faunal data included fish and shell remains from middens, fills, industrial contexts, ritual contexts, and burial contexts, among others. I continued compiling bibliographic literature on maritime cultural studies, urbanism and coastal industry in the Iron Age Eastern Mediterranean, environmental data, human-ecodynamics, cognitive archaeology, ethnoarchaeology of maritime cultures in the Near East and further afield.Finally, I began to collect iconographic and textual data pertaining to maritime activity and marine life in the IA Eastern Mediterranean.

In July 2018 I submitted materials for a scheduled evaluation, including a 10-page text excerpt, literature review, bibliography, and report on the state of research up to that point. The text dealt with theoretical and methodological approaches to the interpretation of past knowledge systems (and their underlying concepts) from material culture, particularly the potential contribution of zooarchaeological studies to that end. Drawing from sequential analysis and operational models commonly employed to study Palaeolithic industries, as well as perspectives on the ‘ideational’ or perceived landscapes informed by ethnoarchaeological scholarship, I proposed a hybrid framework for reconstructing the cognitive dimensions of human cultural interfaces with the marine world. The text also laid the foundation for a concept-oriented approach to human engagement with the marine environment, and the ways in which coastscapes (and seascapes) are mentally constituted in response to this experience, which can be encompassed within the interdisciplinary framework of ‘humanecodynamics.’