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Text, practice, and experience: an experimental approach to the archaeology of glassmaking in medieval Iberia

Lookup NU author(s): John Pearson, Dr Chloe Duckworth, David Govantes-Edwards


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© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.How might an interdisciplinary approach involving experimental archaeology improve our knowledge of glassmaking in medieval Iberia? Our current limited understanding lacks an appreciation of how surviving remains were created through the actual practice of glassmaking—herein lies the biggest single gap in knowledge. Archaeological experiments show that while the infima glassmaking recipe offers a credible guide to basic glassmaking technology, it is best interpreted as a set of learned instructions rooted in, though not describing, workshop practice. Awareness of the sensory qualities of glass, the conducting of experiments, and observation of glass production practice, all combined within a theoretical framework that embraces embodied knowledge and phenomenological aspects of space and time, suggest the potential existence of an encoded “text” of past glassmaking practice within archaeological workshop remains. The authors advocate further experimental archaeology on a more ambitious scale, exploring the sensory and performative aspects of glassmaking practice, to better learn to read the distinctive handwriting of this “text” in medieval Iberian archaeology.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pearson J, Duckworth CN, Lopez-Rider J, Govantes-Edwards D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies

Year: 2021

Volume: 13

Issue: 1

Pages: 119-144

Online publication date: 08/01/2021

Acceptance date: 07/01/2021

ISSN (print): 1754-6559

ISSN (electronic): 1754-6567

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/17546559.2021.1874615


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