On 24 October ARTECHNE organises their next Technical Art History Colloquium titled Archaeology of Materials and Skills. Prof Marcos Martinón-Torres (University of Cambridge) and Dr Maikel Kuijpers (Leiden University) will talk about archaeological connoisseurship and the bronze age.
Science-Based Archaeological Connoisseurship
Prof. dr. Marcos Martinón-Torres, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge
‘Connoisseurs’ are common in the circles of art historians, dealers and collectors, as reputed art critics with the ‘trained eye’ and authority necessary to assign unsigned works to famous artists. These attribution studies are increasingly supported by evidence derived from scientific analyses. At the same time, archaeological science has a strong tradition of integrating scientific data in the study of humanistic questions related to past technological practice, agency, or craft organisation, but studies focused on the identification of individuals have so far been limited. This talk will introduce science-based archaeological connoisseurship as an approach to archaeological material culture that takes advantage of modern science while remaining grounded on archaeological questions.
The Question Concerning Skill: Bronze Age Metalworking from a Craft Perspective
Dr. Maikel Kuijpers, Assistant professor, Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University
In the history of science and technology the question of whether and how practice and knowledge or craft and science are related is an interesting theoretical and analytical issue. In archaeology it is also a very practical problem, because it is through science that knowledge about prehistoric crafts is generated. In order to bridge the gap between detailed scientific analyses and the observation that skill is fundamentally dependent on the senses I propose the use of perceptive categories. This is a pragmatic approach that appreciates scientific measurements of metal objects as essential empirical evidence whilst recognising that a considerable share of these archaeometallurgical data are inapt or too detailed for an understanding of skill. Taking Bronze Age metalworking as an example and using compositional and metallographic analyses of Early Bronze Age axes, I employ perceptive categories to define the thresholds to categorise and interpret these data and organise them in a chaîne opératoire.