CONVO: Archaeology and New Technologies


CONVO: Archaeology and New Technologies

Posted by Centre News in Convocations 22 Feb 2018
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Date(s) - 02/22/2018
7:30 pm

Young Hall - Auditorium (Room 113)


What Can Archaeology Tell Us About New Technologies?
Dr. Lauren Herckis, research scientist and instructor at Carnegie Mellon University, will discuss how archaeologists learn about the lives and cultures of ancient people by studying the things they left behind. Archaeological methods, which were developed to study technological change in the past, can be used to understand technological innovation in the present. The emergence, form, and social roles of today’s cutting-edge technologies are shaped by the same forces which affected the maintenance of water management technologies in northern Africa 3,000 years ago, the development of pottery in the American southwest 1,500 years ago, and the emergence and disappearance of electric cars in the U.S. a century ago. Archaeology gives us a way to understand how technological innovations take root or fade from memory. Examining how gadgets are produced, used, reused, repaired, and discarded helps us better understand the relationship between labor, the exploitation of available resources, and the emergence, transformation, and diffusion of technological traditions.