Experimental Archaeology

What was *platъ and how Did it Work?: Reconstructing a Piece of Slavic Cloth Currency

Jan Kratochvíl and
Jakub Koláček (CZ)
Using a credit theory of money, we propose that at least some Slavic tribal communities underwent a process of social monetization. In order to fully support this hypothesis, however, many linguistic and historiographic sources would need to be discussed – a task which exceeds the scope of a single article. Therefore, we will here focus on examining (from technical perspective) the oldest type of “money”...

An Experiment with the Warp-weighted Loom and Heavy Loom Weights. The Case of the Giant Refractory Ceramic “Doughnuts” from North Piedmont, Italy

Lorena Ariis (AT)
Heavy, doughnut-shaped, loom weights made of refractory clay are often found in excavations of Roman and Late Roman settlements in North Piedmont. Unfortunately, they are not found in situ with a weaving loom. We have interpreted them as having been specifically designed for use on a warp weighted loom with a lower mobile beam which is weighed down by a few heavy loom weights...

Groundstone Indications from the Southern Levant for a 7th Millennium BCE Upright Mat Loom

Janet Levy (IL)
The southern Levant features a long-established matting tradition: soumak (weft wrapping) and also weft twined matting from the 10th millennium BC, and coiled matting from the 8th millennium BCE. The Chalcolithic period, 5th millennium BCE, attests to the introduction of plain plait, twill, sewn through techniques and also the use of the horizontal ground mat loom...

Humboldt State University (US)

Member of EXARC

Humboldt State University (HSU), in Northern California, is a small community-based campus, situated in the great redwoods of the Pacific North coast. The college town setting on the California North Coast, 8 miles (13 km) north of Eureka is notable for its natural beauty. The university is divided into three colleges: the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the College of Natural Resources and Sciences; and the College of Professional Studies.

Students are provided with a holistic education in the discipline of Anthropology. As part of the curriculum in the Department of Anthropology, students can explore numerous avenues in Experimental Archaeology, including flintknapping, metal casting, basketry, cordage, textiles, and bookbinding, just to name a few.

Crafting Beyond Habitual Practices: Assessing the Production of a House Urn from Iron Age Central Italy

Caroline Jeffra (NL)
A house-shaped urn dating to the Early Iron Age from Central Italy was technologically assessed in order to establish the forming techniques necessary to produce it. This hypothesized forming sequence was then tested through the production of two experimental urns. It was found that there is a meaningful relationship between the clay texture choices, the forming techniques, and the overall morphology of the finished object...

Hunting for Use-Wear

Matilda Siebrecht and
Diederik Pomstra (NL)

Harpoons are an essential part of the hunting toolkit amongst Inuit and have been integral to the material culture assemblage of Arctic groups for thousands of years. The pre-Inuit population known as the Dorset cultures (app. 800 BC–1300 AD) - also sometimes referred to as Tuniit - were highly dependent on a maritime subsistence with harpoon heads as one of the dominant artefact categories at Dorset sites...

Testing Mesoamerican Lunate Artifacts as Possible Crescent Loom Weights

Billie J. A. Follensbee (US)
While the importance of textiles in Mesoamerica from the Classic period (AD 250-900) onward is well-recognized, scholars have conducted little exploration of earlier Mesoamerican textile production. This lack of scholarship may be attributed in great part to the scant preservation of perishable textiles and tools from ancient times. New sources of information have been recognized, however...

RIP John Coles, a Giant in Experimental Archaeology

Groundbreaking experimental archaeologist, one of the well-respected giants of experimental archaeology, John Coles, died suddenly on October 14, 2020. He will be remembered as the first to pull together all the strands of people working in experimental archaeology in the 1970s, with his books “experimental archaeology” and “archaeology by experiment”.

Coles, his gentle self, remained interested in how the world of experimental archaeology expanded and made progress. In 2009, he gave a long interview reflecting on experimental archaeology, published by EXARC (see link below).

Thanks, John, you have made a world of a difference.

הפורום הישראלי לארכיאולוגיה ניסויית - The Israeli Forum for Experimental Archaeology (IL)

The Israeli Forum for Experimental Archaeology was established in order to connect archaeologists, field and laboratory researchers and practitioners of ancient crafts, with an emphasis on collaboration, knowledge sharing and public engagement.

Our members come from a range of fields; academics, Living History groups, museum workers, educators, craftspeople, archaeologists and more. Thus, we aim to link persons involved with experimental archaeology in Israel and create a place to share, consult and learn, along with other experts engaged in the field. In addition, we endeavour to create experiment databases and coordinate experiments, workshops, and conferences. Our dogma is that through experimental archaeology, people from different backgrounds can advance research by sharing knowledge, experience and facilities.

Experiment with Kindling Oil Lamps

Aleksei Vaiman (IL)
This article deals with the daily technology of ceramic oil lamps from the period of the 1st century AD until the first half of the 7th century AD. The questions underlying in this article include the following: How long did combustion take and what was its intensity? Were wicks pulled and when? Was the oil poured into an already-burning lamp to increase the burning time, as Dr. Amar Zohar, of Bar Ilan University suggests?...