An Archaeology of Interaction: Network Perspectives on Material Culture and Society

Paperback | June 12, 2014

byCarl Knappett

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Think of a souvenir from a foreign trip, or an heirloom passed down the generations - distinctive individual artefacts allow us to think and act beyond the proximate, across both space and time. While this makes anecdotal sense, what does scholarship have to say about the role of artefacts inhuman thought? Surprisingly, material culture research tends also to focus on individual artefacts. But objects rarely stand independently from one another they are interconnected in complex constellations. This innovative volume asserts that it is such 'networks of objects' that instill objectswith their power, enabling them to evoke distant times and places for both individuals and communities.Using archaeological case studies from the Bronze Age of Greece throughout, Knappett develops a long-term, archaeological angle on the development of object networks in human societies. He explores the benefits such networks create for human interaction across scales, and the challenges faced byancient societies in balancing these benefits against their costs. In objectifying and controlling artefacts in networks, human communities can lose track of the recalcitrant pull that artefacts exercise. Materials do not always do as they are asked. We never fully understand all their aspects. Thiswe grasp in our everyday, unconscious working in the phenomenal world, but overlook in our network thinking. And this failure to attend to things and give them their due can lead to societal "disorientation".

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Think of a souvenir from a foreign trip, or an heirloom passed down the generations - distinctive individual artefacts allow us to think and act beyond the proximate, across both space and time. While this makes anecdotal sense, what does scholarship have to say about the role of artefacts inhuman thought? Surprisingly, material cultur...

Carl Knappett is Walter Graham / Homer Thompson Chair in Aegean Prehistory at the University of Toronto.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:262 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.58 inPublished:June 12, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198706936

ISBN - 13:9780198706939

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Table of Contents

Part 11. Introduction2. Interaction, Space, and Scale3. Networks Between DisciplinesPart 24. Micro-Networks: Proximate Interactions5. Meso-Networks: Communities of Practice6. Macro-Networks: Reginal InteractionsPart 37. Networks of Objects8. Meshworks of Things9. Temporalities and Biographical CareEpilogueFuture Challenges

Editorial Reviews

"Carl Knappett's book represents a milestone in the study of archaeological distribution patterns. Network analysis has in recent years become highly influential in the study of past human interaction as represented by material culture. Knappett shows, through the skilful use of a range ofcase-studies and theoretical standpoints, how the network approach to material culture can shed new and sometimes unexpected light on many aspects of interactions in the ancient past." --Anthony Harding, University of Exeter