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William Cavanagh

Professor Emeritus of Aegean Archaeology, Faculty of Arts

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Research Summary

My research has focused on three main strands: the archaeology of Laconia, the archaeology of death and mathematical applications in archaeology.

I am, with Steve Hodkinson and Chrysanthi Gallou, a co-director of the international Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies.

Major projects in the past have been the Laconia Survey, the Laconia Rural Sites Project and most recenty the Kouphovouno Project, a major prehistoric site just south of Sparta in the Peloponnese whose excavation has produced important remains from the Middle Neolithic, Late Neolithic, Early Bronze Age and Middle Bronze Age (c. 5800-1700 BC).

Recent Publications

  • CHRISTÈLE BALLUT, JOSETTE RENARD, WILLIAM CAVANAGH and RAPHAËL ORGEOLET, 2017. Pottery firing structures in the Early Mediterranean: micromorphological evidence and archaeological data from Middle Neolithic Kouphovouno (Southern Greece). European Journal of Archaeology. (In Press.)
  • WILLIAM CAVANAGH, CHRISTOPHER MEE and JOSETTE RENARD, 2016. Early Bronze Age Chronology of Mainland Greece: New dates from the Excavations at Kouphovouno Annual of the British School at Athens. 111, 35-49
  • LAGIA, ANNA and CAVANAGH, WILLIAM, 2016. Mortuary Practices in the Middle Bronze Age at Kouphovouno: Vernacular Dimensions of the Mortuary Ritual. In: ANASTASIA DAKOURI-HILD and MICHAEL J BOYD, eds., Staging Death: Funerary Performance, Architecture and Landscape in the Aegean de Gruyter. 207-225 (In Press.)
  • VAIGLOVA, PETRA, BOGAARD, AMY, COLLINS, MATTHEW, CAVANAGH, WILLIAM, MEE, CHRISTOPHER, RENARD, JOSETTE, LAMB, ANGELA, GARDEISEN, ARMELLE and FRASER, REBECCA, 2014. An integrated stable isotope study of plants and animals from Kouphovouno, southern Greece: a new look at Neolithic farming JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE. 42, 201-215

Past Research

Collaborations with colleagues in the School of Mathematical Sciences included work on modelling the structural mechanics of prehistoric corbelled buildings and applications of the Bayesian approach to archaeology.

Future Research

Currently I am concentrating on preparing the Kouphovouno Project for final publication. This will integrate all aspects of the results of the excavations: (i) a stratigraphic sequence for the Neolithic and Early Bronze periods, (ii) domestic architecture, (iii) environmental evidence, (iv) funerary data, (v) ceramic and lithic technologies, (vi) geomorphology and tell formation, (vii) the relationship between surface artefact distribution and subsurface remains.

  • CHRISTÈLE BALLUT, JOSETTE RENARD, WILLIAM CAVANAGH and RAPHAËL ORGEOLET, 2017. Pottery firing structures in the Early Mediterranean: micromorphological evidence and archaeological data from Middle Neolithic Kouphovouno (Southern Greece). European Journal of Archaeology. (In Press.)
  • WILLIAM CAVANAGH, CHRISTOPHER MEE and JOSETTE RENARD, 2016. Early Bronze Age Chronology of Mainland Greece: New dates from the Excavations at Kouphovouno Annual of the British School at Athens. 111, 35-49
  • LAGIA, ANNA and CAVANAGH, WILLIAM, 2016. Mortuary Practices in the Middle Bronze Age at Kouphovouno: Vernacular Dimensions of the Mortuary Ritual. In: ANASTASIA DAKOURI-HILD and MICHAEL J BOYD, eds., Staging Death: Funerary Performance, Architecture and Landscape in the Aegean de Gruyter. 207-225 (In Press.)
  • VAIGLOVA, PETRA, BOGAARD, AMY, COLLINS, MATTHEW, CAVANAGH, WILLIAM, MEE, CHRISTOPHER, RENARD, JOSETTE, LAMB, ANGELA, GARDEISEN, ARMELLE and FRASER, REBECCA, 2014. An integrated stable isotope study of plants and animals from Kouphovouno, southern Greece: a new look at Neolithic farming JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SCIENCE. 42, 201-215
  • MEE, CHRIS, CAVANAGH, BILL and RENARD, JOSETTE, 2014. THE MIDDLE-LATE NEOLITHIC TRANSITION AT KOUPHOVOUNO ANNUAL OF THE BRITISH SCHOOL AT ATHENS. 109, 65-95
  • CAVANAGH, WG, GALLOU, C and GEORGIADIS, M, eds., 2009. Sparta and Laconia from prehistory to pre-modern: proceedings of the conference held in Sparta, organised by the British School at Athens, the University of Nottingham, the 5th Ephoreia of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and the 5th Ephoreia of Byzantine Antiquities 17-20 March 2005 London : British School at Athens.
  • CAVANAGH, WILLIAM, 2009. Settlement Structure in Laconia and Attica at the End of the Archaic Period: The Fractal Dimension AMERICAN JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGY. 113(3), 405-421
  • CAVANAGH, WG, MEE, C and JAMES, P, 2005. The Laconia Rural Sites Project London : British School at Athens.
  • LAZAR, N.A., KADANE, J.B., CHEN, F., CAVANAGH, W.G. and LITTON, C.D., 2004. Corbelled domes in two and three dimensions: the treasury of Atreus International Statistical Review. 72(2), 239-255
  • LAZAR, NA, KADANE, JB, CHEN, F, CAVANAGH, WG and LITTON, CD, 2004. Corbelled domes in two and three dimensions: The treasury of Atreus INTERNATIONAL STATISTICAL REVIEW. 72(2), 239-255
  • CAVANAGH, WG and MEE, C, 1998. A private place: death in prehistoric Greece Sweden : Paul Åströms Förlag.
  • CAVANAGH, WG, ed., 1996. The Laconia survey: continuity and change in a Greek rural landscape London : British School at Athens.
  • BUCK, CE, CAVANAGH, WG and LITTON, CD, 1996. Bayesian approach to interpreting archaeological data Chichester : Wiley.

Department of Archaeology

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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