Accepted paper:

More than just a quick fix? Repair holes on early medieval Souterrain Ware

Authors:

Alison Kyle (University of Glasgow)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers how the application of a theoretical perspective to the analysis of post-firing perforations on ceramic vessels may enable meaningful interpretations of, for example, agency, gender, choice (resistance, persistence, adoption and adaption), production and reproduction.

Paper long abstract:

In the context of early medieval domestic pottery, this paper considers how post-firing perforations on ceramic vessels may be viewed by the archaeologist as an index of the past action of repair and vessel reuse. The evidence for repairs of Souterrain Ware vessels from NE Ireland will be initially described, followed by a discussion of the exciting interpretative possibilities that such innocuous archaeological traces can yield through the application of archaeological theory. This paper will suggest that our interpretation must go beyond the single point in time at which individual vessel repairs took place. It is argued that, in this instance, repairs can be more meaningfully questioned at a broader regional or even interregional level. This paper considers vessel repair to be an intermittently recurring action which was embedded in social practice. As a repetitive, habitual practice, which was passed from one generation to the next, this paper will raise the question of the role of ceramic production and use in cultural reproduction. The paper will demonstrate how these unassuming perforations may be further used to address questions of, for example, agency, gender, choice (resistance, persistence, adoption and adaption), production and reproduction. Ultimately, this research derives from a broader study which seeks to question the degree of cultural similarity of Ireland and western Britain. The research presented indicates that within this broader study area, including Scotland, ceramic-producing regions used vessels in different ways, indicating the existence of regional variations in habitus, and by inference regional variations in identity.

panel S12
Make-do and mend: the archaeologies of compromise?