Construction techniques & transfer of technological skills

Call For Papers

In 2015 the 21st annual meeting of the EAA (European Association of Archaeologist) will be held in Glasgow, Scotland. As co-chair of session SA7 I proudly present our session abstract.

Co-Authors: Marta Lorenzon, Jonathan Devogelaere, Rossana Valente, Chamsia Sadozai, Cindy Nelson-Viljoen & Michael Toffolo

Session Title: Construction techniques and transfer of technological skills between neighboring regions: The Macroscopic and Microscopic archaeological records 



Border areas have a documented history of cultural interaction between different groups. Historical and archaeological sources suggest that in those areas technologies were exchanged and skills transferred. Such mobility of technology and acquisition of new know-how have a large impact on the socio-economic structure of a human group. Building forms and materials are the result of the assimilation of new technical and engineering skills, and provide evidence of their persistency in the building technology, together with the adoption of new models. This becomes especially apparent when looking at the spread of plaster/mortar technology, the exploitation of specific raw materials or changes in building shape and function. Therefore, the study of architectural remains in border areas is a crucial step in understanding the structure of past societies, and the way they related to different environmental settings and neighboring groups. Previous research has been focused mainly on the macroscopic analysis of buildings (e.g. architectural forms). However, the last two decades featured an increasing attention towards the microscopic archaeological record, i.e. the chemical compounds that make up building materials and occupational deposits, which requires the aid of microscopes and spectrometers in order to be characterized (e.g. infrared/X-ray spectroscopy, soil micromorphology, phytoliths, etc.).

The integration of the macroscopic and microscopic records provides a complete picture of the cultural contexts in which new building technologies were developed. This session aims at presenting integrative research approaches to building techniques in border areas during pre-modern times, which should address the following issues: provenance of raw materials as revealed by spectroscopic methods; extent of building shape diffusion and its cultural significance; role of the microscopic record in the interpretation of architectures; evolution and spread of plaster/mortar technology; identification of activity areas within architectural remains; preservation of the archaeological record and effects of post-depositional processes on buildings.

Deadline for submission: 16 February 2015

Conference website

Image credit: EAA 2015, (2014), 21st Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologist, Glasgow 2015 [ONLINE]. Available at: [Accessed 21 December 15]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s