Archaeological Approaches to Technology

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2009-09-15
  • Publisher: Routledge

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This book is designed for upper-division undergraduate and graduate level archaeology students taking courses in ancient technologies, archaeological craft production, material culture, the history of technology, archaeometry, and field methods. This text can also serve as a general introduction and a reference for archaeologists, material culture specialists in socio-cultural disciplines, and engineers/scientists interested in the backgrounds and histories of their disciplines. The study of ancient technologies, that is, the ways in which objects and materials were made and used can reveal insights into economic, social, political, and ritual realms of the past. This book summarizes the current state of ancient technology studies by emphasizing methodologies, some major technologies, and the questions and issues that drive archaeologists in their consideration of these technologies. It shows the ways that technology studies can be used by archaeologists working anywhere, on any type of society and it embraces an orientation toward the practical, not the philosophical. It compares the range of pre-industrial technologies, from stone tool production, fiber crafts, wood and bone working, fired clay crafts, metal production, and glass manufacture. It includes socially contextualized case studies, as well as general descriptions of technological processes. It discusses essential terminology (technology, material culture, chaine operatoire, etc.), primarily from the perspective of how these terms are used by archaeologists.

Author Biography

Heather Margaret-Louise Miller is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of Toronto.

Table of Contents

List of Figuresp. ix
Dedicationp. xiii
Preface and Acknowledgementsp. xv
Introduction: Archaeological Approaches to Technologyp. 1
Terminologyp. 3
Archaeology and Technology Studiesp. 7
Overview of Volumep. 9
Methodology: Archaeological Approaches to the Study of Technologyp. 13
Archaeological Field Techniques: Discovery/Recoveryp. 16
Surveyp. 17
Excavationp. 19
The Examination of Archaeological Remainsp. 21
Simple Visual Examination and Measurementp. 22
Complex Examination of Physical Structure and Compositionp. 25
Ordering and Analyzing Datap. 27
Reconstructing Production Processes; Chaîne Opératoirep. 29
Analogy and Sociocultural Interpretationp. 30
Experimental Archaeologyp. 34
Ethnography, Ethnoarchaeology, and Historical Accountsp. 36
Extractive-Reductive Craftsp. 41
Classification of Craftsp. 43
Stone/Lithicsp. 46
Collection and Preliminary Processingp. 47
Shaping and Finishing Methodsp. 54
Knappingp. 54
Cutting (Sawing, Drilling, Groove-and-Snapping)p. 57
Pulverizing (Pecking)p. 58
Abrading (Grinding, Smoothing, Polishing, Drilling)p. 59
Production Stagesp. 59
Organization of Production; Consumptionp. 61
Fibers: Cordage, Basketry, Textilesp. 65
Collection and Preliminary Processing of Fibersp. 68
Production of Strands and Cordagep. 72
Fabric Productionp. 75
Ornamentation and Joiningp. 81
Organization of Production and Scheduling Demandsp. 85
Wood, Bone, and Other Sculpted Organics (Antler, Horn, Ivory, Shell)p. 89
Collection and Preliminary Processingp. 91
Shaping and Finishing Methodsp. 94
Organization of Production; Use and Reuse of Hard Organic Objectsp. 98
Transformative Craftsp. 101
Fired Clayp. 103
Collection and Preliminary Processing; Formation of the Clay Bodyp. 109
Shaping Methodsp. 113
Drying and Surface Treatmentsp. 118
Firingp. 121
Post-Firing Surface Treatments and Second Firingsp. 128
Vitreous Silicates: Glazes, Faiences and Glassp. 128
Collection and Preliminary Processingp. 130
Creating the Vitreous Silicate Mixtures; Fritting; Melting of Glass (Glass Making)p. 135
Shaping of Faience and Glass Objectsp. 138
Application of Glazes to Faience and Other Materialsp. 141
Firing of Faience and Glazed Objects; Annealing of Glassp. 143
Post-Firing Surface Treatmentsp. 144
Metals: Copper and Ironp. 144
Collection, Including Miningp. 147
Processing of Ores and Native Copper; Fuel and Fluxesp. 150
Smeltingp. 152
Refining and Alloyingp. 156
Shaping and Finishing Methods: Casting and Fabrication (Including Forging)p. 159
Castingp. 159
Fabricationp. 162
Thematic Studies in Technologyp. 167
Technological Systems; Reed Boat Production and Usep. 168
Reconstructing Reed Boats and Exchange Networks in the Arabian Seap. 169
Reconstructing Reed and Plank Boats and Exchange Networks in Coastal Southern Californiap. 173
Innovation and the Organization of Laborp. 180
The Case of the Grain Harvesting Machinep. 181
Divisions of Labor, Women's Roles, Specialization, and Mass Production of Potteryp. 185
Technological Stylep. 191
Style and Technological Stylep. 191
Technological Traditions: Metal and Bone Working in North Americap. 195
Thematic Studies in Technology (Continued)p. 203
Value, Status, and Social Relations: The Role of New Artificial Materials in the Indus Valley Traditionp. 203
Uses of Artificial Materialsp. 204
Status Differentiation and the Development of Vitreous Materialsp. 206
Determining Relative Valuep. 212
Social Relations and the Relative Value of Indus Talc-Faience Materialsp. 217
Artificial Materials and Cultural Value Systemsp. 225
Technologies of Religious Ritual in the American Southwestp. 226
Religious Mural Construction, Use, and Discardp. 228
Archaeological Identification of Religious Ritualp. 232
The Analysis of Multiple Technologiesp. 237
Cross-Craft Perspectivesp. 237
Technological Style and Cross-Craft Interactionsp. 239
Bibliographyp. 247
Indexp. 283
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