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

Renewing the Search for Structure - New Frameworks and Techniques in Instrumental Ceramics Analysis - Alan F. Greene

Charles W. Hartley [+-]
University of Chicago
Charles W. Hartley is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropological archaeology at the University of Chicago. 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.uchicago.edu).
Alan F. Greene [+-]
Stanford University
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Dr. Alan F. Greene is a postdoctoral scholar in archaeological science at the Stanford University Department of Anthropology and the Stanford Archaeology Center. 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 biographical anthropology of objects 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.uchicago.edu).
Paula N Doumani [+-]
University of Kiel
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Central Asia/Eurasia, Old World archaeology, early Silk Road, Bronze Age, craft production, Archaeometry, textiles, ceramics, economy and subsistence, anthropology of pastoralism and mobility, archaeology of mountain and steppe environments, exchange/trade, society and technology, technological change and transfer in prehistory, identity and ethnicity, hand illustration of material artifacts.

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 programme 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. Renewing the Search for Structure - New Frameworks and Techniques in Instrumental Ceramics Analysis. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Sep 2020. ISBN 9781781790533. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=24653. Date accessed: 17 Jun 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24653. Sep 2020

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