Category Archives: Evènements passés

Connecting pots

Poterie et pratiques relationnelles dans le monde ancien.

Pottery and relational practices in the Ancient World.

Workshop 26 novembre 2021, Amphithéâtre de la Maison de l’Archéologie, Pessac, 14h-18h.

Workshop tenu dans les cadres des programmes CorPoWest (Département des Sciences Archéologiques Bordeaux) et NoStoi (Labex Laboratoire des Sciences Archéologiques de Bordeaux


La poterie, bien que très souvent réduite, en contexte archéologique, à l’état assez peu spectaculaire de tesson, était au cœur de pratiques relationnelles, et cela jusqu’à des époques récentes. Dans le monde ancien, elle fournissait un support matériel et technique pour la diffusion, la conservation et la consommation de denrées alimentaires. Dans bien des cas, toutefois, sa signification va bien au-delà. Sa forme, sa technique, permet d’identifier sa région de production et parfois même l’atelier dont elle est issue, et donc de mettre en évidence des connexions locales, régionales, ou interrégionales. Son éventuelle décoration peut avoir suscité la diffusion de trames narratives intégrées de façons différentes d’un endroit à l’autre. Sur les places de marché, ou n’importe où ou pouvaient avoir lieu des transactions, la poterie pouvait livrer par sa seule morphologie des informations sur l’origine et le volume des denrées. Dans les banquets, elle rend visible de tous la part réservée à chacun. Sa fabrication même, impliquant des acteurs issus de contextes différents et possesseurs de savoir-faire spécifiques, peut être considérée comme une activité relationnelle.

Cet atelier explorera les nouvelles méthodes d’approche qui permette de mettre en évidence et de caractériser le rôle relationnel de la poterie. L’utilisation de la poterie en contexte social, les problèmes liés à sa contenance (et les méthodes utilisées pour les aborder) seront au cœur de nos discussions.

Abstract :

Pottery, although often reduced in archaeological contexts to the unspectacular form of a sherd, was at the very heart of relational practices –until quite recent times-. In the ancient world, it provided technical means for distributing, storing and consuming foodstuffs. In many contexts, its meaning embraced a much wider field, though. Its shape, its technique, may allow tracing its origins all the way back to a specific workshop, and thus emphasize connections with remote places. Its decoration will disseminate narrative, which would be integrated in different ways from one place to another. On marketplaces or anywhere a transaction could happen, it could provide information about origins and volumes of foodstuffs or other products. In banquets, it would allow for making clear which portion is allowed to whom. Even its making, involving actors from different backgrounds and possessing different know-hows, can be considered as a relational activity.

This workshop will consider new paths of investigation that may emphasize and characterize this role of pottery as a relational medium. Pottery use in social contexts, problems related with capacities (and methods use to investigate them) will be at the core of our discussions.

Programme :

14h : Introduction, présentation du workshop. Alexis Gorgues, UMR 5607 Ausonius, Université Bordeaux Montaigne

14h10 :  Perspectives on Ancient Pottery: Some Thoughts from the Trenches. John Papadopoulos, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California Los Angeles.

14h40 : Corinthian Pottery at home and abroad. Relating production to spheres of consumption. Haley Bertram, Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati.

 15h10 : Eating, Feasting, or the Symposium? Can Pottery Help us Tell the Difference. Kathleen Lynch, Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati.

15h40 : pause.

16h : Faciès céramiques et dynamiques socio-culturelles au premier âge du Fer dans le sud-ouest de la France : trois illustrations.Antoine Dumas, UMR 5607 Ausonius

16h30 : Produciendo conectividad : las ánforas de la Contestania Ibérica en la Edad del Hierro. Pascual Perdiguero, Area de Arqueología, Universitat d’Alacant.

17h00 : L’atelier de potier comme cadre relationnel : quelques remarques à partir des fouilles du Mas de Moreno (Foz-Calanda, Teruel, Espagne). Alexis Gorgues, Charlotte Sacilotto (UMR 5608 TRACES, Université Toulouse 2-Jean Jaurès), Florent Comte.

17h : Le projet Nostoi et ses premiers résultats. Alexis Gorgues, Thibaud Poigt (projet NoStoi, UMR 5607 Ausonius-UMR 5608 TRACES) Florent Comte.


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


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.

Revamping value(s)

5-8 September 2018

Revamping value(s)

On the destruction of value during the Bronze and Iron Age in Europe and the Mediterranean

Session #687 of the 24th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists

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


The Maastricht 2017 session “The Value of all Things” approached the many facets of value assessment in the Ancient World. At the EAA in Barcelona 2018, we would like to take this discussion a step further, and investigate the whys and hows of value destruction.
Indeed, one of the most noticeable archaeological phenomena in European and Mediterranean late prehistoric societies is the deliberate withdrawal of values from circulation: hoards that were never retrieved, depositions in wetlands, grave goods – sometimes ritually mutilated – and offerings made in sanctuaries. In other words, value – at least in its material form – was destroyed or alienated, as these artefacts could no longer be used, possessed, given away, exchanged or displayed.
Such behaviour can be explained in the context of power: performative artefact destruction, for instance, may be intended to emphasize the wealth and power of an individual; or a ritual offering may be aimed at obtaining the goodwill of the gods. We would like, however, in this session to consider an alternative approach, that artefact withdrawal, more than being a destruction of value, was a way of converting value: The conversion of a material value that could be measured, evaluated and negotiated, into a symbolic and incommensurable value.
We would like to invite papers based on specific case studies (whether at a local, regional or inter-regional scale) as well as more theoretical contributions, in order to encourage a comparative approach to the many seemingly contradictive aspects of the curation of valuables.

The Value of All Things

30 August – 3 September 2017

The Value of All Things.

Value expression and value assessment in the Ancient World (Europe, Near East and the Mediterranean)

Session #314 of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists

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


The idea that things have a value is probably almost universal. In contrast, as a social construction, value assessment may be very different from one place to another. Roughly, we can consider that the social “construction” of value can follow three different paths.
Firstly, value can be measured and expressed according to one or more standard units. Such behaviors are nowadays intensely investigated, mainly through the study of the various forms of money of through the materiality of measurement
Secondly, value may be related with the symbolic relevance of things: prestige transmitted through successive owners, provenience, uses… This dimension of value is mainly explored through the study of objects biography.
Thirdly, value may be linked with the labor related to the making of the object, with its quality. This labor value is indeed poorly investigated, but can be approached through technique studies, still fashionable nowadays.
Value is often assessed by taking more than one of these criteria into consideration, and actual scenarios are indeed numerous and complex. We would like to invite, in this session, contributions interested in dealing with the many faces of value and with value assessment practices in a long-term perspective, in Europe, Near East and Mediterranean, from Bronze to Iron Age, including the Classical world. Contributors may present papers or posters discussing one of the three aspects mentioned before, or cross-analysis taking into account different factors.