Friday, February 11, 2011

Ancient Stymphalos and Ancient Technology

If you just happened to be in southern Ontario, St. Catharines specifically, at 3:00 pm on this coming Sunday afternoon, the 13th, you could hear Professor Gerry Schaus (Wilfrid Laurier University and President of the Institute’s Board of Directors) give an illustrated lecture on an enigmatic set of stone pillars found in the Sanctuary of Athena at ancient Stymphalos in the northeastern Peloponnesos. Stymphalos is one of the archaeological sites excavated under the aegis of the Institute, with a permit from the Hellenic Republic's Ministry of Culture and Tourism. This free lecture is sponsored by the Niagara Peninsula Society of the Archaeological Institute of America and the Department of Classics of Brock University, and will take place in the University's Academic South Hall Room 215.

Book of the Blog
We are all focused in some way these days on technology – low or high.  But, what about “old tech”? How does one go about studying ancient and traditional technologies, especially from their material remnants as preserved in the archaeological record? Heather M.-L. Miller has written a book that outlines how one can do this. Archaeological Approaches to Technology (Left Coast Press, 2009) guides one through the long process, from data acquisition to examination to analysis to interpretation. The approaches for “Extractive-Reductive Crafts” and “Transformational Crafts” are treated separately. Two chapters on “Thematic Studies in Technology” enable one to see the potential of investigating technology in the reconstruction of past cultures through selected case studies. Like modern technology, the topic is rich and complex.

David Rupp

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