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by Archaeology Newsroom

The gardener and the passer-by

“…he who can’t observe properly is a bad observer of things. The gardener takes a more careful look at apple trees than the mere onlooker.” K.Hempel, K.Popper, L.Binford, I. Lacatos, Fayerabend, are theoretical archaeologists and staunch upholders of American and Anglo-Saxon positivism who never stopped denouncing the Marxist theory of knowledge. Ιn bringing together the science of archaeology with that of anthropology, Althusser and M.Goddelier mix Marxism and structuralism together in brilliant readings where the “emic” comes together with the “etic” and two systems of thought are used, the “cognitive” and the “functional”. In this article, technology before the age of capitalism is seen through the Marxist approach where the development of technology is seen as one more evolution of human activity. Technology is defined by Marxist epistemology as “the sum total of those means, material or other, by which man effectively promotes his productivity”. Marx thinks of technology in context of all human activity and as one more result of the same. The only theories that remain unfounded are those that consider technological achievement to be outside of civilization. The distinction made between technique and technology is particularly problematic, tending as it does to separate form (the technique) from content (technology). In studying the technology of antiquity one should regard inhabitants of the ancient world comparatively and within the historic process by applying three axioms.