Experimental Archaeology

An Experimental Approach to Ancient Egyptian Metalworking: The Mysteries of the Sesheshet

Chelsea Kaufman
Benjamin Doddy
Our research represents a case study in ancient metalworking to illuminate the challenges, processes, and both human and material agency behind these objects. We focus on copper alloy Hathoric loop sistra since these musical instruments are steeped in ritual and mythological connections to metalworking. Our work represents the early stages of our ongoing investigations...

Function Follows Form: Assessing the Functionality of Shells and Greenstone Shell Effigies as Formative Period Mesoamerican Textile Fabrication Tools, Part 1: Tagelus plebeius Atlantic Stout Razor Clam Shells

Billie J. A. Follensbee
Although the importance of textiles in Mesoamerica from the Classic period (AD 250-900) onward is well-recognised, until recently little research or exploration of earlier Mesoamerican textile production has been conducted. This paucity of scholarship is attributable predominantly to the scant preservation of perishable ancient tools and textiles...

LAPEEX - New Laboratory for Experimental Archaeology in Brazil

The Laboratory for Evolutionary and Experimental Archaeology and Prehistory (LAPEEX - Laboratório de Arqueologia e Pré-História Evolutiva e Experimental), headed by EXARC Member Prof. Dr. João Carlos Moreno de Sousa, is the newest laboratory for experimental archaeology in Brazil. LAPEEX integrates the Institute of Humanities and Information at the Federal University of Rio Grande,  located in Rio Grande city, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil.

Examining the Physical Signatures of Pre-Electric Tattooing Tools and Techniques

Aaron Deter-Wolf
Danny Riday
Maya Sialuk Jacobsen
Publication Date
This paper presents the first experimental archaeological study to formally compare the physical characteristics of tattoos made on human skin using multiple pre-modern tools and tattooing techniques. Our project used eight tools fashioned from animal bone, obsidian, copper, and boar tusk, along with a modern steel needle, to create tattoos on the leg of co-author Danny Riday...

Pit Preserve from Ida – on the Problem of Charred Seeds from Prehistoric Pits

Lutz Zwiebel
Publication Date
The whys and hows of surviving plant macro-remains from the beginnings of agriculture onwards is a central question in the understanding of early sedentary economies. The vast majority of archaeological macro-remains consists of cereal grains, often described as charred. The research presented here repeats charring experiments with a variety of modern seed samples and ...

The Arrow Quiver of the Iceman Reconstruction Attempts and the Special Significance of the Fur Material

Markus Klek
Publication Date
In 1991, the sensational discovery of a male mummy, thawing from the ice, was made on the Tisenjoch in the Ötztal Alps, near the Austrian-Italian border. The deceased man lived about 5300 years ago at the end of the Neolithic Age and is commonly known as Ötzi in German-speaking countries. The site also contained many well-preserved accompanying items and equipment...

Scored Basins from Late Minoan Crete: an Experimental Interpretation from Construction to Functionality

Brianna Jenkins
Publication Date
During the Bronze Age in Crete, agriculture, pottery production, metallurgy, textiles, architectural feats, trade, and other specializations flourished. Throughout habitation on Crete, pottery production was an area of craftsmanship and practicality from the end of the Neolithic to Mycenean and Iron Age. This experiment, however, relates to the Late Minoan I period in the geographical region of Mochlos...

Experimental Archaeology of Iron Age Firing Structures from the Western Mediterranean

Maria-Carme Belarte
María Pastor Quiles
Marta Portillo
Carme Saorin
Marta Mateu Sagués
Alessandra Pecci
Sílvia Vila
Josep Pou
Georgina Castells
Jordi Morer
Joaquín Fernández
Publication Date
The main objective of the research is to deepen our knowledge of how Iron Age combustion structures worked and were used by protohistoric communities living in the western Mediterranean...

(Re)constructing an Early Medieval Irish Ard

Brendan O`Neill
Claus Kropp
Frank Trommer
Vanessa Töngi
Publication Date
This article outlines the results of an EXARC funded 2019 Twinning project exploring the production and use of an Irish early medieval ard. In this, the project partners researched the evidence for early ploughs and ards, made bloomery iron, produced an ard share, and worked wood to form the frame of the ard. This paper also includes...

An Experimental Approach to Assessing the Tempering and Firing of Local Pottery Production in Nubia during the New Kingdom Period

Julia Budka
Giulia D’Ercole
Publication Date

Recently, the development of an independent strand of study, known as the ‘archaeology of dung, has resulted in numerous cross-geographical publications confirming the use of animal dung in archaeological deposits as the main fuel source and several other purposes. Most of these studies focus on the analysis of the microscopic evidence attributable to dung, combining multi-proxy approaches to ...