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Kate Harrell
Jan Driessen

The Social Life of Θραύσματα

Kate Harrell

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It is clearer than ever that objects lead complex lives. Close scrutiny of the stages typically considered discrete moments in an artefact’s life, such as manufacture or consumption, reveals that such phases are better understood as academic archetypes rather than clear milestones. Scholarly investigation of intentional destruction, a practice that upends conventional narratives of production, consumption and deposition, underscores the point that these archetypes challenge our ability to fully contextualise artefacts (classic texts include Åström 1987; Chapman 2000; Chapman & Gaydarska 2007; Fossey 1985; Grinsell 1961; 1973; Rathje 1992). Were misfired pots found interred near a kiln ever truly consumed (Åkerström 1968)? Is the disarticulation of the Lefkandi centaur across two graves better characterized as an act of destruction or preservation (Desborough, Nicholls & Popham 1970: 21)? Studying intentionally destroyed objects brings us close – at times, uncomfortably so – to the l...


Kate Harrell holds the Belgian American Education Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Aegean Archaeology.

© Presses universitaires de Louvain, 2015

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