8th Experimental Archaeology Conference abstract – Morero et al.

Stone vase manufacture in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Bronze Age: an experimental approach

E. Morero, H. Procopiou, R. Vargiolu & H. Zahouani

Khalili Research Centre for the Art and Material Culture of the Middle East, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 2LG, UK

The second millennium is characterised in the eastern Mediterranean (Aegean, Egypt, Levant) by the emergence of the palatial system. This phenomenon was accompanied by the development of luxury craft productions and specialised craftsmanship. Among these productions, the stone vase industry was one of the most flourishing, mainly in Minoan Crete and in Egypt. The development of trade and contacts allowed the spread of ideas and objects, but also of craftsmen and their know-how, which are deeply connected to political, diplomatic and cultural relationships between centres.

To identify lapidary techniques and their spread, a multidisciplinary approach was developed with the RLAHA in Oxford, which associates tribology (LTDS of Lyon, France), field experiments and experiments under controlled laboratory conditions. Data from ethnographical studies of traditional workshops (ANR – CNRS, France) were also considered. In order to identify ancient techniques we compared the manufacturing traces of a group of archaeological stone vases to the experimental ones. The reconstruction of ancient techniques also yields information on technological transmission processes and on workshops organisation.

Morero E., 2011, “Les techniques de fabrication des vases de pierre”, in Pfälzner P. (ed.), Interdisziplinäre Studien zur Königsgruft von Qatna, Qatna Studien, Vol. I., Tuebingen, p. 275-291.

Morero E. 2011, “Transferts techniques en Méditerranée orientale. L’exemple de la fabrication des vases de pierre à l’Age du Bronze”, Syria 88, p. 207-224.

Morero E., Procopiou H., Vargiolu R., Zahouani H. 2008, “Stone vase drilling in Bronze Age Crete”, in L. Longo, N. Skakun (eds.), “Prehistoric Technology”, 40 Years Later: Functional Studies and The Russian Legacy, Proceedings of the International Congress held at Verona, 20-23 April 2005, Verone, p. 479-482.

Procopiou H., Morero E., Boleti A., Vargiolu V., Zahouani H., (in press), “Tactile and visual perception during polishing: an ethnoarchaeological study in India (Mahabalipuram Tamil Nadu)”, Wear 301 (2013), p. 144-149.

Vargiolu R., Morero E., Boleti A., Procopiou H., Pailler-Mattei C., Zahouani H. 2007, “Effects of abrasion during stone vase drilling in Bronze Age Crete”, Wear 263, p. 48-56.


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