methods & techniques

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...

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...

Let the Chips Fall Where They May: Evaluating the Impact and Effectiveness of Video Resources for Knowledge Transfer in Flint Knapping

John Kiernan (US)
Knowledge and know-how: The ‘how’ of knowledge transferal continues to be a question in prehistoric archaeology, especially in relation to early hominid development. Has the transferal process been greatly affected by our so-called modern world and its technological advantages? Have the current modes of communication enhanced and eased the transfer of knowledge? As visualization is a key element...

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...

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...

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 ...

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...

A Preliminary Attempt to Reconstruct some Tools and Techniques of Ornamentation of the Comb-Pit Ware from the Site of Hepojarvi (Karelian Isthmus, Leningrad Oblast, Russia)

Alexander Akulov (RU)
The site of Hepojarvi is located on the northern coast of Hepojarvi lake, near Saint Petersburg, Russia. The site is a multi-layer settlement with different types of Neolithic pottery (from Sperrings to late Comb-Pit Ware); the settlement functioned in 5314 cal BC – 2342 cal BC. It was excavated in 1978 by I. V. Vereschagina. The aim of the current paper is to reconstruct some concrete tools and techniques of ornamentation...

Have you got the tine? Prehistoric Methods in Antler Working

Andy Langley and
Izzy Wisher (UK)
Antler working was prevalent throughout prehistory, with a breadth of intricately detailed and technologically complex antler artefacts observed within the archaeological record. In particular, during the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic, antler working with flint tools would have been a time-consuming process. While the chaîne opératoire of producing certain antler artefacts has previously been explored...

Some Uses of Experiment for Understanding Early Knitting and Erasmus' Bonnet

Geeske M. Kruseman (NL)
10th EAC Leiden 2017
***Of Erasmus, prince of humanists (1466?-1536), no less than eight portraits from life survive – all eight in the exact same bonnet. A recently published investigation of this iconic garment (Kruseman, Sturtewagen and Malcolm-Davies, 2016) involved establishing a 250-year typology of the bonnet from iconographical sources, compiling technological and...