Shifting identities, social change and cultural interaction in the southern Greek mainland, 2000-1500 BC


The aim of this project is to interpret the important social, political and cultural developments that took place in the southern Greek mainland during the Middle Helladic period and the transition to the Late Helladic (2000-1500 BC). Its central question, the redefinition of personal, ethnic and cultural identities within wider processes of socio-political change, is the most debated question in current theoretical debates in archaeology.
The task will be undertaken by means of an analysis of settlement, funerary, skeletal and iconographic data from the Argolid, a region in the northeastern Peloponnese. This is already a very well documented area – but the recent or imminent publication of important Middle Helladic findings makes a synthesis of the material even more imperative.
The project will employ both established archaeological techniques (contextual and statistical analysis of settlement and funerary data; analysis of skeletal remains for age/sex determination and dietary variation; radiocarbon analysis of animal and human bones for absolute dating) as well as highly innovative methods such as DNA analysis (for the determination of age/sex as well as the genetic affiliation of populations, i.e. biological kinship and ethnic divisions). The project team has been granted access to important material, has ensured the full collaboration of excavators in the area, and has set up a network of collaboration with leading authorities all around the world.
The project group consists of Dr. Sofia Voutsaki (project leader), Prof. Dr. P.A.J Attema (liaison with Groningen Institue of Archaeology), a specialist in radiocarbon analysis, a human bones specialist, an AIO and a student assistant. The research output will consist of one monograph, one doctoral thesis and several articles. The data and any preliminary results will be made available through a website. An International Round Table on the Middle Helladic period will be held, and the Proceedings will be published.


Book or monography

  • A. Philippa-Touchais, G. Touchais, S Voutsaki, J. Wright(2010): MESOHELLADIKA: The Greek Mainland in the Middle Bronze Age. pp. 1100
  • A. Ingvarsson-Sundström(2010): Children lost and found. Asine III. Fasc. 2. Supplementary studies on the Swedish excavations 1922-1930. ActaAth-4o, 45:2. pp. 156 , Stockholm

Chapter in book

  • S Voutsaki, E. Cline(2010): Oxford Handbook for Aegean Archaeology pp. 598-613-
  • E. Cline, S Voutsaki(2010): Oxford Handbook for Aegean Archaeology. pp. 99-112-
  • A. Dakouri-Hild, S. Sherratt, S Voutsaki(2010): AUTOCHTHON: Papers presented to Oliver Dickinson at the occasion of his retirement. pp. 134-143-

Scientific article

  • S Voutsaki(2004): The Argolid, 2000-1500 BC: A new project based at the GIA. Palaeo-aktueel pp. 89-91-
  • E. Milka, S. Kouidou, S. Triantaphyllou, L. Kovatsi, S Voutsaki(2004): Lerna, 2000 - 1500 BC: a pilot analysis of funerary, skeletal and bio-molecular data. Pharos pp. 75-80-
  • S Voutsaki(2005): Age and gender in the southern Greek mainland, 2000 - 1500 BC. Ethnographisch-Archäologische Zeitung pp. 339-363-
  • S. Triantaphyllou, S Voutsaki, E. Milka(2005): Project on the Middle Helladic Argolid: a report on the 2004 season. Pharos pp. 31-40-
  • S Voutsaki, G. Touchais, S. Triantaphyllou, A. Philippa-Touchais, M.P. Richards(2006): Stable isotope analysis of human bone from Middle Helladic Aspis. Bulletin de Correspondance Héllenique pp. 627-637-
  • S. Triantaphyllou, A.J. Nijboer, A. Ingvarsson-Sundström, L. Kovatsi, S. Kouidou, S Voutsaki, E. Milka, D. Nikou(2006): Triantaphyllou, S., Ingvarsson-Sundström, A., Kouidou-Andreou, S., Kovatsi, L., Nijboer, A.J., Nikou, D. and Milka, E. Project on the Middle Helladic Argolid: a report on the 2005 season. Pharos pp. 93-117-
  • E. Milka, L. Kouidou, S. Triantaphyllou, K. Sarri, M.P. Richards, S Voutsaki, A.J. Nijboer, S. Kouidou, D. Nikou, A. Ingvarsson-Sundström(2007): Project on the Middle Helladic Argolid: a report on the 2006 season. Pharos pp. 59-99-
  • S Voutsaki(2008): Greek archaeology: theoretical developments over the last 40 years. Tijdschrift voor Mediterrane Archeologie pp. 21-28-
  • S Voutsaki, A. Philippa-Touchais, A.J. Nijboer, G. Touchais(2008): Radiocarbon analysis of Middle Helladic burials from Aspis, Argos. Bulletin de Correspondance Héllenique pp. 613-625-
  • S Voutsaki, M.P. Richards, S. Triantaphyllou, C. Zerner(2008): Isotopic dietary reconstruction of humans from MBA Lerna, Argolid, Greece. Journal of Archaeological Science. Journal of Archaeological Science pp. 33028-3034-
  • S Voutsaki, A. Ingvarsson-Sundström, M.P. Richards(2009): Stable isotope analysis of the Middle Helladic population from two cemeteries at Asine: Barbouna and the East Cemetery. Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry pp. 1-14-
  • S. Triantaphyllou, O. Dickinson, S Voutsaki, K. Sarri, E. Milka(2009): The Argos 'Tumuli' Project: A report on the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Pharos pp. 153-192-
  • S Voutsaki, M.P. Richards, A. Ingvarsson-Sundström(2009): Project on the Middle Helladic Argolid: a report on the 2007 season. Pharos pp. 137-152-
  • S. Kouidou, L. Kovatsi, S Voutsaki, D. Nikou, S.N. Njau(2009): DNA repair enables sex identification in genetic material from human teeth. Hippokratia pp. 165-168-
  • S. Triantaphyllou(2010): Unfolding Life Histories in the Argive Plain in the Middle Helladic Period. Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies
  • S Voutsaki, A.J. Nijboer, S Dietz(2010): Radiocarbon analysis and the history of the East Cemetery, Asine. Opuscula. Annual of the Swedish Institutes in Athens and Rome pp. 31-52-
  • S Voutsaki(2010): Agency and personhood at the onset of the Mycenaean period. Archaeological Dialogues pp. 65-92-


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. dr. S. Voutsaki

Affiliated with

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Groninger Instituut voor Archeologie

Team members

Prof. dr. S. Voutsaki


15/03/2003 to 07/10/2010