From Structure to (Communities of) Practice: Ceramic Technology and Cultural Identity in the Bronze Age Black Sea

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

Alexander A. Bauer [+-]
City University of New York
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Alexander A. Bauer is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His research foci are the archaeology of the Near East and Eurasia, ancient trade, archaeological method and theory, archaeological ethics, and cultural heritage law and policy. He is currently the Associate Director of the Sinop Regional Archaeological Project (SRAP), in Turkey, where he has been working since 1997. His books include Social Archaeologies of Trade and Exchange (Left Coast Press, 2010), co-edited with Anna Agbe-Davies, and New Directions in Museum Ethics (Routledge 2012), co-edited with Janet Marstine and Chelsea Haines. He has also served as the Editor in chief of the interdisciplinary International Journal of Cultural Property since 2005.

Description

Multi-dimensional and multi-scalar analyses of ceramic structure can yield important information about the manufacturing processes employed in their production. The identification of such practices have allowed archaeologists to make inferences about the technological and social choices people in the past may have made in producing material culture, and how those choices may have acted as statements of both individual and group identity. Within such analysis, the concept of “communities of practice, originally developed as a theory of social learning, may be particularly helpful for understanding the formation of community identities through craft production. Using a chaîne opératoire approach informed by the concept of “communities of practice,” this chapter presents the results of a nested analytical study of prehistoric pottery-making practices from several communities along the Black Sea coast in order to interpret the emergence of shared pottery traditions across the region. This analysis suggests that from the end of the 4th to the early 3rd millennium BC a distinct and shared “Black Sea culture” developed across the region as a result of increased social interaction and in response to larger, interregional dynamics. This case illustrates how the integration of multi-scalar technological practice analysis with theories of craft production can identify patterns of social relations and identity in the past.

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Citation

Bauer, Alexander A. . From Structure to (Communities of) Practice: Ceramic Technology and Cultural Identity in the Bronze Age Black Sea. Renewing the Search for Structure - New Frameworks and Techniques in Instrumental Ceramics Analysis. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Jan 2021. ISBN 9781781790533. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=24656. Date accessed: 09 Dec 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24656. Jan 2021

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