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Typology and technology, two opposed or parallel methodological approaches?


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Blaser, Frédéric and Videka-Blaser, Romana and Karavanić, Ivor. (2000). Typology and technology, two opposed or parallel methodological approaches?. Opuscula archaeologica, 23-24. pp. 363-371. ISSN 0473-0992

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The authors are analysing the advantages and disadvantages of typological and technological approaches to the analysis of stone and ceramic artefacts. The concepts of typological and technological analysis are coexisting since the beginnings of prehistoric archaeology. Detailed concepts of palaeolithic typologies appeared in the fifties and the sixties. Later on begins a dispute between the authors supporting the so called typological concept and those being mainly interested in the technological study of stone material. The latter are emphasising the process of making tools, analysing all the debitage products and considering the tools only as the final result of a complex chain consisting of different stages of the raw material modification. The typological approach is a static one with the main goal to place finds in a chronological and cultural sequence. The technological approach is dynamic and tends to explain the behaviour of the ancient man and the social relations of prehistoric populations and groups through the reconstruction of the production process. Technology sometimes helps the cultural definition of archaeological material and might also complete the typological definition by showing the emergence of a particular artefact type. There is a difference between the technological production process of stone and ceramic products that is, considering the final product, mostly visible in the change of weight of the raw material. Production of stone material implies a reduction of the raw material while it is quite opposite with ceramic products, i.e. the raw material is being accumulated during the production of a ceramic object (Baumler 1995). Despite the obvious differences typology and technology are not opposed methodological approaches but rather parallel ones. Both methods should be used in the analysis of archaeological material since each has different goals. Thus there can be achieved a more complete interpretation of activities on a particular site as well as a more accurate reconstruction of different processes of prehistoric populations everyday life.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: typology; technology; lithic artifacts; pottery; paleolithic; neolithic
Subjects: Archaeology
Departments: Department of Archaeology
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2008
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2012 14:00

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