Thursday, September 23, 2021

Contextualising Ancient Technology: From Archaeological Case Studies Towards a Social Theory of Ancient Innovation Processes

Klimscha, Florian; Hansen, Svend; Renn, Jürgen

The diffusion of innovations from the Near East into the ‘static’ surrounding peripheries has become a well-known archaeological paradigm, often summed up as Ex Oriente Lux. While this conflicts with modern, scientifically controlled chronologies, it is difficult to explain as mere local developments and pure chance the appearance of large-scale communication networks, the transformation of power concentrations in the first states, or the diffusion of the wheel, alloyed metals, and writing. The papers in this volume follow two approaches to convene on new insights into the prehistoric and ancient innovation process. Theoretical perspectives attempt to challenge and modify traditional models of innovation diffusion that lack the chronological depth of archaeological sources, while case studies from the Copper, Bronze and Iron Ages of Europe, southwest Asia, and North Africa analyze the specific archaeological and sociopolitical contexts, the technological traditions of innovations, and the specifications of their emergence, spread, and improvements.



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