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Les choses et les mots

Les textes à l’épreuve de la matérialité

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Published on Thursday, March 16, 2023


This issue aims to explore the designation of things and their materials in texts and their confrontation with the material documentation provided by the heritage objects kept in museum collections or archaeological contexts.



The 57th issue of Technè will be devoted to “Les choses et les mots : les textes à l’épreuve de la matérialité”. It will be guest-edited by Lise Saussus (EHESS-C2RMF/UCLouvain), Catherine Rideau-Kikuchi (UVSQ) and Etienne Anheim (EHESS).

The journal

Technè is edited by the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France. It was founded in 1994 as a biannual interdisciplinary scientific publication focused on both the study and the preservation of Tangible Cultural Heritage (excluding the field of architecture). It aims to disseminate new and original research in well-illustrated articles written either in French or English. Italian, German, and Spanish are also accepted. 

Each issue has both a print (https://www.lcdpu.fr/revues/techne/) and an online version (https://journals.openedition.org/techne/). The online version becomes openly accessible after a 12-month embargo. 


This issue aims to explore the designation of things and their materials in texts and their confrontation with the material documentation provided by the heritage objects kept in museum collections or archaeological contexts. On the one hand, texts contain a wide range of references to materials, for instance, in technical treatises, recipes, account books, craftsmen's contracts as well as lists of items in wills or probate inventories. Here, a dye related to a technical gesture, there, a metal, or an alloy, used to describe a utensil. However, these words can refer to various material realities; sometimes their meanings are ambiguous or unclear. Their interpretation is a significant challenge to forging links between the written records and the material documentation. On the other hand, material science tools have been more widely used during the last twenty years, allowing for a better understanding of heritage objects by studying materiality, its nature, composition, structure, or provenance in past times, as well as the way the materials were made and used.

This documentation can be approached from different angles, and compatibility is not evident. The same artefact (a painted work, a metal or ceramic object, an epigraphic record, etc.) can be seen from many different angles, according to one’s scientific positioning, which may facilitate shared complementary knowledge, or on the contrary, be difficult to articulate, or even appear incoherent with the other points of view. The methods themselves, i.e., a type of textual study, stylistic examination of an artefact or statistical analysis of the results of mass spectrometry, can also give rise to different interpretations. The diversity of the documentation is thus sometimes stamped by discordance, which is no less interesting from an analytical and methodological point of view. The confrontation between texts and materiality can highlight a distance between the word and the thing that can reveal contexts of production, concerning both the writing and the object. The written mention, specific or not, rare or repeated, sometimes crossed out, is itself conditioned by the socio-cultural context in which it takes place and by the knowledge and representation of the material for the person writing. The terms used in the records can testify to shared evidence, particular expertise, or unthought-of, depending on the context. In this sense, the non-conformity of the text and the thing can reveal symbolic or economic values and issues in the production, circulation, and use of materials. In other words, this volume aims to explore the links between the signifier, i.e., the word, the signified, i.e., its mental conceptualisation, and the referent, i.e., the material reality of the item or a series of items, and to examine, on the basis of case studies, methodological issues that are widely shared by heritage sciences.

This issue aims to bring together contributions proposing the analysis of texts designating artefacts, including through a philological approach, or the critical study of chemical analyses of artefacts confronted with texts, their ambiguity, or their polysemy, or even syntheses exploring more broadly the documentary relations, for example around the notions of expertise and representation of materials. This volume will focus diachronically on various cultural areas to cross material cultures and documentary typologies and contribute to a comparative reflection on these issues.

Editorial process

Please send the guest-editors your title, list of authors, keywords and abstract as soon as possible,

and no later than April, 1st.

You will be notified of the acceptance or rejection of your proposal before 30 April.

The deadline for submission of your article (at the following address: c2rmf_techne@culture.gouv.fr.) is October 1st. It will be submitted to a double-blind peer review process.

The authors of selected papers will then be kindly requested to provide a revised version of their article that includes, if any, the modifications suggested by the reviewers. The deadline for this final version will be communicated to the authors by the editorial team.

The expected length of papers is 10.000-25.000 characters (space, abstract, footnotes, and bibliography included). The articles may include up to 7 illustrations (color or black and white photographs, diagrams, graphs). They must comply with the Technè editorial rules described hereafter.


The papers will be selected according to the following criteria:

  • the originality of the research: the author must inform the editorial board if the results presented in the paper were already published or will be published elsewhere. By submitting a paper, the author declares that they are rightfully authorized to publish its results,
  • inter- or cross-disciplinarity: we welcome papers submitted by teams associating all the partners involved in the work (archaeologists, curators, chemists, conservators, etc.),
  • the innovative character of the methodology,
  • the presentation of the research questions in relation to their broader context (historical, technical, etc.), and
  • the quality of writing and illustrations.

Technè requires neither a publication fee, nor an exclusive cession of rights. Published authors retain the copyrighting rights of their illustrations. Technè is referenced by BibCNRS.

Please contact the guest-editors if you need further information: Lise Saussus : lise.saussus@uclouvain.be


  • Paris, France (75)


  • Saturday, April 01, 2023


  • sciences du patrimoine, matérialité, documentation, recette, traité

Information source

  • Marie Lionnet-de Loitière
    courriel : marie [dot] lionnet [at] culture [dot] gouv [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Les choses et les mots », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, March 16, 2023, https://doi.org/10.58079/1asc

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