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Joanne Elizabeth Cutler (1962-2018)

last modified Jan 31, 2018 09:35 PM
Staff, students, friends and colleagues will be saddened to hear of the death of Joanne Cutler on 24 January.

Jo was a leading scholar in the field of Aegean prehistory and in particular an expert in the technology and economy of Aegean textiles, the subject of her UCL PhD, over 30 articles and an imminent landmark book (Oxbow Books 2018).

Joanne Cutler

Jo began her journey in Archaeology as a mature student, but in a relatively short time, she had an extremely successful career.  She earned two BA degrees concurrently, completing a BA in Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology at UCL in 2005 and a BA in Humanities with Classical Studies with the Open University in 2006, all whilst also working on her MA.

She was awarded First Class Honours for both BA degrees and received the John Stephen Kassman national prize from the Open University for the best essay on a Classical subject. In 2006, Jo completed her MA in Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East at UCL funded by the AHRC and immediately embarked on a PhD, also supported by the AHRC.

In 2011, she defended her PhD thesis in Archaeology, entitled Crafting Minoanisation: Textiles, Crafts Production and Social Dynamics in the Bronze Age Southern Aegean. After being awarded her doctorate, she received several research fellowships: in 2012 a Michael Ventris Award by the Institute for Aegean Prehistory, and in 2013 a Marie Curie Intra-European Postdoctoral Fellowship through the Gerda Henkel Stiftung, during which she was based at the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre for Textile Research, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Joanne joined the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research in July 2015 as an ERC Research Associate on the project Production and Consumption: Textile Economy and Urbanisation in Mediterranean Europe 1000-500 BCE (PROCON), where she made an outstanding contribution until her illness overtook her. 

Jo spent years travelling around different sites in the Aegean, recording and analysing archaeological materials, particularly textile tools and pottery. She was a specialist on numerous international archaeological projects across the Aegean, including: Knossos, Myrtos Pyrgos, Sissi, Mochlos, Gournia, Galatas, Pediada, Petras, Skinias, Ayia Irinia, Phylakopi and Miletus.

One of her favourite places was Knossos, where she worked every summer between 2005 and 2016, both for her own research on weaving tools from the many excavations, and also to contribute to all aspects of the Knossos Urban Landscape Project, where she led field teams and developed her expertise in Neopalatial pottery.

Work on the PROCON project expanded Jo’s work chronologically into the first millennium BC, and geographically into Italy and Spain. During the course of 2015-2016 she recorded and analysed thousands of textile tools across the northern Mediterranean – completion of this monumental task will have a profound impact in the fields of textile studies and Mediterranean archaeology.

“Jo was an enormously talented, dedicated and determined academic, a tremendous team player during fieldwork and study seasons, and above all a person of immense generosity, loyalty and enthusiasm for life. She will always remain in the warm memory of many of us,” said Professor Cyprian Broodbank.

Jo will be sorely missed and our thoughts go out to her family at this difficult time.

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