Session: #156

Theme & Session Format

Interpreting the archaeological record: artefacts, humans and landscapes
Session format:
Session with presentation of 6 slides in 6 minutes

Title & Content

Crafting for the User: the Intersection of Daily Life and Object-making
In sessions during the last two EAA conferences the present organizers examined issues of crafting and in particular cross-crafting. How were techniques and forms typical of one medium incorporated in products in other materials? Were lines between crafts neatly drawn, or is craft-specialization more illusory than the literature often suggests? Focused primarily on means of making these discussions took the perspective of the crafter and involved speculation on use as a secondary consideration. In this session focus shifts to the point of view of the user and how the crafters’ decisions figured in the consumers’ practice. The organizers are particularly interested in how users may have deployed object and materials to support strategies of social or political change in and through space: e.g., growing communities, expanding territorial reach; reshaping the built environment. The interaction with the individual object is metonymic of people’s engagement with the landscape directed at pushing social boundaries. Crafters participated in this dynamic by thinking through these goals in material and making choices, some intended to make a statement perhaps about power and others directed at eliciting an emotive response. But the manufacture on its own was insufficient to achieve any purpose and the user’s agency was critical to the process in question. A brooch must be worn or displayed in a particular manner and a pot must fulfill a particular function if either is to communicate the intended message. In the format chosen for this session - six minute papers with no more than six slides - participants are invited to reflect on the material and immaterial ends to which crafted objects were directed and what these aims reveal about how users employed objects to articulate cultural values.
crafting, materiality, environment, artefacts, agency, use
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Main organiser:
Emily Miller Bonney (United States) 1
Sophia Adams (United Kingdom) 2
1. California State University Fullerton
2. Later Prehistoric Finds Group,University of Glasgow