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Dr. Tristan Carter

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Tristan Carter

Associate Professor, McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 23910

Research Interests

My research focus is Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern prehistory, covering the Aegean, Anatolia, Levant, and Mesopotamia spanning the Epi-Palaeolithic to Late Bronze Age, i.e. hunter-gatherer to state-level societies.

Through studying obsidian tools I aim to map common cultural traditions across space and time (as represented by common raw material and technological choices) following the belief that such practices both reflected and part-constituted peoples’ ways of life. In reconstructing these ‘communities of practice’ we can reveal the networks of interaction which facilitated the movement of new practices and ideas.

I specifically aim to document the connections that enabled the spread of agriculture and the subsequent emergence of chiefly and state-level societies in Anatolia and the Aegean. I also use the approach to reconstruct the supra-regional connections of the ‘world’s first temple complex’ at Göbekli Tepe in south-eastern Anatolia.

Raw material sourcing is undertaken at the McMaster Archaeological XRF Lab (MAX Lab), Canada’s first dedicated archaeological characterization facility, using energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (EDXRF), a non-destructive method of elemental characterization. Current studies involve the analysis of artefacts from Anatolia (Boncuklu, Çatalhöyük, Göbekli Tepe, Hassankeyf Höyük and Körtik Tepe), Israel (Marj Rabba, Tel Tsaf), Iraq (Tell Nader), Iran (Yanik Tepe), Jordan (el Hemmeh, Wisad Pools), Syria (Abu Hureyra) and more recently Belize (Buenavista del Caya, Minanha).

My supervision interests include: lithic technology of the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and more recently Mesoamerica; archaeology and popular culture; archaeometry; the archaeology of death; the archaeology of production and exchange; island societies; landscape survey; the politics of archaeology; state level societies; the archaeology of the body.

The major field projects that I am involved with are the Neolithic sites of Çatalhöyük and Göbekli Tepe (Anatolia), and the ‘Minoan’ settlements of Malia and Mochlos (Crete), and my own project of an early prehistoric / hunter-gatherer site at Stélida on Naxos.

I enjoy long-term research collaborations with scholars based at the Université Bordeaux III,  Van University, Kiel University, Stanford University and NCRS Demokritos, Athens.