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Cultural Transmission from an Archaeological Perspective

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Human beings have been copying and reusing culture and technology for approximately 2.6 million years. Access to new cultural advancements have been crucial for all human societies during all of prehistory.

With this presentation I want to give an archaeological perspective on today's issues of free software, free culture, patents and copyright. I am going to give examples on how humans have copied and reused culture and technology through out all of prehistory with concrete archaeological examples, mainly from the stone age. I am also going to show examples of how people have been trying to limit access to ideas and technology for others.

The presentation will focus on these questions:

What does the possibility to copy culture and technology mean for human societies and how does people profit from limiting the access to these cultural traits and technologies for others?

Does culture have an intrinsic wish to be copied? Does culture in fact want to be free?

Keywords: Stone Age, Memes, Cultural transmission.

Published in: Technology
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Cultural Transmission from an Archaeological Perspective

  1. 1. Cultural Transmission from an Archaeological Perspective Micke Nordin
  2. 2. Culture from an Archaeological Perspective Traditional archaeology Traditional archaeology defines culture as a set of artefacts that occur together during a certain period in time.
  3. 3. Culture from an Archaeological Perspective Processual archaeology "Culture, man's extrasomatic means of adaptation to the environment" - Binford 1972:106
  4. 4. Culture from an Archaeological Perspective Darwinian archaeology "Culture is information capable of affecting individuals' phenotypes which they acquire from conspecifics by teaching or imitation" - Boyd & Richerson 1985:33
  5. 5. Culture from an Archaeological Perspective Memes "A meme is a postulated unit or element of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, and is transmitted from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals, or other imitable phenomena." - Wikipedia "Meme" 2009-10-29
  6. 6. Culture from an Archaeological Perspective Why is Cultural Transmission important?
  7. 7. Culture from an Archaeological Perspective Why is Cultural Transmission important?
  8. 8. Culture from an Archaeological Perspective Why is Cultural Transmission important?
  9. 9. Modes of transmission
  10. 10. Modes of transmission <ul><li>Unbiased Transmission </li></ul>
  11. 11. Modes of transmission <ul><li>Unbiased Transmission
  12. 12. Biased Transmission </li></ul>
  13. 13. Modes of transmission <ul><li>Unbiased Transmission
  14. 14. Biased Transmission
  15. 15. conformist-biased transmission </li></ul>
  16. 16. Modes of transmission <ul><li>Unbiased Transmission
  17. 17. Biased Transmission
  18. 18. conformist-biased transmission
  19. 19. prestige-biased transmission </li></ul>
  20. 20. Modes of transmission
  21. 21. Copyright in Prehistory
  22. 22. Copyright in Prehistory Chaîne d’opératoire
  23. 23. Copyright in Prehistory
  24. 24. Copyright in Prehistory
  25. 25. Copyright in Prehistory Main Site
  26. 26. Copyright in Prehistory Copyright Island
  27. 27. Does Culture Want to be Copied?
  28. 28. Attribution CC-BY-SA 3.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sequenz_diagramm-7.png By Gubaer CC-BY-SA 2.5 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oldowan_tradition_chopper.jpg By José-Manuel Benito Álvarez CC-BY-SA 2.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ariane_Sherine_and_Richard_Dawkins_at_the_Atheist_Bus_Campaign_launch.jpg By Zoe Margolis CC-BY-SA 1.0 http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Katrineholm_Municipality_in_S%C3%B6dermanland_County.png By Nordelch PD http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Acheuleanhandaxe.jpg http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pale_teacher.jpg http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alfl_arrowheads_from_flint_20060717161306.jpg http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sistema_ambiental_%28Clarke%29.png.png http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Darwin_ape.jpg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Copyright.svg http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Advanced_Automation_for_Space_Missions_figure_5-29.gif http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sten%C3%A5ldersf%C3%B6rem%C3%A5l_2,_Nordisk_familjebok.jpg

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