Beyond the Three Age System: a major new School project

Posted by stj3 at Nov 01, 2018 09:45 AM |
New Leverhulme Trust funded project aims to transform how we think about the role of material things in the past
Beyond the Three Age System: a major new School project

The B3AS team: L to R, Christina Tsoraki, Rachel Crellin, Huw Barton and Ollie Harris

 

October saw the launch of a new Leverhulme Trust-funded project at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History. The project, Beyond the Three Age System: Mapping a History of Materials 3000 – 600 BC, aims to combine cutting edge theoretical approaches to the past with empirical analysis of up to 1000 objects from the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age. Rather than presuming that the divides between these periods drive significant changes in how things were used, the project will use microwear analysis of stone and bronze objects to map alternative narratives of change and continuity. In turn, by celebrating the role material things play as active makers of history with and alongside human beings, this will allow new understandings of this period of British prehistory to emerge.

Microwear analysis works by looking at the traces of wear on objects to determine how they were made and used, and how this changed during their lives. By looking at a range of objects and materials the project will aim to examine how the use of flint, for example, changes as new materials like bronze and iron are introduced, and how technologies were transferred from one material to another. These detailed individual histories will be linked together with wider contextual information to build up narratives that focus as much on materials as they do on people.

The project team is made up of: Christina Tsoraki, who will lead on the empirical microwear analysis; Huw Barton, who provides expertise in flint microwear; Rachel Crellin who is a period specialist, theoretical wizard and metalwork wear specialist; and Oliver Harris who is the project PI, a specialist in the Neolithic and archaeological theory, and whose main job is trying to keep up with his much more brilliant colleagues.

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