Experimental Archaeology

Vegetable Plaiting Materials from the Site of Abu Tbeirah (Southern Iraq, Third Millennium BC): Experimental Approach

Maria Virginia Montorfani (IT)
This study is based on plaiting materials from Abu Tbeirah, Iraq, with a particular attention to baskets and reed mats. The study focuses on the various raw materials used, on diverse plating techniques and tries to understand possible uses of these artefacts in their context. The research has been developed with an experimental approach, based on archaeological and ethnographic sources...

The Question of Fuel for Cooking in Ancient Egypt and Sudan

J. Budka,
C. Geiger,
P. Heindl,
V. Hinterhuber (DE) and
H. Reschreiter (AT)
Little is known about the actual cooking processes and in particular fuel-related activities in Egypt and Northern Sudan (Nubia) in antiquity, especially during the Bronze Age. Considering that wood was, in general, rare along the Nile valley and therefore an expensive raw material, animal dung was tested in 2018 by means of...

Early Efforts in Experimental Archaeology: Examples from Evans, Pitt-Rivers, and Abbott

Carolyn Dillian (US)
Experimental archaeology formally began more than 150 years ago with attempts in replicative flint knapping by well-known archaeologists such as Sir John Evans, Augustus (Lane Fox) Pitt-Rivers, John Lubbock, and Sven Nilsson (Coles, 1973). These individuals sought to discover how stone tools were made in order to better identify archaeological artifacts as the products of human manufacture and to understand...

The Construction of a Replica Section of the Middle Subneolithic Purkajasuo Lath Screen Fish Weir at Kierikki Stone Age Centre, Finland

Peter Groom,
Evon Kirby and
James Findlay (UK)
In July 2018 the Mesolithic Resource Group attended the Kierikki Stone Age Centre, Pahkalantie, Finland. The visit provided us with the opportunity to practice experimental archaeology in a ‘Stone Age’ landscape at Kierikki. One project was the reconstruction of a section of the Neolithic wooden fish weir from the site of Purkajasuo, which is on display in the museum...

Celtic Copper Alloy Coin Minting Technology: Experiential Approaches

Lawrence Herzman and
Monika Townsend (US)
In this paper, details are presented for three technical approaches that can be employed in the reproduction of Celtic coins from Britain: 1) the use of pellet trays to produce coin blanks of standardised weight; 2) the use of successive iterations of clay moulds to shrink coin design images while retaining clarity; and 3) the use of a low-carbon steel die that was heated to a plastic state and struck with a cast bronze slug to...

Of Boyling and Seething: A Re-evaluation of the Common Cooking Terms in Connection with Brewing

Susan Verberg (US)
Modern chemistry provides us with a deeper understanding of fermentation, but that does not necessarily translate into an easier interpretation of medieval recipes. Our modern brewing methods and sanitary measures have evolved, and the language and terminology used in brewing has changed over the years. The arcane language of early medieval recipes often makes modern interpretations...

Moving Monoliths: Easter Island and Environmental Collapse

Maureen Folk (US)
The Rapa Nui civilization once thrived on Easter Island, and produced unique statues which became a parable for collapse around the world (Hunt and Lipo, 2011). Several experiments have been conducted to better understand this collapse, specifically surrounding the movement of the islands’ largest inhabitants, the moai – the large monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people...

Experimental Archaeometallurgy of Early-Middle Bronze Age Cyprus: Pilot Experiments of Copper Smelting at Pyrgos-Mavroraki

Marco Romeo Pitone (UK)
10th EAC Leiden 2017
***Pyrgos-Mavroraki, an early 2nd millennium BC proto-industrial settlement, is an excellent case-study on which to apply experimental archaeometallurgy because it presents many different elements connected to the chaine-operatoire of copper metallurgy, typical of Early/Middle Bronze Age Cyprus...

Re-Creating an Aboriginal Earth Oven with Clayey Heating Elements: Experimental Archaeology and Paleodietary Implications

Maurizio Campanelli,
Jane Muir,
Alice Mora,
Daniel Clarke and
Darren Griffin (AUS)
Earth ovens may relate to different ancestral cooking techniques, serving specific needs and functions. In eastern and south-eastern Australia, they were a significant element of a thriving pre-colonial Aboriginal culture. However, today it is extremely rare to find such structures well preserved. Based on archaeological and historical records...