Kate Harrell

Belgian American Educational Foundation Post-doctoral Research Fellow

AEGIS Researcher

PhD Title

01-Jan-10 Mycenaean Ways of War: The Past, Politics and Personhood.

Research project title: ”Picking Up the Pieces: Understanding ‘Ritually Killed’ Objects in Their Social Context in the Prehistoric Aegean and Cyprus”

Research project overview: How does intentionally inflicting damage on grave goods mediate the human experience of life and death in the prehistoric eastern Mediterranean? For all of the diversity in cultural practice in the civilisations of Cyprus, Crete, mainland Greece and the Cycladic islands from 3000-800 BC (Early Bronze-Early Iron Age), archaeologists consider the custom of ritually killing objects as a normative, if inconsistent practice. Nevertheless, there is insufficient contemporary investigation of why this tradition is performed time and again by various eastern Mediterranean cultures, in large part because the label “ritually killed” is accepted as if it were a sufficient explanation for the practice. In order to address this oversight, the “Picking Up the Pieces” (PUP) research programme intends to apply a multidisciplinary approach, including archaeological, physical, chemical, and anthropological methodologies, to a widespread activity that draws on the deep reservoir of a shared humanistic impulse to physical destroy objects, through which metaphorical allusion has the power to negotiate social relationships and define worldview.