EXPERIENCING NETWORKS

26-30 August 2020 – BUDAPEST

Experiencing Networks

Practices of trade and value assessment through time and space

Session #336 of the 24th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists

Organizers : Alexis Gorgues, Lene Melheim (Museum of Cultural History, Oslo) and Thibaud Poigt

Abstract

This session is a follow-up of sessions hosted by the same team at previous EAA conferences, which approached the many faces of values assessment (Maastricht 2017) and the reasons and consequences of value destruction in the ancient world (Barcelona 2018). Adding another level, this year’s session aims at exploring the materiality of the institutions surrounding all forms of exchange of goods. By institutions, we mean the various rules, whether formal or informal, enforced by law or based on common knowledge and practice, that allowed for transactions to happen. The term transaction itself encompasses a diversity of practices, ranging from competitive gift-exchange practices to the on-line shopping, but it has always at its core a notion of value assessment. The situation coinage allows for – optimal possibilities of measurement and comparison of value – is only the tip of the iceberg. Other dimensions of value measurement are to be found in the assessment of the volume or mass of a given product. But beyond these quantitative expressions, the values of a good can reside in its own biography : scarcity, crafting method involved in its making, changing of owner. As previous sessions showed, such value(s) can or cannot be measured, and can or cannot be commensurable. Often a shift from commodity to gift or vice versa occurs when objects move across cultural boundaries. This implies that gifts and commodities cannot be a priori separated, and also; that trade and gift exchange are intertwined and often coexistent. We would like to invite to this session any paper interested in exploring the diversity of value assessment and exchange practices and dealing about all archaeological periods and every part of Europe. All perspectives are welcome : archaeological or ethno-archaeological point of view, theoretical perspective or specific case-studies, and methodologies developed for exploring such topics.


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