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Research results

Lecture by Karin M. Frei at NationalmuseumTHESP - First Year Report

The project THESP started in January 2016. The three project members began at different times, and it was after the summer 2016 that we were fully operational.


Heartfelt congratulations to project member Karin M. Frei, who became the first female Professor of the National Museum of Denmark on Tuesday, 22 November, 2016. Read more: http://www.carlsbergfondet.dk/da/Nyheder/Nyt-fra-fondet/Nyheder/KarinMargaritaFrei_Professor

Samples: collection and analyses

‘Environmental’ samples have been collected both in Italy and Hungary. All samples from the Hungarian site have been processed and we now have the data needed to be able to work with a solid strontium isotope baseline/isoscape for this area during spring 2017. The environmental samples from the Italian site have also been partially processed and will be completed at the start of 2017.
The collection of animal samples of sheep teeth was completed for the Hungarian case study during summer 2016, and will be completed for the Italian site by January 2017. The Hungarian samples have already been processed, and the rest will be analysed in the course of 2017.

Project presentations

The Danube The first public presentation of the aims and methods of THESP took place in May at a research seminar for the Department of Historical Studies of the University of Gothenburg (18/05/2016).

At the 22nd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeology (31/08-4/09/2016), Vilnius, Lithuania, we presented a talk on the main ideas and the modus operandi of the project in the session Tradition and Innovation in Textile Technology in Bronze Age Europe and the Mediterranean (http://eaavilnius2016.lt/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/30.pdf). The session has been video-recorded and can be see at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gn0SiAa-rgU&feature=youtu.be.

The year 2016 ended with the presentation of a paper outlining the main aims of the THESP project at the conference 4º Peroni Day, Il Fenomeno Protourbano: Origini, Sviluppo, e Differenti Percorsi. Incontro di Studi in Memoria di Renato Peroni (19-20/12/2016), in Rome, Italy (http://www.iipp.it/19-20-dicembre-2016-4-peroni-day/).

Organised events

THESP project members have been variously involved in the organisation of:

- one lecture held by Dr Luise Ørsted Brandt (Copenhagen University) on Sheep Wool Development and Species Identification Investigated by the Analysis of Ancient DNA and Proteins. Wednesday, 2 March 2016, at the Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg.

- a meeting (11/10/2016) to discuss sheep and aDNA which was followed by an open international seminar on Ancient European Genomics: New Research and Results, Gothenburg with the following papers:

  • Emma Svensson (Uppsala University): Migration and Mobility in Western Sweden during the Late Neolithic
  • Kristian Kristiansen (University of Gothenburg): Re-theorizing Mobility and the Formation of Culture and Language among the Corded Ware Cultures in Europe
  • Daniel Bradley (Trinity College Dublin): Ancient European Genome Dynamics, Views from the Margins

Figure captions:

Karin M. Frei giving her inaugural presentation at the National Museum of Denmark, 22 22 November 2016

The Danube (May 2016), while collecting environmental samples for the Hungarian baseline

Photo: Sophie Bergerbrant

THESP - Second Year Report

Samples collection and analyses 2017

New ‘Environmental’ samples have been collected both in Italy and Hungary to provide the best coverage possible. Additionally, the collection of sheep teeth samples was completed for the Hungarian case study during summer 2016, and for the Italian site during summer 2017. All of the animal samples that were collected have been analysed and for their strontium isotopic compositions and the yielded data is ready to be interpreted.

The strontium isotope baseline/isoscape samples for both the Hungarian and the Italian case studies have been analysed and the task of interpreting the data and writing them up is underway.

Started external collaboration

Samples for aDNA analysis in collaboration with Daniel Bradley, Trinity College Dublin have been collected from the Százhalombatta site. This collaboration is a direct result of last year’s aDNA workshop. The samples are currently being run.


A regular part of our work has focused on the organization of an international workshop that will take place at the end of February 2018. The primary aim of the workshop is to gather a variety of colleagues and experts from relevant fields to discuss the results of our analyses in order to establish a solid basis for our forthcoming interpretations.

Project presentations

We presented and discussed the first-year results of our project at the Bronze Age Group meeting of the Department of Historical Studies in Gothenburg, in February.

A project member participated in the workshop Engendering prehistoric domestic space in Százhalombatta, Hungary on 15 July 2017.

The project and some preliminary results were presented at the conference Interaction: Local Consumption and Assimilation of Foreign Goods in the European Bronze Age, held at the “Alexandru Ştefulescu” Museum of Gorj County in Târgu Jiu (Romania), 4-7 October 2017.


We have written a number of publications some which have been submitted, others are just about to be submitted. Work on the book volume Weaving the Patterns (see Publications) is in its final stages.

Awards and Prizes

In 2017 both Serena Sabatini and Sophie Bergerbrant were awarded the title of Associate Professor in Archaeology, at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Interview with Serena Sabatini, only in Swedish: https://historiskastudier.gu.se/Aktuellt/Nyheter/fulltext/ny-docent-tar-storre-grepp-kring-bronsaldern.cid1438306

Interview with Sophie Bergerbrant, only in Swedish: https://historiskastudier.gu.se/Aktuellt/Nyheter/fulltext/hon-ser-pa-bronsaldern-genom-genusglasogon.cid1467262

Karin Margarita Frei was elected life-member of the Danish Royal Academy of Sciences and Letters: http://www.royalacademy.dk/da/Om-selskabet/Medlemmer/Nye-medlemmer-2017 (only in Danish)

Karin Margarita Frei was awarded with the Danish ‘Dansk Magisterforening Research Award 2017’ for her cross-disciplinary research in archaeology: https://www.magisterbladet.dk/news/2017/september/dmsforskningspriseridentitetsforskning (only in Danish)

Karin Margarita Frei was also awarded the international ‘Shanghai Archaeology Forum Research Award’ for her research work related to her research project Tales of Bronze Age women: http://www.kaogu.cn/en/International_exchange/Academic_activities___/2017/1211/60355.html

Photo: Sheep tooth from Százhalombatta, showing were enamel samples for strontium isotope analyses were taken. We called this type of sampling in one single sheep tooth for multiple sampling. Photo: Karin M. Frei

Third Year Report

Samples: collection and analyses

We have collected a number of new samples from both case study areas in order to supplement the earlier samples. This includes the collection and analysis of enamel from sheep teeth from additional sites located in the Benta valley, with the aim of comparing the management of sheep at Százhalombatta-Földovár and the surrounding settlements inside the valley. Samples from Montale’s earliest phases have also been collected in order to identify possible differences during these periods. A final material study of textile tools found at the tell Százhalombatta-Földovár has also been conducted.

External collaborations
Collaborative work with Professor Daniel Bradley, Trinity College Dublin continues, and results from the aDNA samples are expected soon. We also established a new partnership with Dr Gabriella Kulcsár and Dr Viktória Kiss at the Institute of Archaeology, Hungarian Academy of Science; this relates to work on the samples from the Benta valley. We also worked with Jacopo De Grossi Mazzorin, University of Salento, in a new collaboration that will lead to the development of comparative studies with other sites from the Garda region in northern Italy.


THESP organized an international workshop that took place in February 2018. The primary aim of the workshop was to discuss the project’s preliminary results with our collaborators, and so experts in relevant fields were specially invited to attend. The workshop was extremely productive and successful in a variety of ways, including providing the opportunity to meet colleagues working on intersecting areas of research and to establish the new collaborations with Gabriella Kulcsár, Viktória Kiss, and Jacopo De Grossi Mazzorin mentioned above.

Project presentations
THESP international workshop, 26-27 February 2018, Gothenburg University. The project and its preliminary results were presented by all project members.

ARTEFACTA International Conference, 1-3 March 2018, House of Science and Letters Helsinki. Keynote lecture: Reconstructing biographies by strontium isotope analyses, Finland.

24th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA), 5-8 September 2018, Barcelona, Spain. Paper: Community of practice as a tool for understanding technological changes and transformations: weaving in Bronze Age Po plain.

AIAZ (Associazione Italiana di Archeozoologia) 9th national conference, 28-30 November 2018, Ravenna, Italy. Poster: Bronze Age wool economy at Montale (MO, Italy): production, husbandry and society.

Academic teaching
Since 2017, THESP research results have been regularly presented to students at Gothenburg University at a number of lectures within regular academic courses at both first- and second-cycle courses.

Science outreach
During 2018 the project members have maintained a focus on outreach and actively disseminating research results to the public in Gothenburg, through:
- International Science Festival Gothenburg’s general programme
- International Science Festival Gothenburg’s school programme
- Visiting a primary school
- Open lectures at Museum of Antiquities Gothenburg (text in Swedish only)
- Lecture at the Swedish-Italian society in Gothenburg, Sweden (text in Swedish only)


We have worked on a number of publications in 2018, some already submitted and others currently in preparation for submission to scientific journals (see ‘Publications’ above for those already in print).

Photo: One of the reconstructed Middle Bronze Age houses at the Archaeological Park and Open-Air Museum Terramara Montale, Modena. Photo: Serena Sabatini.

Presentation of the Bronze Age settlement in the Benta Valley at the workshop 26th of February 2018 by Viktória Kiss. Photo: Gabriella Kulcsár. 

Page Manager: Katarina Tullia von Sydow|Last update: 2/22/2019

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