Experimental Archaeology

Experimental Roman Minting: Casting Silver-Copper Alloys into a Bronze Mould

Nicola George (UK)
This paper provides the details of a Roman minting experiment, which used a bronze mould to cast debased silver blanks typical of the third century A.D. The investigation follows the paper ''Experiments reproducing Roman debased alloys" (George, 2020) which studied the manufacturing methods used in the production of Roman silver coinage. The purpose of those experiments was to both...

Standardized Reporting of Experimental Iron Smelting - A modest (?) Proposal

Darrell Markewitz (CA)
The development of effective bloomery iron smelting has progressed over the past decades from the first repeated experiments into documented, effective, methods. This progression has primarily been the work of often isolated individuals, many with great practical experience as artisans, but most often with little formal academic training. The overall result is a patchwork of recording methods and descriptions...

Oakbank Dog Rose: A Working-model of an Iron Age Wooden Whistle from a Loch Tay Crannog

Simon Wyatt (UK)
In 1980 a small piece of worked wood was discovered during excavation at Oakbank crannog in Loch Tay, Scotland. It was interpreted as a whistle by Nick Dixon. While there are several other Iron Age artefacts which have been interpreted as whistles, in Britain, this is the only one currently known to the author which is made of wood. This paper describes the manufacture and sounding of a model of this Iron Age...

A Spark of Inspiration: Experimentally Testing Manganese Dioxide as a Fire Lighting Aide

Andy Langley and
Andy Needham (UK)
Evidence for the production, use, and control of fire by Neanderthals in Europe ranges from the scale of ecosystems to microscopic alterations of artefacts. While there is a consensus that Neanderthals were skilled in the use of fire, there remains a dispute over whether they had mastered the ability to produce fire on demand. The unique discovery that Neanderthals may have been utilising manganese dioxide as...

Alternative Reconstruction of a First Century AD Roman Cavalry Saddle

Moira Watson (UK)
The reconstruction of a First Century AD Roman cavalry saddle has not been investigated since Peter Connolly introduced his ideas of a wooden tree saddle in 1984, based on the evidence and dimensions provided by archaeological finds of leather saddle covers and bronze saddle horn reinforcers. This alternative reconstruction, not using wood, was designed to address the written and practical evidence for the lack of...

Irish Copper Axe-Ingots Recovered in Brittany: Experimental Casting to Recreate Porous Material

Aurélien Burlot (IE)
The present study discusses the casting of copper axe-ingots in open, wet sand moulds, in an attempt to recreate porous artefacts that have been recovered in Brittany, France. The original axe-ingots are considered to be Irish copper metalwork from the Early Bonze Age. However, these artefacts are not finished objects and are poorly cast. This nevertheless appears to be deliberate because...

What was *platъ and how Did it Work? Reconstructing a Piece of Slavic Cloth Currency

Jan Kratochvíl and
Jakub Koláček (CZ)
Using a credit theory of money, we propose that at least some Slavic tribal communities underwent a process of social monetization. In order to fully support this hypothesis, however, many linguistic and historiographic sources would need to be discussed – a task which exceeds the scope of a single article. Therefore, we will here focus on examining (from technical perspective) the oldest type of “money”...

An Experiment with the Warp-weighted Loom and Heavy Loom Weights. The Case of the Giant Refractory Ceramic “Doughnuts” from North Piedmont, Italy

Lorena Ariis (AT)
Heavy, doughnut-shaped, loom weights made of refractory clay are often found in excavations of Roman and Late Roman settlements in North Piedmont. Unfortunately, they are not found in situ with a weaving loom. We have interpreted them as having been specifically designed for use on a warp weighted loom with a lower mobile beam which is weighed down by a few heavy loom weights...

Groundstone Indications from the Southern Levant for a 7th Millennium BCE Upright Mat Loom

Janet Levy (IL)
The southern Levant features a long-established matting tradition: soumak (weft wrapping) and also weft twined matting from the 10th millennium BC, and coiled matting from the 8th millennium BCE. The Chalcolithic period, 5th millennium BCE, attests to the introduction of plain plait, twill, sewn through techniques and also the use of the horizontal ground mat loom...

Crafting Beyond Habitual Practices: Assessing the Production of a House Urn from Iron Age Central Italy

Caroline Jeffra (NL)
A house-shaped urn dating to the Early Iron Age from Central Italy was technologically assessed in order to establish the forming techniques necessary to produce it. This hypothesized forming sequence was then tested through the production of two experimental urns. It was found that there is a meaningful relationship between the clay texture choices, the forming techniques, and the overall morphology of the finished object...