AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges     Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: RE-CIRCULATING SOCIO-CULTURAL DYNAMICS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
Author: ANN FEUERBACH   
Date/Time: Fri., 11:45 AM
Co-Author(s): ANN FEUERBACH 
Abstract: Material culture is the tangible manifestation of a culture's knowledge, worldview, beliefs, behaviors, and social relationships. The technology that creates artifacts originates from, propagates through, reflects and reinforces a culture's norms and values. When technology changes the culture changes, and when socio-cultural dynamics change, the technology changes once again. The paper will explore how this reciprocal relationship is important for understanding past and current societies, and for extracting intangible social and cultural information from the remaining artifacts. These premises will be illustrated using a combination of artifacts, textual and ethnographic evidence and information, primarily from Zoroastrian and Islamic Central Asia and Hindu India, with a particular emphasis on crucible damascus steel production and the resulting blades. Blades made of crucible damascus steel were legendary for thousands of years for being exceptionally tough, sharp and flexible. In addition, the blades often exhibited a characteristic pattern believed by Muslims to represent the Waters of Paradise, where a fallen warrior spends eternity. For centuries, Europeans found the steel impossible to reproduce and forge. This is because they "though" of steel's behavior in a very different way than the Eastern artisans. Other aspects which will be addressed include how the legendary originator of the process changes over time, and what may account for variation in the archaeological record.

Program Number: 3-0405
Session Title: ARCHAEOLOGIES OF NETWORKS AND CIRCULATION
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Fri., 10:15 AM-12:00 PM
Organizer(s): ANNUAL MEETING PROGRAM COMMITTEE (AAA) 
Chair(s): JACK ROSSEN (Ithaca College)  
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