Chapter 1 is an introduction, which presents the main aim of understanding
and explaining the importance of the past in the present. The temples of Abu
Simbel and their rescue in the 1960s in a salvage campaign by UNESCO are
defined as a point of departure, and all chapters refer back to it as an
example. Seven paradoxes related to the rescue of Abu Simbel are defined.
The claim by David Lowenthal that “The past is everywhere” (1985) and the
negative attitude to the past and heritage – in particular by him and other
scholars – is called into question. So are existing explanations for the
rise of heritage. Two cultures in relation to heritage, canonical and
critical heritage, are identified. The first is dominated by heritage
managers striving for preservation, whereas the second is dominated by
academics questioning these efforts. The World Heritage scheme, with its
great number of sites, is chosen as a clearly defined and well-documented
source material, constituting a set of “Archimedean points” for further
investigation on a global level. Finally, the introduction displays the open
methodological character of the investigation and presents an outline of the
Chapter 2 investigates motives for protecting, preserving, and using remains
from the past. The point of departure is the justifications by UNESCO for
the Nubian Campaign, which saved the temples of Abu Simbel. The chapter
moves on to a discussion of justifications and motives pertaining to
history, memory, and heritage in general. Different claims regarding the
value of heritage are also reviewed. The author then proposes the reuse of a
philosophical triad of concepts: truth, representing knowledge; beauty,
representing narrative; and goodness, representing ethics. Finally, the
author argues that these three perspectives and virtues are interdependent
and of equal importance.
Chapter 7 presents the term “Heritopia” in order to conceptualise the utopian
expectations associated with World Heritage and summarise the optimistic
outcome of the investigation. The content of the chapter is arranged
according to the seven paradoxes formulated in the encounter with Abu
Simbel, now on a global level, and the discussion explains why these
paradoxes are inevitable: World Heritage is both global and local; that is,
it is glocal; all change, irrespectively of whether it represents an
increase or a decrease of modernity, may create heritage; World Heritage as
a category is a modern invention and modernity is an ambiguous concept,
therefore it is possible for World Heritage both to be in contrast to
modernity and to be a part of it; actual or rhetorical threats are important
when it comes to designating remains as heritage, but even heritage might
become a threat and that which threatens heritage may become heritage
itself; the preservation of a site represents a priority and an exception,
which means that other sites receive less attention and may be destroyed;
all preservation implies change; and remains of the past may be impossible
to preserve in eternity, but it is meaningful to carry them into the future
and use them creatively.
This book is the first monograph-length investigation of innovation and the innovation process from an archaeological perspective. We live in a world where innovation, innovativeness, creativity, and invention are almost laughably over-used buzzwords. Yet comparatively little research has been carried out on the long-term history of innovation beyond and before the Industrial Revolution. This monograph offers both a response and a sort of answer to the wider trans-disciplinary dialogue on innovation, invention, and technological and social change. The idea of innovation that permeates our popular media and our political and scientific discourse is set against the long-term perspective that only archaeology can offer in dialogue with a range of social theory about the development of new technologies and social structures. The book offers a new version of the story of human inventiveness from our earliest hominin ancestors to the present day. In doing so, it challenges the contemporary lionization of disruptive technologies, while also setting the post-Industrial-Revolution innovation boom into a deeper temporal and wider cultural context. It argues that the present narrow focus on pushing the adoption of technical innovations ignores the complex interplay of social, technological, and environmental systems that underlies truly innovative societies; the inherent connections between new technologies, technologists, and social structure that give them meaning and make them valuable; and the significance and value of conservative social practices that lead to the frequent rejection of innovations.
This short chapter concludes the volume with a more contemporary perspective on innovation, resistance, and technological change. It draws a parallel between the present world and the interwar years of the early twentieth century to argue that we are currently at a cusp where radical technological developments seem to be less exciting and more terrifying as their consequences become more apparent. The chapter argues that archaeological approaches can offer visions of alternative futures through the construction of myriad alternative pasts. It emphasizes the many different social conformations, aside from individualizing capitalism, that have fostered innovation in the past, and makes clear that capitalist myths of innovation actively erase the contributions of non-dominant individuals – children, women, indigenous people, etc. It concludes with a challenge to the reader to dismantle their preconceptions, draw on a variety of different and contrasting data and approaches, and attempt to construct their own narrative of innovation, past and present.
This chapter builds on the previous one to explore the related phenomena of creativity and innovativeness. It starts with a discussion of the evolution of modern humans and how ideas of creativity and technological innovation have been bound up for centuries in our concept of what it means to be human. This case study leads into a discussion of creativity, grounded in recent archaeological research by Joanna Sofaer and linking back to earlier discussions of creative re-interpretation, re-combination and resistance. This is followed by a discussion of innovativeness – essentially creativity on a societal scale – that starts in models from psychology and organizational studies and contrasts these with a case study of Cornish miners in nineteenth-century Australia. These more contemporary examples are contrasted with evolutionary archaeological approaches that identify demographic pressure and population density as causal factors in innovative behavior in prehistoric societies. The chapter argues that these divergent approaches can by integrated through the application of non-anthropocentric models of social interaction, in which shifting makeups of heterogeneous networks of humans, non-humans, things, and places affect how individual people and communities navigate their world, leading to emergent innovativeness.
This chapter investigates the concept of innovation and its research history across a number of disciplines, from economics to archaeology. It explores how particular conceptualizations of innovation and progress have been tied up in colonial and racist discourse through the case study of colonial and archaeological assessments of Aboriginal Tasmanian culture and technology. The chapter argues that archaeologists, by dint of their training in exploring worlds and social structures not shaped by post-Industrial-Revolution capitalist relations, are particularly well suited to explore the wider question of how and why people innovate (or don’t).
This chapter introduces the volume and sets out its aims. It introduces the concept of bricolage: an archaeological approach to meaning-making that juxtaposes diverse data and bodies of theory to develop narratives for understanding complex and fragmented assemblages. A preliminary definition of innovation is presented, and the structure of the book is explained.
This chapter explores the idea of invention and asks what, if any, insight archaeology can offer into something that is often considered both momentary and rare. The invention of metallurgy in Eurasia is explored both to delineate the variety of archaeological tools applied to understand this phenomenon, and to demonstrate that invention is considerably less transient than typically imagined. Taking a social approach, the chapter argues that invention is a process with both spatial extent and time depth, and one that involves a network of people, crafts, and ideas. To explore this further, a discussion of imitation and emulation is developed. This brings together archaeological and anthropological narratives of technological imitation with more recent work on iterative processes and re-combination in the digital sphere. The chapter argues that the idea of parsimonious inventions developed by singular (male) individuals is a myth that elides the complex social networks and historical processes that shape this creative process.
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.