7th Experimental Archaeology Conference Abstract – Elizabeth Cory-Lopez
Experience as foundation for Experiment: A Practitioners Progress
University of Edinburgh
In building my research strategies for my doctoral programme which studies the Chaîne Opératoire of stone carving in the Cypriot Prehistoric period, the role of experimental approaches have always proved crucial. However, I am constantly faced with the dichotomy between the strict scientific methodological philosophy and a looser experiential pathway. This has become intensified with the knowledge that my complete lack of the necessary skill in the relevant techniques, such as intricate carving, knapping and polishing has hindered the overall development of narrowly focused experiments which might produce scientifically valid results.
In overcoming these problems in my research I have come to understand the experimental method as series of interlinked processes that are designed to separate those strands of the research which might usefully be fulfilled by a strictly constrained scientific experiment from those which benefit from the experience of simply trying to complete an allotted task .Both of which have the end result of providing more solid ground to interpret the complex social behaviours in the past. In doing this I have approached persons with more experience in either the relevant artistic skill, the relevant technical and material expertise or both, and I have taken the role of interviewer and/or participant observer.
I would therefore like to present to conference some of the results of these experiences, demonstrate how they have benefitted my contribution to enhancing archaeological methodology; and open up a discussion concerning where best the scientific branch of experimental archaeology might be usefully applied in my continuing researches.