Brami, Maxime Nicolas

Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland

Research Topic: Revisiting the 'Pompeii premise' in archaeology using Anatolian Neolithic data

Dr. Brami received his PhD from the University of Liverpool in 2014. As an ANAMED fellow he is revisiting on the 'Pompeii premise' in archaeology, the false assumption, often implicit in the literature, that the archaeological record is a snapshot of a once-living community, 'frozen' at a specific point in time. As M. Schiffer and others have demonstrated, this is very unlikely to be the case, even at sites which have fallen victim to a catastrophe, such as Pompeii. For instance, Pompeiians have been found to have retrieved some of their valuables before losing their homes to the volcano. The challenge confronting archaeologists thence is how to infer everyday life and past human behaviours based on a 'distorted' archaeological record. Yet a range of techniques used at Barçın Höyük and other Neolithic sites in Anatolia, for instance micro-stratigraphy and analysis of the spatial distribution of micro-artefacts, has become available to identify activities in space. The focus of this collaboration with R. Özbal and the Barçın Höyük team will be to revisit the 'Pompeii premise' in light of these results. Do these techniques provide enough of an insight to reconstruct activity areas and finally move beyond the Pompeii premise?