The aesthetics of technological creativity in the protohistoric Mediterranean
IU Program in Ancient Studies Lecture Series
Dr. Carl Knappett, University of Toronto
October 30, 2019
Wells Library, Hazelbaker Hall
The protohistoric Mediterranean is a period of new technologies that have considerable societal impact, from informational technologies such as writing and sealing, to craft technologies such as metallurgy and the potter’s wheel. These technologies are typically framed in broadly socio-economic terms using the term ‘innovation’, with the idea that they offer significant advantages – no doubt in part because of their association with incipient urbanism. Here I will argue that by thinking more in terms of creativity than innovation we open ourselves up to an approach that can more fully consider the aesthetic dimension of early technologies; and this in turn might generate new understandings of how such technologies emerged. Wonder is an important element of aesthetic experience; and wonder can disrupt stable categories and stimulate the discovery of new connections. The talk will review some of the abovementioned technologies within this aesthetic framework and suggest ways to produce deep cultural as well as economic histories.