Ancient Technology

The Vertical Olive Crushing Mill as a Machine and its Energy Balance - A Preliminary Approach

Antonis G. Katsarakis (GR)
The vertical crushing mill turns the olives into pulp by combining the rotational and rolling motion of a heavy upright stone wheel that moves with continuous contact along a circular horizontal trajectory on a stationary base which forms the system's frame of reference. It was devised during the Hellenistic period and served as one of the most important and impressive means of production in the pre-industrial...

Bottle Gourd as an Implement for the Poor in Roman Italy

Brittany Bauer (CA)
Bottle gourds, which are thought to have originated in Africa, have been collected and cultivated in Italy since antiquity for the making of vessels and utensils, as well as food, musical instruments, and fishing buoys. Columella and Pliny the Elder both write extensively about the uses of bottle gourds, yet the importance of this vegetable in antiquity is notably absent from modern scholarship...

Diet of the Poor in Roman Italy: An Exploration of Wild and Cultivated Plants as an Essential Dietary Component

Brittany Bauer (CA)
Most of the population of Roman Italy was poor, whether they were the poor who were constantly in search for food and shelter, or the temporarily poor who were artisans or shopkeepers but could fall into poverty at times. In classical literature, pleasures of the mind were favoured over pleasures of the body. Epictetus wrote that only stupid men spent time dwelling on matters of the body such as eating...

Throwing Stick to Spear Thrower - Study of Ethnographic Artefacts and Experimentation

Luc Bordes (FR)
Little is known about the process of the invention of the prehistoric spear thrower which appeared around 25,000 years ago in Europe, although it may have emerged earlier on other continents. This innovative weapon had a late arrival in Australia from Papua New Guinea at the end of the late glacial maximum, and probably induced an adaptation in hand throwing spear technology used by local people...

Flax Fibre Extraction Techniques in the Late Middle Ages

Martina König (DE)
On its surface, linen production research is simple as there is a large corpus of books available; however, the majority of these date to the last three centuries. Older texts, while available, tend to concentrate on the textiles themselves and their trade. As a result, I had to collect the information on medieval tools and manufacturing process myself. I have grown and processed flax ...

Embossing Technique between III and II Century BC: Experiments and First Results

Andrea Moretti,
Andrea Mariani,
Livio Asta and
Tommaso Gallo (IT)
11th EAC Trento 2019
***The purpose of this paper is to explain our experience with the process of experimental archaeology, involving the reproduction and field testing of embossed decorations, inspired to archaeological finds. As a re-enactment group focused on Celts and Ligurians of III – II century BC we reproduce items and/or ornaments...

Columella’s Wine: a Roman Enology Experiment

Mario Indelicato (IT)
11th EAC Trento 2019
***The study of archaeological and written sources made it possible to commence an extensive research project on Roman viticulture, starting in 2013 on the slopes of Mount Etna, in Sicily (Indelicato, Malfitana and Cacciaguerra, 2017). The general aim is to thoroughly examine the knowledge of the Roman wine production cycle in...

“A Mirror for Men” – Reconstructing a Medieval Polishing Bench and Putting it to the Test

Florian Messner (AT)
11th EAC Trento 2019
***In the late 5th century AD, the famous Ostrogoth Theoderic the Great received a truly regal gift from the king of the Warini: he was given highly elaborated swords, richly decorated and able to cut through armour. Their fullers (long grooves along the flat side of the blade to reduce weight and to gain stability...

Working with Artisans; The ‘It Depends’ Dilemma

Christina Petty (CA)
We live in a world where scientific method is both the expected and accepted path to knowledge. With any scientific method, experiments based on detailed, well-documented, well-considered theories, and precise set-ups must be replicated exactly by others who come to the same conclusion to consider the information gleaned from them to be valid. This has become the accepted practice for most...

Replication of a Maori Ethnographic Textile Hem Border Pattern

Lisa McKendry (NZ)
11th EAC Trento 2019
***Replication of archaeological and ethnographic Māori textiles, under the direction of customary knowledge and previous practical experience, can provide a more nuanced understanding of the manufacture of taonga (treasures) made from fibre materials. A case study is presented here from the unique perspective of a weaver who...