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Sketching With Yarn I've been picking a different stitch to swatch from my new crochet stitch book when I have a spare minute here and there. I'm really loving it. Doing little swatches like this is like the equivalent of doing quick sketches. It's wonderful practice. The big one on the left is very peacock feathery I experimented with closing up the waves in the top two rows.
This is a sensible perspective for those who define culture as information learned and transmitted to others, consciously or unconsciously, which is at least a portion of Introduction: Archaeological Approaches to Technology 7 most definitions of culture. If culture is contained in information stored in human memories and passed on to others, then information stored in written documents and conveyed into human memories must also be seen as culture. Artifacts of all types also encode information, which can similarly be conveyed to human memories.
From this we can describe material culture as the information encoded in and expressed by human use of objects. Whether the meaning conveyed to others is the same as the original meaning intended by the maker or user is a problem, of course, but this is the case for all forms of information communication.
Note that objects may be used to simultaneously record and express cultural information, a point of much discussion in the literature on material culture, as well as the archaeological literature on style, as discussed in Chapter 5. This point also pertains to a more general discussion about defining culture as information.
One part of the debate about culture refers to the existence of culture in two forms: an unexpressed form as a mental or physical record of information at the individual level, and an expressed form as objects, behaviors, or discourse at both the individual and group levels. Materializing culture, or the process of creating material objects that is, technology , is one way that shareable, learned information is expressed, parallel to communicating information through speech and behavior.
So for the purposes of this book, I will use the following terminology. Material culture studies tend to focus on the interactions between people and finished objects, while technology studies tend to focus on the human practices and processes associated with object production. However, this distinction is blurred in application as researchers often study both processes and finished objects, particularly in examining the life histories of objects.
Studies of the way people think and speak about production and the organization of production also link the study of technology and the study of material culture. If not the same entity, the two are yin and yang—one cannot be understood without an awareness of the other, as Lemonnier has stressed 2—3. The most obvious contribution of archaeology is that of a broad perspective, which can either follow a particular society through time or range across many societies.
It provides information about the development and acceptance of new objects and new production techniques, and about changes in past economies, social structures, and political organizations in relation to the invention or adoption of 8 Heather M. Miller: Archaeological Approaches to Technology technologies. While my examples in this book refer to time periods from the Paleolithic to the present, I have not implied any sort of evolutionary development. A discussion of the evidence for and against a general increase in technological complexity around the world through time would be a book in itself.
Archaeologists also have a great deal to offer other disciplines in their development of methodologies and theoretical approaches, both for teasing information out of objects and for looking at societies in their entirety. Archaeologists are obliged by one of their primary techniques, excavation, to deal with societies for the most part as a complex whole, rather than in separate packages of ritual beliefs, economic units, or centers of political power.
Whether participating in rescue operations or conducting normal excavations, archaeologists constantly face the loss of the past through destruction, including the oft-cited ethical dilemma of necessarily destroying a site in the process of excavating it. Therefore, the practical field reality requires archaeological projects to recover as broad a range of data as possible, no matter the particular goals of the project, in order to maintain an ethical standard of work.
Whether such recovery methods are practicable in most cases, the methodological ideal is still one of complete holism. In addition, archaeologists have reconstructed many of the ancient processes of production, from manufacturing techniques to labor organization.
These reconstructions are of use for modern artists, craftspeople, labor specialists, and managers, as they portray the strengths and weaknesses—both technical and social—of different pathways to the production of objects. Economic historians might benefit from archaeological reconstructions of economic competition and its effects on past societies, and the pivotal roles that ancient technologies sometimes played in the distribution of power within and between social groups, affecting social status and political structure.
Rather, it is the ways in which the society or individuals within it use and adopt new technologies that result in social change. This is a topic I develop in further in Chapter 5. I have indicated what archaeological approaches have to offer students of technology in other fields. But what does the study of technology have to offer archaeology as a discipline?
In the best cases, technology studies build bridges between scholars in different locations, between different disciplines, and between different traditions or approaches. The study of technology in archaeology has been outstandingly international, with the intersection of researchers from different countries working in different world areas and time Introduction: Archaeological Approaches to Technology 9 periods.
The use of archaeometric analysis has fostered collaboration with scholars in the sciences, the focus on objects has encouraged interaction with colleagues in the arts, and the importance of technology in both the prehistoric and the historic periods has provided links with researchers in the historical disciplines. Technology studies increasingly cross the divisions between the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
This integrative role of technology studies in archaeology makes it difficult to disentangle and label separate traditions or schools of research.
See the introductions to Hamilton and McCray for two different examples of such summaries. Many of the studies discussed in this book draw on multiple traditions of thought and method, even for the basic reconstruction of production sequences. Individual researchers use different combinations of approaches, depending on what is useful for the question involved.
Recent approaches employ aspects of materialism, where economics and environment are seen as the most important factors in the nature of social groups, and idealism, where idea-based sectors like religion, ideology, and kinship are favored as the major factors in social behavior and change.
Of course, some or even most researchers may defend one approach as far superior to others. In my opinion, the best research privileges no single approach, but considers the applicability of several.
In the following chapters, my discussion will illustrate different theoretical and methodological approaches. Although I do occasionally discuss problems and shortcomings of particular techniques and studies, it is easy to find critiques in the literature.
I have chosen instead to focus on the creative ways archaeologists have negotiated around these shortcomings. I have explored the usefulness of an archaeological approach for technology studies, and the importance of technology studies for archaeology.
This book is unusual in my examination of multiple technologies. It is difficult to fit the discussion of even one set of technologies, such as metal working or transportation, into a single volume. But the study of multiple technologies is necessary if we are going to examine commonalities between different technologies and how past people perceived, exploited, and supported them.
Like the humans who create them, no technology exists in isolation from others. In showing how technology studies 10 Heather M. Miller: Archaeological Approaches to Technology help us to understand past societies, this book provides an entry point into the rich body of archaeological research examining the interplay between human groups and their technologies.
In addition to describing how archaeologists study ancient technologies, I will concentrate on answering archaeological questions about past societies through technology studies.
The next chapter covers the methods that archaeologists use in their study of past technologies. I will touch on field techniques; various approaches to artifact examination; experimental studies; and the use of ethnoarchaeology, ethnography, and historical accounts. This will be a rapid tour of a large corpus of information, giving brief examples of archaeological studies from a diversity of regions and time periods.
Entire texts are written on each of these methods, and I have provided initial references for further reading. As for all types of archaeological topics, the range of methodological tools is vast and impressive; archaeology employs perhaps the most diverse range of techniques and methodologies of any discipline.
This is not surprising, given that archaeology is essentially the study of all aspects of human life in the past. Techniques and methodological approaches can be applied from all disciplines relating to modern humans, from descriptions of their physical environment to analyses of their political structure and philosophical viewpoints.
On top of this must be added methods employed in extracting information from the bits of ancient garbage we find, requiring skills in computer use, statistical analysis, and analytical research techniques. Chapters 3 and 4 provide overviews of the primary production processes for a number of material or end-product categories, including the production of flaked and ground stone; fibers, basketry, and textiles; sculpted organics such as wood, bone, and shell; pottery and other clay-based ceramics; faiences and glasses; and metals.
These general overviews of production employ the traditional material-based archaeological approach to technology, and include directions to numerous texts focusing on each of these technologies. My goal here is to provide readers with enough background to understand the basic structure of production for these major crafts. I also provide brief archaeological illustrations of production organization or product consumption from a variety of times and places, to give some glimpses into the variations possible in these aspects of technology.
Diversity in production techniques, organization of production, and the whole system of technology is further explored for the thematic studies provided in Chapters 5 and 6. The thematic studies are my favorite part of the book, for they show the vistas that archaeology has opened for us on the creativity of ancient people, and also their failures.
We see their clever manipulations of local resources and their struggles with environmental conditions. We view the variety of technological innovations, with new techniques adopted and new techniques rejected based on economic conditions, social systems, and traditions of practice.
The thematic studies are organized by process or functional topic rather than material type, including labor organization, economic exchange, value and status markers, religious rituals, technological style, environmental considerations, and consumption demands. Some studies are primarily economic in focus, often concentrating on production as a material base for economic power. Other studies adopt idealist perspectives to examine the relation between technology and social identity.
Readers may skip to these chapters first, if they desire, but a good basic background in both the ancient production processes and the archaeological methods of analysis will make the nuances of these thematic studies more apparent. The first thematic study, on reed-bundle boat technology in the Arabian Sea and Southern California, serves not only as an illustration of exchange and wealth accumulation, but also as a model case to illustrate the use of archaeological finds, laboratory analyses, ethnography, and experimental studies.
These data are employed to provide information on production techniques and processes, as well as on the role of these boats in their very different societies. Subsequent thematic studies have been chosen to fit the topics I present, and to provide wide coverage of different world areas and types of societies. The examples are thus a mixture of classic, well-known studies, and lesser-known research, often still in progress.
I only wish I could include more of the studies I found in researching this book, as the range of archaeological ingenuity and tenacity involved is impressive. In the final chapter, I am able to draw on all these thematic studies and descriptions of production processes to present an idea of the sort of framework that might be used to view ancient and modern technologies comparatively.
Inspired by W. David Kingery , I have gone beyond the examination of production processes to think about frameworks for comparing crafts throughout their entire technological process, which includes social desires, contexts of use, and discard features. For example, I examine different types of production processes to determine the degree to which storable, transportable, potentially multi-purposed semi-finished products such as metal ingots, lithic blanks, or thread for cloth can be produced within different crafts, and then discuss how these differences can have important impacts on the organization of production for these crafts, as well as the potential for flexible response to supply and demand.
Ultimately, this book places the many technological revolutions of recent times that is, the past few hundred years in context with the development of new technologies in earlier periods, particularly with respect to their social context. The development of plastics has interesting social parallels to and differences from the development of other new materials in earlier time periods, such as the Old World faiences described in Chapter 6, as these materials were 12 Heather M.
Miller: Archaeological Approaches to Technology used first for ornaments and luxury containers. As discussed in Chapter 5, inventions may be known, used, and abandoned, only to be rediscovered in somewhat different form and widely adopted centuries later, when the economic and social conditions are more appropriate. The place of women in the work force changed dramatically on more than one occasion prior to the twentieth century upheavals.
By looking at the long time scales provided for us by archaeological research, we can begin to place our own times in perspective, and perhaps take a broader look at how technological changes of the past century relate to the equally astounding social changes in work force, material culture, and daily life. It is founded upon the observation of trifles. Sherlock Holmes Doyle Archaeology is a supremely challenging, puzzle-solving activity. This is a large part of the attraction for its practitioners, and the reason why so many people are fascinated with the profession.
The buried, seemingly inaccessible past has a powerful pull on our human curiosity. The ways in which archaeologists make the past speak through fragments of refuse is one part of the mystique, our modern-day shamans loosing the tongues of our ancestors. More prosaically, the process of archaeological investigation has considerable pedagogical value. The practice of archaeology provides an extremely useful way to illustrate the broadest techniques of problem solving and procedures of research, incorporating as it does sciences, humanities, arts, social sciences, and practical application, all in one discipline.
This chapter outlines the methodologies employed in the archaeological investigation of past technologies, methodologies that informed the thematic studies in Chapters 5 and 6, and the other examples throughout this book. How do archaeologists interested in technology or other subjects know what they know about the past? To be an archaeologist is to be a generalist, as one never quite knows what will turn up on a field project.
Some of the methods of investigation used for the archaeological study of past technologies were developed in archaeology, such as excavation and surface survey, but many Heather M. Miller: Archaeological Approaches to Technology are borrowed or adapted from a wide range of other disciplines.
As in archaeological research in general, technological studies often employ collaboration with specialists in other fields, including conservators, art historians, chemists, material scientists, architects, engineers, botanists, geologists, miners, artists, and other modern craftspeople. Or an abandoned meal, a pit full of shellfish buried in the back of an urban alley-way some years ago. These were exciting moments, when something very rare or something very human seemed to stretch out a hand in greeting from the past.
However, the most exciting find I have ever made was not an event, but a growing realization over months of fieldwork in , when I spent my afternoon off-time happily sorting several thousand kilograms of burned clay bits Figure 2. This was a proceeding that also raised the spirits of the nearby pottery sorters, since at least their job, the sorting of tens of thousands of plainware sherds, involved objects with recognizable shapes.
The excitement for me in this process was the dawning recognition that only a few, easily identifiable fragments of these thousands FIGURE 2. The only fragments indicative of high-temperature firing are in the small pile to the far right. Methodology: Archaeological Approaches to the Study of Technology 15 of clay bits were diagnostic of high-temperature firing, and could be used to accurately locate buried and eroded craft activity areas across the surface of the large urban site of Harappa.
Why this might be of interest to anyone other than an obsessed pyrotechnologist is something I will come back to later in this chapter. In this chapter, I have somewhat artificially divided my discussion of archaeological methods into sections about archaeological field techniques; artifact examination; the organization of data; experimental archaeology; and ethnographic, historical, and ethnoarchaeological sources.
In reality, there is a great deal of interaction between all of these methodologies. The boundaries between them are blurred, and other researchers might divide the study of technology in different ways. In addition, research in one area affects research in others, so the order in which these sections are presented is not necessarily the order in which archaeologists conduct research.
The way artifacts are recovered field methodology affects their examination and analysis, and the examination of artifacts influences further fieldwork. The results of experimental archaeology and ethnoarchaeology affect the examination of artifacts by providing new traces to look for and new interpretations of their possible production and use.
Archaeologists studying different time periods, world areas, and scales of societies use various combinations of techniques, depending on what is appropriate for their questions about the past, for the societies under study, for the environment of the region, and for their operating budgets. Technology is a part of this past, so although most production and use areas are fortuitous finds, archaeologists generally do their best to record the information they recognize.
However, if a specialist in the particular craft involved is not present on an excavation or survey project, it is easy to miss clues—there is simply too much to know. One aim of this book is thus to provide a general overview to technology studies for a range of crafts, so that every archaeologist has a better chance at maximal recovery of important data.
In the best studies of ancient technologies, researchers use as many appropriate methods as possible to thoroughly study the problems dealt with by ancient craftspeople, and the solutions that were found. Such problems were often technical. How to achieve the temperatures needed to fire a pot?
How to make a colorfast dye? What tool to use for a tricky bit of carving? When to irrigate a field? But ancient craftspeople also faced economic and social issues, such as fluctuations in supplies and in demand for their products, difficulties in the recruitment of competent apprentices, issues with workshop organization and control of production, and the negotiation of their standing within their societies.
Any investigation of past technologies has to recognize that 16 Heather M. Miller: Archaeological Approaches to Technology these sorts of economic, social, and political issues were just as problematical for ancient craftspeople as the technical challenges they faced.
Investigations of technological change and innovation must include such factors facing producers, as well as similar issues facing their consumers, to understand the motivations for new development and the reasons for the adoption of new technological products.
As in all other types of archaeological investigation, the archaeological study of technology must place objects in their social context, and remember that we are interested in people, not only their things.
Archaeological field techniques are traditionally divided into two types or phases of study: survey and excavation. Other sources of data for the investigation of technologies include documentary and oral sources, which are discussed below, as well as the examination of objects and records in collections and archives.
This last source of data is often particularly important for technological studies, as discussed in the section on Examination of Artifacts. Most field projects identify and record materials related to technologies, especially artifacts from the production process.
Such artifacts include tools, such as spindle whorls for spinning thread; by-products, such as pottery wasters, or cores and debris from stone working; and installations, such as oil presses or metal furnaces. For some crafts, such as stone working, caches of raw materials can be used to identify storage or production areas. High densities of finished products have also been identified as possibly representing storage or consumption areas, an important aspect of the overall technological system.
In most environments, the only surface finds preserved are those made from the sturdiest materials, particularly stone and baked clay. So there is considerable bias in the crafts that can be studied directly, favoring crafts with nonperishable products, tools, by-products, or installations. This is also the case for buried materials, although there is often slightly better preservation so that bone and metal objects remain. It is no exaggeration to say that the development of survey techniques has revolutionized archaeology in the past century, allowing us to see humans within a larger landscape rather than focusing on a settlement or two.
The study of regional interactions and changes, through survey, are now more common archaeological foci than the perspective from a single settlement. Regional intersite survey is also used as a means to select areas or settlements for further investigation, usually by excavation. Of course, humans in the past frequently saw their world from the perspective of one site, their home settlement, so it is important for archaeologists to do site-focused research as well.
Like regional survey, survey across a single settlement intrasite survey is used to pinpoint areas within a site for excavation. But as with regional survey, intrasite survey in itself is also an important method of archaeological analysis for questions of site patterning and function Hietala ; Kroll and Price The literature on archaeological survey is vast, ranging from introductory surveys of methodologies to edited volumes of results.
Considerable thought and ink has been devoted to improving the representativeness of survey work; that is, the degree to which the artifacts or sites recovered reflect the actual distribution of past activities across the landscape.
Banning provides discussion of these issues and further references; the Journal of Field Archaeology is another useful source for specialist discussion. For a more general introduction, most of the introductory field texts cited in the Excavation section below discuss the practice of survey as part of general archaeological fieldwork. The most basic archaeological survey consists of a team of people walking across a landscape and recording the artifacts and features they find Figure 2.
There are considerable refinements to this technique, specialized for particular landscapes, types of remains, and questions under consideration. Another technique is to take soil cores using an auger to investigate the nature of subsurface deposits; this is a good way to determine the extent of buried shell mounds or midden deposits. Geophysical prospection techniques such as gradiometry and resistivity are also employed to check for buried features like storage pits, kilns, stone walls or defensive ditches, 18 Heather M.
Clark ; Schmidt ; Scollar, et al. Materials collected from general archaeological surveys have served as the basis for innumerable studies of technology, examining production, distribution, and consumption. As a case in point, the general surface surveys in the s across the Basin of Mexico around the ancient city of Teotihuacan have provided data for a number of subsequent technologically-oriented studies, conducted long after the survey areas were swallowed up by modern development Cowgill 38—40; Millon ; Millon, et al.
These include studies of obsidian, lapidary, ceramic, and ground stone production, distribution and consumption, which have provided social as well as technical information about these crafts. For example, Biskowski documented differences in cooking technologies between different socioeconomic classes at Teotihuacan, based on analyses of the ground stone collections and archived data about their find-site distributions from these early surveys.
In addition, there are increasing numbers of surveys focused directly on technological issues, as shown in the thematic studies and other examples in this book. Surveys have been used to investigate changing product distribution patterns over time, for information about consumers and economic trade networks. Technologically-oriented surveys have also contributed significantly to our understanding of cases where control of production has—and has not—operated as a source of political power.
Archaeologists often examine the Methodology: Archaeological Approaches to the Study of Technology 19 exploitation of particular sources of raw materials, through regional surveys coupled with provenance or provenience studies, to determine where people acquired their stone or clay or metal ore, and how this related to changing patterns of regional trade and communication. For example, some of the most elaborate field research on ancient technologies has incorporated survey as well as excavation to study ancient metal-producing regions, focusing usually on large-scale mining and smelting operations.
In these integrated, multidisciplinary studies, visual and remote sensing survey work is usually just the first step, and is followed by exploration of mines, excavation of production areas and settlements, and a variety of artifact studies and specialist investigations. Aspects of copper mining and smelting are further discussed in Chapter 4. However, the mining and smelting stages of metal working, and the initial reduction stages of stone working, are rather unusual in the visibility of their by-products, especially for large-scale and long-term use of a raw material source.
Other stages of production and other crafts are more elusive. Rather than being near a raw material source, their production areas may be less predictably located within a landscape. For most stages of most crafts, production areas are likely to be in or near settlements.
Such production areas are often found fortuitously, during the course of regular excavations at a settlement. Sometimes enough remains from production are visible on the surface to allow for planned excavation of a craft production area, but this is not as common as fortuitous discovery.
Improving the intentional location of production areas using survey has been among the goals of most intersite and intrasite surveys concentrating on craft production. As with survey, the range of techniques for excavation is enormous, and varies on the basis of the questions being asked, the type of site, the local environment, and the amount of time and funding available Figure 2. The literature on excavation is extensive, and the best entry point for non-specialists are introductory texts designed for archaeological field schools or field methods courses e.
As with survey, there has been considerable concern about the representativeness of excavation areas, as excavation of entire sites is not possible for any but the smallest settlements or campsites.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Lubinski. Indeed, if possible, archaeologists prefer to leave a proportion of a site unexcavated, so that it may be excavated in the future with new and better methods. A large part of archaeological excavation is thus concerned with the ethical issue of recognizing and recording as much information as possible about all aspects of the past at each location.
Increasing the field identification and recovery of craft working areas is one of the greatest challenges currently facing the study of ancient technology. As noted above, many major crafts leave few remains under most conditions of preservation. This is especially true of most stages of the processing of organic materials like textiles, basketry, hide, wood, and food, but it is also the case for particular stages of the processing of inorganic materials, such as the forming stages of clay object production, or fabrication stages of metal object manufacturing.
Identification of the production areas for such crafts or production stages are dependant upon the recognition of a few preserved tools, such as roughly shaped clay or stone loom weights or smooth stones used for polishing pottery. These tools were few in proportion to the number of objects produced, were rarely discarded or lost, and in many cases are seldom identified in the field at the time of discovery.
Quite often these production tools are only recognized long afterwards when specialists examine a collection, if these nondescript objects have been retained. Have you seen the gorgeous patterns on our afghan rack this month? The color changes in a single ball of Amazing do all the work for you; creating gradual stripes of coordinated shades as you knit or crochet your project. All these patterns are available for free on LionBrand.
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In the first part of the book, the author goes over the basics about how to read international crochet notation or charted patterns and combine that with a text pattern for very clear instruction on how to work the pattern. She discusses color theory and balance, then gets into the techniques. Joining motifs, especially those with picots, mesh or lace edging can be tricky.
Knitters Mercantile Blog. Our March and April class schedule is up! Peruse the descriptions. Check out the pictures. While these squares are fantastic, there are still more new amazing and free crochet square patterns that have come out since — and they deserve a list of their own! Crochet Corner - Knitting Daily. Image Result for. Paperweight Granny African Flower. African Flower Hexagon Join-as-you-go Tutorial. Today was a quiet day Gerry had to go and do rounds, and the kids did homework while I photographed the tutorial.
It was a warm, sunny summers day here in SA, and the kids spent the afternoon swimming A visitor asked for a tutorial on how to join-as-you-go when you are crocheting African Flower Hexagons Start with one completed hexagon. Crochet a second hexagon, up until you are crocheting the last round. At the apex of the flower petal, where you will do 2 DC into the same space , with a chain stitch in between , work up until you have made ONE of the 2 DC at the apex of the petal.
Chain 1 st. Insert your crochet hook as shown, through the little hole of the other hexagon, at the petal point. Yarn around hook. Pull yarn through both the hole and the stitch on the hook.