This book provides a clear, practical structured approach to studying archaeological and historic objects. The text, which includes nine detailed case studies, acts as a comprehensible guide to the different methods and approaches (cultural, forensic, technical) which can and have been used to study ancient artifacts. - Shows how information obtained from objects builds into a picture of the ancient society that made and used the object - Explains the commonly used scientific techniques for object analysis - Reveals how and why object typologies work - Demonstrates that cultural and economic factors as well as the properties of materials influence what objects are made of - Demonstrates how simple observation of an object can be built into a biography of the object - Reveals the answers to such questions as: o Can DNA be obtained from objects? o Why did artists sign their pictures? o Why do people X-ray ancient artifacts? o Can you determine the source of metal objects from their trace elements? This book is designed to provide a clear and comprehensive textbook to all archaeology, conservation and museum students who are studying artifacts. It will help them appreciate the detailed scientific and technological information and come to grips with the jargon of anthropological and art historical approaches to studying artifacts.
'Chris Caple's contribution ... bridges neatly the gap between theoretical thinking and technology ... I would certainly recommend this book; not only to students but to anyone interested in how rich object biographies are constructed.' - Antiquity