Session: #211

Theme & Session Format

5. Theories and methods in archaeology: interactions between disciplines
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Truly Interdisciplinary Science! Ceramic, Metal, Glass, and Stone Provenancing Studies as Tools to Understand the Archaeology of Trade and Exchange
This session will consider the contribution that interdisciplinary Heritage Science applications (e.g. preferably non-invasive X-ray, electron, ion beam, and neutron methods), are making to archaeological narratives of production, trade, and exchange of goods. We welcome studies that seek to characterise material resources such as ore deposits, and to define the geographical provenance of raw materials, and of excavated artefacts.
There are huge databases, collected from the 1960s onward, of neutron activation analyses and X-ray fluorescence and other elemental spectroscopic analyses of metal artefacts (Bronze Age European material in particular), archaeological ceramics, glass, stone, and obsidian. In the past twenty years, databases have been built up of isotopic analyses, in particular lead isotope analysis, of metal ores and artefacts, and glass as well. How far have these large data-sets been used to broaden our understanding of the processes and motivations of early production, trade and exchange? In this session, we would like to highlight the importance of scientific studies in archaeology to add new information and to develop new narratives.
We invite contributions that address issues, theories, new analytical methods, and applications relating to scientific provenancing of archaeological materials.
* Which method or combination of methods works best for which material and/or archaeological period? And what are the limitations for particular methods applied to various materials?
* Are databases readily accessible and comparable, and are researchers successfully provenancing artefacts?
* How are archaeologists integrating new scientific methods and data into their interpretations and narratives?
* Are innovative methods leading to new insights that challenge existing paradigms in archaeology?
* How can researchers access Heritage Science research infrastructures, especially at large-scale facilities?
We also invite presentations on insights that provenance studies provide into understanding technological changes in any past society world-wide, and on understanding of material culture through social-economic relationships.
Provenance, Heritage Science, Inorganic materials, Trade and exchange, Isotopes
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:


Main organiser:
Evelyne Godfrey (United Kingdom) 1
Ineke Joosten (Netherlands) 2
Heide Nørgaard (Denmark) 3
Zsolt Kasztovszky (Hungary) 4
1. Uffington Heritage Watch
2. Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency
3. Aarhus University
4. Centre for Energy Research