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University of Toronto Anthropology 2022 Colloquium Series: Dr. Lisa Maher

University of Toronto Anthropology 2022 Colloquium Series: Dr. Lisa Maher

Fri, Feb 4, 2022 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5)

Register here.

Join us Feb 4th for our second event in the 2022 Colloquium Series! Zoom link available upon registration.

About this event

The past several years has produced convincing evidence for Epipaleolithic (or earlier) occupations of some Mediterranean islands. Yet, conventional wisdom was that most islands were only occupied during the Neolithic or later, and were peripheral to regional cultural developments during prehistory. Cyprus has strong evidence for an Epipaleolithic presence, beginning with the occupation of Akrotiri Aetokremnos at ca. 12,000 B.P., and perhaps earlier, bringing it into the forefront of research on Late Epipalaeolithic hunter-gatherer and Early Neolithic movements and colonization, as well as their associated technological innovations and impacts on shaping newly settled landscapes. Evidence for Epipalaeolithic occupation of Cyprus remains limited, however, with only a handful of sites known and only one chronometrically dated. Here, I highlight discoveries from 2018 and 2019 survey seasons by the Ancient Seafaring Explorers of Cyprus Project (ASEC), which documented several probable Epipaleolithic sites. While the sites are located in a variety of settings, the most promising are situated above cliffs or rockshelters overlooking the Mediterranean. These hunter-gatherers had knowledgeable and nuanced uses of landscapes, as well as technological innovations that allowed them to leave the mainland and explore new regions across the Mediterranean Sea. Through examination of these sites within a larger circum-Mediterranean framework, I address the associated social contexts for innovations that allowed for pre-Neolithic seafaring, exploration and survival in new environments.

I am a prehistoric archaeologist and geoarchaeologist specializing in the prehistory of Southwest Asia. I finished my PhD at the University of Toronto, where I experienced fieldwork in Jordan for the first time and was hooked. After a post-doc and research position at the University of Cambridge, I joined the Anthropology Department at Berkeley as an environmental archaeologist. I am interested in exploring the complex relationships between people and the environment, including the creation and transformation of landscapes. I have been running archaeological projects in Jordan for over twenty years, and I have also worked as a geoarchaeologist in many other countries throughout the world. Recently, I’ve broadened my horizons to explore island archaeology and the arrival of humans in Cyprus and Hawaii.

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