- The Oxford Handbook of Archaeology
- List of Contributors
- The Discipline of Archaeology
- The Formative Century, 1860–1960
- The Theoretical Scene, 1960–2000
- Into the Future
- Measuring the Passage of Time: Achievements and Challenges in Archaeological Dating
- Human Activity in a Spatial Context
- Data Collection by Excavation
- Mastering Materials
- The Nature of Humanness
- Early Hominids
- The Emergence of <i>Homo</i> Sapiens Sapiens
- The Neanderthals
- Peopling the World
- Hunters and Gatherers
- Early Farming and Domestication
- Studying Human Diet
- Cultural Complexity
- Trade and Interaction
- China: State Formation and Urbanization
- The Central Andean Region in Prehistory
- The Mediterranean and its Hinterland
- The Archaeology of Sub-Saharan Africa
- Pre-Islamic Central Asia
- The Circumpolar Zone
- East Asia
- The Pacific Islands
- North America
- South American Archaeology
- Indigenous Voices, Archaeology, and the Issue of Repatriation
- Sex and Gender
- Archaeological Representation: the Consumption and Creation of the Past
- Community Archaeology
- Subject Index
- Index of Personal Names: Includes all referenced authors.
Abstract and Keywords
This article examines materials analysis in archaeology. It explains that the ultimate goal of materials analysis in archaeology is to understand the human exploitation of the environment in terms of raw materials and processes used in the production of artefacts from stone, ceramic, metal, and glass as well as from the full range of organic materials. This goal is achieved through the investigation of the overall life-cycle or chaîne opératoire of surviving artefacts starting with their production and continuing through their distribution to their use, reuse, and ultimate discard. This article provides a series of case studies relating to the production technology of pottery, metals, and glass and discusses potential of and the problems associated with distribution studies.
M. S. Tite is Emeritus Professor, Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, University of Oxford.
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