Dr Maria Duggan, the BSA’s first British Academy PD Fellow
Maria Duggan has just joined the Fitch Laboratory team to undertake research on a project entitled ‘Tintagel: Trans-European Connections in the Post-Roman World’. Maria is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Newcastle University and the BSA. For her current project Maria builds on and extends her PhD research (M. Duggan, Links to Late Antiquity. Ceramic exchange and contacts on the Atlantic Seaboard in the 5th to 7th centuries AD. Oxford, UK: BAR Publishing, 2018), aiming to understand links between Britain and Europe in the 5th to 7th centuries AD – specifically the nature of connections between Britain, the Atlantic Seaboard and the East Mediterranean. The project is mentored by Prof. Sam Turner at Newcastle.
Tintagel is a spectacular coastal site in Cornwall, managed by English Heritage on behalf of the Duchy of Cornwall. It is arguably most famous for its association with the mythological King Arthur, but in the 5th to 6th centuries AD it was an important stronghold for the rulers of this area, who acquired exotic commodities, such as wine and olive-oil, through networks of long-distance exchange. A large and significant assemblage of imported Mediterranean pottery – including in particular Aegean transport amphorae and fine tableware – has been recovered from Tintagel over the past century, and more recently in the TCARP excavations of 2016-2017, conducted by Cornwall Archaeological Unit under the direction of Jacky Nowakowski. Most of the pottery is held at the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro, which, alongside English Heritage, has generously supported the project in allowing access to material for assessment and sampling. In her 3-year project Maria will study the entire Late Antique imported pottery assemblage from Tintagel to establish the volume and variety of material, and aims to determine the range of Mediterranean sources.
Maria will spend a full year at the Fitch Laboratory studying the sampled Tintagel material using both thin-section petrography and wavelength dispersive x-ray fluorescence. Dr Evangelia Kiriatzi, director of the Fitch Laboratory, is Maria’s mentor on the project, and travelled to Truro in November 2018 to guide the sampling process. She will work closely with Maria to characterise and identify the pottery, using the Fitch’s accumulated expertise and extensive reference collection. This is an exciting collaboration for all partners and marks the first British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship collaboration for the BSA. We look forward to the results of this project and plan to share more information on the Fitch blog in the near future.