Anaya Sarpaki

I studied archaeology at the University of Edinburgh where I received my M.A. Honours and wrote a dissertation on “Anthropomorphic Figurines of Neolithic Greece (except for Thessaly and Crete)”. In 1978 I went on to study Prehistory and Environmental Archaeology at the University of Sheffield where I received an M.A. and wrote a thesis on “The Study of Prehistoric Demography”. My interest in archaeobotany was awakened then and I proceeded to a PhD “The Palaeoethnobotany of the West House, Akrotiri, Thera: a case study” which I received in 1988.
Since, and even before receiving my PhD, I have worked on several sites coordinating the collection of Environmental data, processing these through water flotation and training, on the field, both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Between 1991 to 1996 I taught Prehistoric and Environmental Archaeology at the Department of History and Archaeology, University of Crete at Rethymno. From 1996-1999 I was housed at the Institute of Mediterranean Studies at Rethymno, where there was a campaign to organize a department of Environmental Archaeology. The plan did not come to fruition.

My interest is centred on the everyday life in archaeology and my tool is archaeobotany. Some of my interests are ancient agriculture, storage, crop processing activities and in general, the interaction of humans to plants from every angle, be it food, use of space for cooking and crop storage, use of plants for all sorts of technologies such as insect repellents, basketry, textiles, dyes, and so forth. My interest in foods has also been apparent as I am continuously identifying organic remains which resemble processed vegetal matter. In order to better understand these archaeological assemblages, I have undertaken some work in the present day usage of plants in Crete together with a biologist/botanist colleague. These ethnobotanical pursuits will, I hope, open up new ways of interpreting some archaeobotanical assemblages.