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'I Can Do It' Becomes 'We Do It': Kimberley (Australia) and Still Bay (South Africa) Points Through a Socio-technical Framework Lens
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences. University of Johannesburg, South Africa;Stellenbosch University, South Africa. (Arkeologi)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8747-4131
University of Johannesburg, South Africa;Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
2019 (English)In: Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology, E-ISSN 2520-8217, p. 1-31Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Building on the body of work regarding the concepts of invention and innovation in lithic technology, we further explore the give-and-take relationship between people and their technologies in two different stone point knapping traditions. From the socio-technical framework perspective, which is one amongst many ways to look at technological trends, the acceptance and stabilisation of a tool-making tradition is not only dictated by its technology-specific properties, such as its ingenuity or usefulness. Instead, it also depends on the social conventions and practices of its spatiotemporal context, which can be explored through the notions of introduction, closure, stabilisation, destabilisation and copying. We explain the theory behind the socio-technical framework with modern examples, such as bicycle use in late nineteenth century England and electrical guitar trends in the last half of the twentieth century. Turning our attention to stone point knapping, we use Australian Kimberley point production during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries to bridge into how the socio-technical framework reflects in the dynamics that might be involved in lithic traditions. Using this theoretical framework to think about aspects of deep-time point production, such as that recorded from the Still Bay techno-complex during the Middle Stone Age in southern Africa, becomes trickier though. Instead of reliable ethno-historical accounts or dense archaeological context, we have to rely on coarse-grained data sets about distribution, age, environment and population, making inferences more speculative and less testable. In the context of this special volume, we suggest, however, that a socio-technical framework approach may be a useful tool to enhance our thinking about dynamics in ancient techno-behaviours and that more work is necessary to flesh out its potential in this respect.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019. p. 1-31
Keywords [en]
Stone tools, Kimberley points, Still Bay points, Middle Stone Age, Socio-technical framework, Social negotiation
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Humanities, Archaeology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-90492DOI: 10.1007/s41982-019-00042-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-90492DiVA, id: diva2:1377555
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 71- 2014-2100Available from: 2019-12-12 Created: 2019-12-12 Last updated: 2020-01-13Bibliographically approved

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