Students of the Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design learn about prehistoric ceramics at ROOTS.

Jutta Kneisel
In the ROOTS facilities for analysis of prehistoric ceramics, Archaeologist Jutta Kneisel shows finds from current excavations. Photo: Jan Steffen, Cluster ROOTS

Whether as sinks, dentures or components in electric cars - ceramics is an extremely versatile material that is indispensable in today's world. At the same time, ceramics are among the oldest materials ever used by humans - as early as 26,000 years ago, they formed small figurines out of clay and then fired them. No wonder, that art still has a great interest in this multifaceted and fascinating material.

On Thursday, 29 June, the participants of a block seminar on ceramics at the Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design visited the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS to learn more about current research on the history of ceramics and earlier manufacturing processes. The archaeologist Dr. Jutta Kneisel presented Stone and Bronze Age finds from current excavations in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Hesse to the group in the ceramics laboratory of the Cluster of Excellence, reported on the circumstances of the finds and how the shards are scientifically processed in the laboratory.

In an overview, she demonstrated to the participants how individual analytical methods on a small shard can contribute to comprehensive statements about the life of the people of that time, starting with manufacturing processes and regional differences to diet and its preparation.

"Visiting the lab, seeing shards from current digs and hearing from Dr. Kneisel both about state-of-the-art archeological research methodology as well as insights into social, environmental, and cultural phenomena and processes was compelling. In our seminar at Muthesius we were focussing on embodied knowledge, ceramic production in the context of regional specificity and communal practices. Interdisciplinary exchange on the materials we work with as artists, but also as humans, the techniques we use, the information human-made objects transport over millenia all bring questions into focus that concern art as well as science and society at large", Zoë Claire Miller artist and visiting lecturer at Muthesius University said after the visit.

Jutta Kneisel explains
Using prehistoric shards, Jutta Kneisel explains various methods of pottery production in past times. Photo: Jan Steffen, Cluster ROOTS

Jutta Kneisel also explains
How do archaeologists keep track of the large number of sherd finds? Jutta Kneisel also explains
archaeological methods to the students of the Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts. Photo: Jan Steffen, Cluster ROOTS


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