The 2023/24 lecture series is being held in collaboration with the
Department of Classics and Archaeology, University of Malta.
Special thanks to the head of department Dr Carmel Serracino.
All lectures will be held in person unless otherwise indicated.

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Open-firing: a practice-based approach to understanding prehistoric firing technologies

16/03/2022 @ 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Lecture by Dr Tim Willey, experimental archaeologist, researcher and visiting university lecturer.

Undoubtedly, the earliest ceramics were open fired – that is, fired without the aid of any heat-retaining structure. However Archaeological evidence of pre-historic open-firing is rare, as the practice was transitory and left very little trace. To the experimental archaeologist, open-firing raises the fascinating but often problematic question of how pots can survive the characteristic dramatic temperature rise without simply blowing apart? Through several experimental firings and using a developing range of clay-body formulations, it is demonstrated that the established convention of adding tempering materials to a locally-sourced clay is only part of the solution. Far more important, is to consider the minerology, particle size and particle distribution of the body as a whole. The resultant, clay-body formulations show that successful firings can be consistently achieved in well under thirty minutes, an outcome which has both practical and theoretical implications for future investigations and for furthering our understanding of pre-historic firing technology.



6:00 PM - 7:30 PM


The Archaeological Society Malta
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