The present innovation is boosted by the sharing of knowledge and tools. As in the past, these novelties are causing economic and social changes. During the early Middle Ages, between the end of the 7th and the 9th century, northwestern Europe experienced political and social mobility, modifications in the settlement strategy and technical innovations in crafts. By focusing on the glass, ceramic and iron, this project aims to reach the changes in their processes that are still poorly understood as well as the roles of the craftsmen and those of elites. In secondary productions, the “chaînes opératoires” of these pyrotechnologies will be studied. Archaeological and archaeometrical analyses will identify their materials and techniques in order to evaluate where modifications occured. Then, they will be compared in order to grasp the cross-craft interactions and see if these were a trigger for innovation. Aiming to appraise the role of their actors, the four sites chosen concern different social strata (aristocratic villa, pre-urban agglomeration, rural settlement and monastery). All the results of these material studies will be integrated in their socio-economic environment.
At ARSCAN and during a secondment at CEB-IRAMAT, the needed competences will be gathered. A training in iron studies will fulfill a domain of expertise currently lacking in the Benelux and it will be an asset to apply to permanent academic positions. The project also includes experimental archaeology on a site allowing the development of future research projects. A scientific meeting will gather teams working on craft productions in other regions in order to picture the transfers of material and knowledge. All these results will be communicated to mainstream audience, in particular to current craftsmen. In this way, the project intends to bring light to the mechanisms and factors of innovation at the roots of a novel society and it will encourage current creators to do the same.
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