Craft and People

Agents of Skilled Labour in the Archaeological Record


Call for Papers

Conference flyer


Craft production and the products of craft have long been a main focus of archaeological research. From the admiration of achievement and the appreciation of skill in finished objects, focus has shifted to questions of how objects were made, and who it was that made them. Ancient technology has been investigated through the study of production sites, artefact studies, through archaeometry, and through experimental archaeology. The role of people and communities in craft production has been approached through analysis of texts and images, analogies from ethnoarchaeological studies and attempts using experimental archaeology. Beyond the object-based studies, craft production has had a role to play in many recent themes in archaeology and anthropology, such as social structures, gender roles, specialization, state formation, migration, identities, and more. However, academic approaches to craft are often far removed from the practical knowledge and embodied practice of craft and skill in ancient societies, and biases towards ‘head’ over ‘hands’ need to be critically evaluated and acknowledged in the study of craft production.

In this conference we want to explore ways in which we can approach craftspeople behind objects and find complexes in the archaeological record. How have craftspeople left marks on things, places, and times? What roles did they play within their communities, and can we trace their social status through the archaeological record? What methodologies are available to identify people behind material remains? How are craftspeople linked across geographical and temporal planes, how is knowledge and skill reproduced and transformed?

To this end, we aim to bring together a diverse group of scholars to discuss the nexus craft – people – archaeology across a range of materials (such as lithics, ceramics, metal, textiles, etc.), periods, and regions, incorporating evidence from prehistoric and early historic societies across Europe and the Mediterranean.

We are planning on publishing, in due course, an edited volume based on a selection of papers and posters presented at the conference.

The following themes will underlie the different sessions of the conference:

Images of Craftspeople: Portraits and Self-Portraits

How do craftspeople become visible? This session will include discussion of representations and images of craftspeople (both in a ‘real’ sense, e.g. images of craftspeople on Greek vases, Iron Age situlae, stone reliefs, and in a figurative sense, e.g. contemporary written sources).

Object and Craft

How can we follow the steps of the craftspeople and their skills? This session will discuss object-based approaches to craft production and craftspeople, e.g. looking at paths of learning, teaching, and knowledge transfer; the re-creation of techniques and skills in experimental and experiential archaeology; and a critical evaluation of methodologies that bridge the gap between objects and people.

Society and Craftspeople

How can we identify the social position of the craftspeople through the archaeological record? In this session, the social setting of craftspeople will be explored. This will include questions about status; ownership of skill, knowledge, materials, and labour; the connections between gender and status on the one hand, and different types of crafts on the other hand; and specialization and organization of production.

Dear friends and colleagues,

We are pleased to invite all interested researchers and looking forward to an inspiring conference,

Best wishes – Sara, Marion and Ben

we have uploaded some photos of the conference check top of page for: photos!

more to be followed

The time for the conference has come!

we look forward to an exciting conference !! Come and join us!


please find the updated (29. 10. 2012) programme above under “Preliminary programme and abstracts”

Register now under:

Conference fees

70 £ (55 £ for students)

This will include the coffee breaks and the lunch breaks.

A booklet with the (preliminary) programme, and more importantly the abstracts for papers and posters at the conference can now be downloaded here:

CP abstract book 151012

Printed versions will, of course, be provided with your conference packages; save some trees, read it on screen.

You can register via the British Museum page:

Conference fees

Early registration (till 30th September 2012):

50 £ (35 £ for students)

Later registration:

70 £ (55 £ for students)

This will include the coffee breaks and the lunch breaks.

The programme is now available under “Preliminary Programme” at the top, or you can download it here:

We assume that the programme will only recieve minor changes till November.
We recieved an overwhelming number of over 120 abstracts, which made us very happy, but to choose a programme was extremely difficult! We would like to thank all contributors for their interest in our conference! And hope to see many of you in November.

The call for papers is NOW closed! Thank you for your interest in our conference!!

Information on the programme will be posted here at the beginning of July.

Registration will be opening at that time too.

Only a few days left!!

CRAFTandPEOPLE2012 – conference flyer (A5 booklet, .pdf)

CRAFTandPEOPLE2012_abstract template (form for paper/poster abstract submission, .doc)

To come in July 2012:

conference programme