Desiccated botanical remains from ancient Karanis. Photos by Laura Motta.

Laura Motta (PI) and Richard Redding (co-PI) have received a prestigious Excellence of Science (EoS) grant to study the one-of-a-kind collection of archaeological plant and animal remains from the Graeco-Roman site of Karanis. The project, "AGROS: Agriculture, Diet and Nutrition in Greco-Roman Egypt: Reassessing Ancient Sustenance, Food Processing and Malnutrition," was awarded €3.7 million and was submitted by a consortium of five universities lead by Vrije Universiteit Brussel. By integrating the contributions of several disciplines—archaeobotany, zooarchaeology, microbiology of ancient and experimentally recreated foodstuffs, trace element analysis, isotope analysis, biochemistry of traditional preparation and preservation methods, experimental archaeology, ethnographic work, textual evidence, epigraphy and paleography, and artistic evidence—the multinational team aims to challenge the main assumptions underlying the current historical and archaeological paradigms of ancient diet and nutrition.

This is a unique opportunity and an important step in the study of Karanis legacy collections with state-of-the-art methods and an interdisciplinary approach. The project has been funded for four years (2022-2026) and will support postdocs and graduate/undergraduate RAs.

Congratulations, Laura and Richard!