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This paper discusses a quantitative methodology based on the summed probability of radiocarbon dates to reveal complexities and asymmetries in the adoption of technological innovations. By focusing on the spread of the potter's wheel in the Iberian Peninsula during the first millennium BCE, we examine regional variation in the uptake and prevalence of potter's wheel-use and explore long-term dynamics between competing ceramic shaping methods. The chronology of the spread of wheel-made ceramics in the Iberian Peninsula is analysed in a dataset of 576 radiocarbon dates for 245 pottery-bearing phases of 158 sites from across the Iberian Peninsula, utilising the presence-absence of wheel-made, hand-made and imported ceramics as the basis for a range of spatio-temporal analyses. The results provide the first systematic long-term overview of the trajectories of technological change in ceramic production in Iron Age Iberia, revealing how areas of technological change correspond to broader socio-economic transformations part of the intensification of (inter)regional trade, surplus production and urban lifeways. Our study demonstrates that a focus on variation in the adoption of complex technologies, revealed through radiocarbon dates, can provide new insights into the drivers behind long-term socio-economic change.
- Iberian Peninsula
- Iron Age
- Potter's wheel
- summed probability distribution
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1/10/19 → 30/04/23