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Aspects of design in Iron Age and early Roman Europe

UNWIN, CHRISTINA (2021) Aspects of design in Iron Age and early Roman Europe. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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This research offers design practices and processes as an approach for exploring matters of making artefacts, with particular reference to the Iron Age and early Roman period in Europe (c. 500 BC to c. AD 200). The concept of design links individuals and groups who creatively engage with materials, offering a means of thinking about artefacts in interconnected ways beyond the framing of material culture through typologies and chronologies. Designing artefacts involves networking people with other objects conceived, made and recreated in different media and within conditions of socio-cultural affordances and constraints ranging from the household to the inter-regional.

Ways of seeing (and not seeing) have fundamentally informed past research directions and continue to do so. Beyond the visual experience of artefacts, spoken and written terminologies have framed and categorized how artefacts have been perceived and how ideas about them have been transmitted, frequently preserving particular ways of seeing. The idea of an ‘art object’ remains at the core of many approaches to material culture studies. A review of existing literature on ‘Celtic art’ demonstrates that the dichotomy between ‘art’ and ‘technology’, combined with persistent terminologies, remain influential. Design theory applied in fields other than archaeology, such as architecture, shows that such divisions are redundant for the understanding of creative processes and practices.

In this thesis, design is offered as a potentially more useful approach in its constituency of social process with all aspects and associations of constructed objects; portable and fixed artefacts, buildings and landscapes. This approach has been constructed from archaeological theory, design theory and art criticism, combined with ideas from both personal experience of design practice and from discussions with designer-makers within their own creative spaces. Aspects of design of Iron Age and early Roman artefacts are explored through four case studies in order to assess the visibilities, invisibilities and transmissions of the concepts of their socio-cultural associative networks.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:design making Celtic art Iron Age Roman
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2021
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:05 May 2021 08:56

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