Aimée Little Marie Curie project outline

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Aimée Little’s PhD thesis Tasks, Temporalities and Textures: Reconstructing the Social Topography of an Irish Mesolithic Lakescape was completed at the UCD Humanities Institute of Ireland under the supervision of Dr Graeme Warren, UCD School of Archaeology. She is currently employed as a Research Archaeologist, working on an excavation publication project in UCD School of Archaeology.  For her two-year Marie Curie Fellowship Aimée will build on her PhD by undertaking scientific microscopic techniques of use-wear (microwear) and residue analysis at the Laboratory for Artefact Studies, Leiden University, the Netherlands, under the mentorship of Professor Annelou Van Gijn.

The aim of the project, entitled Hunter-Gatherer Toolkits and Tasks: Detecting Microwear Traces and Residues on Northwestern European Mesolithic Artefacts, is to research wetland activity patterns in Mesolithic Northwest Europe through investigating traditions of tool technology, function and ideology.

The focus is on relevant Irish sites with comparative data drawn from a number of important British and Dutch sites in wetland landscapes of European significance, all with exceptional preservation of organic materials. Microscopic use-wear and residue analysis will be carried out on a range of stone, bone and antler objects as the basis for discussions on key aspects of hunter-gatherer daily life in wetland environments. In this way it is possible to reconstruct toolkits used for different tasks, including those that are archaeologically ‘invisible’ like plant-based craft activities or ornament making. Such analysis also provides empirical grounds for the reconstruction of the cultural biography of stone and organic tools. This can shed light on the social and cultural significance of material culture for hunter-gatherer communities, by revealing the social interactions between people, tools, and materials at various temporal and spatial scales.

The fellowship will culminate in a monograph based on a workshop involving several European institutions associated with the Fellowship in Ireland, Britain, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. Peer-reviewed articles detailing research outcomes will also appear in a number of international archaeological journals.