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Lecture | Archaeological Forum

The way you move: ceramic chronology building through the materialized bodily gestures of manufacturing practices

Thursday 4 October 2018
Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Photo: Espora Producciones

The archaeology of central Nicaragua offers a challenging arena for the deconstruction of traditional ceramic chronology discourses in archaeology. The ‘anthropology of techniques’ approach and ethnoarchaeological research have determined that the most stable steps in ceramic manufacture are connected to socially learnt bodily gestures materialized in the shaping of vessels. In contrast, other stages of the production process are more susceptible to synchronic and diachronic changes. Hence, the temporal and societal implications of ceramic decoration variability as the proxy for chronology building requires re-evaluation.

In this lecture, I will present the results of my doctoral research at the Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University. The project included a systematic surface survey and stratigraphic excavations in the Mayales river subbasin, central Nicaragua. Additionally,  radiocarbon samples were dated by Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS). Ceramics analysis was outlined through a technological approach to manufacturing practices aimed to reconstruct the operational sequence of production, including clay procurement and preparation practices, forming and finishing techniques, as well as firing, surface treatment, and decoration. Alternative choices in the steps of ceramic production were situated in their specific spatial and temporal context. These choices are interpreted as representing the intersection and interweaving of various processes that may interrelate to other practices, such as foodways, lithic technologies, and dwelling; with differential temporal rhythms that operated in dissimilar times spans and with different frequencies and amplitude in variability.

After the talk, there will be drinks.

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