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Shannon Crewson, PhD student

Anthropology graduate awarded the Homer and Dorothy Thompson Fellowship

Shannon Crewson, 2nd year PhD student (archaeology), is the first McMaster Anthropology student to have been awarded the Homer and Dorothy Thompson Fellowship from the Canadian Institute in Greece, enabling her to spend the 2022-23 academic year undertaking her doctoral research in Athens.

Apr 04, 2022

Shannon Crewson, 2nd year PhD student (archaeology), is the first McMaster student to have been awarded the prestigious Homer and Dorothy Thompson Fellowship from the Canadian Institute in Greece, a quadrennial grant dedicated to supporting graduate studies for those who have a clear need to be based in Greece. Having received her BA (Hons) from McMaster in Anthropology and History in 2016, Shannon then completed a Master of Museum Studies at the University of Toronto in 2018, before returning to our department in 2020. A member of Prof. Tristan Carter's Stelida Naxos Archaeological Project since 2015, Shannon melded her archaeological and museological interests as co-curator of an exhibition in 2018 (www.stelida.org), work that is foundational to her doctoral research - The Challenges of Representing Long-Term Histories: A Middle Pleistocene – Anthropocene Case Study at Stelida, Naxos (Greece). Having recently successfully completed her comprehensive exams, Shannon is now fine-tuning her thesis proposal prior to visiting museums of early prehistory in the Dordogne (France) to gain insights as to how one relates the ‘bones and stones’ of Palaeolithic archaeology to non-specialist audiences (a trip funded by a separate France – Canada Research Grant), before rejoining her colleagues on Naxos for a study season from late May – early July. From September however, Shannon gets to swap Hamilton for Athens, with the Homer and Dorothy Thompson Fellowship basing her at the Canadian Institute in Greece for the academic year.

 

The Canadian Institute in Greece, established in 1974, is an educational institution with charitable status recognized by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture in 1976 as one of the official foreign archaeological institutes. All Canada-based students and scholars who undertake archaeological research in Greece work under the auspices of the Canadian Institute, who responsibilities part-involve representing our interests to the Ministry of Culture, as for instance with the Stelida Naxos Archaeological Project, which since 2015 has been an official collaboration with our Greek colleagues from the Cycladic bureau. Aside from taking an intensive course in modern Greek, Shannon will spend her time in Athens engaging with various state and non-governmental heritage organizations to help her develop a vision, and best practice for the new 2024 exhibition (Naxos and Hamilton) that represents the final product of her doctoral research. Shannon will also be a key member of the Canadian Institute community, and through in-house seminars, and those hosted by Athens University, the Archaeological Society, and numerous foreign schools, she will participate with the most dynamic network of Aegean scholars imaginable. Shannon’s time in Athens will also allow for her to undertake background archival, and library-based research on the key themes of her thesis and future exhibit. Stelida is a fascinating site with an unparalleled deep-time history of visitation, and exploitation: a Palaeolithic quarry for stone tool production, a Bronze Age ritual complex, and today a rapidly developing base of hotels and villas. Shannon’s challenge is to develop a more engaging means of relaying this deep-time history than simply producing the traditional period-by-period narrative. Instead, she has devised key themes that serve to interlink the radically different populations (Neanderthal to modern) who have come to Stelida over the past 200,000+ years: resource extraction, communication, seasonal residence, and social gathering, amongst others. Shannon’s time at the Canadian Institute in Greece will provide invaluable insight and inspiration for the development of both her thesis and the Stelida exhibition, not least lasting memories and friendships that will build upon the international relationship between Canada and Greece that the Stelida Naxos Archaeological Project has cultivated since 2013.