Polish National Science Centre has announced that it will fund three additional projects in the POLONEZ BIS grant competition. Among them is one submitted by Dr. Mari Yamasaki from Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz. It will be the first project carried out at the PCMA UW Research Centre in Cyprus.
Mari Yamasaki is an Ancient Near Eastern archaeologist specialized in the Eastern Mediterranean. Her research focuses on concepts of maritimity and ancient perception of underwater spaces. In 2021 she completed her PhD on the conceptualization of the sea in the Eastern Mediterranean Bronze Age at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, where she also taught courses in Mediterranean and Cypriot archaeology. Her fieldwork includes excavations and surveys in Italy and Cyprus, both on land and underwater.
Her project Underwater Realms. Concepts of underwater spatiality in the ancient Eastern Mediterranean aims to investigate concepts of underwater spaces in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean in the course of the second and first millennium BCE. It will consider the way submarine environments were perceived, both following the direct experience of immersion and through imagination. This will be done by analyzing and interpreting the known accounts of underwater settings. It will thus consider depictions and written testimonies about ancient freedivers, but also the diverse representation of underwater landscapes and animals.
From a methodological standpoint, the project aims at combining archaeological and textual analysis with approaches deriving from the cognitive sciences. This project constitutes a first attempt to understand the perception of the ancient sea from a full, three-dimensional perspective, introducing new depths to our knowledge of the ancient maritime cultures.
The interdisciplinary nature of the project is an excellent fit with the research objectives of the PCMA UW, which carries out innovative international research projects linking archaeology with other fields of science. The management and implementation of such activities is made possible by PCMA Research Centres, including the one in Paphos, Cyprus. The head of this center, Prof. Ewdoksia Papuci-Władyka, is also the supervisor of Dr. Yamasaki’s project. The project will begin in January 2023.
POLONEZ BIS is co-funded by the European Commission and the Polish National Science Centre under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND grant.