Accessing intangible technologies through experimental archaeology. A methodological analysis
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Creative Commons Licence Accessing intangible technologies through experimental archaeology. A methodological analysis by Tine Schenck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Reason for embargo
This thesis concerns the relationship between research in experimental archaeology and the intangible of the past. Only a quarter of technological experiments in a sample of 100 studies addresses the intangible of technological practice, and this project sets out to explore if there are conceptual or practical obstacles for this low rate. The thesis begins with an in-depth examination of experimental archaeology and the criteria, paradigms and theories that determine its practice. Through this study, elements of the dichotomy positivism//postmodernism are uncovered and discussed. To resolve this dualism, a third paradigm – philosophical pragmatism – is introduced as an alternative. This conceptual debate represents Part I, and is subsequently collated into a methodological framework for the creation of a typified experiment. Part II consists of the experimental segment of this study, in search for practical obstacles for the exploration of the intangible. Through experimenting with Iron Age Bucket-shaped pots, Mesolithic faceted pebbles and Middle Palaeolithic birch bark tar production, different components of an experiment are highlighted for investigation. An element that comes forward as problematic is the relationship between experimental archaeologists and science ideals that is underscored by experimental tradition. Conclusively, the final discussion leaves the conceptual and practical barriers that may prevent archaeologists from studying the intangible aspects of technology overturned. In sum, this may enable experimental archaeologists to take a fuller view of their own practice and that of the people of the past.
University of Exeter
PhD in Archaeology