2023 May: 13th Experimental Archaeology Conference #EAC13, Torun, Poland - Abstracts

Updated: January 29, 2023

Experimental Archaeology In Poland – History, Science and Education (keynote)
Grzegorz Osipowicz1, Justyna Orłowska1, Justyna Kuriga1
Institute of Archaeology, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland

The presentation will consist of four parts. The first one will discuss the history of research using experimental archaeology in Poland. The most important works, people and centres conducting studies in this field in the 20th century will be presented. The second part of the presentation will be devoted to experimental archaeology, understood as a method (tool) of scientific research. The most important and interesting scientific achievements made in Poland using an archaeological experiment will be discussed here. In the third part, we will focus on presenting the main centres conducting research in the field of experimental archaeology in our country. Both centres conducting purely scientific activities and those concentrating to a large extent on the popularization of science (e.g. archaeological parks) will be included here. We will present their reconstructions and the educational activities they conduct. The last part of the presentation will be devoted to activities in the field of historical reconstruction that are carried out in Poland. We will present here the most important events of this type that take place in our country.


A Multitude of Microorganisms: Mediating Historical Drink Recreation (paper)
Laura Angotti1
1 Independent Scholar, USA

Understanding the nature and flavors of historical fermented drinks through experimental recreation requires both an understanding of relevant microorganisms and a considered approach to selection of an appropriate modern fermentation culture. Beyond the basic production of energy by metabolizing sugar to alcohol and CO2, different microorganisms produce widely divergent by-products and co-products, fundamentally influencing the character of the produced drink. This paper approaches culture selection through three methodologies: review of recent scientific analyses establishing historical context, evaluation of drink character from recreation of versions of a core recipe from primary sources using modeled cultures, and development of a practical and philosophical framework to selecting modern cultures for experimentation. 
A review of selected studies of yeast genomes and historical fermentation residues establishes the variability of these cultures and the distance between modern cultures and historical predecessors, providing context for selection of modern analogs. 
For experimentation, an exemplar mead recipe was used that emerges into a widely distributed Western European medical formularies with the translation of Arabic writings in the 11th and 12th centuries, persisting well after the recipe loses its medical connotations starting in the 16th century. Fermentation cultures modeled from recipe specifics include yeast/leaven, ale/beer barm, wine lees, and sour leaven. As expected, results varied widely.
This review and the experimental results confirm an approach that acknowledges the lack of direct correlation between historical and modern cultures while leveraging the analogous variability of modern commercial and wild microorganisms into experimental design. It is expected that this framework can be used to continue integrating multidisciplinary developments while incorporating more detailed considerations of microorganisms into the experiments exploring the nature of historical fermented drinks.


Exploring basalt: Use-wear experiments with basalt tools (paper)
Lena Asryan1 & Veerle Rots1,2
1 TraceoLab, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
2 FNRS, Belgium

Experimenting with basalt is not an easy task because of its tough character and its variability, which makes it difficult to control the material and to characterise trace patterns. Nevertheless, experiments with basalt are essential as basalt is one of the commonly used raw materials for tool manufacture at prehistoric sites. For many sites, basalt is the most important and sometimes even the only source of information about the life and behaviour of early hominins. The potential of basalt for understanding technological choices and subsistence strategies remains unexploited because researchers still lack a unified methodology for assessing how hominins used basalt tools in prehistory. A large-scale experimental study of basalt tools is thus needed to build a solid methodological framework which can then serve to explore the function of archaeological basalt assemblages.
We present the first results of use-related experiments we performed with basalt. We highlight the importance of understanding and characterising correctly the mechanical properties of basalt and we discuss the results of a number of sequential experiments with basalt tools, such as butchery, hide, bone and woodworking. In addition, we address the potential of a multi-scalar integrated approach that combines optical and scanning electron microscopes for the specific case of basalt. Our results indicate the minimal use duration that is required for diagnostic wear to form and permit to characterise edge damage, polish, and other wear on basalt and to highlight to what extent it differs from other raw materials.
We consider that this study may be an important step forward in understanding basalt assemblages and a reliable basis for functional studies of archaeological basalt assemblages independent of their chronology, site location and techno-typological patterns.


Iron Age combustion structures in the western Mediterranean: an approach from the experimental archaeology (paper)
Maria-Carme Belarte1,2, María Pastor Quiles2, Marta Portillo3, Carme Saorin4, Marta Mateu Sagués2, Alessandra Pecci4, Sílvia Vila5, Josep Pou6, Georgina Castells6, Jordi Morer7, Joaquín Fernández8
ICREA, Spain; 2 ICAC, Spain; 3 IMF CSIC, Spain; 4 UB, Spain; 5 UdL, Spain; 6 Calafell Town Council, Calafell, Spain; 7 Món Iber ROCS, Spain; 8 UAB, Spain

We present the experimental works on Iron Age combustion structures carried out within the framework of the project Transdisciplinary and experimental study of combustion structures in the western Mediterranean during Protohistory (TRANSCOMB project). These have been conducted between 2021 and 2022 at the "Iberian Citadel of Calafell" (Tarragona, Spain) archaeological site. The experiment has been performed on present-day replicas of archaeological hearths and ovens based on archaeological documentation coming from Iron Age sites of the Iberian culture (Mediterranean coastal area of the Iberian Peninsula). Experimental works included the use of various fuel-types (wood, grasses and animal dung), according to the available archaeobotanical records (anthracological and microfossil analyses). Variables such as increased heating and time are measured, in order to determine whether variations occur, depending on the fuels used, the type of structure or its location. Samples of the sediment composing these structures as well as fuel remains after each combustion have been systematically collected for interdisciplinary analyses and comparison with archaeological structures.


Perspectives on the importance of prior understanding for an experimental archaeological project (paper)
Vibeke Bischoff1
1The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark

In 2012, a full-scale reconstruction of the Oseberg Ship from 820, Saga Oseberg, was launched as part of an experimental archaeological project, designed to investigate the ship’s sailing capabilities. The initial test-sailing was conducted in line with the principles for handling traditional West Norwegian square-sailed boats from the 19th and 20th centuries. The ship performed badly, and the reconstruction was judged to be incorrect. Subsequent test-sailing in 2015 undertaken with a more open and investigative methodology was conducted, which gave rise to more positive results.
In this paper, I will present my thoughts on the importance of prior understanding based on my experiences with the Oseberg Ship, but I believe that there are parallels to other types of projects too, whether they are houses built on land or ships at sea. Our prior understanding and experience have an impact on the questions we ask of both the archaeological material and the reconstruction – and on the results we achieve. 
Focus on the importance of prior understanding for both reconstruction and their subsequent testing, must be addressed. Our bodily approaches as humans have such a significant impact on all processes that it is a vital, we have an awareness of it. Prior understanding and experience can be used to ask relevant questions and conduct investigations, not to find answers, as reconstructions are an interpretation of an artefact, and the results will therefore render probabilities rather than present concrete truths. 
We who work with experimental archaeology, must be conscious, reflective and descriptive in terms of our prior understanding in relation to the projects we work with, because we are modern people attempting to interpret the actions of people from another time. 


Set In Stone – Ornamentation of Stone Battle-Axes from the Experimental Perspective (paper)
Wojciech Bronowicki, Tomasz Płonka1, Marcin Chłoń1
1 University of Wrocław, Poland

Stone processing is a heavy work even for the contemporary artists. However, the Neolithic communities mastered this difficult craft, the products of which have survived for centuries. Through careful examination, using various techniques we are able to collect information about the process of production of stone tools and reconstruct various phases in the chain of operations. In this paper we focus on the rarest and unique activity of this  sequence - decoration.
We present the results of experimental and use-wear studies on the process of ornamentation of stone tools. The case studies are two engraved battle-axes of the Corded Ware culture from SW Poland. One of them was found in Budziszów Wielki 2/3 and was made of diabase; second one come from Kurzątkowice 7 and was made of serpentinite. Both of them are decorated with an arrangement of engraved lines that go around the surface of the artifacts. In order to replicate the process various experiments were prepared to provide reference collection for interpretations of techniques and tools used in ornamentation.

This study is part of a project supported by the National Science Centre, Poland (2020/38/E/HS3/00285).


PCI Registered Reports for Experimental Archaeology: how to improve Experimental Design before it is too late (poster)
Ivan Calandra1
1 TraCEr, Laboratory for Traceology and Controlled Experiments, MONREPOS, RGZM, Neuwied, Germany

Archaeological experiments require time and money, so ensuring that the experimental design is sound and appropriate to test the hypotheses before conducting the experiments would avoid wasting investments. Registered reports (RRs) can help with this aspect because the study design is peer-reviewed and pre-accepted before the research is undertaken. RRs are evaluated solely on the questions they ask and on the quality of the proposed methods, not on the results.  

Peer review for RRs takes place over two stages. At Stage 1, authors submit their research question(s), theory and hypotheses, and detailed methods (including experimental design) and analysis plans. Proposals that are favorably peer-reviewed receive in-principle acceptance, which commits to accepting the final article regardless of the results. The authors then perform the research and submit a Stage 2 manuscript that includes the approved protocol plus results and discussion. The reviewers from Stage 1 assess this completed Stage 2 manuscript, focusing only on compliance with protocol and whether the conclusions are justified by the evidence.

The Peer Community In Registered Reports (PCI-RR) is a community dedicated to receiving, reviewing, and recommending registered reports. PCI-RR offers several advantages to authors:

  • Authors get feedback (review) when it is most useful, i.e. before conducting the experiment, to improve and optimize the experimental design before it is too late.
  • Papers are accepted before starting the experiments, even if the results turn out to be not as "great" as expected. 
  • One Stage 1 manuscript can lead to multiple Stage 2 outputs, which is particularly relevant for large experimental programs.
  • Scheduled review to accelerate the review process.
  • Open data and transparent review.
  • Free for all (diamond open access).


NFDI4Objects – TRAIL3.3: A workflow tool for archaeological experiments and analytics (poster)
Ivan Calandra1, Geoff Carver1, João Marreiros1, Erica Hanning2, Roeland Paardekooper3, Christoph Berthold4, Susanne Greiff5
TraCEr, Laboratory for Traceology and Controlled Experiments, MONREPOS, RGZM, Neuwied, Germany
2 Laboratory for Experimental Archaeology, RGZM, Germany
3 EXARC, the Netherlands
4 Competence Center Archaeometry Baden-Württemberg, University of Tübingen, Germany
5 Institute for Pre- and Protohistory and Medieval Archaeology, University of Tübingen, Germany

An experiment is part of a formal scientific process, testing a hypothesis. Every archaeological interpretation of an object’s manufacture or use is a hypothesis to be tested. Archaeologists often lack the infrastructure, theoretical basis, resources and/or tools to do this testing or disseminate their protocols and results. Additionally, few experimental reports are detailed enough for the procedures to be repeatable and/or results to be reproducible. Consequently, experimental archaeology urgently needs to develop ways of reporting, documenting and sharing the designs and results of experiments.
The aim of this pilot project is to produce a prototype of a flexible, visual workflow tool for recording experiment design and the protocol of a sample preparation procedure or analysis. This tool should help experimenters plan better and avoid misrunning experiments, reducing the waste of time and resources. It should also address the issues of repeatability/reproducibility by considering three aspects of data acquisition:
Why were the data generated (= Research questions/hypotheses/motivation)? 
How were the data generated (samples, method, equipment, and associated accuracy/precision, etc.)? 
Why they were generated in that way: methods are often employed without questioning their appropriateness for the given samples and/or hypotheses. This illustrates a reflexive process.
The tool developed within this project should highlight the role of experimentation within the archaeological process and strengthen the epistemological basis of archaeological interpretation as a whole.


Experimental Cremations in Different burning Environments: Open versus semi-close Pyre in Crete, Greece (paper)
Yannis Chatzikonstantinou1, Evangelia Kiriatzi2, Sevasti Triantaphyllou1
1 Department of History and Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
2 Fitch Laboratory, The British School at Athens, Greece

Experimental pyrotechnology of burning conditions affecting bone tissue provides a deep understanding of fire technology and the changes in bone structure related to fire. Although the destructive forces of fire alter the morphological features of bones, they also offer valuable information on the intensity of the fire, the duration of the burning events, the amount of fuel that was necessary for the manipulation of the fire, the original atmosphere, and the place of burning. TEFRA Project, examining the custom of cremation in Aegean Prehistory, incorporates extensive experimental work through the detailed investigation of the extrinsic factors affecting the combustion process. Two burning episodes were set in different burning environments (open versus semi-close pyre) in which pig carcasses, semi-fleshed, and defleshed pig bones were burnt until complete calcination. This paper presents the preliminary results of the recent experiments conducted in Crete, Greece, including observations concerning pyrotechnology, burning fuel, achieved temperatures, duration of the combustion process, and assessment of the burning level and thermal alterations of the bones.


The Bronze Age Chariot of the Sintashta-Petrovka Period (paper)
Igor Chechushkov1, Ivan Semyan2
1 University of Colorado, USA
2 Caucasus Institute, Yerevan, Armenia

Our report is dedicated to study the Bronze Age chariot of the Sintashta-Petrovka period (the 2nd mil. BCE) by means of the scientific experiment. Based on data of 28 chariot graves and a series of cheekpieces, we conducted a study of the bridle with cheekpieces as a control system of harnessed horses. It was found that soft bits with cheekpieces are more effective than a simple halter, and less effective than modern metal bits. 
Based on ancient petroglyphs, we made a harness system using leather and felt, and found that it was suitable for chariot horses. The reconstructed chariot demonstrated reliability, stability, and maneuverability. The time spent on making a chariot using authentic technologies can be estimated within 2-4 months and considering the harvesting and drying of wood - at least 1 year. The creation of a chariot complex in the conditions of a communal organization of labor imposed a constant burden on all the procurement of the necessary resources. 
The training of the charioteer, according to the experiment, required at least 3-6 hours to develop from scratch the elementary skills of driving horses and balancing in the back of a moving cart and tens of hours to develop professional skills. The training of horses also took tens of hours to develop the skill of working together and obeying the commands of the driver and required the participation of at least two specialists. 
The minimum size of a professional team that creates and maintains a chariot complex can be estimated at 4-6 people without considering the procurement of raw materials, and the time spent on preparing a chariot is 1-1.5 years, which was a great investment for the community.


The late Viking Age warship, Skuldelev 5: exploring old interpretations with a new reconstruction (paper)
Martin R. Dael1 & Tríona Sørensen1
1 The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark 

In 1962, five late Viking Age ships were excavated from Roskilde Fjord, in Denmark. The form and function of the Skuldelev Ships, as they came to be known, embodies the diversity and range of seafaring and shipbuilding in the late Viking Age: vessels for fishing, coastal and ocean-going trade, and two examples of the most iconic Viking Age craft of all – the long, narrow and well-rowed warships. 
The Viking Ship Museum’s boatyard completed the first round of full-scale, experimental archaeological reconstruction of all five Skuldelev Ships in 2004. Since then, work has focused on the ‘second generation’ of Skuldelev reconstructions and in July 2022, a project focused on a new full-scale reconstruction of the 17,6 m long warship, Skuldelev 5, began. 
The construction of Skuldelev 5 is unique when compared with other late Viking Age ship-finds. From the outset, the ship was built using reused material taken from at least two other vessels and the hull is also composed of several different species of wood. These details have led to a degree of academic discussion regarding the ship’s construction and use. 
This paper will present an introduction to the framework for the new Skuldelev 5 reconstruction project, seen from both a boatbuilder’s and an archaeologist’s perspective. The complexities – and peculiarities – of the original ship’s hull, and previous interpretations of the ship-find, will be explored, providing the foundation for a new dialogue concerning the construction and use of the original ship-find, and the research programme in development for the forthcoming full-scale reconstruction.


The Use of Schist Outcrops for Symbolic Purposes: Investigating Raw Materials’ Performance During Engraving Processes (paper)
Dionysios Danelatos1,3, Sara Garcês1,2,3, Telmo Pereira1,2,5,6, Luiz Oosterbeck1,2,3,4, Hipólito Giraldo Collado1,2,3,7, George Nash1,2,3,8, Hugo Gomes1,2,3, Pedro Cura1,3,4
1 Geosciences Centre, University of Coimbra, Portugal
2 Polytechnic Institute of Tomar, Portugal
3 Earth and Memory Institute, Mação, Portugal
4 Museum of Prehistoric Art and the Sacred Tagus Valley, Mação, Portugal
5 Autonomous University of Lisbon, Portugal 
6 UNIARQ, Archaeology Centre of the University of Lisbon, Portugal
7 Heritage & Art Research Group, Extremadura University, Badajoz and Cáceres, Spain
8 Department of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology, University of Liverpool, UK

In the Iberian Peninsula, schist is often found with Upper Palaeolithic artistic representations at open-air sites. It has been suggested that this may have been an adaptation in areas that lack karstic environments. In 2021, a new Upper Palaeolithic engraved panel was unearthed at the Ocreza river, an affluent at the right margin of the Tagus River. Here we search for Prehistoric cultural patterns for producing rock art using schist under the prism of the raw material suitability. Our experimental protocol used quartz burins to engrave schist slabs and controlling the variables time, number of movements, length of the tracing, and pressure. The schist slabs were collected from the Ocreza Valley, the burins followed the regional typology, and the engravings replicated features of the figures from the rock art panel. Our results showed a consistent relation between the combination of specific variables and traces seen in some of the engravings.

Keywords: Raw materials, Experimental Archaeology, Rock Art, Engravings


Experimental Tattooing and Analysis of Preserved Skin Markings on Human Mummies (paper)
Aaron Deter-Wolf1, Danny Riday2, Maya Sialuk Jacobsen3
1 Tennessee Division of Archaeology, USA
2 The Temple Tattoo, New Zealand
3 Inuit Tattoo Traditions, Greenland

Preserved tattoos are present on mummified human remains from archaeological sites across five continents, and date back at least 5,300 years before present. Recent scholarship has greatly expanded scientific and popular understanding of the temporal scope and cultural importance of ancient tattooing traditions. However, there remains only limited reliable knowledge as to what tools and techniques were used for creating tattoos in past societies. From 2021-2022 our international research team conducted an experimental study supported by an EXARC Research Award, in which we examined the physical signatures of tattoos created on human skin using different traditional tools and methods. This presentation describes our experiment and expands on that study, applying our findings to examinations of tattoos preserved on the skin of mummies from Europe, Siberia, and South America. Our analyses help illuminate the potential methods used to create these preserved tattoos and correct earlier assumptions regarding tattooing artifacts and methods. 


Knapping Experiment for Cobble Opening and shorter sequence of Levallois Method (paper)
Ravindra Devra1
1 Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali, India

Cobble (and pebble) splitters were the expert technicians of the Palaeolithic era. Lithic was one of the crucial materials for the survival of our ancestors before being replaced by metal. In some of the geographical niches, it presents only in the form of river cobbles and pebbles where suitable outcrops do not surface. Their rounded morphology makes it challenging to initiate the knapping for tool manufacturing, even though hominins used such objects to make stone tools. In archaeological and ethnographic studies, there were different cobble-opening techniques recorded worldwide. Free-hand hitting, anvil percussion and throwing were the better popular methods. The split and flaked cobbles were sometimes used as a core for producing flakes. This phenomenon has been evident from some of the Middle paleolithic sites of the Thar Desert, where the lithic raw material was abundantly available in the form of geological deposits of cobbles. Here Levallois and other types of core were made on the thick flakes and splits of cobble. Similar cobbles are still found in archaeological and natural contexts. Their characteristics indicated by the rock property and physical features are challenging to break with the stone hammer. How did hominins manage to deal with a similar situation while making the stone objects? To replicate the case, we experimented with cobble openings and tested them until the final stage of lithic tool manufacturing. We obtained sufficient data to understand the paleolithic technique. Our results suggest that cobble opening was not a complicated process for the expert knapper, and giant cobbles (boulder size) were also exploited for better quality raw material. These blank types are better suited for the shorter Levallois technique for quickly producing suitable flakes.


Grinding or Polishing? Replicating grinding and polishing Traces found on Neolithic flint Axes (paper)
Lasse van den Dikkenberg1
1 Leiden University, the Netherlands

Sites from the Neolithic Vlaardingen Culture (3400-2500 BC) often yield large quantities of polished axe fragments, and occasionally even complete axes are found. When studying the flint from two Vlaardingen Culture sites, Den Haag Steynhof and Hekelingen III, it became apparent that the axe fragments on both sites yielded very different finishing traces. To better understand the observed differences an experimental program was set-up to replicate these grinding and polishing traces. The experiments created a suitable reference collection for the study of these traces. Using optical microscopy we could match the replicated traces to those observed on the Neolithic axe fragments. On one site it appeared that most axes were only ground while the other site mainly yielded polished axe fragments. The polished fragments were generally polished with leather and additives. Combining experimental archaeology with optical microscopy proved to be important as it allowed us to grasp differences left by different finishing procedures which macroscopically could not have been distinguished. The experiments allowed us to distinguish between grinding on a grinding stone, with and without the inclusion of sand. Furthermore, we could distinguish between flint which was polished on a soft type of stone and flint which was polished with leather and additives. 
The experiments gave valuable insights into the finishing stages of these axes, but they also raised new questions. It was generally assumed that these axes were imported to these sites in a finished state. Do these differences in finishing traces indicate that the finishing takes place in these Vlaardingen Culture settlements, rather than on the production sites? Or did different communities import different types of axes? 


The origin and evolution of cultural transmission in hominins as observed in experimental and experiential archaeology (paper)
Maria Eduarda Vilela e Donegá1  João Carlos Moreno2
Laboratory for Human Evolutionary Studies, Institute of Biosciences, University of São Paulo, Brazil
2 Laboratory of Evolutionary and Experimental Archaeology and Prehistory, Institute of Humanities and Information, Federal University of Rio Grande, Brazil

Studies regarding the origin and development of cultural transmission have been the focus of evolutionary academics in the last decade. Many approaches have been carried out, presenting different results and different suggestions regarding the coevolution of lithic technology and cultural transmission. In this paper I aim to understand how complex should be the communication between an experienced knapper and an apprentice so he/she can learn how to reproduce the same tools many times without failing. The project main objective is to carry out an experiment that applies different levels of complexity of learning how to produce Early and Mid-Paleolithic (2,6 Ma – 100 ka) tools from Africa and Eurasia. The implications of this project are related to the study of cultural transmission between the early species of the Homo genus and presents different levels of complexity. The complexity levels to be experimented vary from low (observation and imitation) to high (use of oral and visual language), so that it becomes possible to observe the development of the apprentice on producing tools and to deduce what kind of cultural transmission type was required between by hominins. Preliminary results of this experiential study suggest that Oldowan and Early Acheulean main artifacts production can be learned by only imitation and observation, while Late Acheulean and Mousterian main artifacts production require complex teaching methods and some level of language.


The Importance of Flintknapping Demonstrations and Workshops in Order to Further Develop Experimental Archaeology in Brazil
Maria Eduarda Vilela e Donegá1,3  Rafael Carvalho1, Leticia Correa2,  João Carlos Moreno1, Mercedes Okumura3, Astolfo Araujo2, Bruce Bradley4

1 LAPEEX. Laboratory for Evolutionary and Experimental Archaeology and Prehistory, FURG, Brazil
2 LEVOC. Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Studies in Evolution, Culture, and Environment, USP, Brazil
3 LEEH. Laboratory for Human Evolutionary Studies, USP, Brazil
4 Dept. of Archaeology, University of Exeter, UK

The aim of this abstract is to raise awareness on the importance of Experimental Archaeology as well as flintknapping training and demonstrations in order to better understand Brazilian lithic assemblages. Since 2012, the three senior authors have been organizing hands on workshops and flintknapping demonstrations by Bruce Bradley to Brazilian researchers, students, and the general public. The six flintknapping demonstrations (four in São Paulo state, one in Rio de Janeiro and one in Minas Gerais state in 2011, 2012, 2016, 2018, 2020, and 2022) reached around 150 people and they have been important tools to educate researchers, students, as well as the general public about archaeology and stone tools in general. The four hands-on workshops (2016, 2018, 2021 and 2022, all in São Paulo state) involved 41 people in total. The workshops have had a pivotal role in shaping the discussions about lithic technology in Brazilian prehistoric assemblages, including important discussions about protocols of lithic analysis and, most importantly, the establishment of research lines in our laboratories that include experimental archaeology and the replication of lithic artifacts. Finally, the abovementioned activities related to Experimental Archaeology highlight the importance of international collaborations and knowledge sharing in terms of bringing new perspectives regarding lithic technology in Brazil, as well as educating the general public about Brazilian archaeology.


How Warped the Loom. An Examination of Loom Traces on Woven Cloth (paper)
Jo Duke1
1 Independent Researcher, Ontario, Canada

Sometime between 1000 and 1800 CE, for much of Europe, there was a transition from weaving cloth on upright warp weighted looms to horizontal floor looms. This transition includes the addition of a reed beater as part of the mechanism of the loom and a switch from the warp being held under tension by loom weights to its supply and tensioning from a second beam.  
One key question is: can the loom type be determined based on the textile remains, often small fragments, and, if so, what features are the most useful to look for?  
To address this, replicates of selected textile finds from Europe and the North Atlantic have been woven using each of the two loom types and the qualities of the replicated fabrics have been examined for discriminating features. Focus was placed on the amount of draw in, the spacing of the threads, and the regulation of the warp tension.  The use of a reed reduces draw in and adds uniformity to the spacing of warp threads.  It also removes the need for a separate beater, and therefore changes how evenly the weft threads are packed in the cloth. The addition of a second beam may also reduce draw in and regulates the tension of the warp while weaving.


Oxygen and Temperature may be the Driving Factors in Deciding the Types of Necrobiome in a Wrapped Microenvironment (paper)
Branka Franicevic1
1 The School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences, University of Bradford, UK

Human behavioural factors including mutilation and dismemberment may alter the growth and activity of necrobiome in the absence of necessary gastrointestinal organs. Depositional settings of individual body parts are in addition inadequately researched, leaving long-term implications for their location and recovery. The present study assessed the early decomposition of wrapped body parts using the domestic pig (Sus scrofa) as an animal analogue. The aim was to evaluate how the remains decompose under differing temperature levels, as tested by Viable Count, Gram stain, and cadaver biomass measurement. The analyses proved ambient temperature to significantly impact biomass loss of the remains. The results demonstrated differential decomposition between body parts and indicated facultative aerobic and anaerobic bacteria to be responsible for the decay. The controls suggested oxygen hindered the decay and demonstrated a specific decomposition pattern in reduced oxygen settings. This study advances taphonomic knowledge of individual body parts in the absence of flies and insects, important for replication in controlled conditions. The findings further serve as a base for field studies, of interest to a broader field of the medico-legal sphere, from pathologists to forensic anthropologists.

Keywords: Sus scrofa, necrobiome, body wrapping, taphonomy, biomass loss


Vounous Symposium: Present and Future Plans (paper)
E. Giovanna Fregni1
1 Independent Researcher, Modena, Italy

The Vounous Symposium started in 2014 as an ambitious project led by a small group of ceramic artists who wanted to recreate the Archaic Age sculptures and art of Ayia Irini in Northern Cyprus. The Temple Area there was excavated by teams from Sweden, and most of the artifacts that were recovered were sent to that country. Their loss to Cyprus created a cultural vacuum that has been felt to this day. Using clay and materials from the same sources as the people of the Archaic Age of the region, they made replicas of the effigy statues and set up a permanent exhibit in the town hall near the ancient Temple. 
After the completion of the project in Ayia Irini, Rauf Ersenal and his team saw the need for an ongoing project combining art, archaeology, and experimental archaeology to explore the local craft technology of the Bronze Age. This vision has evolved into the annual Vounous Symposium, where artists, researchers, and archaeologists have come together since 2017 to explore craft work and to conduct experiments incorporating ancient techniques using materials from the same sources that were in use in the Bronze Age.
Past symposia have included lectures by renowned researchers on ancient ceramic firing technology and the chemistry of terra sigilata. Experiments have also been made in recreating objects in oxidised ceramic firing, faience, and in smelting local copper ore. The ultimate goal of the symposium is to create a permanent open-air museum where research, lectures, and seminars can be held throughout the year.


Size Matters? Evaluating Correlation between Wide to Thickness Ratio and Breakage Patterns during Cinegetic Activities of Upper Solutrean Hunter-Gatherers. The Winged and Stemmed Points Case (paper)
Martín Julio García Natale1, Samuel Castillo Jiménez2
1 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
2 Departamento de Historia y Filosofía, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Winged and stemmed foliate points were one the main hunting weapons during the upper Solutrean technocomplex of Southwest Europe (∼21 – 18 ka cal BP). In this contribution we aim to understand breakage patterns during hunting activities related to tipometric values. We focus on the archaeological record of the upper Solutrean layers of the Parpalló Cave (Valencia) and Ambrosio Cave (Almería), where a large winged and stemmed foliate point collection has been recorded during the excavation process. Both of these sites have been chosen because this type of weapon was crafted with different tipometric values, being the Parpalló ones wider and thinner than the Ambrosio ones. Based on previous experiments, our hypothesis is based on the statement that wide to thickness ratio may be related with the type of fracture produced by impact during hunting activities.
We aim to test this hypothesis by means of an experimental protocol. To achieve this goal, we designed an experiment involving four steps: 

  1. technological analysis of the upper Solutrean winged and stemmed foliate points by means of revisiting all the papers focused on this topic. 
  2. experimental replication of both subgroups of points. 
  3. recreation of hunting activities using the experimental points. 
  4. comparison of breakage patterns between both groups. 

Our results will contribute to the understanding of techno-economic behaviors of upper Solutrean hunter-gatherers.

borderFirst View on Functions of Bronze Age Pottery Vessels from Southwest Poland (poster)
Aleksandra Gawron-Szymczyk1
1 University of Wrocław, Poland

Ceramic vessels make large collections and the studies, according to a long-lasting Central European archaeological perspective, are focused mostly on their shapes (typology), chronology and provenance analyses. From the beginning of the Bronze Age, we can observe an unprecedented formal richness of clay vessels. 
This poster presents first results of microscopic observations of use-alteration traces found on pottery vessels from the large settlement Wrocław-Widawa (late Bronze Age, ca. 900-750 BC)) and the urnfield at Miłosławice (late Bronze to early Iron Age, ca. 1100-550 BC). To explain origins of the observed microtraces (abrasion, scratches, chemical attritions) it was necessary to conduct a series of experiments. The results allow us to answer the question of whether vessels for storing, processing and serving food be identified, and how their morphology reflects the presumed function(s). Moreover, analysis of collections from both settlement and cemetery allows to compare the use patterns for every day and funeral purposes.

borderPhytoliths Reference Collection from the Experimental Perspective (paper)
Aleksandra Gawron-Szymczyk1
1 University of Wrocław, Poland

Phytoliths, defined as plant opal silica bodies, are the most resistant botanical remains in archaeological contexts. They may be collected directly from soil deposits and archaeological artefacts, such as grinding tools. Phytoliths identification requires reference samples. They are taken from modern plants and prepared with the use of two different methods: dry ashing technique or treatment with chemical agents. However, available reference collections of phytoliths include narrow range of plant samples from Central Europe. Also, relatively little Neolithic plant macroremains are preserved from this area. 
My study is a part of the research project focused on understanding the Neolithic agriculture, crop processing and diet and includes the analysis of microremains from grinding tools of the Linear Pottery culture (LBK) in SW Poland (ca. 5400-4900/4800BC). Firstly, I propose an alternative, experimental method of collecting reference samples of phytoliths directly from plants added as admixture to clay and preserved as the archaeobotanical macroscopic remains inside daub lumps. Before the process of sonication and chemical extraction the plant species of macroremains were macroscopically defined. Second part of my experimental project is aimed in understanding the cognitive value of phytolith studies collected from the Neolithic grinding tools excavated decades ago and to check the contamination possibility. For this reason, I check the possible presence of phytoliths on the polishing slabs and adzes excavated from the same Neolithic contexts.
This study is part of a project supported by the National Science Centre, Poland (2020/38/E/HS3/00285).

borderReconstructing the Workshop from Viborg Søndersø: New Insights into Viking Wooden Building Construction (paper)
Jim Glazzard1, Aimée Little1, Steve Ashby1
1 YEAR Centre, Department of Archaeology, University of York, UK

This paper will present the methodology and interim findings of a project that brings together experimental archaeology, artefact studies, and the social use of space.
The aim is to understand the daily experience of non-ferrous metalworkers of Viking-age Britain and Scandinavia using actualistic methods. The first task involved reconstructing a Viking-age workshop at the YEAR Centre, at the University of York. 
The workshop chosen for reconstruction was excavated at Viborg Søndersø, Denmark, in 2001. While this initially seemed to be a straightforward task, with the 3 by 5 metre building being an ideal size for a reconstructed workshop, the idiosyncrasies of the original building have resulted in new insights into Viking age wooden building construction.
Lessons learned from the construction process have provided a better understanding of the original building: giving insights into the most likely methods used, including the identification of specific challenges likely faced by the original builders. These, in turn, have implications for the interpretation of the building, the methods used to build it, and the status of the artisans who worked there.
The result is that this workshop, which has been characterised as a “primitive hut” from the excavated remains, emerges as a deliberately sited, carefully built structure, well suited to the work carried out inside. The idiosyncrasies of the structure can then be explained in terms of the building methods, and materials used.

borderStypsis, Wine and Resin – Technology of Scented Oil Production from Bronze Age Aegean and Beyond (paper)
Katarzyna Gromek1
Independent Researcher, USA

The key step in preparation of fragrant oils was pretreatment of carrier oil with ingredients like coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum) or sweet flag (Acorus calamus) in presence of gentle heat and wine or water. This process, called stypsis, was described as necessary to prepare carrier oil for acceptance of final aromatics, to extend its shelf life and to make the product astringent. 
While the first detailed description of stypsis in the Mediterranean region comes from fourth century BC text of Theophrastus, we have earlier insights from Linear B tablets from Late Helladic III period which recorded basic ingredients used in perfumery. Wine and resin were among the ingredients mentioned, which suggest that manufacturing of scented oils and wine was related. 
Wines of Bronze Age were often resinated, where resins from Pistacia terebinthus or Pinus halepensis were added as preservatives. Resinated wine mixed with the carrier oil during the stypsis was a transient ingredient, which was carefully removed by evaporation or decanting to prevent oil from becoming rancid. The chemicals from resins may have been transferred to the final product and eventually served as fixatives. 
I have evaluated multiple combinations of ingredients used in preparation of carrier oil (presence or absence of wine, resinated or without resin) to evaluate both resistance to spoilage and the maturation process which has been ongoing for nearly four years.
Though analysis of surviving samples of scented oils has not detected any wine degradation products so far, my work on carrier oil processing clearly indicates that the quality and shelf life of the final products is best preserved by using resinated wine during stypsis. 

borderExperimental Beadmaking with Roman Glass (paper)
Sue Heaser1
Glass Bead Archaeology Studio, Suffolk, United Kingdom

My research on Early Medieval glass beads from Britain and Europe involves replicating ancient monochrome and polychrome beads to identify the making and decorating techniques. I use only replica tools and a heat source of similar temperatures to the likely furnaces used then. This has led to a greater understanding of the techniques of ancient beadmakers which has fine-tuned bead categories and identified beads that were probably made by single individuals or those from one workshop. 
I used modern soda-lime beadmakers’ glass from Murano that has similar chemical constituents to ancient glasses as shown from XRF and other analyses. But it was important to be sure that this glass behaved in a similar way in the flame to the ancient glasses. I needed to study the physical properties of the ancient glass, its melting point, working temperature range and behaviour in the flame. 
Roman glass was widely used for beadmaking in early medieval times, so I approached the Museum of London. They kindly supplied me with a quantity of Roman cullet (waste glass) to experiment on. My presentation will show the results of my experiments with videos of replica beadmaking, and photographs of beads made from Roman glass, compared with excavated beads of the period. My tests show that Roman glass behaves almost identically in the flame to the modern soda-lime glass which proves that the techniques I have discovered are valid. I will also show the results from colouring Roman glass with the same metallic oxides found in ancient glass to create colourful polychrome replica beads.

borderIs it Worth Curating? Production, Use and Maintenance of the Neolithic Metabasite-Made Macrolithic Tools (paper)
Bernadeta Kufel-Diakowska1, Marcin Chłoń1, Michał Borowski2, Radomir Tichý3Karel Kučírek4, Martin Drahorád4, Aleš Panáček4
University of Wrocław, Poland
2 Independent Researcher, Poland
3 Department of Archaeology, University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic
4 Archeopark of Prehistory Všestary, Czech Republic

For the early farming societies macrolithic tools were essential part of the equipment used in day-to-day activities, such as agricultural practices, food preparation, construction works and making craft. Among the wide range of rock types, metabasites from the Bohemian Massif played a dominant role as a raw material for tool's production in the Linear Pottery culture (LBK). It was used for making ground stone tools with a cutting edge. The high value of metabasite-made tools is evidenced by frequent finds from the Central European LBK contexts located at a great distance from the outcrops. However, the organization of the technological process, function and maintain of tools is poorly recognised. In our study we focus on the life cycle of the metabasite-made tools, that includes manufacturing, distribution, type of activities performed, methods of hafting, tool's modifications, and repairs. We present results of the microscopic observations of 70 objects from the LBK sites in SW Poland (Strzelin 16, Skoroszowice 1 and Strachów 2/2a). The group of analysed tools includes shoe-last adzes, axes, hoes, chisels and handstones modified from adzes. Experimental works provided the reference collection for the interpretation of use-wear and production traces observed on the Neolithic tools.
Studies are supported by the National Science Centre (NCN), Poland, decision No: 2020/38/E/HS3/00285.

borderKilns, Fire and Archaeologists. A Methodology for investigating Pottery Combustion Structures through Experiments (paper)
Bogdan Manea1, Vasile Opriș2, Theodor Ignat2, Cătălin Lazăr1
ArchaeoSciences Division, ICUB, University of Bucharest, Romania
2 Bucharest Municipality Museum, Romania

Over time, experimental studies on ancient pottery combustion structures have addressed five main issues: firing techniques and combustion atmospheres, thermal variations (maximum temperatures, heating rate and soaking time), time of firing and fuelling, type and quantity of fuel, and the use of different types of firing installations (kilns, pits or bonfires). While it is undeniable that these data sets are essential in studying such features, by expanding the types of information that can be collected from experiments, archaeologists can provide better insights on the overall process of pottery manufacture, during different well-defined spatial-temporal frameworks.
The current paper will present the results of the 2018 and 2019 experimental archaeology campaigns carried out at Sultana-Malu Roșu (Romania) which involved the manufacture and use of a Chalcolithic up-draught two-chambered kiln discovered at Luka Vrublevetkaia (Ukraine). The recording strategy will be discussed in detail and all material, quantitative, constructive, temporal and thermal information will be systematically presented. Likewise, data on labor, physical effort, problems encountered and solutions adopted, will be included for each of the operational sequences. 
In the end, this type of approach has the potential of revealing multiple hidden elements regarding technology (harvesting raw materials/construction/use/efficiency/final products) and human factor (tasks, time and energy management), thus offering a broader perspective on decision making and human/environment interaction. 
This work was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Digitisation, contract number 41PFE/30.12.2021, within PNCDI III. 

Keywords: combustion structures, recording strategy, technology, human factor, Chalcolithic  

borderNot just for food: processing Unio sp. shells at the Gumelnița communities (mill. V BC)  (paper)
Monica Mărgărit1, Valentin Radu2
Valahia University of Târgoviște, Romania
2 National Museum of Romanian History, Bucharest, Romania

The importance of aquatic resources as a food source for prehistoric communities located in the proximity of major waterways has already been documented. These resources appear to have had a nutritional as well as a technological and social significance. Chalcolithic communities at the Lower Danube exploited freshwater shells of the Unio species for food and their valves for the manufacture of various artifacts. Shells of the Unio sp. processed to be made into personal adornments are discovered from several settlements of Gumelnița culture (the second half of the 5th millennium BC). These assemblages include pieces in different phases of transformation, from irregular splinters, to finished pieces in the shape of circular beads used as personal adornments. In this study, the raw material was interpreted as local, obtained as a by-product of the gathering process. In order to identify the costs invested in the manufacturing of this type of items, both in point of time and in point of effort, we have developed an experimental program, allowing us to record all the variables (raw material acquisition, technological stages, time recorded for each operation, tools used, evolution of the wear following the usage etc.). Finally, the items were put together in a bracelet, tracking the evolution of the surface wear and of the perforation, which would allow us an evaluation of the use of archaeological pieces. Our approach illustrates how experimental archaeology can contribute next to technological and use-wear analysis, to the reconstruction and understanding of the ways of life (whether economic, technological or cultural) of Gumelnița communities.

border“Look at the Bones!” - Adding Bone in a Bloomery Iron Smelt. A Case Study of a practical experimental Test (paper)
Darrell Markewitz1
the Wareham Forge, Ontario, Canada

Through 2019, much was made in the popular press suggesting that during the Viking Age, exhumed human bone had been used in the chain of production from iron ore through to finished swords. Contradicting this, considerable experience with small scale direct reduction process bloomery iron smelting furnaces indicated that at least while creating the iron itself, the effect of adding bone would be minimal, if any. To establish what kind of physical traces that might remain if quantities of bone were added during smelting, in June 2020 a full furnace build and firing was undertaken with a range of animal bones added, then the resulting debris field recorded. 
The concept, design and implementation of this experiment is discussed, and how limits on methods, instrumentation and analyzing results shaped the final conclusions. This discussion suggests how even a simple experiment, if carefully recorded, can add to the body of available knowledge, and may prove insightful both educators and other investigators. 


The Contribution of different Generations of Experiments on understanding the Function of past Human Technologies and the Character of early Hominin Decision-making Processes (paper)
Joao Marreiros1,2,3, Ivan Calandra1, Geoff Carver1, Walter Gneinsinger1, Eduardo Paixao1,3,4, Jerome Robitaille1, Lisa Schunk5,1
1 TraCEr, Laboratory for Traceology and Controlled Experiments at MONREPOS Archaeological Research Centre and Museum for Human Behavioural Evolution, RGZM, Germany
2 Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archeology, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany
3 ICArEHB, Interdisciplinary Center for Archaeology and Evolution Human Behaviour,4 The Hebrew University Algarve, Faro, Portugal
4 Institute of Archaeology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
5 University of Wrocław, Poland 

Identifying and understanding changes in past human technologies over time is key to reconstruct the behavioural dynamics that characterized major evolutionary steps in our human ancestry. Archaeologists heavily rely on the experimental replication of past technological systems and artifacts to fully understand how technologies were produced, designed, and eventually used. During the last decades archaeological experimentation has been focusing not only on replicating past tool production and use but also the nature of artifact variability observed in the archaeological record. Apart from reconstructing the demands for such technological shifts and inferring on what they tell us about changes in human behaviour, topics such as the variability of raw materials are fundamental to identify and comprehend early decision-making processes in hominin ecological and cultural dynamics.
Recently, several researchers have debated the role of variable control on experimental design and organization. For the replication of modes of production and use of artifacts, researchers advocate the need for implementing and combining different generations of experimentation. 
Our talk aims at presenting and discussing the distinctiveness and complementarity between the different generations of experiments, with emphasis on their contribution to the field of use-wear analysis. For each category of experiment, different aspects concerning their objectives, design, sample preparation protocols, variable control, and outcome are discussed.
From our perspective, experimental organization and design are important methods within use-wear studies. By discussing and introducing new categories of experiments, we highlight how different generations of experiments aim at different goals and should be combined to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of past technologies.

borderBreaking Through the Copper Curtain: Archaeological Experiment of Copper Ore Beneficiation and Smelting in Chalcolithic Technology (paper)
Inbar Meyerson1, Omri Yagel1, Erez Ben-Yosef1
Tel Aviv University, Israel

This study presents an experiment that aims to reconstruct Chalcolithic copper production in the southern Levant region (4500-3800 BCE) with a particular focus on the importance of the beneficiation stage. While previous research on ancient copper smelting has often centered on variables related to furnace design and operation, it is now recognized that the unique characteristics of individual ore bodies, including the nature of the host rock, the quantity and purity of minerals, and trace elements, can affect multiple stages of the smelting process. The beneficiation stage, which involves labor-intensive and repetitive tasks such as collecting, processing, and selecting raw materials, is often underrepresented in archaeometallurgical research and experiments.
To address this gap in knowledge, we conducted an experiment in 2020 using ore from the Timna Valley in the southern Levant and focusing specifically on the beneficiation stage. Our results demonstrate that this stage is crucial to the success of ancient metal production. The beneficiation process was carried out at various stages of the production chain using traditional methods, and we used pXRF analysis to show the increased copper values in the ore after each stage. In addition, we documented the experiment in as much detail as possible, including times, locations, weights, and images, in order to facilitate comparison with other experiments and enable replication of our results in the future.


Experimental Archeology as a Tool for Understanding the Cultural Changes of Bone Artifacts from four Brazilian Early Holocene Sites
Gabriela S. Mingatos1, 2, Mercedes Okumura2
1 LAPEEX. Laboratory for Evolutionary and Experimental Archaeology and Prehistory, FURG, Brazil
2 LEEH. Laboratory for Human Evolutionary Studies, USP, Brazil

This presentation aims to present results obtained with the use of experimental archeology to understand the production of bone tools from four Brazilian sites dated from the Early Holocene: Lapa do Santo (Minas Gerais state), GO-JA 01 (Goias state), Tunas (Parana State) and Garivaldino (Rio Grande do Sul state). Protocols were created for both the replication and the analysis of archaeological artifacts. Whenever possible, we used the same raw materials in the replication of artifacts (for example, polishing stones), however, in some cases we had to use similar but not identical raw materials (such as bones of sheep instead of deer, given the low availability of the later). Our results indicate different ways of producing artifacts among the studied sites, as well as changes and continuities of certain bone tools through time. The observed singularities in the manufacture of these artifacts demonstrate the presence of important cultural differences among past human groups in the Early Holocene in Brazil. Finally, our research can be the first step to propose future analyses to understand the potential uses of these bone tools, in order to help refine the current nomenclature of such artifacts.


All You Need is Mud: How Open-Air Museums can Champion Sustainability in the Built Environment (paper)
Caroline Nicolay1
1 Pario Gallico, UK

In August 2022 the new definition of “museum” accepted at the ICOM General conference recognised the key role museums and open-air museums now play in developing inclusivity, diversity, community engagement and, most importantly here: sustainability. 
The importance of history, archaeology, and the study of life in the past to help answer very modern questions about sustainable living has been officially recognised. I strongly believe that open air museums can lead the way, especially in terms of sustainable architecture / construction. 
From reconstructed buildings and experiments to modern structures for staff and visitor access, making archaeological open-air museums more sustainable themselves is key. Bringing together modern natural architecture specialists and archaeology professionals seems like the perfect place to start. 
But open-air museums can do much more than make their own construction projects more sustainable: they can champion sustainable architecture by supporting natural building and heritage crafts professionals, providing safe spaces to experiment, offering teaching /learning opportunities to a wider, more diverse, audience and by showcasing both ancient and modern building techniques using local, natural, sustainable materials.
This might sound familiar to many listeners, but key connections are rarely made between museums and the modern natural building world. They can also be unbalanced and lead to misinterpretation and misinformation. 
This paper will present various construction projects and experiments from the UK and France to try to define ways open air museums could develop and support sustainability in the built environment. 


From Mould to Earth: Experimental and Traceological Study of Lusatian Socketed Axes (paper)
Kamil Nowak1, Albin Sokół2, Dawid Sych3
Institute of Archaeology, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland
2 Archaeological Museum in Biskupin, Poland
3 Scientific Association of Polish Archaeologists, Upper Silesian Branch, Poland

Socketed axes are one of the most common types of artifacts from the European Late Bronze Age. A local variant known as Lusatian socketed axes, distinguished by their characteristic ornamentation, has been the subject of our interest for many years.
For over a decade, we have been working on creating a database of traces of production and use-wear that have been found on the surfaces of artifacts from various contexts, such as graves, hoards, and settlements. Recorded traces are diverse and correlate with patterns observed by other scholars. The influence that conservation has on the preservation of traces of production and use-wear has also been a focus of our research.
To better understand and interpret recorded traces of production and use-wear, we have conducted a series of experiments with replicas of Lusatian socketed axes that focus on production and use. We reconstructed a workshop of a Lusatian metallurgist and made metal tools based on the available source materials. By reconstructing the casting process and experimenting with the use of these axes, we have obtained a wealth of data that enables us to reconstruct the biographies of these objects, from casting to deposition.
Our research demonstrates that a comprehensive database of traces obtained from replicas are necessary for accurately interpreting the biographies of Lusatian socketed axes and understanding the factors that influenced their deposition.

Keywords: traceology, experiment, late bronze age, lusatian socketed axes


“Slugs” of the Itaparica Tradition, an experimental Approach of the GO-JA-01 Collection (paper)
José Lucas Otero Couto1, Sibele Aparecida Viana1, Edilson Teixeira1
Instituto Goiano de Pré-história e antropologia, Pontifícia Universidade católica de Goiás, Goiânia, Brazil

The Itaparica Tradition is an archaeological culture defined mostly by the technological, geographical, and temporal persistence of a certain kind of lithic instrument known as "Slugs" or Plano-Convex. These instruments hold a particular production technology, defined by the Itaparica Technocomplex and are present in several sites across the Central Brazil area during the Pleistocene-Holocene transition. The purpose of this research is to investigate, by means of experimental archaeology, the operational chains of production and subsequent use of the lithic tools found in the archaeological site GO-JA-01, located in Serranópolis, Brazil, present in substrates dated as far back as cal.12.685 - 12.674 BP.
We created an experimental protocol based on the techno-functional analysis of 10 archaeological instruments from the site, this way we intend to create a basis for the creation of replicas, understood not only as the final product, but the entire chain of gestures and decision-making involved in its production, thus contributing to the replicability of the experiment and relevance of the replicas. We undertook an experimental process, which involved collecting similar raw material in the Serranópolis region, formatting cores (material that is absent in the archaeological record of GO-JA-01), debiting of support-flakes, façonage of the support-flakes and finally, use of the produced replicas in an activity of processing and preserving animal hide, presenting analyses, observations, and documentation of each step.
Through this experimental process we were able broaden the possibilities of interpretation about the debiting of supports necessary to manufacture these instruments and propose a viable use for them while also observing their life cycle through the process of usage.


Tarquinia’s Tablets: A Reconstruction of Tablet Weaving Patterns found on the Tomb of the Triclinium’s Left Wall (paper)
Richard Joseph Palmer1
University of Kentucky, USA

The revival of tablet weaving and its study has been primarily focused on Northern European designs from the Iron Age to the medieval period. These designs are very impressive and include opulence such as wide weaves using dozens of tablets, dizzying patterns, and inclusions of gold thread and silk. Iron Age Northern Italian and Mediterranean tablet weaves were used in many of the same applications as their Northern European counterparts, but less archaeology has been done on the tablet weaves originating from these areas. The designs for these patterns primarily survive in the art and architecture of the Mediterranean. This experiment takes the surviving art, depicting clothing from the Tomb of the Triclinium in Tarquinia, and reconstructs both the patterns and the tablets depicted. The few surviving tablet woven fragments from Etruria will help fill in the gaps of knowledge, alongside other textile studies from the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. This starts with spinning thread on spindle whorls, recreating the proper thread width, and ends with finished tablet weaves and published patterns. In reconstructing these few patterns and tablets, the door can be opened for more Etruscan and Classical study and tablet weaving reconstructions to join the well-developed experimental archaeology of Northern European textiles.


Identification of Plants in Mud Building Materials. An Experimental Archaeology Project (poster)
María Pastor Quiles1
1 University of Alicante, Spain

Archaeological daub gathers elements, visible both on a macroscopic and microscopic level, studied by many different disciplines: from geology and chemistry to botany. Among the imprints that may be observed with the naked eye in these earthen architectural remains, the ones corresponding to plant materials are prominent in most cases. But characterising in detail and interpreting these vegetal imprints of now lost plant remains can be difficult and also requires specialised expertise. The non-archaeobotanist, when studying daub, may do not know where to start searching for possible elements that match her/his hypothesis of which plant material was used in combination with mud, even ending in a fruitless search of images on the Internet. To allow a much more complete and integrated study of past construction, we need to bring closer archaeobotany and daub studies, through multidisciplinary research and tools that help us in this task. And when we specialists analyse these imprints in archaeological remains and try to identify the original elements, we do that with an image that is indirect and partial, because impressions are found in architectural rubble, fragments of collapsed constructions. In addition, imprints can be badly preserved or transformed by different factors, like heat or humidity. To make material studies of past earthen building more complete and more accurate and get to know better the relationship between humans and nature in the past, we are developing an experimental reference collection of plant impressions. With this project we will develop at the same time a new method, database, and tool, that scientists and society in general can consult and benefit from.


Archaeological Experiments in the Study of the Textile Economy of the Wielbark Culture (paper)
Magdalena Przymorska-Sztuczka1
Archaeological Museum in Biskupin, Poland

In my research work, I focus on understanding the textile economy of the communities inhabiting the territory of today's Poland in the late Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Rarely archaeologists do have the opportunity to study both textile tools and fabrics, which were made with them. In the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age, the custom of cremation of the dead prevailed in most areas of Poland, which is why textiles from this period are rare finds. In addition, textile tools are mainly found in settlements. The situation changes in the Roman period. Part of the Polish lands in this period was inhabited by people associated with the so-called Wielbark culture. They practised both cremation and inhumation funeral rituals. It is why in the skeletal graves of representatives of the Wielbark culture fragments of fabrics and textile tools have been preserved: mainly spindle whorls and needles, but also the remains of the spindles themselves in the form of the so-called hooked pins with wooden residue of the shaft. Receiving research funding from the National Science Center (grant no. 2021/40/C/HS3/00121) made it possible to conduct comprehensive analyzes of textiles and textile tools from three cemeteries of the Wielbark culture population from Czarnówko, Lubowidz and Wilkowo. As part of the research, a number of experimental works were carried out, e.g. in the field of spinning and dyeing fabrics. This made it possible to compare the parameters and quality of the threads used in the archaeological fabrics discovered in these three necropolises with the yarn obtained during experiments with copies of spindles from the same sites.


Teeth, Fibre-Crafts, and Health: What Experimental Archaeology can tell us about the Textile Workers of the Ancient World (paper)
Anita Radini1
University College Dublin, Ireland

The production of textiles is one of the most important activities in human history. Textile workers in the past (and in modern times) could experience very unhealthy working conditions with serious impact on their physical wellbeing.  Microscopic remains of fibres such as cotton, bast fibres and wool have been retrieved from an unusual deposit on ancient human teeth: dental calculus. 
Dental calculus, also known as tartar, consists of mineralised dental plaque (a biofilm formed on teeth by bacterial activity in the oral cavity). During its formation, dental calculus can entrap in its matrix a wider range of materials, including fibres and microscopic parts of dye plants. 
Evidence of fibres in the dental calculus matrix is widespread across different periods in human history and diverse geographic locations but it is difficult to interpret. This paper discusses the use of experimental archaeology in addressing the topic of textile fibres in ancient human dental calculus. It aims to assess to which extent such remains can be used, in combination with other archaeological parameters, to track the textile workers of the ancient world from their skeletal remains and how such work may have affected their health.


Turning Roman Columns on the Lathe: Experimental Approach and Archaeological Analysis of Artefacts from North-Eastern Gaul (paper)
Nicolas Revert1 Brice Brigaud2
RMA Roman Archaeology, Lille University, France
2 RMA Archaeology of Roman Construction, Besançon University, France

Many buildings and quarries throughout the roman empire display elements of columns that bear unmistakable hints of them having been turned on a lathe: small accidental concentric grooves and ridges as well as specific types of mortises on one or both extremities. No iconography or written source may help us reconstruct such a machine.
Therefore, experimental lathes – vertical or horizontal – have been proposed in the last twenty years, first of all in the Saintonge region, where a roman turning workshop was identified. The vertical lathe that was created by the Fabri Tignvarii was entirely built out of wood and was used to turn seven column drums in a relatively soft limestone. For the first time, this process was carried out in the context of an experimental building worksite. After the unavoidable manual hewing that takes several hours, the turning process can achieve a satisfactory cylindrical
drum in less than an hour. This experiment highlights the importance of the hewing technique, as well as the minute details of a proper mortise. The difficulties faced during experimentation were the same in ancient times. Indeed, lapidary traces on stone artefacts analysed in the Lorraine region of North-Eastern France show minor defects that hint at the partial failure of the process. Nonetheless, the proportion of column elements that were turned on the lathe is extremely high, sometimes systematic. Far from a marginal activity, stone turning contributed to the democratisation of stone architecture, in urban contexts as well as the countryside.


Belting Up; Building Technical Literacies in the History of Technology Through Experimental Archaeology (paper)
Michael Roberts1
York University, Toronto, Canada

While graduate history programmes usually require language literacies, technical literacies are not seen as necessary or teachable skills, and most programmes lack both facilities and methods to help researchers develop them. Outside the academy, however, there are extensive resources for learning the skills, habits, and sensitivities associated with the technology of the past.  In this paper, I argue that neither archives nor artifactual remains can be fully interpreted without access to the tacit, sensory, and procedural knowledge historical actors took for granted, and that to achieve this access, academic historians must widen their understanding of how historical research is conducted.
Referencing the work of William Marshall (1745-1818), as well as more familiar works on participant observation, I offer one potential strategy for formalizing knowledge gained through experiential methods. I will illustrate the benefits of this type of work through my own readings of rural engineer’s diaries conducted in the context of extensive experiential work which I began prior to returning to academic study.  Some of this work has been conducted within a continuous teaching tradition that reaches back to the historical actors I study, and some is the product of reconstruction; I will present some preliminary notes on the advantages and draw-backs of these different methods.
Technical literacies are as important to the study of the past as language skills, but they have been undervalued within the academy. This paper contributes to a growing effort to include and learn from scholars outside the university tradition, and to recognize that “other” ways of knowing are crucial to a full understanding of the past.

Can we identify handedness on the Gönnersdorf plaquettes? An experimental approach on the lateralisation of Upper Palaeolithic engravers (poster)
Jérôme Robitaille1 Lisa-Elen Meyering2
1 Monrepos, RGZM, Neuwied, Germany 
2 Durham University, United Kingdom

This poster will detail the mechanisms of engraving, in particular our attempt to understand lateralisation, on the 16.000-year-old Gönnersdorf plaquettes featuring Upper Palaeolithic artistic marks. To understand the technical gestures of any engraver, it is essential to gain insights into the exact tasks that were carried out, i.e. the functional principles to satisfy a specific goal. To infer prehistoric behaviour and in particular artistic lateralisation from the archaeological record, it is necessary for us to identify how a line is drawn, i.e. engraved. The latter implies an established relationship between the engraver’s body, the direction of the engraved line, the engraver’s tool and the plaquette itself. We will present a series of experiments to analyse usewear and signs of manipulation on the Gönnersdorf plaquettes and propose a model specifying the technical modes an actor must perform under various conditions (e.g. constraints arising from uneven material). The results are then compared to the real archaeological plaquettes through microscopic 3D imaging.


Disentangling the complexity of the Gönnersdorf plaquette engravings: manual and robotic experiments (paper)
Jérôme Robitaille1 Lisa-Elen Meyering2
1 Monrepos, RGZM, Neuwied, Germany 
2 Durham University, United Kingdom

Engraving on portable materials has a long tradition within the records of the Upper Palaeolithic. Traces of usewear and striations on engraved objects have, however, been rarely studied and are thus poorly understood. The form and structure of an engraving depends on the type of tool, the engraver’s gestures and know-how and the mentality and collective imagination of their cultural group. Engravings bear a wealth of knowledge and can transport us back to key modes of decision making of the past. Even apparent simplicity entails a plethora of technical information. The enduring traces provide clues to prehistoric kinesics within time and space, often revealing information on the overall disposition and intention of the engravers themselves. 
Through manual as well as robotic experimentation, we will shed light on the way artists engraved the Gönnersdorf plaquettes, 16.000-year-old schist slabs featuring Upper Palaeolithic artistic marks. We will be able to share information on the laterality of the artists; the succession of the engravings; the extent of reuse of the plaquettes and the fact that, in some cases, different artists engraved on a single plaquette. To conclude our findings, we will even be able to reveal whether certain kinds of artistic details might have been unique to certain engravers, akin to personalised handwriting from the past.


Exploring Health and Dwelling Conditions for Prehistoric Groups Through Experimental Fires (poster)
Andrés Robledo1,2,3 & Ethel Allué1,2
Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES-CERCA), Spain
2 Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV). Departament d’Història i Història de l’art, Tarragona, Spain
3 Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades, Córdoba, Argentina

We present the first steps achieved on a research project, which aims to study the wellbeing of prehistoric human groups regarding the use of fire as central activity for daily purposes. This research explores the exposure of humans to by-products of burning through the implementation of experimental fires in different dwelling scenarios from Western Mediterranean prehistoric occupations. Experimental fires are planned at open air and in rock-shelters (Middle Paleolithic Abric Romaní, Capellades, Barcelona), hut campsite (Upper Paleolithic Molí del Salt, Vimbodí, Tarragona) and houses (Chalcolithic El Mirador, Atapuerca, Burgos). We present the design protocols for the experimental fires considering the different dwelling scenarios, fuel use (type, quantity and quality), duration and replicability according to each archeological case. Also, the measurements techniques used to model dwelling scenarios (air quality, radiative heat, temperature, light and fire residues analysis). These experiments will allow discussing the relationship between inhabited spaces (caves, open-air huts and houses) and the consequences of health status in situations involving fire. In addition, it will explore fuel management and the relationship between people and their environments comparing the results with the archaeological data in each study case. 


Replicating and Evaluating Thermal Alteration Processes on Lithic Materials, Microfauna and Botanical Remains for South American Archaeological Contexts (poster)
Andrés Robledo1,2, Camila Brizuela1,2, Julián Mignino1,2, Catalina Romanutti2, Ruth Lazarte2, Roxana Cattáneo1,2, Andrés Izeta1,2
Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Facultad de Filosofía y Humanidades, Córdoba, Argentina
2 CONICET, Instituto de Antropología de Córdoba (IDACOR), Córdoba, Argentina

In this occasion we present the first results achieved on a multiproxy experimental program that arises from studying open air and rockshelters archaeological sites of the Austral Pampean Hills (Córdoba, Argentina), where fire is an agent of alteration of various materials. The program aims to evaluate thermal alterations on botanicals remains (fruits, seeds and charcoal combustion and taphonomy), microfauna (owl pellets) and lithic materials (quartz) in order to develop a frame of reference for anthropic or natural modifications (forest fires). For this purpose, experimental fires were planned considering the use of firewood from three species used for prehistoric societies (Celtis tala, Vachellia caven and Neltuma nigra) from the Chaco forest. Environmental conditions (temperature, wind and sun exposure), fire hearth temperature and soil properties were measured. The experiments allow assessing alterations on quartz during its exposure to different temperatures in direct and indirect contact with the fire. At the same time, fruits and seeds from species identified in the archaeological record were added in order to measure anatomical and physiological thermal alterations comparing with reference collections and archaeological cases. Lastly, owl pellets were added in direct contact with the flames, embers and buried to evaluate thermal alterations on microvertebrates remains. We expect that these experiments will contribute to local and global archaeological research on taphonomy studies on alterations on microfauna, botanical and lithic remains.


Hands-On History: Teaching Experimental Archaeology in a School Setting (paper)
Nathalie Roy1
Glasgow Middle School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

My Roman Technology students recreate the products and processes of ancient Roman daily life through experimental archaeology. Each class is a hands-on history lab in which young teens (ages 10-14) learn about the ancient classical world by experiencing it first-hand. They have recreated the makeup recipes of Ovid and the hairstyles of marble statues, cooked biscuits based on the recipes of Cato the Elder, built brick kilns to fire pottery, crushed oak galls to make ink, etc. The class is a unique experience, but it doesn’t happen by magic. Planning and executing each unit of study is a complicated and time-consuming process.
In this paper session, I will talk about the specifics of the class and explain how I teach experimental archaeology to young students in practical terms. Specifically, I will discuss two large-scale projects to illustrate my process. In the first, creating a twenty-foot analemmatic mosaic sundial, students learned to cut stone tesserae and design and lay out a Roman-style mosaic. In the second, students built a full-scale Roman road through an open space on our campus. Through a series of ten steps, I will detail how I researched, planned activities, organized supplies, delegated work, reached out to experts, and taught the lessons all while giving the students the best experience possible.


Epistemological Trends in Experimental Archaeology From 1950 Onwards (paper)
Tine Schenck1
Mesolithic Resource Group, Norway

Epistemology is defined by the Oxford dictionary as "the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion." Epistemology dictates how we should do what we do to produce substantiated, justified knowledge. For instance, if one wishes to learn baking, the current trend is that one should 1) look up a recipe and 2) bake often.
Epistemologies can be difficult to define because they differ with culture, region, time, common sense, and paradigms. Just as the way research was done in the 1800s differs from how it was done in the 1970s, we see a different form of knowledge production in the experimental archaeology of Scandinavia than in that of North America. Whereas certain regions promote hard scientific ideals as the ultimate norm, others promote an experiential entry point into producing knowledge about e.g. technology, gestures and everyday life. From this melting pot of epistemological ideas, the experimental archaeological discourse has produced a multitude of codes of conduct, experiment guidelines and protocols.
This talk will address what the different trends have been from the 1950s onwards, and which are still very much present and dictating experimental research today. Especially codes for conduct vary a great deal still, with the result that not one methodology can truly be claimed to be the ideal way. Is actualism as critical as many feel it should be? Are statistical results always necessary? Can we produce justified knowledge in alternative ways?
With this talk, the author hopes to spark inspiration for looking at methods in a new way, and to open a discussion about what the chaîne opératoire of experimental archaeology should be going forward.


Manual Vs. Mechanised Experiments – Evaluating the Effect of Human Variability on Tool Performance and Use-Wear Formation (paper)
Lisa Schunk1,2, Ivan Calandra2, Walter Gneisinger2, João Marreiros2,3
 University of Wrocław, Poland
2 TraCEr. MONREPOS, LEIZA, Neuwied, Germany
3 ICArEHB, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal

The interpretation of past human lithic technologies is highly dependent on the understanding of tool function and use. Experiments are fundamental to assess tool function and to build a reference collection. Besides that, use-wear analysis allows for an identification of potential use activities.
Traditionally, experiments are performed manually; often to test initial interpretations or broader correlations. In contrast, mechanised, highly controlled experiments can test individual factors independently to identify diagnostic patterns. While manually conducted experiments may impact the interpretation of the archaeological record directly, mechanised experiments usually do not. To bridge both types, a comprehensive tri-parted experimental workflow was designed. Different, but complementary types of experiments were performed: highly controlled experiments (material tester), controlled experiments with human-like variation (robotic arm) and manual experiments. The overarching aim was to test whether the previously detected causal, mechanical relationships are still relevant when human variability is included. 
For all experiments, a defined number of cutting strokes of a given length were performed with standardised flint samples on artificial bone plates. Force, speed, and acceleration were controlled in both mechanised experiments.
The applied experimental trajectory allows for a comparison of tool performance. The developed use-wear on the samples was analysed for differences. 
This methodological approach highlights the importance of both mechanised as well as manual experiments to understand cause-effect relationships between individual variables and the formation of use-wear, within a larger framework of archaeological questions. The incorporation of “human” variability via the robotic arm demonstrates that the gap between both extremes of experiments can be filled reliably.   


Reconstructing the Pyrotechnological Development of The Harappans Using Ethnographic Parallels in The Region of Ghaggar, India (paper)
Garima Singh1
1 Deccan College, Pune, Maharashtra, India 

Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Culture, flourished in India and Pakistan owing to its technological advancements. The present paper aims to trace the emergence of pyrotechnology through documenting the industrial settlements that have been excavated in recent years, as well as locating the potential trading network for the craft items being produced at these small settlements on the outskirts of major Harappan cities such as Harappa, Mohenjodaro, etc. 
In the present paper, the author aims to focus on areas such as Binjor (4MSR), Tarkhanwala Dera, and Rakhigarhi in India's Ghaggar riverbed region. The reconstruction of kilns and furnaces based on the excavated remains considered through the experimental study, such as wheel motion and the quantification of fuel consumption in the production of pottery, including terracotta figurines, bead and copper objects. During her research, the author has documented more than 50 furnaces, attempting to find parallels between Harappan heat treatment and modern potters and smiths located on ancient mounds. 
The ethnographic similarities between Harappans and the contemporary villagers who continue to inhabit the archaeological mound will also be emphasized. The research also examines whether the technology utilised by the Harappans has changed, ranging from pottery manufacture to copper smelting, and what can be deduced from these experimental approaches to comprehend the technological prowess of their artisans.


Z for warp, S for weft. Investigating Choices of Yarn in English Medieval Textiles (paper)
Kat Stasinska1
1 AOC Archaeology, UK

Most Medieval textiles in England (9th to 15th centuries) were woven in a specific way: with threads of weft and warp twisted into a different direction (Z-spun yarn in the warp and S-spun yarn in the weft). It differed meaningfully from the technological choices of the earlier times (83 to 87% of early Anglo-Saxon textiles were woven with warp and weft threads twisted in the same direction). The reason for this change is not clear (with some researchers suggesting aesthetic choice or a foreign influence).  
My research aimed to discover the reason behind this transformation. I have woven several samples from the hand-spun fleece of a Shetland sheep (Medium type fleece, typical for late Anglo-Saxon England). I prepared 3 sets of samples: woven in 1. tabby, 2. simple twill and 3. broken diamond twill.  
I compared the physical properties of textiles woven in ZZ and ZS techniques. I focused on comparing:  

  • Strength (measured by applying weight and checking how much weight samples can take)  
  • Elasticity (measured by applying a stretching force and checking for deformation)  

I took under consideration an often-suggested possibility that the change in the weaving technology was a purely aesthetic choice. To investigate this option, I compared the difference in visual properties such as visibility of pattern and appearance when dyed (samples were dyed with madder, Rubia tinctorum - a dyestuff popular in Anglo-Saxon England). A poll in person was conducted to collect opinions about the appearance of samples woven in ZZ and ZS, both dyed and not dyed.


The Gislinge Boat Open Source Project: from experimental archaeology to outreach (paper)
Tríona Sørensen1
1 The Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, Denmark

The Gislinge Boat Open Source Project took place at the Viking Ship Museum from 2015-17. The idea behind the project was an entirely new one for the Museum, namely, to explore how open source approaches could be applied to experimental archaeology and boatbuilding. 
With the aim of getting people involved in building their own version of the Gislinge Boat - a 7.7 m long Danish boat-find dated to ca. 1125 AD - the working drawings for the boat were made available for free download and a programme of digital dissemination communicated all aspects of the building process, providing an informal ‘how-to guide’ to building the boat.
The initial results of the project were presented at EAC 11 in 2017. This paper will provide an updated account of what has happened in the interim. It’s now over seven years since the project was formally concluded at the Museum boatyard but it continues to have a life of its own online, thanks to the digital community social media provides. 
Selected case-studies of boats that have been built from as far afield as Normandy, France and Connecticut, USA, will examine the potential experimental archaeology has to reach out to, and engage with, a much wider community than the ‘traditional’ museum-going public, and how this in turn can generate new interest in experimental archaeology as a discipline. The impact the project has had on the Viking Ship Museum’s dissemination practice, and the extent to which it continues to influence our approaches to the documentation and communication of maritime experimental archaeology will also be explored, allowing an opportunity to reflect on the often-overlooked social aspects of museum outreach.


Experimental Archaeological Observation on the Base of Chinese Terracotta Xiao Flute Player Figurine (202 BC-220 AD) (paper)
Bangcheng Tang1
1 Baoding University, China

Terracotta xiao flute player figurines as burial artifacts were popular in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River during the Han Dynasty (202 B.C.-220 A.D.) in China. Combing through Chinese terracotta Xiao flute player figurines from different regions of the Han dynasty, it was found that a near-round or Yushang (an ancient Chinese drinkware)-shaped base was often placed underneath the xiao flute. This base type can also be found in African wooden flute player figurines. The reconstruction experiments of the base of the figurines was carried out by simulating the performance of a real person holding a flute using the base. The sound intensity was recorded and analyzed quantitatively using a digital sound meter combined with musicological analysis methods. The experimental results show that the base of the figurine can change the sound intensity of the played piece and support the weight of the player’s arm, which helps to reduce the player’s muscle soreness. Besides, the base may hold condensation inside the xiao produced from the play, which is assumed to have specific ceremonial meanings. The experiment of reconstructing the base of the terracotta xiao player figurine is a musical archaeology experiment from the perspective of experimental archaeology. We hope our experiments and results contribute to future research about similar topics in the archaeology community.

Keywords: Chinese terracotta, xiao flute player figurines, experimental archaeology


Revealing a Late Neolithic Pot-Baking Tradition Through Experimental Activity and Use-Alteration Analysis (paper)
Sergio Taranto1
1 ANAMED/Koç Universty of Istanbul, Turkey

The communication focuses on some of the final results of a doctoral research concerning a ceramic form, the so-called 'husking tray'. These were large oval trays with a scored inner surface used by communities throughout the Near East during the Late Neolithic. The research, through the adoption of a series of methodologies (ethnography, experimental archaeology, and use-alteration analysis), sheds new light on the function of this ceramic form.
In particular, this communication focuses on:

  • the experimental activity aimed at investigating the suitability of the husking tray with respect to the functional activities for which it was supposed to be used (intended function);
  • the use-alteration analysis carried out by comparing use-wear and residues on experimental replicas and archaeological finds (actual function).

The research has strongly suggested that the husking trays could have been used as pans for baking bread.

Keywords: Pottery function, Use-Alteration analysis, Experimental activity, Bread, Late Neolithic, Near East


Searching for ‘the true colors’ of the Eastern European Chalcolithic painting techniques, through experimental and archaeometrical approaches (paper)
Felix-Adrian Tencariu1, Ana Drob1, Maria-Cristina Ciobanu1
1 Universitatea Alexandru Ioan Cuza Iași, Iași, Romania

The Chalcolithic Cucuteni-Trypillia culture (~5000-3500 BCE) stands out within the Old Europe through the characteristics of its habitat (vast territory, mega-sites, housing architecture), technical achievements, spiritual and artistic manifestations, to name a few. Of these, the exquisite painted pottery has been the main focus of numerous typological, stylistic and technological (archaeometrical) studies. Although very promising, the painting techniques of the Cucuteni pottery were not sufficiently approached by experiment; the timid previous attempts were not systematic and did not generate valid premises. The archaeological data on which our experiments were based are the painted archaeological pottery; rare discoveries of tools and deposits of pigments used for painting; older and newer studies dealing with elemental analysis of paint samples throughout the Cucuteni-Trypillia civilization. The red, black and white preponderant colours derive mainly from mineral pigments comprising iron and manganese oxides, as well as various calcium compounds. At this stage we used raw oxides and calcium carbonate commercially available. These were combined with various bindings (organic and/or mineral) and applied as engobes and as paints on dozens of standardized clay plates; prior and/or after painting, various finishing techniques were applied to the clay surfaces (smoothing, burnishing). The samples were fired in an electric kiln at 900°C. Subsequently, a few selected techniques were applied on life size vessels, fired in an experimental kiln. Several samples of clay plates and experimental vessels were investigated using OM, SEM-EDX and micro-FTIR and compared with the archaeological data from which the experiments started. At the end of this stage, we have some hypotheses validated by experiment, noting that these are not necessarily the only techniques used by Cucuteni craftsmen to apply and bind the paints on their pottery.


Experimental Study of Grinding Installation (paper)
Ana Tetruashvili1, Davit Dolaberidze1, Tina Davadze2
1 Institute of Archaeology, Tbilisi State University, Georgia
2 Architect-restorer, Georgia

The present paper deals with the experimental study of the grinding installation, building an experimental model of the Grakliani Gora grinding installation and grinding grain on it.
Experimental work was divided into three stages: 

  1. The building process of grinding installation; 
  2. Usage of experimental grinding installation to grind the grain (wheat and barley) 
  3. Microscopic observation. 

The experimental work lasted 18 days. A man and a woman were involved in the construction. We used 400-470 kg clay for installation. 1 bundle of stubble and 70-80 pieces of cobblestone (10X10cm wide and 20X30cm long). The height of the experimental installation is 60 cm and the width is 95 cm. It exactly repeats the dimensions of the Grakliani Gora grinding installation, with the exception of the length - 157.5 cm instead of 135 cm, the increase of which was caused by the width of the querns. For basalt quern with flat working surface we choose flat or slightly concave upper stone, and the sandstone quern with a boat-shaped working surface - a one-handed or two-handed upper stone with convex working surface.
As for the grinding process, from 2 kg wheat we got:

  • 550 gr. bran
  • 1,400 gr. Coarsely ground flour
  • 50 gr. waste
  • 1,000 gr. fine flour left after grinding 1,400 gr. coarsely ground flour and 400 gr. Sifted mass.

From 2 kg Barley we received:

  • 600 gr. of bran
  • 1,300 gr. of coarsely ground flour
  • 100 gr. waste
  • After grinding 1,300 gr. Coarsely ground flour we got 900 gr. fine flour and 400 gr of sifted mass.

The project was supported by the FaRiG. 


Bone tubes from Corded Ware culture as sound generators/musical instruments. Reconstructing manufacture and usage (poster)
Dominika Tokarz1
1 University of Wrocław, Poland

This poster presents the results of an experiment on making a bone tube and testing its acoustic properties. The bone tubes that are the object of the reconstruction are associated with the Corded Ware culture. Such tubes were recorded in graves, mainly as single finds. An exception is an object from the Moravian site - Kostelec na Hané, which provided a set of bone tubes interpreted as a Pan flute. The experiment aims to answer three questions. The first question is about the manufacturing process, the time, materials, and efforts needed to prepare it according to a specific chain operation called a cognigram. The second question concerns the identification of manufacture traces on the bone tube using microscopic methods. The last question relates to the acoustic possibilities of the bone tubes. Acoustic examination includes sound testing during the preparation stages and comparison with the final product. The experiment resulted in detailed data on the bone tube manufacturing process, reference trace observations for use-wear analysis. It demonstrated the relationship between the shaping stage and the acoustic properties of the bone tube.


Prehispanic woodcrafts in the Canary Islands: technical processes and experimental program (paper)
Paloma Vidal-Matutano1, Antoni Palomo2Dorota Wojtczak1, Amelia Rodríguez3Idaira Brito-Abrante3, Jared Carballo-Pérez4, Kiara Ortega5, Salvador Pardo-Gordó6
1 UDI de Prehistoria, Arqueología e Historia Antigua, Departamento de Geografía e Historia, Universidad de La Laguna, Spain
2 Departament de Prehistòria, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
3 TARHA Research Group, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
4 BAPADNA Research Group, Departamento de Geografía e Historia, Universidad de La Laguna, Spain
5 Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
6 GISPRAYA Research Group, Departamento de Geografía e Historia, Universidad de La Laguna, Spain

The Canary Islands offer a rich archaeobotanical heritage, including the preservation by desiccation of wooden artefacts manufactured by the aboriginal groups that arrived from North Africa during the first millennium AD. These first settlers had to adapt to the local raw material availability, which lacked metal ores and thus developed volcanic lithic technologies and woodcraft in an insular environment.
During the last year, an interdisciplinary approach based on archaeobotany, experimental archaeology and tool-mark and wear analyses has been applied to study the production and usage of wooden artefacts in this chronocultural context within the framework of the WoodTRACES project (H2020-MSCA-IF-2020; European Commission). This research line is currently being developed within the framework of new funding (Spanish Ministry of Science, PID2021-125055NA-I00).
In this oral communication we present the preliminary results from the identification of the woody raw materials exploited, the tool marks observed on the analysed wooden artefacts from several islands and its comparison with an experimental reference collection generated.
Experimental work focused on the manufacture of replicas (basalt / obsidian lithic tools and bone chisels) and the production of a reference collection of tool marks on different woods (Pinus canariensis, Salix canariensis, Myrica faya) in relation to the different actions of the woodworking process: debarking, splitting, roughing, final regularising and polishing. This experimental programme, which will continue over the next years, aims to better understand the woodworking technologies developed in the different islands, trying to distinguish possible distinct technological adaptive responses according to the biogeographical differences (plant availability) and woodworking tools/techniques.


A Comparison of two Merovingian Pottery Kilns Found in Belgium. Results of the Experiment and Tool for Experimental Research (paper)
Line van Wersch1, Marie Demelenne2, Sylvie De Longueville3, Véronique Danese34
Université de Liège-CNRS Arscan, Belgium
2 Musée Royal de Mariemont, Belgium
3 Awap, Belgium
4 Ceram Histo group, Belgium

If the Merovingian pottery is quite well known thanks to the wares found in the graves, many grey areas remain for the organization of this craft. The kilns known for the period are so different in size and fitting that one could wonder if the potters were part of the same communities of practice.
Within the framework of the exhibition 'The World of Clovis' at the Royal Museum of Mariemont, we reconstructed two distinct types of kilns discovered recently in current Belgium: the first, from Quévy-le-Grand, with central circular pilar and the second, from Namur, with a central wall and floor. The aim was to compare the functioning of the two structures. We defined the temperatures reached, the time, energy and equipment required as well as the quantities produced. We assessed to what extent the control of these tools was similar or different. Questions related to the know-how and social organization of production could thus be addressed, such as the division of tasks and the specialization of the craftsmen who worked on these two sites.
The experiment also allowed us to use a methodological analysis sheet when preparing and evaluating these actions. This tool, designed by M. Demelenne within her doctoral research, allows to consider the research work in its various scientific, pedagogical, and ethical aspects in a structured and coherent way. The grid comprising approximately 160 criteria can be used as an observation and analysis tool but also as a memory aid when preparing an experimental activity.


Creating Red: Reproducing Opaque Red Glass from Iron Age Western and Central Europe (paper)
Rachel Wood1
1 University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Opaque red glass, a popular inclusion in copper-alloy based military gear of Late Iron Age western and central Europe, required intense practical knowledge to create. Artists needed a great deal of precision, ranging from the choice of ingredients, the quantity of each, the heat of the flames, and the length of time necessary to create a specific red color in a reducing environment. Successful creation of opaque red glass could only be achieved if the artisan had the knowledge and skills necessary to determine which moments of this chaîne opératoire would create the desired effect: a “sealing wax red” final product. In this presentation, I will focus on the skills necessary to create opaque red glass, particularly relating to the reducing atmosphere and time necessary in the fire, from an experiential and experimental standpoint, and explore the opportune moments which artisans needed to be wary of to gain the desired results for the market. I will explain the process behind my experimental reproduction of opaque red glass, which will begin in January 2023. This project is part of my dissertation and began with the initial research from previously published chemical analyses and scholarly articles on glass production in the ancient world. It is my hope that this project and presentation will shed light on the experience and patience necessary for successful production of a popular glass in the ancient world.


Physics of Bipolar Reduction: Quantitative approach to the bipolar mechanic through video motion analysis (paper)
Görkem Cenk Yeşilova1,2, Adrián Arroyo1,2, Andreu Ollé1,2, Josep Maria Vergès1,2
1 Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES-CERCA), Tarragona, Spain
2 Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Dept. d’Història i Història de l’Art, Tarragona, Spain 

Bipolar technique is a flaking activity that has deep evolutionary roots, identified within the earliest stone tool assemblages dated to 3.3 Ma. The mechanic of the bipolar phenomenon (placing an object on an anvil and modified it with a hammerstone) has also a huge spatial distribution across the world. Lithic production using this technique is not tied to a particular archaeological culture and it has also been recognized in the ethnographic record. We present new results of the Experimental Francolí Project. Previous research concentrated on testing the archaeological remains of the site of La Cansaladeta (MIS11; Tarragona, Spain) and ethnographic variants of bipolar reduction. Here, we focus on the mechanic of bipolar technique from the perspective of knappers with a different skill through video motion analysis. The experiments were recorded by two cameras and all the videos were analysed by using Tracker. Our goal is to investigate the physics of bipolar mechanic in a deeper and quantitative way, including the analysis of parameters such as velocity, time, kinetic and potential energies.
The obtained results will be used for a comparative analysis of the archaeological samples. The presence of the entirely refitted quartz pebbles from La Cansaladeta shows very specific indicators of the bipolar reduction, called orange segments. This kind of fractures appear due to the high axial compression on the raw material. Application of video motion analysis can play a key role to understand how the archaeological pebbles were flaked. Motion analysis by the video recording is used by many disciplines in terms of quantitative approaches. We use this method to investigate the fracture mechanics of archaeological samples.