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Promoting Archaeological Science in the eastern Mediterranean

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Promised (Promoting Archaeological Science in the eastern Mediterranean)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2022-08-31

The application of scientific methods to archaeology is an important and growing field of archaeological research. Traditionally, post-excavation research activities take place in countries with more advanced research traditions, primarily in northern and central Europe, which means that those regions have a much stronger research tradition and experience in Archaeological Science. Thus, the EMME region is a ‘commodity source’ providing archaeological remains for analysis elsewhere, parallel to many highly-educated young scholars seeking qualified positions outside their home region. Reversing these linked trends is of self-evident importance to Cyprus.

The Cyprus Institute aims to develop a centre of excellence in Archaeological Science, and Promised helped improve the research skills and performance of Archaeological Science faculty. Promised meets the Twinning objectives by addressing challenges and deficiencies in research performance, improving research capacity in the wider region. It aims at strengthening research in Archaeological Science through training existing researchers and faculty and to increase the focus of the Graduate School programmes in Archaeological Science. The Archaeological Science research teams at the University of Cambridge and KU Leuven were chosen as recognised leaders.

Now, it is clear that the established collaborations need to remain strong as STARC can still gain further knowledge from the partners. Promised succeeded at strengthening the current PhD programme of CyI via the re-accreditation of the PhD programme to “Science and Technology in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage”.

Promised managed to offer growth in various professional aspects of the CyI as it linked researchers, administrative and technical staff with their counterparts at the partner institutions. Moreover, STARC has established itself as a “mediator” between the West and the East, by bringing together people and Institutions of the EMME and Europe, bridging a long-standing gap. Workshops, the ICAS-EMME conferences and the Summer Schools are only some of the ways this was achieved.

Several dissemination events, activities and books/articles, organised throughout the life-cycle of Promised, targeted the general public and its familiarisation with Archaeology and Archaeological Sciences.
Work within the Promised project took place across all five work packages:
WP1,Management and Coordination, covered regular project meetings, accentuated by periods of increased activity around events like the initial setup, negotiating the Consortium Agreement and Grant Agreement, preparing for the Mid-term Review meeting, and the Final Reporting. Unexpected additional activities arose from the Pandemic and the need to adjust our activities to the constantly changing constraints. Thus, we had to overcome the disruptions and minimize its effects on the project delivery. Fortunately, with the support of the REA Project Officer, a one-year extension was granted for the fulfilment of Promised. For more than two years, we had to adjust our activities following the constantly changing restrictions. Promised addressed also research administration, project management and teaching skills. CyI administrative staff made use of the partners’ expertise in multiple aspects of managing, reporting and coordinating big projects.
The Promised team developed a Data Management Policy for STARC, enshrining the principles of FAIR data and Open Data while balancing them with the justified needs of junior stakeholders for protection of their IPR.

WP2,Research Skills Training, focussed on the updating of the CyI doctoral programme , and the development of a specific Archaeological Science PhD track within the CyI Graduate School. Overall, it intended to overhaul the entire life cycle, from recruitment and admissions through delivery and examination of candidates, of the existing PhD programme ‘Science and Technology in Cultural Heritage’. A significantly revised PhD programme was accredited by the QAACY with a new title of Science and Technology in Archaeology and Cultural Heritage (ACH).

WP3,Towards a Community of Practice, included all training events based on joint activity within the consortium, combining apprenticeship and mentoring.

STARC researchers and CyI administrators arranged visits at the advanced partner institutions to discuss specific tasks, and to establish cooperation and partnership. Several high-level visits from UCAM and KULeuven to CyI took place reciprocated by CyI senior staff. Two people of the CyI professional services staff attended the “European Association of Research Managers and Administrators” (EARMA) conference in May 2022. Two Project Officers and the Scientific Coordinator visited UCAM in July 2022 for matters around management and reporting procedures, and a team of UCAM administrative personnel came for a mentoring visit to CyI. Further mentoring visits involved also research staff from KU Leuven visiting CyI whenever Covid would allow.

Research learning secondments allowed thematic staff exchange. Several CyI researchers spent longer periods at the advanced institutions, including two technical research support staff, one postdoctoral researcher and one faculty member at KULeuven. Four secondments of CyI researchers were also completed at UCAM, three by CyI faculty, and one by a postdoctoral researcher. Another UCAM postdoctoral researcher conducted joint research with CyI faculty and doctoral students.

Proof-of-concept / mini-projects and joint publications. All exchange visits included time and expertise to perform ‘Proof-of-concept’ work on mini-projects, which are already leading to new research expertise at CyI, and to publications in international journals.
The Standard Operating Procedures included generic (Best Lab Practice; Health and Safety) and instrument-specific documents, and are now being implemented and regularly updated at CyI.

The flagship activity of WP4, Sharing Best Practice is the annual Summer School, in 2019, 2021 and 2022. Based on the strong interest, future annual thematic Archaeological Science summer schools will continue.
Three short courses were delivered at the University of Cyprus and the Department of Antiquities. A handbook ‘Archaeological science methods in the field and in the laboratory: what, how, and why’, is currently being edited and translated into Greek and Arabic, and will soon be published online.

WP5, Outreach and Dissemination, was the public-facing work package. Promised communicated science to the general public, and raised awareness on archaeology and its significance for society. Major activities were the annual participation in outreach activities, the organisation of a series of innovative workshops and academic publications.

WP6 - Ethics requirements runs throughout the project’s duration. The project finalised two key documents which were incorporated in the research protocols of the project.
Important legacy elements will continue, such as the ICAS-EMME regional conference, with the proceedings published as Special Issues.

The partners continue their collaboration with an MSCA-ITN ‘as a current joint project, and individual paired grant applications and joint research initiatives.

We are the first Cypriot project to organise archaeological activities for disabled people, and are committed to continue our public outreach activities.
Launch Event, November 2018 2
Launch Event, November 2018 1
Summer School, July 2022
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