Artistic Legacies

Posted on October 14, 2015


This is another video session from the EAA Glasgow Conference. You can see all the EAA videos I did at the EAA website- . Or if you are interested in a specific topic I have over 400 videos up at .

This was a very interesting sessions to film and watch. It was a general session put together under the title Artistic Legacies. Most of the speakers had art historian backgrounds. While I have a degree in Art (studio, not history) it is probably not a session I would have gone to. Not because it would not interest me but because with hundreds of sessions at EAA I probably would have ended up at a Public Archaeology or technology session. Though I am very glad I did film this session. It was very interesting to see a different perspective, that of Art History.

Art and Archaeology: a happy marriage?

Joana Valdez-Tullett

Art is an ambiguous concept with a controversial application to Archaeology. Although the word has been used since the beginning of the discipline, as archaeologists recognize the aesthetic value of many of their artefacts, there is a general reluctance in using such it to describe the archaeological record. This is due to our current knowledge that the notion of “Art” and “Artist” as we understand it is inexistent in many societies and may as well have been absent in the Past. In a way, this demonstrates the rigidity of definitions that characterizes Archaeology, perhaps sometimes constraining the evolution of ideas.

Working with prehistoric creations, I often come across the word “Art” and my specific study object carries this notion in its name – “Rock Art”. Questions such as “What is Art?” or “Is this Rock Art?” are common.

Interestingly, archaeologists continue using this word to describe the archaeological record, even whilst admitting that “Art” is a western concept and considering the evidence provided by Ethnography reinforcing the idea that many societies relate differently towards their creations.

Lately I have been arguing that Art and Archaeology are complementary disciplines. Without aiming at the production of an analogy between the two fields or direct comparisons, this paper will explore the ways Archaeology can find support from Art in the interpretation of its evidence.

The paper will be illustrated mainly with cases studies from Atlantic Rock Art that is in itself archaeological evidence and bears
the label “Art”. But is it?

Archaeology and History of Art: Different Methodologies for the Common Purpose: study of Russian arms and armor

Archaeology and History of Art: Different Methodologies for the Common Purpose: study of Russian arms and armor
Alexander Zhilin

As scientific disciplines, archaeology and history of art often share the same interests. Many material sources are archaeological monuments and works of art at the same time. Ancient Russian arms and armor are being studied in interdisciplinary space.

Methods of archaeology are mostly stratigraphy and typology. History of art has its “three whales” of methodology: depiction, analysis and comparative analysis.

Sometimes both of the disciplines appeal to the term “style” which can be much undetermined.

So called “big styles” are determined on the materials deriving from Western European territories and so are not very reliable
in researches connected with, for example, Ancient Rus. In addition, there are many cases when a big number of new styles are being presented by scientists – not “big” but local styles, brought to life by studying of different material sources.

It seems that sometimes the only way to learn all the information about material sources is to unite these methodologies. In
my studies, I applied methods of art history to the material that traditionally is considered as purely archaeological: Russian
arms and armor of the 9th – 15th centuries. Items of different categories (swords, battle-axes, helmets and so on) were placed
in several stylistic groups according to their decoration (geometric, abstract, floral, animal, anthropological, and mixed groups).

Comparison of typological and stylistic divisions of arms and armor helps to clarify ideas about the time of existence of things
and the development of their decoration.

The stylistic unity between ornamentation of adornments from hoards and architectural white stone carving of Old Rus

Natalia Zhilina

Between stone carving and the archaeological material from the hoards similar stylistic tendencies in the development of
zoomorphic and floral ornament are observed.

Vladimir-Suzdal churches with white stone carvings have exact dates of their building. Adornments from russian hoards (XIth –
the first third of the XIIIth century) in cloisonné enamel, niello and stamping do not have an exact data, if we use only the
methods of archaeological dating.

Since jewelry items are works of applied art, it is perspectively to use the method of stylistic analysis. Jewelry treasures are divided into groups according to the stages of stylistic development of their ornament. A comparison with the material of stone carving brings the following conclusions.

The earliest layer of ornaments associated with geometrize image, passing to the native proportions. The parallels are in stone
carving of the Nativity Cathedral in Bogoljubovo, Church of the Intercession on the Nerl, Assumption Cathedral in Vladimir

Middle layer is characterized by exaggerated ornaments made by curving line. This stage finds parallels in the carving of Demetrius and Assumption Cathedrals, the Cathedral of Christmas monastery in Vladimir (1180–1190).

The most recent layer of jewelry is characterized by naturalism and complexity of composition. The exact parallels are in carving of the first third of the XIII th century: Nativity Cathedral in Suzdal (1222–1225), St. George’s Cathedral in Yuriev Polsky (1230–1234).

Interdisciplinary study allows to see jewelry in line with the development of ancient Russian art, as well as – to date jewelry.

Science dedicated to the study of archaeological textiles : the example of a workshop in Brandes-en-Oisans (12th-14th c, France) and Yakuts graves (18th-19th c, Siberia)

Emeline Retournard1, Isaline Saunier2
The study of archaeological textiles is a discipine generally still unknow. Through the development of scientific methods the
study of textiles became advanced. This paper offers to explain several of these methods used for the archaeological textiles
found into two sites : a workshop for the washing of the silver ore in Brandes-en-Oisans (12th-14th c., France) and several
Yakuts graves (18th-19th c., Siberia).

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