Session: #312

Theme & Session Format

The archaeology of material culture, bodies and landscapes
Session format:
Session, made up of a combination of papers, max. 15 minutes each

Title & Content

Ancient pottery in Central Asia: large scale perspective on the production systems and the cultural interactions
Studies on ancient ceramics from Central Asia have traditionally focused on the definition of the morphological and decorative attributes of the vessels to aid in shaping a relative ceramic chronology and in setting up connections between sites and areas. Recent studies applied to the central Asian corpuses, some of which incorporate the archaeometric characterisation of ceramics, bring nowadays a broader view of the ceramic production systems, the trade dynamics, and the technological and cultural interactions over time in Central Asia. This territory has witnessed continuous cultural contacts between sedentary, nomadic and semi-nomadic populations favored by large ethnic processes and the Silk Road. It has also been the framework of the development of major historical entities, such as the Oxus Civilization or BMAC, the Achaemenid, Seleucid, Greco-Bactrian, Kushan, and Sasanian before the expansion of Islam. All the local cultural entities developed their own material traditions according to the respective social complexity. However, questions arise regarding continuities and disruptions between periods and at different spatial scales (“ceramic provinces”) and interrelations (technological and cultural transfer). The goal of the session is to bring together researchers currently working on multidisciplinary studies on the pottery produced and used in Central Asia from the Neolithic to the Islamic period, focusing on the patterns of production, distribution and use of ceramic vessels. We also aim to examine the cultural interactions, the fluctuation of the networks of exchange and the development of the production systems in a wider chrono-geographical framework.
Central-Asia; Pottery; Provenance; Technology; Interaction
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:


Main organiser:
Dr Verónica Martínez Ferreras (Spain) 1
Dr Elise Luneau (Germany) 2
1. ERAAUB, Department of History and Archaeology, University of Barcelona
2. German Archaeological Institute - Eurasia Department