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Standardization and Innovation in Potters' Communities of Ancient Greece

February 26, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
online - pre-registration required: Click on More Info Below

The standardized vessels produced in potters’ workshops were the result of highly-patterned manufacturing and distributing processes, where all stages, from collecting clay to stocking the boats with the sold wares, played an important role. In this presentation, I will discuss how potters transmitted their strategies for standardized shapes and decorative syntaxes through apprenticeship channels, and how loading the kilns and loading trading boats might have been related activities. I will also explore how the spatial layout of pottery workshops reflected these patterned behaviors. Once the entire production was standardized, how flexible were the workshops to deal with innovation without disrupting the operational flow? For example, what were the dynamics in the potters’ quarters of Late Archaic Athens when several innovative techniques were introduced, but only one prevailed?

Eleni Hasaki is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Classics at the University of Arizona. She received her B.A. from the University of Athens, Greece and her Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Cincinnati. She has published on craft technologies, apprenticeship, the spatial organization of workshops, and social network analysis of communities of practice in the Classical world. She has excavated pottery workshops in Greece and directs the ethnoarchaeological study of relocating a potters’ quarter in Tunisia. Her experimental archaeology projects at the Laboratory for Traditional Technology have centered on the wheels and kilns of ancient Greek potters. She promotes Digital Humanities through the WebAtlas of Ceramic Kilns in Ancient Greece and the NEH-funded collaborative project SNAP: Social Networks of Athenian Potters. Hasaki recently coedited a volume on Reconstructing Scales of Production in the Ancient Greek world. Her book (Potters at Work in Ancient Corinth: Industry, Religion, and the Penteskouphia Pinakes; Hesperia Supplement 51) on the largest group of scenes with potters at work from classical antiquity is scheduled to appear in Spring 2021.

Stanford Humanities Center Blokker Research Workshop: "Standardization in Ancient Economies"Co-sponsored by the Stanford University Classics Department. 

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Department of Classics
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