Meet the team: Postdocs

Dr. Cătălin Popa

Catalin_PictureCătălin is a postdoctoral researcher in archaeology. He graduated from Babeș-Bolyai University in 2008 and obtained his MPhil and PhD from the University of Cambridge. Between 2014 and May 2016 he was a Dahlem Research School fellow in the TOPOI Excellence Cluster, Freie Universität Berlin.

Cătălin has a great interest in the identity puzzle, both prehistoric and contemporary. As part of his PhD research, he investigated large group identity in the Late Iron Age of Europe. Additionally, he has looked at the relationship between archaeology and nationalism, as well as the role of archaeology in the construction of contemporary regional and national identities.

Another of Cătălin’s interests lies in the area of computer applications in archaeology. He has developed a highly flexible algorithm for investigating prehistoric identity and created landscape models that consider humans’ sensorial capabilities.

In the Economies of Destruction project, Cătălin’s role is to develop a GIS model that can help us understand why particular places were chosen by Bronze Age people for depositional practices. What did prehistoric people perceive at these places? What elements of their landscape did they find significant when making their choices?


Dr. David Schoch

david - kopie.jpgDavid is a postdoctoral researcher in computer science at the Department of Computer & Information Science, University of Konstanz (Germany). He is specialized in network science and his main interest is developing methods to analyze (social) networks as well as general data scientific tasks. David graduated in business mathematics in 2012 at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) and finished his PhD at the Chair of Algorithmics, University of Konstanz in November 2015.

His work in the project will focus on the network analytic part.
He will jointly analyze individual results in order to uncover regional dependencies and similarities of the deposition of metal.


Dr. Marieke Doorenbosch

SONY DSCMarieke is a postdoctoral researcher in archaeo- and palaeobotany. She is specialized in palynology and her main interest is to reconstruct landscapes based on pollen analyses. As a PhD student she was involved in the Ancestral Mounds project, for which she reconstructed the barrow landscape on the Pleistocene soils of the central and southern Netherlands.

In the Bronze Age prestigious objects were not deposited in cult places or temples, but in unmarked natural zones. However, there must have been certain characteristics of the physical landscape by which such a location could be recognised (aide-mémoire). To get a better understanding of why specific locations were selected for deposition, GIS models will be developed (by Catalin Popa) to reconstruct the depositional landscape and to determine which combination of landscape features best explain the location of metal depositions. Vegetation might have played an important role and therefore Marieke will model the vegetation in the areas where sufficient ecological data are available, to include vegetation in the GIS models.

Besides Economies of Destruction, Marieke is involved in the NWO project “The Avellino Event: cultural and demographic effects of the great Bronze Age eruption of Mount Vesuvius”.


Dr. Maikel Kuijpers

Photo_KuijpersMHGMaikel is assistant professor in European Prehistory at the Faculty of Archaeology. His main research topics are Bronze Age metallurgy, material culture, craftsmanship, and skill. He graduated from Leiden University in 2008 after which a PhD adventure at the University of Cambridge (UK) followed. Maikel returned at Leiden University in 2014.

His research aims to uncover the role of the craftsperson in depositional practices. To what extent do skill and quality play a role in the selection of objects for depositions? Is there a specific production recipe followed for those objects meant for deposition? And if so, how should we understand production of objects with an idea of destruction in mind?

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