Marta Innes: Scottish Bronze Age Food Vessel Pottery: a new materialist approach to corpus assemblages.
This seminar presents a summary of a recently completed re-evaluation of the Scottish Bronze Age Food Vessel corpus, showcasing an updated geographical and chronological overview of the tradition, and tracing the trends within its material and contextual attributes.
A somewhat neglected ceramic tradition, Scottish Food Vessels are often employed as a symbolic typo-chronological tool, and as such are bound by formal type classifications and broadly simplified categories of meaning imposed by conventional approaches. By adopting a novel new materialist perspective and a customised GIS-based relational attribute methodology, this study instead catalogues the vessels without the need to resort to one-dimensional and definite classificatory schemes, conceptualising the pots as fluid and multi-scalar creative and performative assemblages that escape traditional categorisation. This acknowledgement of the actively fluid and multifaceted character of the vessels and the relational quality of the corpus as a whole, allows for the analysis of the mechanisms of contextual and creative continuity and variation within the tradition, which looks beyond the visual type categorisation.
Building on the results of the study, this talk will also discuss the interpretative implications of the multi-scalar, non-typological, and more-than-representational approaches for the wider analysis and conceptualisation of prehistoric materiality and creativity; while also exploring the value of large scale corpora studies to our re-evaluation of the well-established, but potentially outdated, archaeological interpretations.
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First published: 27 February 2021