ARCHITECTURES OF FIRE: PROCESSES, SPACE AND AGENCY IN PYROTECHNOLOGY
Prof. Dragos Gheorghiu, National University of Arts – Bucharest and Mr. Derek Pitman, Bournemouth University
Science and Archaeology
Since their earliest use technologies that employ fire have been considered the some of the most complex endeavours of humankind. This is because they involve both the transformation of materials and require careful and precise control over furnace, kiln and hearth environments. The need to control the internal conditions of pyrotechnical features has resulted in an archaeological approach that, in many cases, has sought to establish and characterise these conditions primarily through scientific study. We are then familiar with studies that discuss reducing/oxidising conditions of kilns and furnaces or establish the operating temperatures of various processes. This focus on the internal conditions of such features has, arguably, been at the expense of a more holistic consideration of the features themselves. This session will discuss such features not in terms of their enclosed technical process, but as a form of specialised architecture: pyrotechnical architecture. This will allow a broader analysis which considers space, engagement and agency. Unlike most architecture, pyrotechnical architecture does not define an internal space to be occupied but instead defines a specific space that is inhabited in a manner that ensures a specific set of internal conditions. From this perspective new approaches to these types of features may be considered that can extend from excavation strategies to how we employ archaeological reconstructions. We welcome contributions that seek to address these matters in both theoretical and practical terms.