Technology may be classified into one of three categories, a) implements, b) facilities, and c) infrastructure. Generally, the distinction between implements and facilities is that implements are objects that can be transported to help with tasks, whereas facilities are relatively fixed in space. Infrastructure refers to the organization of a particular suite of implements and facilities to promote and maintain integration of some societal function - transportation and communication, for example. Clearly, some technologies, manufacturing processes, and means of accomplishing work are composed of numerous implements and facilities. Modern automobile manufacturing and transportation infrastructure such as roads, airports, and railroads are good examples. Chiefdoms like those represented by Cahokia were beginning to develop social infrastructures with technological components as a means to integrate Mississippian society.
Many artifacts we find on archaeological sites can be considered part of technology. Stone tools, for example, are fashioned into a variety of forms to help humans perform work. Triangular-shaped arrow points are used to kill; simple scrapers are used to scrape hides and work wood; drills can bore out holes in wood, bone and shell. Post-holes and walls indicative of past structures are often preserved as are remnants of fire pits, storage pits, and bits of pottery. Almost by definition then, archaeologists spend a considerable amount of time studying technology.
In spite of the broad ranging significance of technological studies, when archaeologists speak of studying technology, they are usually trying to answer a number of basic questions. These include
Hayden, B. (editor). 1979. Lithic Use-Wear Analysis. Academic Press, New York.
Nelson, B.A. (editor). 1985. Decoding Prehistoric Ceramics. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale.
Rice, P.M. 1987. Pottery Analysis: A Sourcebook. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Fowler, M.L. 1997. The Cahokia Atlas: A Historical Atlas of Cahokia Archaeology. revised edition. University of Illinois Press, Urbana.
Fowler, M.L. (editor) 1996. The Ancient Skies and Sky Watchers of Cahokia: Woodhenges, Eclipses, and Cahokian Cosmology. The Wisconsin Archaeologist 77(3/4).
Skele, M. 1988. The Great Knob: Interpretations of Monks Mound. Studies in Illinois Archaeology, No. 4. Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Springfield.
University of Buffalo Anthropology Department Lithics Site
The Stone Age Reference Collection
The Lithics Glossary
A Pioneer in Lithic Replication Studies, Don E. Crabtree
University of California, Santa Barbara Lithics Exercises.
[HDYK-Environment] [HDYK-Technology] [HDYK-Society] [HDYK-Economy] [HDYK-Art]