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Carter Tristan, Associate Professor | Undergraduate Chair

photo of Tristan Carter

Tristan Carter

Associate Professor | Undergraduate Chair

Department of Anthropology

Area(s) of Interest:


Research & Supervisory Interests

Regionally I have two main research foci: (1) Eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern prehistory, spanning the Epi-Palaeolithic to Late Bronze Age, i.e. hunter-gatherer to state-level societies, (2) The British Neolithic.

Materially, my research usually employs stone tool studies as a means of engaging with a range of major disciplinary debates.

Analytically I work in the McMaster Archaeological XRF Lab [MAX Lab] to elementally characterize archaeological and related materials (, with a particular focus on obsidian sourcing studies.

Thematically I work on (a) Neolithisation, (b) the Eurasian dispersal of hominins and early Homo sapiens, (c) Aegean prehistory within its larger Eastern Mediterranean context, (d) mapping ‘communities of practice’ via obsidian sourcing studies, (e) the archaeology of social gathering spaces.

Current projects: (i) I am co-director of the Stelida Naxos Archaeological Project [SNAP] an early prehistoric chert source and later Bronze Age ritual site in the Cyclades (, (ii) I am director of the Freston Archaeological Research Mission [FARM] a large Early Neolithic monument in the East of England, (iii) I am a long-term publishing member of projects in Crete (Knossos, Malia, Mochlos inter alia), and the Cyclades (Keros), (iv) I am collaborating with various scholars for the sourcing of obsidian assemblages from Israel, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Turkey.

I enjoy long-term research collaborations with the Université Michel Montaigne 3, France.


Dr. Carter might accept graduate students for entry into the program in September 2020, but will be away that academic year on sabbatical so this may not be the best situation for you. In general he is interested in hearing from potential applicants at both the Masters and PhD level.

He has ongoing field projects in Greece (Lower Palaeolithic – Late Bronze Age) and England (Early Neolithic) within which he hopes to create space for graduate research (material culture, thematic, geo-spatial, regional oriented projects).

In general he is interested in supervising projects from Eastern Mediterranean / SW Asian prehistory, lithics, elemental characterization studies, all of which he tends to approach from a social-cultural perspective.

Please get in touch with a basic outline of the type of research you would like to undertake for a thesis project.


PhD Institute of Archaeology (UCL), 1999


Search course offerings in Anthropology


Courses (2018-19)


  • ANTHROP 2HH3 - Engineering, Mining And Technology: Archaeological Perspectives


  • ANTHROP 4KK3 - Archaeology of Neanderthals And Other Early Humans
  • ANTHROP 733 - Archaeology of Identity


Courses (2017-18)


  • ANTHROP 2WA3 - World Archaeology


  • ANTHROP 2PC3 - Archaeology and Popular Culture
  • ANTHROP 3LA3 - Lithics Analysis



Publications (Recent Selection) *peer reviewed

*2018  (Carter, T., Strasser, T., Panagopoulou, E., Campeau, K. and Mihailović, D.D.), ‘Obsidian circulation in the Early Holocene Aegean: A Case Study from Mesolithic Damnoni (SW Crete)’, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 17: 173-183.

*2018 Suda, Y., Grebennikov, A., Kuzmin, Y.V., Glascock, M.D., Wada, K., Ferguson, J.,R., Kim, J.C., Popov, V.K., Rasskazov, S.V., Yasnigina, T.A., Saito, N. Takehara, H., Carter, T., Kasztovszky, Z., Biro, K.T., and Ono, A.), ‘Inter-laboratory validation of the WDXRF, EDXRF, ICP–MS, NAA and PGAA analytical techniques and geochemical characterisation of obsidian sources in northeast Hokkaido Island, Japan’, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 17: 379-392.

*2017 ‘Nothing to see here! The challenges of public archaeology at Palaeolithic Stélida, Naxos’, Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 5(3-4): 311-333.

*2017 (Carter, T., Batist, Z, Campeau, K., Garfinkel, Y., and Streit, K.), ‘Investigating Pottery Neolithic socio-economic “regression” in the Southern Levant: Characterizing obsidian consumption at Sha‘ar Hagolan (N. Israel)’, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 15: 305-317.

*2017 (Skarpelis, N., Carter, T., Contreras, D.A., and Mihailović, D.D.), ‘Petrography and geochemistry of the siliceous rocks at Stélida, a chert source and early prehistoric stone tool manufacturing site on northwest Naxos, Greece’, Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 12: 819-833.

*2016  Obsidian consumption in the Late Pleistocene - Early Holocene Aegean: Contextualising new data from Mesolithic Crete’, Annual of the British School at Athens 111: 1-22.

*2016 (Carter, T., Contreras, D., Campeau, K., and Freund, K.), ‘Spherulites and aspiring elites: The identification, distribution, and consumption of Giali obsidian (Dodecanese, Greece)’, Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 29.1: 3-36.

*2016 (Carter, T., Mihailović, D.D., Papadatos, Y., and Sofianou, C.), ‘The Cretan Mesolithic in context: New data from Livari Skiadi (SE Crete)’, Documenta Praehistorica XLIII: 87-101.

*2016 (Carter, T., Contreras, D.A., Doyle, S., Mihailović, D.D., and Skarpelis, N.), ‘Early Holocene interaction in the Aegean Islands: Mesolithic chert exploitation at Stélida (Naxos, Greece) in context’, in M. Ghilardi (ed.), Géoarchéologie des Îles de Méditerranée. CNRS éditions, Paris: 275-286.

*2015 (Carter, T., Haddow, S., Russell, N., Bogaard, A., and Tsoraki, C.), ‘Laying the foundations: Creating households at Neolithic Çatalhöyük’, in I. Hodder and A. Marciniak (eds.), Assembling Çatalhöyük. EAA Monograph Series - Themes in Contemporary Archaeology I: 97-110.

2014a (Carter, T. Contreras, D.A., Doyle, S., Mihailović, D.D. Moutsiou, T. and Skarpelis, N.) ‘The Stélida Naxos Archaeological Project: New data on the Mesolithic and Middle Palaeolithic Cyclades’, Antiquity Project Gallery 88 (341)

2014b ‘The contribution of obsidian characterization studies to early prehistoric archaeology’, in M. Yamada and A. Ono (eds.), Lithic Raw Material Exploitation and Circulation in Prehistory: A Comparative Perspective in Diverse Palaeoenvironemnts. ÉRAUL 138, Liège: 23-33.

*2013a (Carter, T. Grant, S., Kartal, M., Coşkun, A. and Ozkaya , V.), ‘Networks and Neolithisation: Sourcing obsidian from Körtik Tepe (SE Anatolia)’, Journal of Archaeological Science 40(1); 556-569.

*2013b (Carter, T. and Milić, M.), ‘The consumption at Neolithic Ҫatalhöyük: A long-term perspective’, in F. Borrell, J.J. Ibáñez & M.M. Molist (eds), Stone Tools in Transition: From Hunter-Gatherers to Farming Societies in the Near East. Proceedings of the 7thPPN Stone Tools Workshop, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Press, Barcelona: 495-508.

2013c ‘The chipped stone’, in J –P. Poursat (ed.), Fouilles Exécutées à Malia Le Quartier Mu V. Vie Quotidienne et Techniques au Minoen Moyen II. Etudes Crétoises 34, École Française d’Athènes, Athens: 5-42.

*2013d (Carter, T. and Milić, M.), ‘The chipped stone’, in Hodder (ed.), Substantive Technologies at Ҫatalhöyük: Reports from the 2000-08 Seasons. Ҫatalhöyük Research Project  Series Volume 9, BIAA Monograph 48, Monumneta Archaeologica 31. British Institute at Ankara, London; Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press, Los Angeles: 417-478.   

*2013e  (Carter, T. and Milić, M.), ‘The chipped stone industry from Dhaskalio’, in C. Renfrew, O. Philaniotou, N. Brodie, G. Gavalas and M.J. Boyd (eds.), The Settlement at Dhaskalio. The Sanctuary at Keros and the Origins of Aegean Ritual, Volume I. McDonald Institute for Archaeology, Cambridge: 531-556.

*2013f  (Orange, M., Carter, T. and LeBouronnec, F.-X.), ‘Sourcing obsidian from Tell Aswad and Qdeir 1 (Syria) by SEM-EDS and EDXRF: Methodological implications’, CR Palevol 12: 173-180.

*2012a (Carter, T. and Contreras, D.), ‘The character and use of the Soros Hill obsidian source, Antiparos (Greece)’, CR Palevol, 11: 595-602.

2012b (Stemp, W.J., Helmke, C.G.B., Awe, J.J., Carter, T. and Grant, S.), ‘A green obsidian eccentric from Actun Uayazba Kab, Belize’ Association for Mexican Cave Studies Bulletin 23(9): 111-124 (116-117).

*2011a  ‘A true gift of mother earth: the use and significance of obsidian at Ҫatalhöyük’, Anatolian Studies 61: 1-19.

*2011b (Carter, T. Le Bordonnec, F. –X., Kartal, M., Poupeau, G., Calligaro, T. and Moretto, P.), ‘Marginal perspectives: Sourcing obsidian from the Öküzini Cave (SW Turkey)’, Paléorient 37.2: 123-149.