Small project meeting in Toulouse, 19.-21.02.2018

Although modern means of communication facilitate our everyday working life a lot, at some point, it still is necessary to meet in person. Especially, since we are collecting more and more gold objects and the need for discussing typological issues increases. After intense discussions in Mainz and Mannheim on the German side, and in Toulouse on the French side, we took the opportunity to have a small meeting with Barbara Armbruster, Pierre-Yves Milcent, Marilou Nordez, and Sebastian Fürst to talk about the database and the typological ranking of the objects.

As Barbara Armbruster has stressed in her 2011 article (see literature section), it is necessary to apply both, an inner and an outer typology for a comprehensive understanding of archaeological artefacts. This is why we have chosen to use two rather separated, but complementary, typological approaches within our database and thus in our project. Whereas the inner typology is based on an investigation of the technological information inherent in the material (like forming, decoration, joining or finishing techniques), the outer typology focuses more on the phenotype of an object rather than on its genotype. But this is not just l’art pour l’art. These two typologies are likely to reflect different social spheres: groups of objects with close parallels in terms of technical features are more closely linked to the producers, the artisans and craftsmen, whereas objects with a close optical similarity tell us more about the consumers and their shared aesthetic believes or social affiliation.

For example, if we compare one of the torcs from Fenouillet (dép. Haute-Garonne) with the one from Montans (dép. Tarn), at first glance they appear to be very similar in appearance. However, as Barbara Armbruster has proven, they differ in their manufacturing techniques.

Fenouillet torc 1

Torc 1 from Fenouillet (dép. Haute-Garonne), © B. Armbruster.

Torc from Montans (dép. Tarn),               © B. Armbruster

In this case, it is an analogous similarity: the two torcs have a similar appearance (outer typology), but they differ in terms of their construction (inner typology). Analogue similarities are likely to indicate related consumer groups, whereas homologous similarities (resemblances in construction, but different appearance) rather indicate similar production groups or workshops.

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