Experimental archaeologists often seek similar ethnographic studies when designing and preparing experiments. Observing how contemporary traditional artisans work, along with the materials and tools they use, provides invaluable insights to those who want to understand crafts and tools used in the ancient past. While contemporary artisans’ tools may have been modernised, being able to see the motions of the artisan’s hands, the sequences in which an object is made, and the choices made by the artisan all contribute to a more complete visualisation of crafts as they could have been performed in the past.
The Journal of Ethnoarchaeology fills this need. The journal publishes peer-reviewed research that combines ethnographic and anthropological research with experimental archaeology that furthers the exploration of the material culture of the past. The journal’s mission is to provide a platform for current research and projects through articles, reviews, and editorials. The Journal of Ethnoarchaeology provides a platform for broad and inclusive theoretical and methodological studies within the fields of ethnoarchaeology, ethnography, anthropology, ancient technology and experimental archaeology. The editorial board is diverse with members from North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
While not primarily about experimental archaeology, the Journal of Ethnoarchaeology includes articles that make use of experimental work. Examples of published articles include: experiments undertaken to understand the techniques used to decorate Woodland pottery; the use of replica obsidian tools to shear llama fleeces; and an ethnographic study where the authors interviewed and worked with traditional potters in Turkey in order to engage with them in experimental work and replicate Urartian red ware pottery.
Other subject matter, such as the decline of use of stone tools in preference to iron, or an article on the changes in local economies in Ethiopia, give further insight into the dynamics of how craft technology is closely tied to discrete cultures. By taking into account the wide-range of factors that contribute to cultural change, researchers in experimental archaeology can use these ethnographic studies as a model to understand technological changes in the ancient past. The articles in the journal will also be of interest to directors of open air museums. Researchers can gain insight into how living societies use and organize space for working at crafts, and how space is inhabited in daily life, thus providing alternative models as to how space could have been used in the past.
Issues of the Journal of Ethnoarchaeology include a variety of book and media reviews that cover subjects as wide-ranging as cooking, ritual, textiles, and tool making. These reviews are also a great resource for archaeologists who are looking for additional reference material for their own research and experiments.
Ethnoarchaeology is published twice a year and assembled into an annual volume.
Print ISSN: 1944-2890 Online ISSN: 1944-2904