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«January 2020»

Reconstructing the Social Context of Technology: Integrated perspectives on centralized metal production in Late Antiquity

The main objective of the project is to elaborate on the position of certain metal production technologies in regard to the particular social settings in which they were applied during Late Antiquity in the Balkans. An integrated research approach to this topic involves interpretation of diverse categories of evidence: (1) written sources about technologies and wider political and socio-historical developments of the period, (2) particular material evidence – finds and their context – discovered through archaeological fieldwork and surveys in Bulgaria, and (3) analytical data, or ‘micro-evidence’ obtained using scientific laboratory methods. The basis of the project comprises two archaeological assemblages of metal (copper and silver) production debris which have key importance for shaping a thorough perspective on centralized large-scale artisanal production that also featured a high degree of technological specialization and standardization. Understanding such complex technological phenomena begins with detailed study of the archaeological record but also includes its reading in relation to the socio-economic background and historical narratives. In this way, it is possible to reconstruct the likely state-dominated and governed milieu of these particular productions in the province of Dacia Mediterranea.

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