Only on Zoom, link below.
Speaker: Sanchita Balachandran, Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins Archaeological Museum
Title: "So-and-so Made This: A Research Methodology for Finding and Being with the Potters and Painters of Ancient Athens"
Abstract: How can we re-center ceramics makers in the story of the painted “red-figure” ceramics produced in ancient Athens from approximately 530 BCE into the last quarter of the 4th century BCE? If the modern scholarship on Athenian ceramics has focused on questions of “who made this pot and how do we know that?”, this project asks “what was the working life of these makers really like?” Given that a significant percentage of these makers were poor Athenian citizens, migrants or immigrants, freed and enslaved people, and women and children—all people who left limited forms of “traditional” evidence—the pots they made are an important understudied archive of their lived experiences. By paying close attention to extant pots by combining microscopy and reflectance transformation imaging, hands-on making, experimental archaeology, and materials science research, I am developing an embodied preservation practice. Such a practice attempts to be with ancient people on their own terms, noticing their small gestures, artistic habits, sensory experiences and even moments of imagination as they appear and disappear on pots. The ultimate aim of this work is to rehumanize these makers as real people with real bodies and real creative minds, and not just “hands” that inscribed names onto pots.
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