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Project List » A radiography of the past. Investigation of Neolithic clay artifacts using imaging diagnostic methods and experimental archaeology

A radiography of the past. Investigation of Neolithic clay artifacts using imaging diagnostic methods and experimental archaeology

Acronym: RADART
Contracting Authority: Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI)
Number / Date of the contract: 165PED / 2017 / 2017-01-03
PN3 / Proiect Experimental Demonstrativ
Project Manager: Florin Constantin
Partners: University of Bucharest (History Faculty)
Starting date / finishing date: 2017-01-03 / 2018-06-30
Project value: 600000 RON
Abstract: The project: "A radiography of the past. Investigation of Neolithic clay artifacts using imaging diagnostic methods and experimental archaeology" represents an original scientific approach for Romanian research. Its goal is to explore clay artifacts belonging to a key-period in Romanian prehistory - i.e. the Neolithic (ca. 7000-3700 BC). The data obtained through archaeological excavations or resulting from artifacts analysis can help the understanding of these prehistoric communities and their material creation, but just up to a certain point. This is the main reason for which we propose this interdisciplinary approach of the Neolithic clay artifacts from Romania, based on the synergetic use of archaeology, experimental archaeology, and imaging analysis.
A consortium of two institutions will implement the project: Horia Hulubei National Institute for Nuclear Physics and Engineering (IFIN-HH) as Coordinating Institution (CO) of the project, and University of Bucharest - Faculty of History (UB) as Partner 1 (P1). IFIN-HH (CO) is a noteworthy representative of Romanian scientific research, with numerous national or international collaborations in various projects and an impressive infrastructure, with outstanding results in nuclear physics and engineering, being ranked as one of the most successful national research institutes from Romania.

Objectives: The main objective of this project is the identification of manufacturing methods for Neolithic clay artifacts (pottery, figurines, loom weights, etc.) through experimental archaeology and imaging methods - radiography and X-ray Computed Tomography (CT). This ambitious approach is completely different from what was done until now in Romania, as this complex study will be based on applying fundamental concepts of how-why and know-how. It will be achieved through the use of imaging investigation methods of the Neolithic clay artifacts, in order to accumulate specific knowledge related to the production, manufacture, repair, use and chaine operatoire actions. Complementarily, the project will employ experimental archeology to achieve more information regarding the above mentioned research issues. Alongside obtaining and processing raw materials and producing artifacts replicas - experimental and demonstration models, the latter will be functionally tested in activities similar to the ones from the Neolithic - raw material and plant exploitation, hunting, fishing, gathering, building, artifacts producing, etc. Our experimental and demonstrative research will be concluded with a theoretical and practical model of chaine operatoire of Neolithic clay artifacts, potentially confirming or dismissing some of the current hypotheses concerning the Neolithic. This project could put forward new theories and interpretations of particular archaeological clay artifacts.


1. Setup of the research directions, working instruments; preliminary documentary background. Imaging analyses of Neolithic clay artifacts (2017-12-15)
2. Experimental study of Neolithic clay artifacts. Dissemination and valorization of the scientific results (2018-06-30)


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