A lecture by: Dr. Enrique Rodriguez-Alegria (University of Texas at Austin)
Monday Nov. 27, 12:00 (EPS 1.128)
During the conquest of 1521, Spaniards brought steel knives and swords to Mexico, but indigenous people in Xaltocan, a rural town in Central Mexico, were not particularly impressed by these cutting tools. Some indigenous elites requested permission to use swords as part of their costume, but archaeological evidence indicates that the general population did not adopt steel blades. Instead, they continued to use stone tools on a daily basis. Why did they not adopt steel blades? Why did obsidian tool production flourish after metal tools became available? The answer to these questions force us to think about technological change beyond a simple matter of European technological superiority and efficiency.