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date: 16 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

<p>Texts have been central to the generation of archaeological theory (whether in culture history, New Archaeology, or post-processual approaches). They have framed our understanding of the past. It is now clear that they also structured human action in the past—as both technologies of oppression and vehicles of enlightenment. Recent research suggests that the habit of reading and writing may have a direct impact on the brain, stimulating a restructuring of neural networks, and affecting the way people thought and acted. Given the socially restricted nature of literacy in pre-modern societies, this may have implications for intra-societal relationships. What is already clear, however, is that the power of the written word in the past owed as much to its supernatural connotations as to its semantic content.</p>

Keywords: Words, Objects, ‘material turn’, agency, preserved speech, neural networks, magic

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