||Studies of food and drink in archaeology are persistently focused on consumption and ingredient components (Parker Pearson 2003, 3-4). Notably, alcohol studies have often favoured identifying ingredients as representative of a large and complex sociocultural system in producing such a visceral product (McGovern 2009, 42-46). This interpretation simplifies the technical complexities behind alcohol production, and marginalises the sociality of technology
throughout. Where it has been argued this cannot be understood due to the perishable nature of alcoholic products in the archaeological record (Hayashida 2008), instead distinct ‘signatures’ on material surfaces may be observed that can infer methods, techniques, and practices involved in the dynamic process of alcohol production. The role that use-wear analysis can have in establishing the technical gestures within the alcohol production chaîne opératoire presents a promising solution to cope with such an issue when used in conjunction with other bodies of evidence. The physical impacts of fermentation upon material surfaces have been suggested as one possible signature that could be observed through use-wear analysis (Skibo 2015, 194). Due to the prominence of ceramics in the archaeological record, this has been largely taken as true in most scales and contexts based on ethnographic data (cf. Arthur 2002; 2003). In this thesis, an application of ceramic use-wear analysis for understanding technical gesture
within alcohol production is explored. In order to establish this, a series of experiments was carried out modelled on the ceramic assemblage recovered from the Early Iron Age site of Heuneburg, southern Germany, to understand if such use-wear traces associated with the production of honey-wine could be plausible signatures for alcohol production. In turn, the implications of these for understanding alcohol production at the site were explored. Beyond assumptions on use and action, this methodology interprets traces as actions, motions, and technical gestures in the production of alcohol. Equally then, why technical gesture and attempts to observe it are such a vital aspect in researching the archaeology of alcohol is also discussed.