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Dr Laerke Recht

Dr Laerke Recht

Marie Skłodowska-Curie European Fellow in the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
Downing Street
Courtyard Building
Room 1.5

CAMBRIDGE CB2 3ER

Biography:

I gained my BA in Philosophy and Greek & Roman Civilisation at University College Dublin, followed by a PhD in Classics at Trinity College Dublin. My PhD was entitled Sacrifice in the Bronze Age Aegean and Near East: A poststructuralist approach. My postdoctoral studies have taken me to Heidelberg and UCLA, with a focus on the Urkesh Project in Syria. I have done fieldwork in Greece, Cyprus and the Levant, and am currently focussed on the Hala Sultan Tekke expedition in Cyprus.

Research Interests

  • Aegean Archaeology
  • Near Eastern Archaeology
  • Cypriot Archaeology
  • Human-animal relations
  • Theory of Archaeology
  • Archaeology of religion
  • Gender and Archaeology
  • Archaeozoology
  • Ceramics

 

My research focuses on the archaeology of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean. I am particularly interested in the themes of interaction between the ‘cultures’ of the eastern Mediterranean, religion, gender and human-animal relations in the past and our modern interpretations of these. Since my PhD, I have continued to develop the theme of sacrifice, both human and animal (including a forthcoming broader study of human sacrifice in different parts of the world throughout history).

Work on the Urkesh/Tell Mozan Project has allowed me to delve into the material culture of ancient Syria with strong Hurrian components. This has included studies of ceramics, glyptics and figurines, where religion and gender are especially significant. The digital publication of the ceramics from this site is also a large part of my research on this project, and most recently, the opening of the related Critique of Archaeological Reason website – a resource for the theory of archaeology.

In terms of ancient international relations, the island of Cyprus is a melting pot of material culture. My study of the imported Aegean/Mycenaean pottery (in association with Lorenzo Mazzotta) at the site of Hala Sultan Tekke seeks to understand the importance of this class of ceramics at the site in different contexts (settlement, burials, wells), and the Mediterranean-wide implications.

My current Marie Curie project combines my interest in human-animal relations with a lifelong personal engagement with all things equestrian. The Spirited Horse: Human-equid relations in the Bronze Age Near East (TSH) investigates human-animal relations in the ancient Near East, with equids (horses, donkeys and horse-donkey hybrids) as the main focus, and with an understanding of animals as social actors. The data used includes the material culture of the Bronze Age Near East in the form of archaeological contexts with equid remains (burials, sacred space, settlements and other contexts), supplemented by iconography, textual references and finds associated with equids, such as chariots and harnesses. The project explores how humans encounter and interact with other animals, and how those animals in turn interacts with humans, with broader implications for human involvement with their environment, both today and in the past

Key Publications

Recht, L. 2018. ‘Asses were buried with him’: Equids as markers of sacred space in the third and second millennia BC in the Eastern Mediterranean. In Louis Nebelsick et al. (eds.), Sacred space: Contributions to the archaeology of belief, pp. 65-94.

Recht, L. and L. Mozzatta (2015). Mycenaean and Aegean pottery from Hala Sultan Tekke 2013 and 2014. 59-65 in Opuscula 8: 59-65.

Recht, L. (2015). Identifying sacrifice in Bronze Age Near Eastern iconography. N. Laneri (ed). Defining the Sacred: 24-37.

Recht, L. (2015). Symbolic order: Liminality and simulation in human sacrifice in the Bronze Age Aegean and Near East. Journal of Religion and Violence Spring 2015: 403-432.

Recht, L. (2014). Perfume, women and the Underworld in Urkesh: exploring female roles through aromatic substances in the Bronze Age Near East. Journal of Intercultural and Interdisciplinary Archaeology 2014/1: 11-24.

Recht, L. (2014). Transformers Energise! Aegean Bronze Age rhyta in moments of transformation. C. Rowan and A. Bokern (eds). Embodying Value: 35-51.

Recht, L. (2010). Human sacrifice in the ancient Near East. Trinity College Dublin Journal of Postgraduate Research 9: 168-180.