Style as Memory. An Anthropological Approach to the Long-Term Development of Minoan Kamares Ware on Crete.
Cognitive archaeology, Material engagement theory, Minoan Archaeology, Memory studies, Cognitive sciences, ceramic studies, anthropology, philosophy of mind.
My research investigates how styles set norms that guide human actions and choices in the context of pottery making. In particular, I explore the hypothesis that decorative pottery styles are memories of past actions accumulated over the long-term that enable the conservation and transmission of knowledge over generations. By drawing upon Material Engagement Theory, Gell’s anthropology of art, and Process archaeology, I look at how those memories are distributed in material culture and united in styles according to their perceived physical qualities (i.e. shapes, surface treatments, colour and composition of decorative patterns). To validate my hypothesis, this study re-examines the long-term development of Kamares Ware traditions on Crete (ca. 2100-1500 BC). The archaeological data is informed by an ethnographic campaign in the region to investigate how, in the situated moment of making, a style remembers and guide potters’ actions and choices. Such an approach to style as material memory emphasises the role the interaction between people and things have in explaining the dynamics of cultural transmission and their variation over the long-term. My interests lay in the intersection between Material Engagement Theory, archaeology, anthropology of art, cognitive sciences, and philosophy of mind.