128M: 001 How It's Made - Archaeological Approaches to Technology

Instructor Lisa A. Maher

TermSpring 2019

TimeTu, Th 1:00 pm - 3:59 pm


Course Number: 30205

Technology, as both a process and a practice, is a fundamental theme in archaeology. This  course explores archaeological and materials science approaches to the study of technology and material culture. Technologies never exist in isolation; therefore, this course takes an integrative approach that considers multiple technological traditions and materials, such as stone tools, pottery, metallurgy, and perishable technologies. We will explore these traditions through case studies from a wide range of times and places. Themes that we will cover include raw material acquisition, distribution, trade and exchange, craft specialization, style and function, skill, gender, and learning. Technology will be viewed through a variety of theoretical lenses and explored through a range of methodological approaches. Drawing on archaeological and ethnographic examples, we will examine questions such as: How and where is identity created through technology? How does technology shape human experience? What is the role of things in creating and maintaining social networks? How is technical knowledge transmitted between individuals and groups? What information is communicated through the manipulation of material substances? With a focus on the hands-on aspects of the technological experience, explorations of different materials will involve experimental work with different technologies.