Technology and Experimentation in Archaeology

Sara Cura, Jedson Cerezer, Maria Gurova, Boris Santander, Luiz Oosterbeek and Jorge Cristóvão
XVI World Congr. Int. Un. Prehist. Protohist. Sci.


Experimental Archaeology as an hypothesis contrast method, focusing on technological studies, is not new in archaeological research procedures. Since the early 1970s, as a consequence of the application of châine-operatoire/reduction sequence concepts within the framework of Palaeoethnological investigation, or within the actualistics studies highly developed in the framework of Processual Archaeology, the experimentation and utilization of artefact replicas have been used in the search for answers regarding technological procedures and their functional aspects. However, since the 1990s the research interface between technology and experimentation, worldwide, has increased, resulting in a renewal of procedures and interest in the incorporation of such studies particularly in the field of techno-functional analysis of prehistoric artefacts. Nevertheless the criticisms on experimental procedures are abundant, questioning its theoretical fundamentals and explanation validity. These remarks result both from the morphotypological approaches to artefact assemblages, but also from a lack of understanding on the range and goals of such studies. Stefano Grimaldi discusses the epistemological implications of experimental approaches. Experimentation on lithics are discussed in the papers of S. Cura, P. Cura, S. Grimaldi and E. Cristiani; G. N. de Souza and Â. P. Lima; B. de S. Barreto and M. P. Cabral; M. J. Rodet, A. Prous, J. Machado and L. F. Bass; G. N. Poplevko). Other papers discuss experimentation in the production of beads (M. Gurova, C. Bonsall, B. Bradley, E. Anastassova and P. Cura), new protocols on ceramics experimentation (J. F. Cerezer), ethnographic ceramic technology (R. T. Bortolin and V. Fróis), bone industry (B. Santander; C. Costa, N. Almeida, H. Gomes, S. Cura and P. Cura) and rock art engravings (N. S. da Rosa, S. Cura, S. Garcês and P. Cura).