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Experimental Archaeology

The Mechanics of Splitting Wood and the Design of Neolithic Woodworking Tools

A. R. Ennos and
J. A. Ventura Oliveira (UK)
Because of the anisotropy of wood, trunks and branches can be vulnerable to splitting along the grain, especially radially. This fact was widely exploited in pre-industrial times, when wood was mostly cut and shaped by splitting it along the grain while still green, rather than by sawing...

Now we’re Cooking with Gas! How experimental archaeology challenges modern assumptions about metal recycling

E. Giovanna Fregni (IT)
It is accepted knowledge that when re-melting alloys, some of the metal with a lower melting temperature is lost through oxidation, and more metal must be added in order to maintain the desired alloy proportions. In order to understand the changes in alloy content when recycling using Bronze Age technology, experiments were undertaken by the author and others...

Kicking Ash, Viking glass bead making

Neil Peterson (CA)
10th EAC Leiden 2017
***Tens of thousands (Callmer, 1977, pp.12-32) of beads marking the rich graves of the Viking world indicate that the production of these beads is an area worthy of study. Evidence such as mandrels, crucibles, bead fragments, and semi-manufactures exist at Helgo, Birka, Paviken, Hedeby (Lundström, 1976, p.3)...

Twenty years with flint. The Society for Experimental Prehistoric Archaeology – where are we now?

Grzegorz Osipowicz and
Justyna Kuriga (PL)
The Society of Experimental Prehistoric Archaeology (SEPA, www.keap.umk.pl – see Figure 1) is an organisation affiliated with the Nicolaus Copernicus University’s Institute of Archaeology since 1998. The first academic supervisor of SEPA was Jolanta Małecka-Kukawka, now led by Grzegorz Osipowicz...

Research, Experimentation and Outreach in the Early Neolithic Site of La Draga (Banyoles-Spain)

A. Palomo,
R. Piqué,
X. Terradas,
J. A. Barceló,
J. A. Rodríguez,
M. Buch,
J. Junkmanns,
M. de Diego and
O. López (ES)
The exceptional preservation of organic material in the early Neolithic site of La Draga (Banyoles, north-east Iberian Peninsula) has allowed lines of research that had rarely been undertaken in the region. The research project carried out at the site of La Draga involves experimental archaeology as a methodological tool in order to...

Sherd Shatter Patterns Experiment

S. Evans and
S. Barrera Hernandez (CA)
In field archaeology, the importance of non-diagnostic sherds is often overlooked. This archaeological experiment suggests that archaeologists should take into greater consideration, contexts where sherds are found grouped together in close proximity. The authors tested a series of experimental drops of modern pots...

Reconstruction of the Ancient Greek Long Jump - an Opportunity for Multidisciplinary Collaboration

Hannah Friedman and
Peter J. Miller (US)
The Games of the XXXI Olympiad – the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (5 August to 21 August, 2016) – continued the long tradition of Olympic sports, which began in ancient Greece (circa 776 BCE), and were heavily modified in their re-creation by the International Olympic Committee (starting in 1896; cf. Young 2002)...

The Colour Palette of Antique Bronzes: An Experimental Archaeology Project

Jonathan Devogelaere (FR)
Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, with lead also added. Hellenistic and Roman bronze objects have a variable percentage of metals, and because of this the colour of the alloy will differ depending on the proportions. The colour of the alloy can be maintained by polishing, but it is also possible to give a patina to the surface of bronze using a reagent...

Painting Bronze Age plaster from Thebes Boeotia

Αntonis Vlavogilakis (GR)
A series of experiments were conducted to study an unusual mortar mixture identified by Brysbaert (2008a) in plaster fragments found in Thebes, Boeotia. The mixture was very interesting in its composition, containing unusual aggregates such as crushed seashells and bone. The techniques used in the samples are...

A Minoan experimental house – paying tribute to Middle Bronze Age Cretan vernacular architecture

Sabine Beckmann (GR)
In the mountains south of Agios Nikolaos, north-east Crete, the Minoans of the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1650 B.C.) left behind several kinds of ruins, which were studied in my PhD thesis (Beckmann 2012a). The 337 ancient sites discovered during this investigation were arranged in a loose settlement pattern, with dwellings ca. 150 m from each other...

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