Exploring Neolithic-Bronze Age lakeshore settlements


Prof Amy Bogaard and Dr Michael Charles join a new interdisciplinary project funded by 6.4 million Euro ERC Synergy grant (2019-2024) exploring prehistoric farming societies in south-east Europe. 

The project explores Neolithic-Bronze Age lakeshore settlements in the ‘lake district’ of northern Greece and the southern Balkans, through collaboration between the University of Oxford, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the University of Bern. This major ERC-funded project will build up a high-resolution picture of prehistoric farming through the Neolithic and Bronze Age, inspired by world-leading lakeshore settlement research in the Alpine region. Bioarchaeological reconstruction of farming and herding practices will be framed by new dendrochronological dating of ‘pile fields’ (waterlogged vertical timbers driven into the lakebed to support pile-dwellings) to reconstruct settlement histories, and high-precision palaeoecological work based on coring of lake sediments.

Amy Bogaard, who specialises in early farming ecology, is one of four PIs on the project, joining dendrochronologist Albert Hafner (Bern), biologist Willy Tinner (Bern) and archaeologist Kostas Kotsakis (Thessaloniki). Oxford’s focus in the project is the bioarchaeology, featuring extensive archaeobotanical work led by senior scientist Michael Charles together with Amy Bogaard.

The project’s website will provide news and updates as the work develops.

Images of the Neolithic lakeshore settlement of Dispilio on Lake Kastoria – one of the case studies in the project – give a sense of the setting and finds from the remarkable sites under investigation (images kindly provided by Kostas Kotsakis).