Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology, Vol 20, No 2 (2007)

Prehistoric Italian Pottery Production: Motor Memory, Motor Development and Technological Transfer

Helen L. Loney
Issued Date: 12 Dec 2007


In this paper, I suggest that studies of motor development, learning and memory may provide important insights into technological change and conservatism in prehistoric craft activities. The physical and mental processes involved in the learning and development of highly skilled motor activities result in strongly rooted changes in an individual’s actions and levels of performance. In terms of craft production, this means that mature, skilled artisans have a selective and efficient array of actions and strategies, which they can draw upon to produce competent products of predictable quality and quantity.The flip side of this degree of specialized physical training is, however, the possibility of ‘negative transfer’ when it comes to learning new skills. The presence within late second millennium bc in Italy of both handmade and wheelmade pottery technologies can be explained in part by the degree of difficulty mature craftspeople may have experienced in learning the radically different physical processes involved in wheel-manufacture.

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DOI: 10.1558/jmea.v20i2.183


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