Concluding and Future Thoughts on Material Crossovers
Since the inception of archaeology as a systematic and rigorous discipline, the study of technology has been its bedrock. And the study of ancient crafts, no matter the raw material transformed nor how complex or simple the end product, continues to be a gateway to appreciating not only the rationality and practicality of ancient object making and use but also (and perhaps more importantly) the social, symbolic and political dynamics involved. The 21st century is an especially exciting time for those who study the past, for we are now crossing a critically important threshold in making sense of the less-than-empirical facets of ancient technologies. This threshold takes us beyond last century’s materialist, empiricist and processual paradigms that claimed we could not (and therefore should not) waste our time chasing after the symbolic and social aspects of technology because we could neither see nor ‘test’ them empirically (overviews in Dobres 2009a and 2009b).