Ancient Technology

Assessing Forming Techniques of Athenian Ceramic Alabastra

Isabelle Algrain (BE)
Athenian black-figure and red-figure vases have not been the subject of many studies specifically devoted to vase-forming techniques, since researchers have primarily focused on their decoration. The study of the Attic alabastron, a perfume vase shape produced in Athens between the middle of the sixth century and the beginning of the fourth century BC, shows that different techniques were occasionally used by potters...

Some Reflections on the Origin and Use of the Potter's Wheel during the Iron Age in the Iberian Peninsula. Interpretive Possibilities and Limitations

Juan Jesús Padilla Fernández (ES)
An abundance of past research has addressed Iron Age pottery in the Iberian Peninsula since the beginning of archaeological analysis in Spain. However, it has mainly focused on examining historical-cultural aspects linked to specific chronologies and typologies. It is only rarely that studies have been concerned with production processes. Ethnography has traditionally been used to make direct ...

Bast, Ferns, and Mud: Experimental Recreation of a Kapa Kaha (Barkcloth)

Avalon Paradea (US)
Kapa (Hawaiian barkcloth) was the ubiquitous fabric of historic Hawaiʻi, used for everything from clothing to bedding, from swaddling newborns to enshrouding the deceased, and all things in between. This textile is crafted from the bast (inner bark) of several plant species, most notably wauke (paper mulberry tree, Broussonetia papyrifera). The laborious process involves harvesting an adequate number of trees...

Identifying Ceramic Shaping Techniques: Experimental Results Using the Inclusion and Void Orientation Method

Jon Ross and
Kent Fowler (CA)
This contribution presents the results of experiments using a simple but effective inclusion and void orientation method for identifying shaping techniques on cut and scanned vessels and sherds. Not only does it provide an additional line of complementary evidence for differentiating ceramic chaînes opératoires, but we argue that it offers observations not accessible by other imaging methods and scales of analysis...

Roman Gold Washing as Described by Pliny the Elder

Brigitte Cech and
Heimo Urban (AT)
#EAC12 World Tour 2021
***As part of a four-year interdisciplinary research project of a Roman gold mine in the landscape known as the "Karth" to the south of Vienna, Austria, a reconstruction of gold washing took place as described by Pliny the Elder in book 33 of his Natural History. So far, the "Karth" is the only proven Roman gold mine known in the Eastern Alps...

Recreating Historic European Spindle Spinning

Mary Ann Megan Cleaton,
Alice Rose Evans,
Jane Hunt (UK) and
Cathelina di Alessandri (AU)
Spinning is a vital step in the production of textiles, whereby fibres are drawn out (drafted) and twisted together to make thread. In the present day, several culturally unique types of spinning are recognised, such as the thigh-rolling technique of traditional Navajo spinners who use unusually large spindles in a supported style (Wolf Creek, 2009)...

Fresco Mixtures with Dried Lime Plaster: Cameron’s Experiments Revisited

Αntonis Vlavogilakis (GR)

During the Bronze Age, craftspeople of the eastern Mediterranean reused fragments of mortars as aggregates in lime mixtures. In the 1970s, Mark Cameron experimented with the techniques of Minoan fresco preparing and painting. His experiments showed that it is possible to create mortar by mixing lime plaster with dried powdered lime plaster, and by mixing dried powdered lime plaster with water...

The Career of an Orange Stone

Irena Podolska and
Wojciech Rutkowski (PL)
The analysis of archaeological works of art involves their formal, thematic and interpretative description. The importance of these stages rests in their potential to reveal the biography of an artefact. Research methods investigating the production technology behind an object are a valuable factor extending the field of interpretation of a given object. Each finished work is the result of a creative process...

A Discussion on the Position of Weaving in the Society of Prehistoric Britain

Helen Poulter (UK)
There have been several recent experiments on using warp-weighted looms in Demark, Italy and Greece, some in Roman houses (Andersson Strand, 2015; Dimova, 2016). The experiments, in particular those in Denmark and Netherlands, took place in the typical rectangular longhouses used in their respective prehistories, unlike 'Britain's predominant roundhouses...

The Ancient Magic of Malt: Making Malt Sugars and Ale from Grain Using Traditional Techniques

Merryn Dineley (UK)
The transformation of grain into malt, malt sugars and ale is a three step process. First, the controlled germination (malting), then ‘mashing in’ and collecting a sweet liquid known as wort and finally, the fermentation by pitching the yeast which converts the sugary wort into an alcoholic beverage. Each step requires different conditions for the process to work. They cannot be combined...