I currently have a call for papers out for a session at EAA in Glasgow, 2nd-5th September 2015. The session is co-authored between the lead author Vana Orfanou (UCL), Tom Birch (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main) and myself (UCL), and is open until 16th February 2015, session ID SA23 in the Science and Archaeology theme.
The session aims to cover a wide chronological and geographical spectrum and invites papers focusing on the study of past metallurgical technology as a means to discuss its social context and the manifold cultural expressions (for more details see abstract below). We should have space for ten papers, and we’re really looking forward to putting together a session which hopefully see work combining archaeometric work with interpretive and traditional archaeologies and anthropology. If you’d like to submit an abstract, please do so through the EAA website, and if you’d like to talk about your proposal or ideas, please feel free to contact us.
In recent decades, archaeometallurgy has significantly grown within the field of archaeological science. Currently, the use of more accessible and affordable analytical instruments and techniques such as, for example, portable XRF equipment, has made archaeometallurgical studies increasingly popular, while considerable datasets are being generated each year. Considering the large volume of analytical data developed by both archaeologists and archaeometallurgists, this session aims to explore and expand the contribution of scientific analyses to archaeological interpretation beyond a mere presentation of quantitative data. Past metallurgical activities and the finished objects were a well-embedded element of past societies, while they were the products of the socio-economic structures and organisation of the respective communities. Metal objects have been diachronically and widely used to cover peoples’ various everyday needs, as well as they have communicated more personal and intimate sentiments as gifts to the gods or the dead. Thus, the investigation of ancient metallurgy has the potential of referring back to and revealing to a greater extent the elements of the society/-ies which contributed in the materialisation of these technologies. The present session invites papers which employ scientific methods in the study of past metallurgy including finished objects/tools, e.g. metallurgical ceramics, by-products, e.g. slag, and/or structures, e.g. furnaces, and which use these data to discuss the social context of metallurgy amongst past communities. Of interest would also be the expressions of individual/collective identity/-ies and the materiality of metallurgical practices/objects as seen from the investigation of techniques and patterns of production/consumption of the metal artefacts. Research focus may relate to all periods and stages of metal technology’s cycle and the metal objects’ biographies including primary and secondary production, (re)use, and disposal. Overall, the session aims to shed light on the manifold cultural expressions and technological choices that were practiced during metal production and left their imprint on the metal objects.