Dr. Helen Dawson

Helen Dawson studied prehistoric archaeology at the University of Cambridge and the Institute of Archaeology (UCL). Her current research builds on her PhD, which was a comparative study of prehistoric colonisation and abandonment processes in the Mediterranean islands. This work covered the whole Mediterranean, from the Balearics to Cyprus, and chronologically spanned a period of over 10,000 years, from the earliest visits to the islands to the establishment of complex societies. Helen’s monograph based on this research was published in January 2014 by Left Coast Press, as part of its UCL Institute of Archaeology Series. Helen joined Topoi’s junior research group Identities with a Marie Curie – COFUND fellowship (2013-15). Her project focused on understanding “sense of place” and community identity within Sicily’s minor islands during the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Helen adopted a landscape-based approach, which integrated GIS analysis and phenomenology, identifying significant patterns in the setting and location of settlements, burial and ritual areas in relation to features of the landscape, which could be invested with symbolic meaning. The study highlighted issues of space-related identity, liminality, physical vs. symbolic boundaries, as well as connections between places. Her current project, “Central or Marginal? Networks of Interaction in the Central Mediterranean Bronze Age”, is funded by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung (2015-17). It entails a network analysis of coastal and island communities of southern Italy and Sicily during the Bronze Age. The study aims to trace changing connections at the local, regional, and Mediterranean scale and to reassess perceived ideas of centrality and marginality in the Bronze Age central Mediterranean.

Activities