Semantics of material cultures

Who among us is not familiar with - the question, how does the remote control work or where are things stored on a mobile phone? Objects – material culture – are not static. Admittedly my remote control does not yet speak to me however objects can very well induce particular actions in their users. This is true for present as well as past societies. Beyond that objects have very different meanings for their users, which are not only varied based on anthropological (age, gender, etc.), but also social categories (e.g. rank, occupation, faith) and the specific associated situations. 

Semantiken materieller Kulturen

Reviewing semantics and describing communicative structures in a model is also an important part of archaeological sciences. The Kiel project is focused on objects for hand washing: a topic which was of central meaning in medieval societies, since the washing of hands combined both the concept of cleanliness (physically) and purity (ethically). Hand washing was practiced ritually in actions such as greeting, eating and bidding goodbye. A short introduction can be found here. An overview of the bronze basins can be downloaded here.