Archaeology Reading Group: Object-Image-Interpretation
Convenor: Will Anderson, Classics and Archaeology, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The group meets at 5:00 pm on the listed Thursdays.
Venue: unless advised otherwise is the Common Room in the southwest corner of the first floor, Centre for Classics and Archaeology, Old Quad. Discussion usually centres on a selected reading on archaeology theory.
To be added to the email list to receive details of meetings, please email the convenor.
Sessions for 2013
Chair: Emily Poelina-Hunter
Nude Figurines with Tattoos
This article outlines the origin of the study of painted motifs on Cycladic figurines and proposes new evidence to support the theory that some of the motifs may represent tattoos. It compares the motifs painted on a select group of Cycladic figurines with a particular type of Egyptian figurines and the tattoos preserved on female Egyptian mummies. The function of Cycladic figurines is still unknown and suggestions that they were an Aegean equivalent of an Egyptian ushabti figurine will be explored in association with the process of determining the shared elements between Cycladic and Egyptian figurines. By focussing on a comparison of the painted motifs on Cycladic and Egyptian figurines and considering why they were painted at all, one can base interpretations of function and meaning on physical data such as what pigments were used and the designs of the motifs.
Emily Poelina-Hunter (unpublished): 'Shared Motifs on Cycladic and Egyptian Figurines'
Chair: Will Anderson
Identifying patterns in the consumption of material culture is a fundamental part of archaeological practice. How these patterns are defined and interpreted depends upon a number of methodological and theoretical factors: homogeneity and variability of cultural forms is conditioned by the ways that such forms are classified and approached; the significance of certain material and stylistic properties in the past is also open to debate. Recent and current approaches to materiality have stressed how the consumption of cultural forms is both reflective and formative of social identities. This view implicates agents in determining the forms that they consume and socialise. But does ‘consumer choice’, an ideological tenet of contemporary neoliberal capitalism, exist in practice? To what extent do we determine the things that we produce, use and manipulate? and how much are we trapped within the social structures, economic and environmental conditions that we inherit?
W. Anderson 2013 (in press): ‘From manufactured goods to significant possessions: theorising pottery consumption in late antique Anatolia’, in C. Rowan and A. Bokern (eds.), Embodying Value? The Transformation of Objects in and from the Ancient World. BAR Int. Series. Oxford: Archaeopress.
Chair: Deb Gilkes
Considering all the Factors: Arid Australian Archaeological Site Formation
The authors present a descriptive model of the processes that create archaeological sites and apply the model on case study sites in semi-arid Northern Australia. The sediment rate on a site is compared to known environmental and cultural influences, the processes that affect directly the artefacts and site in the depositional sequence. Does this model fulfil the potential to aid identification and analysis of cultural remains and improve environmental reconstruction?
Ingrid Ward and Piers Larcombe 2003: 'A process-orientated approach to archaeological site formation: application to semi-arid Northern Australia', Journal of Archaeological Science 30, 1223-36.
Chair: Aleks Michalewicz
Fieldwork Across Disciplines: What Can We Learn From Each Other?
Archaeology Reading Group, Linguistics in the Pub and the Ethnography Forum invite you for an interdisciplinary session to discuss the fieldwork experience.
- What do our approaches to fieldwork have in common?
- How might we benefit from sharing information and techniques?
- Are there any differences in how we interact with the communities at our field sites?
Come and share your experiences and thoughts! If you’d like to read something in advance, see Chapter 17 ‘Toponymy: recording and analysing placenames in a language area’ in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Fieldwork, or have a look at Chapters 1.1 ‘Anthropology and Linguistics’ and 1.9 ‘Anthropology and Archaeology’ in The SAGE Handbook of Social Anthropology (both accessible as e-books via login to UniMelb library)
Continue the conversation – join us for a drink after the meeting at the Carlton Yacht Club, 298 Lygon Street.