Tatiana Theodoropoulou

Tatiana Theodoropoulou

dates de séjour

01/09/2015 - 31/01/2016




Wiener Laboratory for Archaeological Science of the ASCSA

pays d'origine


projet de recherche

Taming the sea: the marine animal world in the everyday life and spirit of aegean societies

The sea as a vast and imposing physical element that constitutes the heart of the Aegean world has triggered various cultural responses towards seascapes through time. Among various interactions with the sea, the exploitation of marine animal resources by people that have lived around the Aegean from prehistoric times onwards has been a constant theme. The aim of this research project is to bring forward the importance of the marine world in the subsistence, economy, art and spirit of ancient Greek communities in a diachronic perspective. The project aims to produce a critical synthesis of all available data on marine animal exploitation in the Aegean offered by different disciplines, including archaeology, zooarchaeology, underwater archaeology, human anthropology, ancient art and philology. Especially, the increasing dataset offered by science-applied archaeology complements thus far available evidence offered by traditional approaches, thus leading to meaningful new ways of integrating sciences and the humanities. The output of this project will be a monograph that re-writes the origins and history of marine animal exploitation in the Aegean in an explicit way in order to appeal both to a range of scholars working in various fields and to the wider public.


Dr. Theodoropoulou returns to the Wiener Laboratory after being the 2010 Faunal Fellow. Her wider research agenda focuses on the relation of human communities with the sea and the exploitation of aquatic resources, namely through the study of marine animal remains from archaeological contexts spanning from the Mesolithic to Late Antiquity and extending all over Greek territory. She is also a research associate in the Unit of Protohistoire Egéenne - Archéologies et Sciences de l’Antiquité (ArScAn), France.

Her post-doctoral project aspires to bridge the gap between prehistoric subsistence strategies and the ancient Greek animal-based economy by shedding light on Early Iron Age everyday activities and subsistence, with a special focus on the man-sea relationship during this crucial period of ancient Greek history.

Dr. Theodoropoulou intends to:

  • Examine the role of the sea in the rising Greek world through a range of case studies that will help reconstruct aspects of social life and economy related to the sea.
  • Place the marine element within the wider picture and provide an overview of human-animal interaction within Early Greek societies.
  • Complete the missing link between prehistoric and classical economies to get a sense of why and how Aegean civilisations have shaped a distinct marine identity from prehistoric times to antiquity.

Research on the presence of marine resources within early Greek societies is directed toward subsistence and economy, as well as the symbolic role of the marine element in the rising Greek world. The core of her project is based on early societies around the Euboean Gulf that formed a thriving culture network during the Early Iron Age. These case studies are complemented by examples from the periphery of this cultural sphere. The wide range of social structures, ranging from traditional settlements and settlement/workshop centers to sanctuary and cemetery sites, may provide a proliferation of cultural responses to the marine environment. The zooarchaeological record will equally draw evidence from other study fields that may shed light on the social aspects of the human-sea relationship. Dr. Theodoropoulou is utilizing the lab’s shell and fish bone reference collections, x-ray unit, and its specialized library.

In addition to her post-doctoral research, Dr. Theodoropoulou is working to enhance the laboratory’s zooarchaeological facilities and has used the wet lab to prepare modern freshwater species to add to its reference collections. She is also committed to furthering fruitful interactions between classics and science-based archaeology and advancing interdisciplinary studies of marine zooarchaeology by outlining future directions for marine zooarchaeology-oriented studies and ancient economy studies as a whole, and by suggesting ways for greater integration of faunal studies, classics, and archaeology.