By Carl Knappett

Give some thought to a keepsake from a overseas journey, or an heirloom handed down the generations - specific person artefacts let us imagine and act past the proximate, throughout either area and time. whereas this makes anecdotal feel, what does scholarship need to say concerning the function of artefacts in human idea? unusually, fabric tradition learn has a tendency additionally to target person artefacts. yet gadgets not often stand independently from each other they're interconnected in complicated constellations. This leading edge quantity asserts that it truly is such ’networks of gadgets’ that instill gadgets with their energy, allowing them to rouse far-off instances and locations for either members and communities.

Using archaeological case experiences from the Bronze Age of Greece all through, Knappett develops a long term, archaeological perspective at the improvement of item networks in human societies. He explores the advantages such networks create for human interplay throughout scales, and the demanding situations confronted through historical societies in balancing those merits opposed to their expenditures. In objectifying and controlling artefacts in networks, human groups can lose tune of the recalcitrant pull that artefacts workout. fabrics don't constantly do as they're requested. We by no means absolutely comprehend all their facets. This we take hold of in our daily, subconscious operating within the extraordinary international, yet disregard in our community pondering. And this failure to take care of issues and provides them their due can result in societal ’disorientation’.

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Extra resources for An Archaeology of Interaction: Network Perspectives on Material Culture and Society

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A citizen who felt 28 | classical greece he was being unfairly burdened by a liturgy might nominate a substitute, supposedly wealthier citizen to take his place. If the latter refused, he might be challenged by the former to a complete exchange of properties (antidosis). In this way, in theory at least, public services would end up being performed by the wealthiest citizens, without the need for the cumbersome and inaccurate registration of property. In reality, challenges to exchange properties understandably resulted in angry dissent among the Athenian élite: the jurors sat back and enjoyed the fun.

The fragments which survive are difficult to interpret; items are omitted which did not need to be sold off: cash and precious metals could be added directly to the Treasury. But what remains striking is the gap between the abundance (and value) of land and houses and slaves recorded on the stelae and the seemingly trivial collections of bronze pots, kitchen utensils, and tunics (see below, pp. –). Even the notorious voluptuary Alcibiades could muster only a motley collection of items. Of course, possession of luxury goods might in part redress the balance, but, at least in democratic Athens, overtly conspicuous consumption was ideologically sensitive.

Some Greeks had profited from the Persian overlordship of Ionia. Persia liked to work through native agents, and at the end of the sixth century most Greek cities of Asia Minor were controlled by Greek rulers who owed their position to the Persians. For the élite of a small city facing an enormous empire there was effectively little choice: collaboration with Persia offered the only way to preserve personal status. For Persia, working with the willing was preferable to repressing the unwilling, and the internal divisions that promoting a single man or family to pre-eminence were bound to cause would only make a city the easier to rule.

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