The question of how to conceptualize the role of technological innovations is of crucial importance for understanding the mechanisms and rhythms of long-term cultural change in prehistoric and early historic societies. For a long time, 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 was on the localization of the origin of innovations and the routes of their spread.
Our conference wants to go beyond the current discussion by shedding light on the conditions facilitating the quick spreading of technological innovation and on the process of the integration of new technologies into the life world of the appropriating societies. In particular, we want to concentrate on two key innovations, namely 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 and 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.
We are especially interested in non-technological knowledge that is transmitted together with the technological knowledge, as technological knowledge 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.
Contributions should, therefore, concentrate on the conditions facilitating or hindering the spread of innovations and the transformative power of these innovations in the appropriating society. They should analyse 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.
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