Photographer: Anneke Dekker

dr. C.D. (Caroline) Jeffra

  • Faculty of Humanities
    Capaciteitsgroep Archeologie
  • Visiting address
    Turfdraagsterpad 9  
  • Postal address:
    Turfdraagsterpad  9
    1012 XT  Amsterdam

About Me

I am a Postdoctoral Researcher in Archaeology at UvA, working the VIDI project Tracing the potter’s wheel: investigating technological transmission and cultural encounters in the Bronze Age Aegean (2016-2021). Prior to this appointment, I was a Fyssen Postdoctoral Fellow, working with Dr. Valentine Roux at CNRS UMR 7055 Préhistoire et Technologie located at Université Paris Ouest.

I earned my PhD in 2011 from the University of Exeter for the thesis entitled The Archaeological Study of Innovation: An Experimental Approach to the Pottery Wheel in Bronze Age Crete and Cyprus. I also have an MA (with Distinction) in Experimental Archaeology from the University of Exeter and a BA in Sociology/Anthropology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.


Research Interests

My dual specialties of ceramic analysis and experimental archaeology allow me to tackle issues relating to the nature of craft production in prehistory, technological change through time, and the ways that technology and craft can inform us about the social lives of past peoples. I have applied my methods to a range of chronological periods and contexts including Bronze Age Crete and Cyprus, the pre-contact Great Plains in the USA, and Neolithic Kazakhstan. I also have made contributions to integrating experimental archaeology with other approaches to the study of material culture.  


Current Research

Tracing the potter's wheel: investigating technological trajectories and cultural encounters in the Bronze Age Aegean

VIDI project (NWO)

This project will shed new light on the trajectories of technological innovations within the ancient Aegean, and offer alternative perspectives on how the humanities can address human-object-technology interactions within complex societies. The aim of the project is to assess the appearance of the potter’s wheel as a technological innovation within two distinct chronological horizons of the Bronze Age Aegean. This approach uses the potter’s wheel as prism through which to investigate the transmission of craft knowledge during these two periods and the configuration of Aegean potting communities through time. A key project objective is to better understand the multi-scalar material, technological and social interactions that facilitated the transmission of the potter’s wheel in this region. My role within the project includes extensive use of experimental archaeology to pinpoint diachronic changes in the chaînes opératoires of pottery production, particularly those changes related to the pottery wheel. 


  • Jeffra, C. D. (2015). Experimental approaches to archaeological ceramics: unifying disparate methodologies with the chaîne opératoire. Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 7(1), 141-149. DOI: 10.1007/s12520-014-0177-4 
  • Jeffra, C. D. (2015). Experimenting wheel-coiling methods. The Arkeotek Journal.
  • Roux, V., & Jeffra, C. D. (2015). The Spreading of the Potter's Wheel in the Ancient Mediterranean: A Social Context-Dependent Phenomenon. In W. Gauss, G. Klebinder-Gauss, & C. von Rüden (Eds.), The Transmission of Technical Knowledge in the Production of Ancient Mediterranean Pottery: Proceedings of the International Conference at the Austrian Archaeological Institute at Athens 23rd-25th November 2012 (pp. 165-182). (Sonderschriften Band; Vol. 54). Wein: Österreichisches Archäologisches Institut.


  • Jeffra, C. (2013). A re-examination of early wheel potting in Crete. Annual of the British School at Athens, 108, 31-49. DOI: 10.1017/S0068245413000038 
  • Jeffra, C. D., & Karr, L. (2013). Ceramic Production at Initial Middle Missouri Plains Villages: A Case Study of Method and Theory. Plains Anthropologist, 58(225), 45-63.


  • Jeffra, C. (2008). Hair and potters: An experimental look at temper. World Archeology, 40(1), 151-161. DOI: 10.1080/00438240801889431 


  • Opgenhaffen, L., Jeffra, C. D., & Hilditch, J. R. (2018). Power to the people: 3D archives for exploring ancient ceramic technology. Paper presented at Centre for Digital Heritage meeting 2018, Lund, Sweden.


  • Jeffra, C. D. (2017). This is not the method you’re looking for: experimental archaeology for ‘Tracing the Potter’s Wheel’. Paper presented at Dutch Ceramics and Glass Research Network Meeting, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • Jeffra, C. D. (2017). The integration of crafting spaces: a perspective from the Bronze Age Aegean. Paper presented at European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) 23rd Annual Meeting, Maastricht, Netherlands.
  • Jeffra, C. D. (2017). The intersection of experimental archaeology and the chaîne opératoire approach in ceramic study. Paper presented at Experimental Archaeology Conference, Leiden, Netherlands.
  • Jeffra, C. D. (2017). Exploring Pottery Production through Experimental Archaeology and Macroscopic Analysis. Paper presented at Dutch Ceramics and Glass Research Network Meeting, Leiden, Netherlands.


  • Jeffra, C. D. (2011). An Examination of Emic Possibilities: Experimental Archaeology and Cypriot Ceramic Typology. In S. Scarcella (Ed.), Archaeological Ceramics: A Review of Current Research (pp. 103). Oxford: Archeopress.

  • Hilditch, J. R., & Jeffra, C. D. (2018). As the world turns: technological approaches to assessing ceramic production within and beyond the palaces in the LB Aegean. Paper presented at 19th International Congress of Classical Archaeology, Cologne/Bonn, Germany.


  • Jeffra, C. (participant) (22-5-2018 - 26-5-2018). 19th International Congress of Classical Archaeology, Cologne/Bonn, Germany (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Jeffra, C. (organiser), Donner, N. (organiser), Revello Lami, M. (organiser) & Ernst, M. (organiser) (20-11-2017 - 24-11-2017). Ceramic Technology Workshop, Leiden, Netherlands. Dr. Sebastien Mánem CNRS, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, and Université Paris Nanterre, the Faculty of Archaeology (Leiden University) and the (…) (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Hilditch, J. R. (participant), Jeffra, C. D. (participant) & Opgenhaffen, L. (participant) (31-8-2017). European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) 23rd Annual Meeting:, Maastricht, Netherlands. Tracing the potter’s wheel - 3D techniques for visualising, analysing and interpreting technological innovation in the Bronze Age Aegean Advances in (…) (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Jeffra, C. (participant) (20-4-2017 - 22-4-2017). Experimental Archaeology Conference, Leiden, Netherlands (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Hilditch, J. (participant), Jeffra, C. D. (participant) & Opgenhaffen, L. (participant) (1-9-2016 - 31-8-2021). Tracing the Potter's Wheel (other).
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