Tracing the potter’s wheel: investigating technological trajectories and cultural encounters in the Bronze Age Aegean


This project will shed new light on the trajectories of technological innovations within the ancient Aegean, and offer alternative perspectives on how the humanities can address human-object-technology interactions within complex societies. The aim of the proposed project is to assess the appearance of the potter?s wheel as a technological innovation within two distinct chronological horizons of the Bronze Age Aegean: the later Early Bronze Age (ca.2500-2100BC) and the transition between the Middle and Late Bronze periods (ca.1800-1600BC). This approach uses the potter?s wheel as prism through which to investigate the transmission of craft knowledge during these two periods and the configuration of Aegean potting communities through time. A key project objective is to better understand the multi-scalar material, technological and social interactions that facilitated the transmission of the potter?s wheel in this region. To achieve this, comparative frameworks from island archaeology and Mediterranean network perspectives will be integrated with technological, compositional and 3D analysis for distinguishing local vs. imported vessels, as well as investigating processes of production, distribution and consumption of ceramic vessels. This integrated methodology will be used to identify and visualise the many interactions that constitute prehistoric Aegean communities across multiple geographical and chronological horizons. The geographical setting of the region under study is characterised by islands, coastlines and hinterlands, and offers a valuable arena for assessing the dynamics behind past cultural encounters and interaction networks. Using GIS to map the appearance and distribution of local and imported pots manufactured with the potter?s wheel will allow the trajectories of this new technology to be traced across the Aegean throughout the Bronze Age. Digital visualisation techniques will be used to refine the methodology and promote public engagement with technological approaches to material culture.





Dr. J.R. Hilditch

Verbonden aan

University of Oxford, Keble College


Dr. J.R. Hilditch, Dr. C.D. Jeffra, L. Opgenhaffen