9th Experimental Archaeology Conference poster – Virrus

From experimental archaeology to educational laboraties: an example to analyze local historical processes

Giovanni Virrus

Independent Researcher

Educational laboratories are an excellent tool for primary school children to analyze historical processes in an engaging and effective way. Most of the time, though, these labs deal with global issues and show the main cultural processes that have interested the whole humankind over time. What has been missing so far, on the other hand, is a local perspective – a more indepth analysis of past cultures that might raise an interest for one’s region and past.

Our work presents the results of an educational lab that was based on previous experimental data obtained from the analysis and reconstruction of the chaîne opératoire painted decoration in Castelluccio ware from the Agrigento area (South-western Sicily, Italy) – pottery molded with no use of slow wheel and characterized by brown to black geometric patterns on a reddish-orange background. Our goal was to help children learn about an Early Bronze Age culture from their own region through activities involving in-class lectures and through identifying the main pottery forms.

A fundamental part was to replicate the decorative repertoire from the period at issue, through the raw material and prehistoric techniques that had already been recognized experimentally. Ours is therefore an in-class educational project with a threefold outreach goal –to engage children in understanding their region’s historical processes; to help them grow an interest in the local cultural heritage; and to promote manual activities that schools often neglect.



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