People in Motion: Tracing Human Mobility Across the Mediterranean in the Byzantine Era

People in Motion was a three-year project funded by the Research & Innovation Foundation in the context of the Excellence hubs call (EXCELLENCE/1216/0023). Its aim was to explore human mobility across the Mediterranean during the Early and Middle Byzantine period. The project was completed in May 2022, resulting in 10 publications, 3 online databases, 4 open access best practice guides and 2 outreach books. Additional important outcomes are still pending so keep an eye on this website!

Human mobility has played a key role in the formation of the multi-ethic Byzantine state and People in Motion was the first project to systematically explore the scale, nature, and impact that migration had on those who relocated and on the local communities in the lands they inhabited based on the most direct evidence of these individuals, human skeletal remains. To this end, the project focused on material from Tunisia, Morocco, Italy, Greece and Cyprus and it has been materialised in close collaboration with colleagues from the Cypriot Department of Antiquities, University College London, Ephorate of Antiquities of Messene, Ephorate of Antiquities at Rethymno, University of York, and University of Cape Town. Human mobility was explored using a combination of macroscopic (dental morphology), microanalytical (dental calculus microdebris analysis of indigenous and imported plant species and minerals), and biochemical (strontium isotope analysis) methods.

Given the recent waves of migrants across Europe and the worldwide trend towards closing borders, this project is expected to increase public awareness regarding the antiquity of migration and its role in shaping modern identities.

Mediterranean web