Institute of Prehistory, Early History and Medieval Archaeology


11.11.2020 - Ada Dinckal

Take it with a grain of salt; Micromorphology and Diagenesis at the site of Diepkloof Rock Shelter, South Africa

Abstract: Two conflicting Luminesce chronologies have been developed for the Howieson’s Poort bearing Middle Stone Age sequence at Diepkloof. This has led to considerable controversy within the understanding of the HPs place within the MSA chronological. One hypothesis for this difference argues that estimates of Potassium at DRS are resulting in the conflicting dates. This thesis provides the first extensive look at the diagenetic and micromorphology variations occurring across large lateral extents of the DRS archaeological sequence. A primary aim of this thesis is to develop an understanding as to what is happening with Potassium bearing minerals at DRS and how this may change over large lateral sequences. A secondary aim of this thesis is to provide a contextual framework for the diagenetic and micromorphological analysis occurring at the site by using Photogrammetric models. Along with the first detailed photogrammetric sequence of the DRS Long Trench profile, this study also provides the first known use of photogrammetry to georectify large scale loose sample collection used in this analysis. 

25.11.2020 - Eirini Koutouvaki

09.12.2020 - Enrique Fernández-Palacios

16.12.2020 - Sinem Hacıosmanoglu

13.01.2021 - Beatrice Boese

Title: A window into the past. Mortars of the so-called Ginnasio (Solunto, Sicily) as a key-element for a better understanding of ancient building techniques and the chronological development of a Hellenistic-Roman city


This contribution focuses on ancient building materials, particularly mortars, plasters and related materials. These are part of the Tuebingen Mortar Project, which aims to clarify the provenance of raw material and dating as well as the development of building techniques. It is based on a case study of plaster samples taken from the so-called Ginnasio in the Hellenistic-Roman city of Solunto (Sicily), which was dated to the mid-3rd or late 2nd century BCE. 

According to literary sources Solunto was founded by the Phoenicians in the 8th century BCE, destroyed in the early 4th and rebuilt in the late 4th century BCE by Carthaginian mercenaries on the top of Monte Catalfano. From an archaeological point of view this literary tradition was accepted over a long period, even though there is no stratigraphic data for such an early dating. More recently, the city has been dated to the late 2nd century BCE because the evidence of any Carthaginian remains whatsoever was questioned, which means that the city was rebuilt by the Romans after the so-called romanisation of Sicily. But here again, stratigraphic data are missing. 

To get a better understanding of both the building technique and chronology of the so-called Ginnasio an integrated archaeometric approach including petrography, X-ray micro-diffraction (μ-XRD2), but also radiocarbon dating has been applied to the plaster of this building. Using this combined approach, different building techniques can be identified and linked to various functions and chronological phases. The mineralogical investigation also sheds light on the use of raw materials, which shows the different and interconnected strategies of selecting and processing of local resources, as well as the use of recycled pottery and mortars for pavements. Overall this work makes a significant contribution to the understanding of ancient architecture with the use of archaeometric techniques.

27.01.2021 - Dobereiner Chala-Aldana

10.02.2021 - Baptiste Solard

24.02.2021 - Maxime Rageot / Stephen Buckley