Active Research

Since it opened, the lab has facilitated the independent research of over 150 scholars representing more than a dozen countries. In addition to their own research, Wiener Laboratory fellows and associates often provide education to members of the School and to the local and scientific communities through lectures, independent publications, consultations, and hands-on workshops.


Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory research project partnerships:


Phaleron Archaic/Classical- Period Cemetery analysis

General view of parts of the cemetery showing the variation of burial practices A leader in archaeological scientific research, the Malcolm H. Wiener Laboratory was recently granted permission to study the cemetery at Phaleron (the old port of Athens). The cemetery is being excavated by Dr. Stella Chryssoulaki, Ephor of Piraeus and Western Attica, and is one of the most significant necropoleis in Attica during the Archaic Period. It was used for almost three centuries, from the late 8th to the early 5th century B.C. To date, over 1,500 burials have been recovered, including nearly 400 infant and child inhumations in jars. A team of top bioarchaeologists representing the Wiener Lab and the American School – led by Prof. Jane Buikstra of Arizona State University (a Trustee of the School and a member of the American Academy of Sciences) in collaboration with Dawnie Steadman, Director of the Forensics Laboratory of the University of Tennessee – will undertake managing the study and scientific analysis of the skeletal remains.

The scope and range of the burials are of unparalleled importance for the study of ancient Athens and its port of Phaleron in the Archaic Period. The potential that these burials provide for increasing our understanding of ancient Greek society is significant. Questions concerning ancient diet and disease, as well as social and political processes--such as the death penalty, political reforms, and legislation-- can potentially be answered. These answers could then lead to comparative studies that would eventually have global impact.

For further information you can visit the Phaleron Bioarchaeological Project’s webpage here.


The Megalopolis Palaeoenvironmental Project

Following an ASCSA granted permit and its approval by the Ministry of Culture, a 5 years survey at Megalopolis basin (MEGAPAL), Peloponnese is being undertaken under Wiener Lab director Dr. Panagiotis Karkanas in collaboration with Prof. Katerina Harvati from Tubingen University and Dr. Eleni Panagopoulou from the Ministry of Culture. The aim of the project is to identify early Palaeolithic occupation in Greece. During a previous project a team from the Ephoreia of Palaeoanthropology-Speleology of the Ministry of Culture and the University of Tübingen, that also included several researchers working in the Lab, identified and studied the earliest radiometrically dated site in Greece, a ca. 0.5 million year old elephant butchering site at Megalopolis. The MEGAPAL project will explore target areas for assessing the potential for identifying both younger and older sites. The crucial time period > 500 ka BP, contemporary with the earliest hominin finds in Iberia and the UK, remains undocumented in our region. At the same time the project will provide a palaeoecological and chronological framework which will aid in interpreting the archaeological record of the area.


Current Research Projects (Wiener Laboratory Fellows and Affiliated Researchers):

William Flint Dibble, Zooarchaeology
Wiener Laboratory Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Flint Dibble from the University of Cincinnati is analyzing zooarchaeological material from the Greek settlement of Azoria in East Crete. Flint hopes to reveal foodways at the site by examining ancient patterns in animal husbandry, sacrificial ritual, butchery, feasting, and even the deposition of food refuse. The results from Azoria will help us understand important social processes during the Iron Age on Crete and in Greece, a period of polis formation, urbanism, and historical change.

Rena Veropoulidou, Environmental archaeology (archaeomalacology)
Wiener Laboratory Programmatic Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Rena Veropoulidou (Hellenic Ministry of Culture & Sports) is analyzing archaeomalacological material from ancient Methone, Pieria (8-4th c. BCE). Rena applies an integrated research strategy aiming at exploring patterns of coastal exploitation and at revealing practices of mollusc food consumption. The results will provide for the first time insights into the role of coastal activities from the Early Iron Age to the Classical period in northern Greece and the Aegean, a period of important social and economic developments.

Laura Magno, Geoarchaeology
Ms. Laura Matilde Magno is the current Wiener Laboratory Predoctoral Fellow from Université Catholique de Louvain, analyzing cultural sediments from the Minoan settlement of Sissi (Crete). Through the study of the sediment assemblage, Laura aims to better understand and characterize social and behavioral practices in different spaces through time. The results will contribute to the theoretical debate on cultural sediments as material culture and will clarify the use of space in complex building structures.

Meagan Dennison, Zooarchaeology
Ms. Meagan Dennison (University of Tennessee, Knoxville) is the current Wiener Laboratory Research Associate. Her research focuses on vertebrate faunal remains from Bronze Age and Early Iron Age deposits from the Mitrou archaeological site located in the East Lokris region of Central Greece. Detailed study of the animal remains from Mitrou will aid in understanding the complexities of political expansion and decline during the Bronze Age, particularly how different domestic stock were managed and utilized in different socio-economic settings.

Maria Liston, Human Skeletal Studies
Prof. Maria A. Liston (University of Waterloo, ON), is a Senior Associate Member of the ASCSA working on the Early Christian (5th-7th CE) cemeteries associated with the Sanctuary of Ismenion Apollo, Thebes. The cemeteries are associated with an early hospice or hospital, where large numbers of patients suffering from leprosy sought treatment. In addition there are individuals with cancers, congenital defects, traumatic injuries, and other infectious disease. Two mass graves hold victims of a catastrophic event, possibly plague. Pathogen DNA analysis will help to identify the diseases suffered by these peoples, while stable isotope analysis may identify whether these are local peoples or individuals that traveled to this site seeking healing.

Eleanna Prevedorou, Human Skeletal Studies
Dr. Eleanna Prevedorou is working on the Phaleron Project (See relevant section above, on the Phaleron Bioarchaeological Project). In addition, Dr. Prevedorou continues to expand on her previous bioarchaeological and biogeochemical research on Aegean prehistory, particularly with regard to the Early Bronze Age in Attica. Most recently, she was responsible for the excavation, curation, and analysis of the human burial found in the Ash Altar on Mt. Lykaion.

Calla McNamee, Geoarchaeology and Archaeobotany
Dr. Calla McNamee from University of Calgary Canada, is continuing her research on Starches and Grains. Calla has sampled groundstone artifacts from a number of sites including Mitrou, Tsoungiza, Tiryns, and Pylos, in order to reconstruct staple subsistence practices from the Final Neolithic through the early Iron Age, a period that encompasses the formation and disintegration of Mycenaean State level society.

Ioanna Moutafi, Human Skeletal Studies
Dr. Ioanna Moutafi, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellow in the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge, is Senior Visiting Associate Member of the ASCSA, working on the study of human skeletal remains from various Late Bronze Age sites. Her research interests focus on Aegean Prehistory and Social Bioarchaeology, with special emphasis on the social dimensions of prehistoric mortuary practices. With her current H2020 project, MYcenaean SOcial BIOarchaeology (MYSOBIO): Deciphering the interplay of funerary treatment and social dynamics in the Mycenaean period, she aims to reconstruct, to a new level of detail, development in Mycenaean mortuary practice in the Late Bronze Age Aegean (1700-1050 BC), and unravel the diversity of social responses at death and their mutual relationship with wider socio-political developments. The project integrates up-to-date theoretical reflection in mortuary archaeology with interdisciplinary scientific advances in the study of collective skeletal assemblages.

Paraskevi Tritsaroli, Human Skeletal Studies
Dr. Paraskevi (Voula) Tritsaroli from the National History Museum in Paris is Senior Visiting Associate Member of the ASCSA and works on skeletal assemblages from LBA Arcadia and Byzantine Boeotia. These analyses expand on her previous bioarchaeological research on prehistoric and Byzantine Greece and focus on the contextual investigation of life and death ways of past societies in the Aegean.

Eleni Nodarou, Geoarchaeology and Materials Science
Dr. Eleni Nodarou from INSTAP Study Center for Eastern Crete is participating in various archaeological projects involving analysis of Cretan pottery from the Neolithic to the Byzantine period. Her research focuses on the petrographic analysis of ceramics.