Catherine J. Frieman
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Messy narratives/ flexible methodologies
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This chapter explores in greater depth the interpretative tools available to archaeologists interested in innovation and technological change. It begins with an extended discussion of the research history of early-agriculture studies and the various narratives and interpretative frameworks that have developed in this thriving field. Evolutionary approaches to innovation are discussed and found to be limited in their applicability because of their inability to grapple with the complexities of social relations and socially constructed technologies. Instead, the chapter argues that the most appropriate approach to the study of innovation, particularly when examining highly fragmented archaeological data, is through the application of social models that emphasize connections between persons and things, a relational approach foregrounding ideas of social construction, negotiation, and historic trajectories. This approach allows us to bring together complementary data and to work at multiple temporal and spatial scales to tell thick histories of innovation and resistance.

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An archaeology of innovation

Approaching social and technological change in human society


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