University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Maritime Networks in the Mycenaean World

Thomas F. Tartaron, Fellow Spotlight

Senior Fellow Thomas F. Tartaron is presented with the Wiseman Book Award for the best archaeological book of the year from the Archaeological Institute of America at the 2016 joint annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America and the Society for Classical Studies in San Francisco, California. He receives the award for Maritime Networks in the Mycenaean World, published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.

In Maritime Networks in the Mycenaean World, Professor Tartaron reassesses the Late Bronze Age maritime world of the Mycenaean Greeks. Many studies have focused attention on Mycenaean long-distance maritime trade, and in comparison little has been written about local and regional networks and exploitation of the sea in the Aegean. Professor Tartaron proposes that “coastscapes” and “small worlds,” provide a more representative depiction of the Mycenaean relation with the sea. He uses archaeological, geoarchaeological, and anthropological methodologies in combination with ancient texts and network theory, assembling the means to recover small worlds with their associated communities. He then tests his proposed framework using several case studies. In doing so, Professor Tartaron builds a theoretical and methodological framework for the study of Late Bronze Age Aegean seafaring and maritime networks.

Jason W. Earle writes in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review: "With this book, Tartaron has begun to blaze a new trail for Aegean archaeologists. If others are encouraged to think about Mycenaean short- and medium-range maritime networks in terms of 'coastal worlds,' and to pursue systematic and integrated archaeological and geological research agendas along the lines Tartaron puts forward, I believe there is great potential to significantly enrich our understanding of the maritime world of the Mycenaeans."

Professor Tartaron was appointed as a Kolb Senior Fellow in 2013. In the past he has also been a Colburn Fellow and Fulbright Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. At Penn, he is an Associate Professor of Classical Studies and Chair of the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World Graduate Group. He is also a Consulting Scholar in the Mediterranean Section at the Penn Museum. He has participated in numerous excavations and regional surveys abroad in Greece, Iraq, and Albania, as well as in the United States. He currently co-directs with Daniel J. Pullen the Saronic Harbors Archaeological Research Project, supported by the National Science Foundation along with other private foundations. His work there has brought to light a Mycenaean harbor settlement thought to have been a main port on the Aegean Sea. Professor Tartaron has numerous publications including his previous book, Bronze Age Landscape and Society in Southern Epirus, Greece (2004), and articles on Greek prehistory and archaeological method and theory in edited volumes and in journals such as Antiquity, Hesperia and the Journal of Archaeological Research. This year at the AIA/SCS meetings in addition to receiving the Wiseman book award, he collaborated on a number of papers representing his current research.

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