The Times They Were a-Changing

Cultural Encounters, Social Transformations and Technological Change in Iron Age Hand-made Pottery from Mallorca (Spain)


  • Daniel Albero Santacreu University of the Balearic Islands



archaeometry, Balearic Islands, chaîne opératoire, Iron Age, pottery, technology


Locally produced pottery underwent significant changes in Iron Age Mallorca, changes that can be traced in a range of aspects of the chaîne opératoire, including raw materials, paste recipes, firing strategies and potters’ skills. This study explores technological changes in pottery production by combining a social understanding of technology and a contextual approach to historical processes involving the Balearic Islands and their indigenous inhabitants. Changes in pottery manufacturing techniques and materials are first investigated through archaeometric analysis of a large ceramic assemblage from three sites in southwest Mallorca. Secondly, the possible implications of culture contact between indigenous communities and foreign visitors for local pottery production are examined. Finally, the changes in local pottery and new ways of organising production are considered in the social context of Late Iron Age indigenous communities on the Balearic Islands. This multiple perspective relies on both external and internal factors for interpretation, and suggests diverse causes and consequences for technological change; it also highlights questions about the social organisation of production, information and knowledge transfer, learning contexts and the social value of indigenous pottery.

Author Biography

Daniel Albero Santacreu, University of the Balearic Islands

Dr Daniel Albero Santacreu is Lecturer in Prehistory and Archaeology at the University of the Balearic Islands (Palma de Mallorca, Spain). His research involves archaeometric and technological analysis of hand-made prehistoric pottery from the Balearic Islands, Sardinia and Andalusia; he also works with contemporary potters in Ghana. He currently focuses on the role of technology in the interpretation of ceramics, and on the application of concepts such as agency, habitus, technological choices and identity in the study of ancient societies. He recently published Materiality, Techniques and Society in Pottery Production (De Gruyter Open, 2014).



How to Cite

Albero Santacreu, D. (2017). The Times They Were a-Changing: Cultural Encounters, Social Transformations and Technological Change in Iron Age Hand-made Pottery from Mallorca (Spain). Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, 30(1), 105–131.