Joanna Sofaer is a renowned Professor at the University of Southampton and a co-director of the Szhazalombatta-Foldvar excavation project. She earned her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1998, where she spent two more years after that, employed as a Research Fellow until 2000. Professor Sofaer has been involved with numerous archaeological projects across Europe, and has been a guest lecturer at many universities around the world.

Working under the supervision of Professor Marie Louise Stig Sørensen at Cambridge University while obtaining her PhD, Sofaer shares some of her research interests.  She is involved with European prehistoric research, mainly the Copper and Bronze Ages, with a focus on pottery analysis and interpretation. Her research explores social identity and bioarchaeology. Combining these two fields, Sofaer makes significant contributions to the issues of childhood in archaeology, which she further explores in relation to gender and identity issues.

Joanna Sofaer is also the author of many influential archaeological books and articles. Her contributions are multidimensional, exemplified by her involvement in different interdisciplinary projects.  An example is Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA), where she is managing the “Creativity and Craft Production in Middle and Late Bronze Age Europe” project. Sofaer is further interested in how the past can be used to create social benefits in the present, particularly in the areas of education, the creative economy and mental health. She was also a part of the EC-funded Marie-Curie ITN “Forging Identities” project, and works with research teams across Central and Eastern Europe.

Being such an influential scholar, Sofaer has a lot to contribute to the directorship of the Szhazalombatta excavation project, and she does associate a part of the directors’ collaborative success with their shared womanhood; for example, they share an understanding of having families and children. Because of this shared experience, the directors can relate better to each other, and have even started to perceive themselves as one extended family over the many years spent together. This closeness between the three women plays a great role in the international success of their joint project.

By Monika Dimitrova and Uli Botzojorns

Image provided by Joanna Sofaer and used with permission. 

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