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Student Fulbright Winner Studies Pottery in Cyprus

UC student and Fulbright winner William Weir is digging deep into history to study prehistoric pottery.

Date: 6/20/2013
By: Allison Luntz
Other Contact: M.B. Reilly
Other Contact Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided by William Weir
University of Cincinnati doctoral student in classics and Fulbright recipient William Weir is currently studying the people and the pottery they once used in Cyprus.
UC student Fulbright recipient William Weir at an early Bronze Age site in Cyprus.
UC student Fulbright recipient William Weir at an early Bronze Age site in Cyprus.

And while Weir, 33, of Albany, N.Y., has traveled to, studied and helped with digs at the UC project site of Episkopi Bamboula in Cyprus for several years now, his own dissertation research in the region is now funded by his Fulbright grant, the United States Student Grant for Cyprus.

Weir, of UC's McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, chose to study this particular time period (Bronze Age) for his Fulbright and dissertation because it is, “far more interesting because we do not have written records yet and people could be living in a way entirely different from our own.”

In his work, he is focusing on pottery because “a vessel’s fabric, shape and decoration can provide clues about how, when, where, why and by whom it was intended to be used. This is a great indicator of social practices, the mental and bodily routines of everyday life.”

Before starting on his Fulbright project, Weir had contributed to UC excavations in the area studying its Bronze Age life and culture, which spanned BC 4500-1100. He explained, “I was asked to be the field director of a house excavation because of my experience in the region and my local connections to the village that we live and work in.”
Most recently, Weir has spent nine summers in the Kouris River Valley in Cyprus. He explained that the Kouris River Valley “has seen a great amount of archaeological interest and is one of the best to be used as a microcosm of Cypriot society. There are settlements and cemeteries from each period I study, so, I can see how pottery is used in these different social contexts. Not every region has the same kind of evidence.”

Weir will next leave Cyprus in mid-June to go to Greece to work on a UC project at Pylos with UC's Classics Professor Jack Davis and Classics Senior Research Associate Shari Stocker. Weir will return to Cyprus after working in Greece and will then remain in Cyprus until at least the end of June 2014.

With the help of his UC adviser, Classics Assistant Professor Eleni Hatzaki, he hopes to become a university professor. He wants to “hopefully give the next generation of students the love I have for the past and how it can teach us about ourselves.”