PROJECT: Experimental archaeology
- Traditional Production of Ceramics

Mila Popović-Živančević, museum councilor-conservator
Vesna Svoboda, collaborator od DIANA Centre

Experiences obtained during participation in two workshops - one on art ceramics and the other on experimental archaeology, had inspired me to think about possibilities of reconstructing the techniques and technologies of archaeological and ethnological ceramics, with an aim of preservation and promotion of cullural heritage, as well as the creation of direct connection between tradition and contemporary artistic ceramics. Apart from this, they were also good examples, favoring the project of Experimental Archaeology - Traditional production of ceramics.

Workshop in Zlakusa

The first experience initiating these thoughts of mine was participation in lnternational Colony of Art Ceramics in "Zlakusa 98". Zlakusa is a village near town of Užice, well-known for its high-quality ceramics, of authentic production technology and technique (use of potter’s wheel, with material made of local red clay and grained calcite, in proportion of 1:1, and using open fire, on temperature 650 -750 C). This working method of Zlakusa potters is still surviving after 300 years.

Sofija Bunardžić, ceramics designer, had a capability to understand, in a visionary way, the richness and cultural value of this ethnographic ceramics. ln 1996 she founded the lnternational Colony of Art Ceramics in Zlakusa, as part of a large ethnological project of preservation of this prehistoric ceramics technique and potters of Zlakusa.

Since then, this Colony had eight gatherings and 200 artists from our country and abroad as participants, with their number increasing every year. Direct cooperation of these artists with the potters, as well as creation of modern ceramic objects using this authentic ceramics technique in a spirit of old craftsmanship, influences the preservation and promotion of our cultural heritage.

(DIANA, Centre for Preventive Conservation - National Museum Belgrade,
Number 9, 2003/2004, p. 120)