Pilot fires: Preliminary Report from Interdisciplinary Actualistic Fire Experiments
Journal article, Peer reviewed
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionEXARC Journal. 2022, 1.
Hearth formation processes are complex. They involve multiple actions, reactions, and activities before, during, and after an active fire and can also impact a wide range of materials and sediments at an archaeological site. Archaeologists approach combustion features and formation processes from multiple analytical perspectives. However, many experimental studies are limited to a strict analytical focus on a single or very few fire-related aspects to allow for careful control of specific variables. Six researchers report here on a multi-focus experimental approach in order to understand complex fire practices and heat-induced alteration of micromammals, ostrich eggshell fragments, mineral pigments, shellfish, and sediments. We designed and conducted five experiments with a state-of-the-art 3D documentation setup, active fires, and excavation through photogrammetry and spatial recording. We provide a brief general account of the experiments and an overview of the experimental design before comparing single-focus and multifaceted experiments and pointing to some of the benefits of our approach and potential areas for improvement. Multifaceted experiments are complex and resource-demanding, and proto-experiments should ideally be part of the experimental design. Our 3D recording and collaboration on documentation strategies provided a wide range of data that can further our understanding of prehistoric combustion features.