From Structure to Composition and Back: Digital Radiography and Computed Tomography -- Some Cases for Anthropological Contemplation

Searching for Structure in Pottery Analysis - Applying Multiple Scales and Instruments to Production - Alan F. Greene

Charles W. Hartley [+-]
University of Chicago
Dr. Charles W. Hartley completed his Ph.D. in anthropological archaeology at the University of Chicago in 2020. His dissertation “Community, Pottery, and Political Culture: Crafting the state in the Luoyang Basin, North China, 3000–1500 BCE” investigates the role pottery, as a class of political (material) culture, plays in the development of solidarity and identity amongst communities in and around the Luoyang Basin with the florescence of the Erlitou polity that marks the end of the Neolithic in China. Charles is particularly interested in the role of techniques as markers, often unintentionally, of communal or factional affiliations, and the role such “everyday” objects play in building political coalitions and consensus. Charles is a co-director of the Making of Ancient Eurasia (MAE) project, an analytical collaboration between anthropologists and material scientists at Argonne National Laboratory (http://mae.stanford.edu).
Alan F. Greene [+-]
New York University
Dr. Alan F. Greene is an affiliate researcher at New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. His research focuses on the relationship between everyday aspects of the material economy like ceramic containers, and the macro-scale political-economic parameters of emergent complex polities in the Bronze Age South Caucasus. Alan specializes in the sociobiographical anthropology of craftgoods, as well as compositional and structural methods of materials analysis, tracing artifacts through habitual production regimes, spheres of exchange, and consumption trends in ancient societies. Alan is a co-director of the Making of Ancient Eurasia (MAE) project, an analytical collaboration between anthropologists and material scientists at Argonne National Laboratory (http://mae.stanford.edu).
Paula N Doumani Dupuy [+-]
Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan)
Dr. Paula Dupuy (née Doumani) is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology and Anthropology Department at Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan). Her research examines the relationship between mobility, community interaction, and flows of material technology in Bronze Age Central Eurasia. Paula draws on a range of archaeometric analytical tools to assess the pottery and textile manufacture techniques used by prehistoric pastoralists in Kazakhstan. Specifically, she examines these two material classes in order to address broader questions of how localized participation in regional material institutions and population displacement might impact community composition and learning frameworks over the long term. Paula is co-director of the Dzhungar Mountains Archaeology Project (DMAP) in Kazakhstan, a collaboration between the Institute of Archaeology in Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Washington University in St. Louis.

Description

In this chapter we discuss the elaboration of radiographic pottery analysis as a structure-oriented technique with an emphasis on its newer iterations in digital radiography (DR) and X-ray computed tomography (XCT). Our focus is to present several important alterations to our thinking about “structural” and “compositional” data in archaeometric and archaeological theory that have been provoked by our interaction with DR and XCT analysis over the last ten years. In so doing, we hope to show how a renewed focus on ceramic structure can bring equal weight to structure and composition in pottery analysis, and facilitate a program of research that emphasizes the social import of the vessel as product, tool, and technology. We first briefly review methods of DR and XCT analysis, as well as their common applications and requirements in the study of archaeological pottery. We then provide a few specific examples of the secondary data produced by radiographic and tomographic imaging during the course of our work with assemblages from three distinct Eurasian locales incorporating diverse research questions. Finally, we offer insights from our radiographic research in order to contribute to the more general discussion about structure and composition that occupies this volume.

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Citation

Hartley, Charles W. ; Greene, Alan F. ; Doumani, Paula. From Structure to Composition and Back: Digital Radiography and Computed Tomography -- Some Cases for Anthropological Contemplation. Searching for Structure in Pottery Analysis - Applying Multiple Scales and Instruments to Production. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Feb 2021. ISBN 9781781790533. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=24653. Date accessed: 08 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24653. Feb 2021

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