Spatial Approaches to Craft Production

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Craft production has long been a topic of major interest in archaeology. The spatial arrangement of these activities reflect important features in the social organization of production. Yet interpreting the social meaning of these spatial patterns is challenging, and the relationship between a given spatial distribution and particular type of social organization is not always clear. Considerations of space and craft production are also beset by methodological difficulties. Some kinds of craft production leave ephemeral or difficult-to-identify residues in the archaeological record, posing challenges for identifying the specific places where production occurred. In cases where identification of production contexts detailed excavation or laboratory analysis, moving from single contexts to broad spatial patterns is not a straightforward process. The papers in this session will offer new methodological and interpretive perspectives on how archaeologists approach spatial patterns in craft production. The session aims to bring analyses of craft production at all spatial scales into conversation with one another.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-10 of 10)

  • Documents (10)

  • The Complement of Geochemical Soil Data to Artifact Patterns in the Study of Craft Production: A Case Study from Cancuen, Guatemala (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Brigitte Kovacevich. Duncan Cook. Michael Callaghan. Dawn Crawford.

    This paper will discuss the various activities that took place on the exterior stone patio floor of the M6-12 domestic structure at Cancuen, Guatemala, and compare it to previously published findings of the M10-4 and M10-7 structures. These structures typically have a low investment in construction and appear to be non-elite in status, characterized by earthen mounds surrounded by limestone flagstone floors and perishable superstructures. These surfaces often appear to be communal activity areas...

  • Geophysical and Geochemical Spatial Approaches to Early Copper Metal Production among Bronze Age Communities in the Southern Urals, Russia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Bryan Hanks. Roger Doonan. Nikolai Vinogradov. Elena Kupriyanova.

    The combination of social, economic, and political variables that led to greater levels of sedentism and demographic growth in human societies has long been a key topic within the study of world prehistory. Indeed, the comparative study of such dynamics has been at the very core of anthropological archaeology with numerous classic case studies stemming from fieldwork in the Americas, Africa, Europe, the Near East, and China. The Eurasian steppes, a vast region stretching half way around the...

  • The Industry of Empire: Investigating the Spatial and Technological Organization of Angkorian Iron Production around Phnom Dek, Cambodia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mitch Hendrickson. Stephanie Leroy. Enrique Vega. Quan Hua. Philippe Dillmann.

    Intensive surveys around Phnom Dek, the ‘Iron Mountain’, in central Cambodia have revealed the presence of a massive iron production landscape dating between the 9th and 20th centuries. Using a combination of site morphology, spatial distribution, field pXRF analysis and in-slag radiocarbon datin,g this paper attempts to reconstruct these industrial-scale iron smelting practices with particular emphasis on the Angkorian period (9th to 13th c.). The results will inform on the localized...

  • Inequality and Gender in Spaces of Craft Production (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mary Clarke. Franco Rossi. Boris Beltran. William Saturno.

    This paper explores questions of inequality and gender in the Classic Maya world by examining the spatial relationships between and within local sites of craft activity. Pulling from recent archaeological work at the Classic period site of Xultun, Guatemala, we present research on two contexts that were connected to the production and use of limestone and lime plaster. In presenting this work, we discuss the broader social implications of these spaces as they relate to class and gender through...

  • Multi-Scalar Analysis of Copper and Silver Production under the Inka: A Case Study from Northern Chile (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Colleen Zori.

    Andean prehistory witnessed the development of numerous regional metallurgical traditions that were harnessed and significantly restructured as the Inka empire (AD 1400-1532) expanded along western South America. Taking the Tarapacá Valley of northern Chile as a case study, I analyze how imperial incorporation altered the production of copper and silver across multiple spatial scales. I begin at the regional level, analyzing how the procurement and transport particularly of silver-bearing ores...

  • Nested-Context Perspective of Craft Production: Middle Sicán Metallurgy (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Izumi Shimada.

    Different facets and stages of craft production commonly occur in different spatial loci regardless of differences in medium, technology, intensity and/or scale. Locational differences may be relatively minor with different facets or production stages being practiced concurrently, or masters and apprentices occupying different areas of a given room or workshop. While sheet metal preparation and alloying both require constant heat sources, the former requires a clean area protected from winds and...

  • Reverse Engineering China's Terracotta Army through Morphometric and Spatial Analyses (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Marcos Martinón-Torres. Xiuzhen Janice Li. Andrew Bevan.

    Built in the 3rd century BC, the Mausoleum of China’s First Emperor is one of several very large known constructions commissioned by early states and empires. Understanding the craft processes and production organisation behind such constructions is informative to historians of technology but also as a potential indicator of wider institutional practices for the management of labour, materials and knowledge, which may facilitate comparisons between different states. The lack of associated...

  • Space and Scale in Reconstructions of the Social Organization of Craft Production (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nathaniel Erb-Satullo.

    Archaeologists often speak of production in spatial terms, contrasting nucleated and dispersed forms of crafting. However, the importance of the scale of spatial patterning in production activities (as opposed to "scale" in reference to quantitative output) has yet to be fully explored. It is impossible to relate the spatial distribution of crafting activities to a particular social organization of production without considering spatial scale. An examination of spatial distributions at multiple...

  • Space, Workforce, and Scale of Production: Ethnoarchaeological Approaches to Craft Workshops in Ancient Mediterranean (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Eleni Hasaki.

    More than dots on a map, the craft production loci need to be examined for the space they occupy: their size, organization, and capacity. Spatial analysis can put constraints on workforce size and scale of production, allowing us therefore to reconstruct more accurate models of craft economy. We can also attempt to correlate space occupancy with scales of craft specialization. The "chaîne opératoire" can be examined parallel to the "espace opératoire" to establish what the spatial requirements...

  • The Vestments of My Mysteries: Craft Production and the Ritual Economy at Iron Age Gordion (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kathryn Morgan.

    The Terrace Building Complex at the Iron Age site of Gordion in Turkey has been called the most complete picture of organized textile production at a Mediterranean palatial center. Artefactual analysis of the numerous textile tools discovered in the Terrace Building has provided a foundation for ambitious models of the Phrygian political economy: it’s been suggested that textiles produced in this ‘industrial quarter’ were intended as payment for the Phrygian army, or tribute. Analyses of the...