Session: #191

Theme & Session Format

Interpreting the archaeological record: artefacts, humans and landscapes
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

From Science to History: Interpreting Archaeometallurgy
Archaeometallurgy is a multidisciplinary field populated by researchers with varying biographies. Some archaeometallurgists have their background in science or engineering, and focus on scientific analysis of metallurgical samples. Others prefer an experimental approach, trying to reconstruct ancient techniques and technologies through practical work. And some archaeometallurgists have a background in the humanities or social sciences, trying to understand metal objects and metal-working from a theoretical or cultural history point of view, or to fit them into historical narratives. Although many agree that a multidisciplinary approach would be ideal, we do not always find practical ways to combine our different approaches. A major obstacle seems to be the lack of a forum for different types of archaeometallurgists to exchange ideas, to develop overreaching research strategies and to develop a common 'language'.
In this session we welcome papers on ancient metalworking in a very broad sense. We particularly appreciate contributions that address questions or provide examples on how to integrate different research traditions, that show how the same material can be studied from different angles. In addition, we would like to discuss the difficulties that may arise when archaeometallurgists with different backgrounds try to bridge the interdisciplinary gap.
archaeometallurgy, metalworking, interdisciplinarity, archaeometry, science, interpretation
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Main organiser:
Ragnar Saage (Estonia) 1
Sebastian Wärmländer (United States) 2,3
Michael Neiß (Sweden) 4
Arne Jouttijärvi (Denmark) 5
1. Department of Archaeology, University of Tartu
2. Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA/Getty Conservation Programme
3. Division of Biophysics, Stockholm University
4. Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University
5. Heimdal-archaeometry