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Department of Archaeology

Thursday, 8 November, 2018 - 13:00
Event speaker: 
Nigel Spivey, Laerke Recht, Lindsey Fine, and Akshyeta Suryanarayan

Pottery is seemingly everywhere in Aegean research. From ceramic technologies and scientific analyses, to exchange, mobility, and connectivity through different scales, to typologies and chronologies, to art and social histories through styles and decorative themes; pottery doesn't so much have a finger in every pie as much as it is the dish in which every pie is made. While pottery's ubiquity in the archaeological record as a result of preservation biases and its resulting dominance in Aegean scholarship is well understood, the questions we ask and the approaches we use to investigate it are changing.

When, how, and why does pottery become such a big cultual and economic player in the Aegean?

What can we surmise about Aegean craft culture, tradition, and transmission that privilieges this medium and its development? What is it that the Aegean is doing differently, and why?

By the Classical period, Aegean pottery is both commodity and artistic canvas beyond ceramic compare. How and why does pottery become this major medium in the Aegean relative to the rest of the Mediterranean?

How do we properly assess pottery's value, economically or socio-culturally?

To what extent can we continue to rely on ceramic typologies as a method for archaeological dating, both in the Aegean and wherever else Aegean pottery is recovered archaeologically? If we must rely on them, how do we develop better approaches to typologies?

Why and how is Aegean pottery still so emblematic, as to be a standard inclusion for museum collections around the world and an impetus for site looting and the antiquities trade?

And how do we explore fundamental assumptions that underpin the questions we ask of the Aegean ceramic record?

Panellists will be asked to reflect broadly on these issues and briefly summarise the position from within their own area of expertise, before discussion is opened up to the floor for questions and comments.

Event location: 
South Lecture Room, Department of Archaeology
Geographical areas: 
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