Recent Senior Theses

  • Sacred Shields: The Material, Religious, and Cultural Significance of Persian Ashkelon's Egyptianizing Amulets
    Sarah Elizabeth McCully
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    This thesis will explore an assemblage of Egyptianizing amulets excavated from the Persian period of Ashkelon, an archaeological site in southern Israel. Ultimately, it will aim to illustrate the way in which these amulets are used in Ashkelon as part of a religious tradition. It examines these amulets within their domestic archaeological contexts and compares those findings with the distribution of Egyptian deities and symbols represented by the amulets. Finally, it examines parallel sites in Egypt, Tel Dor, Beirut, and Maresha in order to establish patterns of usage of these amulets between Ashkelon and the larger Mediterranean.

  • A Deviation in the Deccan Tracing Social Practice in the Buddhist Monasteries of Maharashtra
    Samuel Harry Ingbar
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    This thesis works to encourage increased collaboration between historians and archeologists on material histories. To this end, looks at the social development of a number of rock cut early Buddhist cave temples in Maharashtra using a methodology known as space syntax analysis. By reading the architectural remains of the cave temples as a text, the author uncovers that the currently accepted narrative of early Buddhist monasticism overlooks a key deviation from normal practice in the Western Deccan. Shedding light on the social changes going on there creates room to reinterpret other source material, both challenging and fleshing out existing notions in the history and in the archeology of the topic.

  • Grave Concerns: Agency Theory and Post-Burial Manipulation of the Corpse
    Marina Francis Rothberg
    Wed, 18 May 2016

    This thesis aims to contribute to an agentive and comparative framework for future archaeologists to study burials in which the corpse appears to have been disturbed after initial deposition. The first case study is based on archaeological sites Winnall II from Anglo-Saxon England and Bogøvej from Viking Denmark, both of which demonstrate apotropaic burials; burials that involve post-depositional rites intended to thwart the malevolent power of the corpse. The second case study is from Tikal, a Maya site from Guatemala, and involves an aristocratic corpse being exhumed and used in a reburial ritual designed to enforce a political alliance. The third case study examines instances of grave robbing in ancient Egypt. Grounded in textual and archeological evidence, I will look at two elite New Kingdom tombs that have been ransacked and looted. In examining what the dominant structures are that determine burial treatment, the normative conception of the fate of the dead and/or of the corpse, and whether the instance of manipulation of the corpse reinforces or subverts these structures, one can determine whether or not the corpse was indeed “violated”.

  • The Material Culture and Culture of Medicine in 19th Century Middletown, Connecticut
    Amy Rose Cao
    Thu, 06 Aug 2015

    This historical archaeology thesis investigates the nature of pharmacy in 19th century Middletown, Connecticut by drawing upon materials excavated from the Beman Triangle, a historical site related to a 19th century free-African American planned community. Archaeological investigations at one of the residential properties on the Triangle revealed hundreds of glassware fragments related to chemistry activity and pharmaceutical production, including both prescription and proprietary medicine bottles, tubes, pipettes, flasks, syringes, etc. This study utilizes archival materials in the form of city directories, censuses, property records, and historical newspaper advertisements to investigate healthcare practices and perceptions in Middletown in the late 19th century in order to better understand the social and cultural context of the archaeological materials.

  • What is for Lunch? A Thin Section Optical Mineralogy Study of Cooking Vessel Fabric during the Hellenistic Period at Ashkelon, Israel.
    Emily Rosa Shames
    Thu, 06 Aug 2015

    Tel Ashkelon, located off of the southern coast of modern day Israel, was a major port city during the Hellenistic Period, ranging from ca 350 B.C.- ca 68 B.C. Determining how Hellenized, and whether such changes resulted from Greek trade or Greek migration, strengthens the current understanding of the city. Cooking vessels, created to satisfy the participants of the local economic market, act as a proxy to document the cooking culture at the time. The casserole form originates in Greece in the early 5th century B.C. and appears in local fabric at Ashkelon in the early 3rd century B.C. onwards. This study analyzes 30 sherds with thin section optical mineralogy to determine locality of cooking vessel fabric ranging from the early to late Hellenistic. Samples analysis yielded 5 distinct fabric groups. Groups 1-4 represent varying local fabrics surrounding Ashkelon. Boundaries extend north just past Ashdod, east to the start of the Shephelah, south to Gaza, and west through Ashkelon to the coast. Group 5 represents the non-local imported fabric as a point of comparison of foreign vessels. All cooking pots and casseroles come from groups 1- 4. The inundation of Greek settlers at Ashkelon in the late Hellenistic elicited the entry of the new casserole form into local fabrics, which the Ashkelon inhabitants adopted into their cooking culture though the rest of the Hellenistic Period. The acceptance of casseroles in local cook culture facilitates the post processual idea that pottery as active as it contributed to the Hellenization of the city.

  • Experiments in Cuir Bouilli: Practical Trials of Medieval Leathercraft
    Samuel James Levin
    Fri, 04 Jul 2014

    This thesis pursues an experimental investigation of cuir bouilli, a particular form of hardened leather used as armor in medieval Europe. In this exploration, I have produced a sample group of 30 distinct varieties of cuir bouilli. These samples represent the most commonly theorized and scientifically grounded production methods of this historic medium. Using a series of armor specific tests, broadly encapsulating the abuse of arrow fire, blunt force trauma, and slashing, I have measured the performance of each cuir bouilli sample. The data gathered from these tests can be used to infer physical properties about each sample, revealing the essential effects of each hardening method. Moreover, these tests indicate how cuir bouilli might have functioned in actual armor use. They demonstrate strengths and weaknesses of each variety, offering reasons for their eventual abandonment in certain contexts and the roles they might have continued to play in others.

  • Fight Like a Man or be Hang'd Like a Dog: Gender, Class, and Material Culture During the Golden Age of Piracy
    Sarah Jeanne Chrystler
    Mon, 03 Jun 2013
  • Hellenistic or Roman? A Case Study of a Mosaic in Tel Dor, Israel, in its Regional Context
    Andrea Erica Ruiz-Lopez
    Mon, 03 Jun 2013
  • Interpreting Votives, Interpreting Women: The Acropolis Korai and the Social Implications of their Dedication
    Catherine Antonia Goodrich Steidl
    Thu, 02 Jun 2011
  • Toward a "Full Biography of Obsidian": Studies of Obsidian Use and Exchange in the Maya Area
    Laura Ellen Heath
    Thu, 02 Jun 2011
  • The Menelaion: A Local Study of a Panhellenic Phenomenon
    Thea Sabrina De Armond
    Wed, 27 May 2009
  • Controlling History; Framing the Debate on Ownership of the Past
    Cori Rebecca Phillips
    Mon, 30 Jun 2008
  • Seeds of Knowledge: Palaeoethnobotany in the Classical World
    Jordana Halley Wolf
    Mon, 30 Jun 2008
  • Trial by Fire: a Comparison of Provincial Cremations within the Roman Empire and the Implications for Cultural Analysis
    Anna Colleen Kelley
    Mon, 30 Jun 2008
  • Fossiles Directeurs: Recent French Approaches to the Study of Medieval Ceramics
    Annalisa Grier Bolin
    Mon, 30 Jun 2008