Catherine Frieman

Jan 26, 2023

The Archaeology of Innovation

A Discussion with Catherine Frieman

New Books Network 2022

purchase at

Catherine Frieman, an associate professor of European Archaeology at the School of Archaeology, talks about her recent book, An Archaeology of Innovation: Approaching Social and Technological Change in Human Society, with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. Her book offers a long-term perspective on innovation that only archaeology can offer and draws on case studies from across human history, from our earliest hominin ancestors to the present. The book makes several different arguments, but one of them is that our present narrow focus on pushing the adoption of technical innovations—especially so called “disruptive innovations”—ignores the complex social, technological, and environmental systems that undergirds successful societies.

Listen to more episodes on:

Your Host

Lee Vinsel

Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in July 2019.

Learn More