Archaeology as Anthropology: Chaîne Operatoire and the Analysis of Contemporary Technologies

Author(s): Lauren Herckis

Year: 2018


The application of archaeological methods to modern contexts is an emergent trend in cultural anthropology. This paper presents a case study of chaîne opératoire methodologies in the analysis of modern technologies. New materialist ontologies and digital archaeologies offer powerful tools for understand the past. Behavioral archaeologists apply method and theory to relationships between people and things in all times. Dawdy, McGuire and others address the current archaeological turn in anthropology. The application of archaeological methods in analyses of contemporary material landscapes and social contexts isn’t new. This paper adds to the ongoing discussion, arguing that these efforts provide data to refine our understanding of the past and also contribute to our understanding of the present. Transformations in social and material landscapes are entangled today as they were in the past. Many factors, including acquisition of raw material, discard, refinement, and locality have significant effects on the chaîne opératoire of modern technologies. Social factors contribute to the spatial arrangement of craft production, elaboration, use, and repair at a research university. A chaîne opératoire approach provides an integrated understanding of production processes related to educational technologies, exposing complex relationships between labor, emergence and diffusion of technological traditions, and exploitation of available resources.

Cite this Record

Archaeology as Anthropology: Chaîne Operatoire and the Analysis of Contemporary Technologies. Lauren Herckis. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443118)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -168.574; min lat: 7.014 ; max long: -54.844; max lat: 74.683 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22690