Session: #274

Theme & Session Format

Interpreting the archaeological record: artefacts, humans and landscapes
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Knowledge Transfer between Mining Communities
Since prehistoric times, the acquisition, exploitation and processing of mineral resources has always been an operation that requires specific technical knowledge. This has led to the development of specialized technological complexes within each mining region adapted to the local requirements – be it environmental, economic or social in nature. Moreover, due to the geographic distribution of the exploited raw materials, many mining areas were initially located in the peripheries, but throughout time they became economic centers and even points of origin for technological innovation.
Exchange processes between mining areas also were likely. The spatial and chronological distribution of characteristic traits allows to draw conclusions about the presence of contact and trade networks. However, the exact quality and mechanism of these exchanges is often unclear: was the knowledge spread directly by the physical movement of specialists or more indirectly through middlemen? Likewise, there are cases where innovations - in spite of their spatial and temporal proximity - were apparently consciously NOT adopted. Thus, mining-related technology does not appear as an isolated occurrence, but as a component of a meshwork of different factors that regulated the work and life of the mining district.
This session will focus on a chronological and spatially comprehensive discourse of the modularity of technology transfer and its premises. Focus will be put upon the identification and characterization of knowledge transfer in the archaeological record, the roll of implicit knowledge in the spread of technological innovation, as well as the discussion of the reasons that help or hinder the expansion of new technologies. Papers dealing with diverse fields and contexts of raw material will be welcome. This includes, but is not limited to, archaeological research on mining districts, experimental archaeology, computer-aided modeling, as well as ethnoarchaeological examples.
mining archaeology, technology transfer, innovation, adaption
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
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Main organiser:
Leandra Reitmaier-Naef (Switzerland) 1
Peter Thomas (Germany) 2
Erica Hanning (Germany) 3
Hans Reschreiter (Austria) 4
Kerstin Kowarik (Austria) 4
1. University of Zurich
2. German Mining Museum Bochum
3. Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz RGZM
4. Natural History Museum Vienna