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The ‘Archaeology of Gesture’: Apprenticeship, Tools, Hands, Organization, Collaborations, Learning Experience and Social Network Analysis

A.G.A.T.H.O.C.L.E.S. is an innovative approach that allow us to switch our perspective from an ‘archaeology of production’ towards an A.(rchaeology) of G.(esture): A.(pprenticeship), T.(ools), H.(ands), O.(rganization), C.(ollaborations), L.(earning) E.(xperience) and S.(ocial Network Analysis).

The project aims to explore training models and collaboration networks in one of the most dynamic industries of the ancient Classical World: the pottery production system. Due to its central role in the economy of an ancient city, is essential we can focus on it to address issues of knowledge transfer, gender division and mobility. Nowadays, the study on craftspeople’s mobility needs to move towards the analysis of hidden ancient gestures and technological procedures. Numerous technological aspects related to the ancient artisanal ‘hands’ and tools, usually invisible to the naked eye, can now become visible thanks to advances in archaeometry, computational-imaging and other innovative tools. The Agathocles project promotes a highly-interdisciplinary approach including forensics, experimental archaeology and Digital Humanities.

In particular, Social Network Analysis can deeply innovate the methodologies used to identify workshops and provide new procedures to define groups, relationships, dependencies and elements that can better explain the organization of this complex productive network. Moving across microscopic analyses to macroscopic data-processing (related to the ancient dynamics of apprenticeship), the project specifically addresses the case-study of red-figure workshops in Southern Italy and Sicily (5th-4th century BCE). These ateliers are ideal to investigate learning experience and collaboration by focusing on five key aspects: a) collaborative patterns within the workshop, b) collaborative patterns with other workshops, c) age and gender differentiation of workforce, d) workers’ mobility, e) strategy of cultural adaptation.

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Torino, October 6-7 2022





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Marco Serino

Marco Serino is a Senior Research Fellow/Assistant Professor of Classical Archaeology at the Department of Historical Studies of the University of Turin. His research focuses on Greek and Roman pottery and on multidisciplinary aspects related to ancient Western Greek urban religious phenomena. His main area of interest is the early Western red-figure pottery, with a particular focus on the beginnings of the early Sicilian workshops and their productive and cultural background.

His main research interest is South Italian and Sicilian red-figure pottery (see my monograph, published in 2019, on the workshop of the Himera Painter) and he was awarded a Fellowship at the A.D. Trendall Research Centre for Ancient Mediterranean Studies in Melbourne (Australia) where he spent 2 months for an in-depth research on this topic.

He has also been awarded an Onassis Foundation Grant (Post-Doc; 19th Foreigners’ Fellowships Programme) for the Academic Year 2013-2014 (Supervisor: Prof. Dimitris Paleothodoros), and another Post-Doc Fellowship (IKY State Scholarship) at the University of Thessaly (Supervisor: Prof. Alexander Mazarakis Ainian) for 2 years, between 2015 and 2017, where he worked on cooking and plain pottery from Greek sanctuaries and, in particular, on coarse ware found within the sanctuary of Apollo at Soros (Thessaly).

He has an extensive experience in archaeological excavations and in stratigraphical methodology; moreover, he is a member of important archaeological Italian projects (trench supervisor since 2008) such as the ones at the Roman site of Costigliole Saluzzo (Piedmont, Italy) and at the Greek colony of Lokroi Epizephyrioi (Calabria, Italy), both directed by Prof. Diego Elia and Prof. Valeria Meirano (University of Turin). Moreover, he is a member of a new archaeological project involving the study of the House of the Ancient Hunt in Pompeii (with University of Turin and Centro di Conservazione e Restauro di Venaria Reale; director: Prof. Diego Elia).

During the last years he also presented his papers in various International Conferences in Naples, Rome, Athens, Lisbon, Wien and London, in addition to a number of lectures held in Italy at the University of Turin, where he currently teaches "Technological Studies and Digital Humanities in Classical Archaeology" within the Master Course of Archaeology and Ancient History.

He has already studied and published several articles, concerning various aspects of South Italian red-figure production, ancient Greek urban religious aspects, Greek and Roman cooking and plain pottery and Roman building construction techniques in Pompeii.


Diego Elia

Professor of Classical Archaeology

Department of Historical Studies

University of Turin

Eleni Hasaki

Professor of Anthropology and Classics

School of Anthropology - Classics Department

University of Arizona

This International Conference is funded by the EU research program (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action-Global Fellowship) A.G.A.T.H.O.C.L.E.S. The Archaeology of Gesture’: Apprenticeship, Tools, Hands, Organization, Collaborations, Learning Experience and Social Network Analysis (no. 893629).

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