Challenge 4: Technologies and innovation

This research area will take advantage of the confirmed competence of our partners in technological analysis of movable objects (lithic and bone tools, ceramics, metals, etc…), architectural remains (earthen, stone, wooden architecture…) and ancient landscapes (roadways, plots of land, enclosures, crop-growing terraces, forests…). Recent advances, especially in the fields of materials characterization, the study of making and use traces, and ecofact analysis, have involved constant methodological developments, so we shall call upon new technologies (3D microscopy, photogrammetry, GIS, remote sensing, etc.), develop collaborations with specialists (engineers, geologists, geographers, geomatics experts, chemists, etc., see the “Collaborations” section), and will supervise master’s and doctoral dissertations with a high potential for technological innovation.

Technological analysis of movable objects and structures will enable us to reveal the modalities of invention, its spread and technical transfer, the learning and transmission of know-how. A special focus will be on the notion of innovation, a strategic issue in today’s world. Although our society seeks “the immediacy of innovation”, archaeological results show us that, as in psychology and sociology, only “cultural and community judgment” (Gardner 1993) can create transformation over the long term of invention into innovation. Our collaboration with the Freie Universität of Berlin and other expert laboratories in this field will guarantee the reliability of this ambitious project.

At a time when innovation is considered to drive sustainable development, what can we learn from the past? The archaeological record provides us with a multitude of solutions that are “usable” for the future about recycling (for example, amphorae), the valorization of wild plants (e.g, basketmaking) or waste materials (e.g. agricultural by-products, slag), as well as about alternate uses, metamorphoses of places, etc.