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Hofmann, Kerstin P.; Stockhammer, Philipp W. (2017): Materialisierte Übersetzungen in der Prähistorie. In: Saeculum, Vol. 67, No. 1: pp. 45-66
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Abstract

So far, 'translation' has only played a minor role as a concept for the analysis of prehistoric objects. Novel approaches have instead focused on alternative terms like appropriation, entanglement, hybridity and transculturality. The common association of "translation" with language, text and writing might have been a major obstacle for the acceptance of this term as neither language nor written sources are available as primary sources for Prehistorian Archaeologists. We base our argument in the ongoing debate about "translation" in Cultural and Social Anthropology and ask if and to what extent this concept can be used for Prehistoric Archaeology. We focus on intercultural translations and their transformative power, as this can help to better conceptualize cultural change. In order to translate "translation" for the epistemological frame and potential of Prehistoric Archaeology, we confront this concept with other and more frequently used concepts. In a final case study, we demonstrate the potential of "translation" by applying the concept to the interpretation of vessels made out of gold foil of the 3rd and 2nd millennium BC in southern Central Europe. These vessels can be understood as materialized translations, which resulted from the transmission and appropriation of innovations.