Experimental Archaeology

Archaeological Experiment on Reconstruction of the “Compound” Bow of the Sintashta Bronze Age Culture from the Stepnoe Cemetery

Ivan Semyan (RU) and
Spyros Bakas (GR)
This article presents data from an international experimental study on the reconstruction of the “compound” bow of Sintashta culture of bronze age South Ural, Russia. The project is carried out by a collective of researchers from Greece and Russia as part of the grant program of the world association of experimental archaeology EXARC - “Twinning program”. The article reviews the global context of...

Pyrgos Mavroraki Smelting and Melting Experiments in a Metallurgical Workshop of the Second Millennium BC

Maria Rosaria Belgiorno and
Livio Pontieri (IT)
Interpreting the cultural influences of Cyprus in antiquity has posed an issue, depending on one’s point of view or the different conclusions reached. Until the 1970s, in large part due to the extensive excavations along the northern coast of Cyprus, it seemed reasonable to recognise a plethora of Aegean traits in the island culture. Every element of the Cypriot Bronze Age was analysed and interpreted in...

Throwing Punic Amphorae: An Archaeological and Experimental Approach to the use of the Potter's Wheel in southern Iberia during the Iron Age

A.M. Sáez Romero,
R. Belizón Aragón and
P.A. Albuquerque (ES)
The transport of food products in amphorae was a basic pillar for the maritime-oriented economies and sustenance supplies of the Phoenician and Punic communities of first millennium BC southern Iberia. Over the last few decades, numerous investigations have been carried out aimed at identifying the manufacturing sites of these amphorae, at defining both their typological and chronological aspects...

Killing the Cauldron: Experimental Research on Dented Bronze Cauldrons from the (post)Medieval Period

Vincent van Vilsteren (NL)
Bronze cauldrons from the late Middle Ages, and the 16th and 17th century are hardly ever discovered during archaeological excavations but are usually unearthed by detectorists having discovered the find of their life. Many of these vessels happen to be damaged. Sometimes one or two legs are lost, or a piece of the rim is missing, more often they exhibit one or more dents. We know that in prehistory the ritual...

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...