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7 - Technology and Craft

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Timothy Earle
Affiliation:
Northwestern University, Illinois
Kristian Kristiansen
Affiliation:
Göteborgs Universitet, Sweden
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Summary

Investigations of technology and crafts have resulted in well-understood technological trajectories, particularly for the development of prehistoric metalworking (Tylecote 1987; Craddock 1995; Ottaway 1994). The frequent emphasis on metalworking, however, has often been to the detriment of other crafts. The bringing together of different materials specialists, and the comparative approach taken by the Emergence of European Communities Project, allow us to explore contrasting, regionally distinct attitudes to a range of crafts at specific historical moments. Although craftspeople's technical decisions are affected by differential access to resources, their choices are not solely confined to the environment, raw materials, and tools; decisions are also socially and culturally defined (Lemonnier 1992; van der Leeuw 1993; Dobres 2000) and the investigation of such choices informs on regional social relations.

The most significant craft activities at our sites provided the material culture to support daily life: ceramic production, the manufacture of chipped and ground stone objects, and the construction of houses – the latter involving woodworking, stonemasonry, and clay manipulation. In addition, Százhalombatta had a substantial corpus of worked bone. Detailed excavation, recording, and use of modern scientific techniques, including petrology, micromorphology, archaeobotany, and use–wear analysis, along with experimental archaeology, illuminate these crafts. Interestingly, despite the frequent emphasis on metal technology in Bronze Age social models, at Thy and Monte Polizzo, our work has revealed little direct evidence for metalworking. At Százhalombatta, fragments of bronze, moulds, and slag attest to metalworking from the Early Bronze Age (Horváth et al 2000; Poroszlai 2000; Sørensen and Vicze in press), but are relatively few. With little substantial to add to knowledge about metal technology, we do not consider it here.

Type
Chapter
Information
Organizing Bronze Age Societies
The Mediterranean, Central Europe, and Scandanavia Compared
, pp. 185 - 217
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2010

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