Session: #351

Theme & Session Format

6. Material culture studies and societies
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Between Style and Function: The Technology of Neolithic Pottery Finishes in SE Europe
During the Neolithic in SE Europe we see widescale adoption of ceramic production and consumption as ceramics play a larger role in the daily lives of communities. This increasing importance of pottery is paralleled by technological advances displayed through the use and development of various surface treatments and pigments, which show the remarkable skill and knowledge obtained and shared by Neolithic craftspeople.
Whilst there exists excellent and thorough typological and stylistic research which has provided the foundation for the various chronological and cultural schemes developed in SE Europe, the technological “know-how” behind such developments still lacks systematic and detailed investigation. Importantly, there is a great need to bring typo-stylistic and technological approaches together as it is only through the integration of different methods to the study of pottery that we will be able to build narratives around interaction, innovation, and knowledge exchange. Therefore, the session will bring together a broad range of expertise from archaeology, experimental work and the natural sciences, to present research on various approaches to, and understandings of, slips, pigments and surface treatments across the Neolithic period in SE Europe.
The session aims to develop an interdisciplinary conceptual and methodological approach to the study of Neolithic pottery surface finishes that goes beyond traditional binary narratives of functional vs. decorative. It will also bridge the dichotomy between typo-stylistic and archaeometric approaches to better understand and explain characteristic finishes from a technological and functional point of view, and to examine their role in the wider chaîne opératoire of pottery production and consumption more broadly.
Key themes are the raw materials and technologies used for paints and slips, skeuomorphism and the imitation of other materials (e.g. metal or basketry), and the function and meaning of different pottery styles and treatments including elements such as residue analysis and formal stylistic approaches.
Ceramics, Neolithic, SE Europe, Technology, Surface Treatments
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Main organiser:
Clare Burke (Austria) 1
Silvia Amicone (Germany) 2
1. OREA, Austrian Academy of Sciences
2. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen