Ancient technologies remain one of the most studied features of the archaeology of ancient civilizations. While there are many types of ancient technologies, this course is an introduction to the three primary pyrotechnic (fire based) technologies: the creation of ceramics, glass and metals.
The anthropology and archaeology of these materials is a vast topic, far too large to adequately to cover in a single quarter. This course instead seeks to be an introduction to the subject of ancient pyrotechnic technologies. We will cover the laboratory methods used by modern archaeological scientists to study and understand ancient ceramics, glass and metals, using both hands-on methods as well as readings on the subjects. We will also review the methodologies behind the creation of these materials, from raw materials to final object. The course will focus on the invention of these technologies in the Near East, with brief comparisons with the isolated inventions in China and the New World.