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New Book by Joseph Maran and Philipp Stockhammer

23. Nov. 2017

Prof. Joseph Maran, former Director of the Cluster “Asia and Europe”, and former Cluster member Prof. Philipp W. Stockhammer edited the volume “Appropriating Innovations: Entangled Knowledge in Eurasia, 5000‒1500 BCE”, which was published with Oxbow Books at the end of September.

The volume deals with the question of how to conceptualize the role of technological innovations. This question is of crucial importance in order to understand the mechanisms and rhythms of long-term cultural change in prehistoric and early historic societies. The changes that have come about have often been modelled as gradual and linear. Innovations have been considered positively as a progress in the development of humankind and the focus has been on the localization of the origin of innovations and the routes of their spread.

This volume goes beyond the current discussion by shedding light on conditions that may facilitate the rapid spread of technological innovation and on processes involved in the integration of new technologies into the life world of the appropriating societies. In particular, papers concentrate on two key innovations. Firstly, the transmission of the various components of the so-called “Secondary Products Revolution” in parts of the Near East and Europe during the 4th millennium BCE. Secondly, the appropriation of early bronze casting technology, which spread from the Near East to Europe and China in the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BCE.

A particular interest of this volume is the non-technological knowledge, which is transmitted together with the technological knowledge - the latter is always deeply interconnected with the communication of social practices, ideas and myths. The acceptance of new technologies, therefore, requires the willingness to change existing world views and modify them due to the potentials and problems which are connected with the new technology. The contributions to the book concentrate on the conditions facilitating or hindering the spread of innovations and the transformative power of these innovations in the appropriating society. The essays analyze how the introduction of novel technologies and the associated non-technological knowledge led to a transformation of existing economic systems and the underlying social orders in Late Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Eurasia by integrating innovative methodological approaches and contextual studies.

The volume “Appropriating Innovations: Entangled Knowledge in Eurasia, 5000‒1500 BCE” was published with Oxbow Books on September 30, 2017 and is the result of a conference took place in January 2015 at the Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg (IWH)and was organized by  Joseph Maran and Philipp W. Stockhammer toghether with project “MC8 Appropriating Innovations“.

Prof. Joseph Maran is Professor of Pre- and Protohistory at Heidelberg University and former Director of the Cluster “Asia and Europe”.

Prof. Philipp W. Stockhammeris Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at Ludwig-Maximiliams University, Munich and former member of projects MC8 “Appropriating Innovations” and D2 “Materiality and Practice”.


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