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Craft Theory in Prehistory: Case Studies from the Mesolithic of Britain and Ireland

  • Ben Elliott (a1)

Abstract

This paper reflects critically on the use of the term ‘craft’ within prehistoric archaeology and its recent rise to prominence within a variety of analytical contexts. Having briefly evaluated the way in which prehistorians employ craft, it moves on to consider the potential value that Craft Theory, a growing interdisciplinary body of literature relating to practices of making, might hold for thinking about prehistoric material culture within an archaeological context. Three case studies originating from Mesolithic Britain and Ireland are used as a vehicle to explore some of this potential in practice, before a broader discussion reflects on these initial efforts and sketches out other areas of interest for future research. The picture which emerges from this discussion is one of promise, within which prehistorians simultaneously draw from, and contribute towards, the ongoing interdisciplinary debates on craft in contemporary society.

La théorie de l’artisanat à la préhistoire: expériences au mésolithique de la Grande-Bretagne et de l’Irlande de Ben Elliott

Cet article apporte une réflexion critique sur l’usage du terme ‘artisanat’ dans l’archéologie préhistorique et sa récente ascension à une place proéminente dans une gamme de contextes analytiques. Ayant brièvement analysé la façon dont les préhistoriens emploient artisanat, il s’étend pour considérer l’éventuelle valeur de la théorie de l’artisanat. Un corpus de littérature interdisciplinaire grandissant ayant trait aux pratiques de fabfrication pourrait nous conduire à considérer une culture matérielle préhistorique à l’intérieur d’un contexte archéologique. Trois études de cas provenant du mésolithique britannique et irlandais uilisés comme véhicule pour explorer certain de ce potentiel en pratique, avant qu’une discussion plus étendue ne réfléchisse sur ces efforts initiaux et ne trace d’autres aires d’intérêt pour de futures recherches. C’est une image prometteuse qui se dégage de cette discussion, dans laquelle les préhistoriens puisent et simultanément contribuent aux débats interdisciplinaires en cours sur l’artisanat dans la société contemporaine.

Craft Theory in der Vorgeschichte: Experimente im Mesolithikum Großbr, itanniens und Irlands, von Ben Elliot

Dieser Beitrag stellt Überlegungen an zur Nutzung des Begriffs „Handwerk“ in der Prähistorischen Archäologie und zu seiner steigenden Bedeutung innerhalb einer Vielzahl analytischer Kontexte. Nach einer kurzen Begutachtung der Verwendung des Begriffs „Handwerk“ durch Prähistorikerinnen und Prähistoriker wird der potenzielle Nutzen betrachtet, den die „Craft Theory“ – ein wachsendes interdisziplinäres Spektrum an Literatur zu Praktiken des Herstellens – für die Untersuchung prähistorischer materieller Kultur in einem archäologischen Kontext bereitstellen kann. Drei Fallbeispiele aus dem Mesolithikum Großbritanniens und Irlands werden als Mittel genutzt, um einen Teil des Potentials in der Praxis zu erproben, anschließend wird in einer breiteren Diskussion über diese Bemühungen reflektiert und weitere mögliche Felder für künftige Forschungen skizziert. Das Bild, das aus dieser Diskussion entsteht, ist ein vielversprechendes, in dem Prähistoriker zugleich von den aktuellen interdisziplinären Debatten zu „Handwerk“ in der gegenwärtigen Gesellschaft profitieren und ihren Beitrag zu diesen leisten.

Teoría del artesanado en Prehistoria: experimentos en el Mesolítico de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda, por Ben Elliott

Este artículo reflexiona críticamente sobre el empleo del término ‘artesanía’ en el ámbito de la arqueología prehistórica, y su reciente protagonismo en una gran variedad de contextos analíticos. A partir de una breve evaluación de la forma en la que los prehistoriadores emplean el término ‘artesanía’, se hace necesario considerar el valor potencial de la ‘teoría de artesanado’, un creciente corpus interdisciplinar de bibliografía relacionada con las prácticas de ‘hacer’ que podría proponer nuevas interpretaciones sobre la cultura material dentro de un contexto arqueológico. Se utilizan tres casos de estudio originados a partir del Mesolítico de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda como vehículo para explorar este potencial en la práctica, precedidos por una amplia discusión que refleja estos esfuerzos y esbozos en otras posibles áreas de interés para investigaciones futuras. El panorama que emerge de esta discusión es prometedor y en él se basan los prehistoriadores contribuyendo al mismo tiempo a los actuales debates sobre “artesanía” en las sociedades actuals.

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