chapter  4
25 Pages

Talking Shop: Multicraft Workshop Materials and Architecture in Prehistoric Tiryns, Greece


Considerations of space are fundamental in archaeological research because we study space in relation to time in order to contextualise our findings and imbue them with meaning. Often, space is simply seen as a neutral backdrop for human interaction to take place. The interactive relations of space and time in the production of both a practical and a social environment have often been overlooked, and considering space as an active component in the building of social networks between people and things is only useful if we understand that the neutrality of space is an illusion. Instead, inhabited and other spaces are imbued with memory (we may remember our late grandfather upon entering his living room years later), sensory experiences (the empty school corridors echo our footsteps during summer breaks, the smell of cooking may linger on in the kitchen hours after dinner), emotions (we may feel anxious in a tightly packed lift) and filled with matter (dust, air, objects, humidity). Gibson (1979: 16, 23) describes the inhabited environment from a physical or material perspective, consisting of mediums (for example, the air we breathe), substances (all solid materials surrounding us: rocks, sand, plants) and surfaces. Surfaces are the interfaces between mediums and substances and the locations where all action takes place. The environment’s affordances are thus real, objective and physical since they point in two directions: to the environment and to the observer (Gibson 1979: 129). Gibson’s emphasis on materials and their physical makeup (see also Ingold 2011) are very useful notions because they indicate the dynamic relationships between materials and people at any given time: how they live together through each motion and how materials may either allow or limit people in what they want to do during any given moment.