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Helen Dawson

Adjunct professor

Department of History and Cultures

Research

Keywords: Comparative Island Archaeology, Networks in Archaeology, Mediterranean Prehistory, Landscape Archaeology, Bioarchaeology

Comparative Island Archaeology: One of my key interests is to understand how people inhabit islands, in the past and present, and on a global scale. From a research design perspective, the study of islands poses interesting theoretical and methodological challenges, since islands offer complex combinations of geographical and cultural spaces, which are not necessarily coinciding.

Identity and sense of place: This aspect of my research explores an island's sense of place and resulting islander identities through a landscape-based approach, which integrates GIS and phenomenology, traditionally separate approaches. The focus is on the smaller islands surrounding Sicily during the Neolithic and Bronze Age.  

Network analysis: I use network analysis to investigate shifting patterns of centrality and marginality during the Mediterranean Bronze Age, focusing on the small island and coastal sites around Sicily. Islands are ideal case studies to reconstruct networks and explore interaction and its mutual effects on communities. 

Bioarchaeology: As part of my interdisciplinary approach to archaeological questions, my research integrates archaeological and bioarchaeological data, specifically stable isotopes and aDNA data, from key island and coastal sites in Sicily, in order to investigate human mobility and cultural interaction during the Bronze Age. 

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