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artisans and craftsmen  

Cameron Hawkins

The social worlds of artisans and craftsmen were structured around skill on both conceptual and practical levels. On a conceptual level, artisans employed skill (τέχνη / ars) as a crucial component of the identities they constructed for themselves—identities that differed distinctly from perceptions of artisans among the elite, who dismissed most craftsmen as “base” manual labourers. On a practical level, the importance of apprenticeship as a tool for the acquisition of skill had a profound impact on the social profile of artisans and craftsmen: while it ensured that skill could be acquired by both free and enslaved artisans, it limited opportunities for women and for children born into households of low economic status. From an economic perspective, the small workshop remained the backbone of artisanal production. The ubiquity of small workshops in the economy can be explained best as the product of artisans’ efforts to respond to the risks created by product markets in which demand was inherently seasonal and uncertain. With some exceptions, artisans sought to mitigate their exposure to risk by minimizing fixed costs, while nevertheless preserving the ability to expand their output in periods of elevated demand. This was true even in industries that fostered specialization in discrete and technically demanding stages of a vertical production process: in these industries, artisans typically coordinated their production not within integrated firms, but rather within subcontracting networks.

Article

zooarchaeology  

Michael MacKinnon

Zooarchaeology/archaeozoology focuses on the investigation of animals in the past through analysis of recovered faunal remains, largely teeth and bones, from archaeological sites. As such zooarchaeological analyses can disclose much about the animals themselves, the environmental and ecological parameters in which they existed, as well as the cultures that kept, herded, controlled, hunted, manipulated, killed, ate, valued, symbolized, treated, and exploited them. The historical development of zooarchaeological study within classical archaeology showcases its expansion from earlier studies (in the 1970s and 1980s) that concentrated on reconstructing the core economic and ecological roles of animals in antiquity to its current state, which emphasizes more diversified, multidimensional investigations of animals across all spectra and components of ancient life. Key topics of interest in the discipline include ancient husbandry operations; the interaction between animals and ecological settings; the input of meat and other animal foodstuffs in ancient diets; the exploitation of non-consumable animal products, such as bones, hides, and wool in antiquity; breeding regimes and their effects on animals during Greek and Roman times; and the roles and characteristics of work, pet, and sacrificial animals in the past.