Graduate Theses & Dissertations

Politics of Feasting
The goal of this thesis is to explore the role that civic (i.e. state-sponsored) feasting and drinking played in early polis (pl. poleis), or city-state formation on Crete in the Early Iron Age to Archaic transition, ca. 700-500 BCE. Using the two recently excavated civic feasting structures at the site of Azoria as a model for both “inclusive” and “exclusive” forms of civic feasting, this project compares and contrasts the role that it played at a number of other sites in central and east Crete. In order to categorize the structures as either inclusive or exclusive, all forms of published evidence were examined including the buildings’ architecture and the socially valued goods and ceramics found within the structures. Ultimately, this project demonstrates that in the 8th century BCE, inclusive feasting rituals and association with the past were used as means of creating and maintaining a strong group identity, which paved the way for the use of more exclusive practices in the 7th century BCE, where sub-group identities and alliances were formed amongst members of the larger group. However, at the sites where there was evidence for multiple civic feasting venues it appears that by the 7th century BCE, the interplay of both inclusive and exclusive forms of feasting was crucial to the process of identity formation for the citizens of these proto-poleis. Author Keywords: Archaic Crete, Commensality, Feasting, Identity Formation, Polis formation
Agriculture as Niche Construction
The Neolithic Period (c. 6200 – 4900 BC) in the Struma River Valley led to numerous episodes of cultural diversification. When compared with the neighbouring regions, the ecological characteristics of the Struma River Valley are particularly heterogeneous and the Neolithic populations must have adapted to this distinctive and localized ecological setting. It then becomes reasonable to ask if the evolution of cultural variability in the Struma River Valley was at least partially driven by the ecological setting and differentiation in the evolution of the early agricultural niche. In this thesis, I apply an approach based on niche construction theory and Maxent species distribution modeling in order to characterize the relationship between culture and ecology during each stage of the Neolithic Period and to assess diachronic change. An interpretation of the results demonstrates that the continuous reconstruction of the early agricultural niche allowed for settlement expansion into new eco-cultural niches presenting different natural selection pressures and that cultural change followed. I also found that cultural and historical contingencies played an equally important role on the evolution of populations and that ecological factors alone cannot account for the numerous episodes of cultural diversification that occurred throughout the region. Author Keywords: Agriculture, Bulgaria, Eco-cultural Niche Modeling, Greece, Neolithic, Niche Construction
How to Forge an Empire
The goal of this thesis is to explore the production of ferrous (iron) armaments in the Middle Byzantine Empire, and more specifically the tenth century. Three cornerstones define the current research: (1) An exploration of the technology at use in the production of ferrous armaments. (2) A comprehensive look at the logistical and organizational structures which facilitated this industry. (3) A closer look at the labour investments required to manufacture armaments through an ethnographic and experimental approach. The tenth century document known as the De Cerimoniis forms a foundational pillar of the current study. The document details the quantity and types of military equipment required for a naval expedition launched by the Byzantines in A.D. 949. The information provided within has made this inquiry into logistics possible, and has allowed for the assessment of overall trends in the tenth century arms production industry. Author Keywords: armour, arms production, Byzantine military, logistics, metallurgy, weapons
Ritual, Social Organization, and Monumental Architecture
New archaeological material was discovered in 2006 by the Göksu Archaeological Project in an area of Southeastern Turkey known as Rough Cilicia. This thesis documents and explores the material remains from funerary contexts at the sites of Dağpazarı and Topkaya. Architectural analysis of the material from Dağpazarı demonstrates that the remains are of a monumental temple tomb dating to the late second or early third century A.D. Although the remains from Dağpazarı are fragmentary, the evidence is examined to suggest possible architectural reconstructions. The examination of the Topkaya tomb cluster sheds light upon an ornately decorated rock-cut temple façade tomb dating the Roman period. Both sets of tombs are stunning examples of monumental architecture from the Roman period in an area that suffers from a lack of surviving architectural material. In order to understand the variation in monumental tomb forms the relationship between death, burial, and monumental architecture is examined from a functional perspective. The rites of passage are used as a theoretical framework for examining the functional role that monumental architecture plays in the performance of funerary ritual and the formation of social organization in Roman Rough Cilicia. Ultimately, it is demonstrated that monumental funerary architecture serves as a physical manifestation of abstract concepts that aid in the performance of the rites of passage associated with death and the funeral. Thus, this thesis highlights how abstract information can be gained from seemingly limit physical remains. Author Keywords: Burial, Monumental Funerary Architecture, Rites of Passage, Roman, Rough Cilicia, Social Organization
Grooved stones first appear in the Southern Levant with the development of the Natufian culture (~15,000 - 12,000 BP). These tools come in a variety of shapes and sizes; however, they share in common the presence of an intentionally manufactured groove. This thesis focuses on a few types of grooved stones, specifically, those which are often considered to be straighteners for arrow-shafts. If this interpretation is correct, then these tools represent the only clear evidence of the bow and arrow prior to the Neolithic (~12,000 - 6,500 BP), which has implications for our understanding of changing hunting strategies in the millennia leading up to the origins of agriculture. Using an experimental and use-wear approach, I analyse a sample of grooved stones from three Natufian and Neolithic sites in Northern Israel, the results of which generally support the arrow-shaft straightener interpretation. Furthermore, by placing grooved stones in their broader technological context, it becomes apparent that they represent progression and diversification of long-range projectile weapons, which likely existed even earlier in time Author Keywords: grooved stones, Natufian, Neolithic, PPNB, use-wear analysis
Mortuary remains comprise a large part of the archaeological record for the Late Bronze Age in the Aegean. By the Palatial period, chamber tombs became the most common burial type on the Mycenaean Mainland, with their popularity continuing into the Postpalatial period. In addition, a single chamber tomb could be reused for as many as ten generations, resulting in large collections of burials and offerings. On account of the prolific use and reuse of chamber tombs, they provide an abundance of data for studying the mortuary rituals performed by the Mycenaeans during the Palatial and Postpalatial periods. The purpose of this study is three fold: to test the theory that the Mycenaean palatial systems influenced the types of offerings placed in the chamber tombs; to assess the validity of previously stated claims that the offerings placed in the chamber tombs represent funerary rituals, and if so, what type(s) of rituals?; and to establish whether Mycenaean mortuary archaeology is sufficiently well recorded to support a meaningful analysis of variation in funerary depositional patterning. The results of this study provide insight into the nature of the Mycenaean mortuary rituals for chamber tombs. Author Keywords: Chamber Tombs, Late Helladic, Mortuary rituals, Mycenaean, Palatial period, Postpalatial period
"Energetics" of Mycenaean Defense Works
This thesis examines the mobilization of labour required for fortification construction during the Late Helladic (LH) period of the Aegean Bronze Age. It adopts an "energetics" approach to architecture, as a framework for systematically calculating the labour costs of construction, and using such costs to infer relative differences in political power among groups and communities through the implied differences in labour control. Accordingly, construction costs were generated for thirty-six LH fortifications, located across seven distinct regional zones of the Greek mainland and Aegean Sea. These values were then compared and evaluated against what is known of the political geographies for each region, to measure the extent to which the mobilization of labour was a function of regional power in Late Bronze Age Greece. These assessments revealed that a wide range of variation existed among the sampled regions in terms of the strength and nature of this connection, underscoring the diversity in labour relations that developed throughout the Aegean during the LH period. The labour costs were also used to suggest specific systems of recruitment that may have been in place for mobilizing workers, and to argue that fortification construction would not have been particularly burdensome or demanding for certain local populations. Author Keywords: Energetics, Fortifications, Late Bronze Age, Monumental Architecture
Critical Analysis of the Adoption of Maize in Southern Ontario and its Spatial, Demographic, and Ecological Signatures
This thesis centers on analyzing the spatial, temporal, and ecological patterns associated with the introduction of maize horticulture into Southern Ontario - contextualized against social and demographic models of agricultural transition. Two separate analyses are undertaken: a regional analysis of the spread of maize across the Northeast using linear regression of radiocarbon data and a standard Wave of Advance model; and a local analysis of village locational trends in Southern Ontario using a landscape ecological framework, environmental data and known village sites. Through the integration of these two spatial and temporal scales of analysis, this research finds strong support for both migration and local development. A third model of competition and coalescence is presented to describe the patterning in the data. Author Keywords: Demographic Modeling, Environmental Modeling, Geostastical Analysis, Maize, Ontario Archaeology, Spread of Agriculture

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