How it Was Made: Ancient Technology
One of the questions that archaeologists regularly ask about ancient artifacts is: How was it made? This is a significant issue because technological decisions are related to a wide range of important archaeological themes, for example, cultural contact, social organization, economy, gender, status and even ritual and symbolic expression. This course examines how people made things in the past. We will examine this topic through a series of case studies from different time periods and world regions, and we will cover a wide range of materials that archaeologists encounter during excavation, including stone tools, pottery, metals, glass, and organic materials, like textiles and wood. We will examine production sequences of different types of artifacts, which includes raw material selection, forming the object, and finishing. We will explore the different scientific methods that archaeologists use to study artifact manufacture, and we will consider anthropological theories that have influenced the study of ancient archaeology, such as practice theory, agency, and communities of practice. We will examine technology through class discussions, readings, ethnographic films and ‘hands-on’ experience, for example, making stone tools and pottery.