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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article suggests that an expanded ethnoarchaeology that exploits evidence from the historical records of both ancient and modern societies can become an important research strategy to obtain, refine, and evaluate general models and heuristics for investigating technological change. It then shows the vision of an expanded ethnoarchaeology by presenting models and heuristics derived from research on electrical technologies of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The key framework that informs many behavioral models of technological change is the life history of artifacts and technologies. The article turns to three examples of an “expanded ethnoarchaeology”: technological differentiation, differential adoption, and the cascade model of invention processes. Working with historical materials as a historian, the researcher fashions explanatory narratives; working as an ethnoarchaeologist, that same researcher can build and evaluate models, theories, and heuristics of potentially widespread applicability.

Keywords: expanded ethnoarchaeology, technological change, behavioral models, technological differentiation, differential adoption, invention cascade, heuristics

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