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The Archaeology of Teaching: A Conceptual Framework

  • Francesco d'Errico (a1) and William E. Banks (a2)

Studying the emergence of teaching in our lineage entails identifying learning strategies among human and non-human groups, understanding the situations in which they occur, evaluating their performance, recognizing their expression in the archaeological record, identifying trends in the way knowledge transmission changed through time, and detecting the key moments in which members of our lineage complemented pre-existing transmission strategies with those that led our species to develop cumulative culture and eventually ‘teaching’ as we know it. Here we explore how learning processes function in spatial, temporal, and social dimensions and use the resulting situations to build a tentative framework, which may guide our interpretation of the archaeological record and ultimately aid our identification of the learning processes at work in animal and past hominin societies. We test the pertinence of this heuristic approach by applying it to a handful of archaeological case studies.

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Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • ISSN: 0959-7743
  • EISSN: 1474-0540
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-archaeological-journal
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