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Intentionally made. Objects as composite indexes of agency and the case of the Late Bronze Age house urns.

Chapter in book
Authors Serena Sabatini
Published in Bergerbrant, S. & Wessman, A. (eds), New Perspectives on the Bronze Age. Proceedings from the 13th Nordic Bronze Age Symposium, held in Gothenburg 9th June to 13th June 2015.
Pages 435-446
ISBN 978-1-78491-598-8
Publisher Archaeopress Archaeology
Place of publication Oxford
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Historical Studies
Pages 435-446
Language en
Keywords Intentionality, distinction, transformation, networks, long-distance exchange, roof openings, hut urns, long houses
Subject categories History and Archaeology, Archaeology


Adopting Alfred Gell’s (1998) approach to art and agency, it is argued that it is not only objects that could act as indexes of agency expressing the intentionality of their makers/commissioners, but also single elements or components of objects, which may have performed simultaneously as secondary agents. The example of the northern European Late Bronze Age house urns is taken as a case study to demonstrate and discuss how distinctive material culture might have embodied multiple levels of intentionality.

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