Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

From Neural Synapses to Culture-Historical Boundaries: An Archaeological Comment on the Plastic Mind

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Journal of Cognition and Culture

This paper contributes with a study of how something that is initially introduced as a ‘technology of spatial distribution’ develops into a ‘technology of the mind’. Boundaries are a phenomenon deeply rooted in social perception and cognitive categorization, which also involves material processes that can sometimes be studied in an archaeological record. In later prehistory, the physical instantiation of this technology offered a solution to a wide range of economic and social problems, posed by an increasingly filled-in and more permanently settled landscape. Important aspects of its initial conceptual and cultural incorporation lasted more than a millennium. However, once this technology attached conceptually as well as culturally, it entailed a quantitative acceleration and became part of a long-term development, the social and juridical consequences of which can be traced far up in historical times. This case is used to discuss the importance of unfolding both the plastic aspects of human cognition and the slow, protracted and long-term aspects involved in cultural changes.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Archaeology and Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus Universitydk-8000 Aarhus


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Andersen L. "Jernalderbopladsen ved Øksenhede." Vendsyssel nu og da 2005 44 59 2005
2. Andersen N. H. The Sarup enclosures: the Funnel Beaker Culture of the Sarup site including two causewayed camps compared to the contemporary settlements in the area and other European enclosures 1997 Højbjerg Jysk Arkæologisk Selskab
3. Arnoldussen S. , Fontijn D. R. "Towards familiar landscapes? On the nature and origin of Middle Bronze Age landscapes in the Netherlands." Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 2006 Vol 72 289 317 [Crossref]
4. Arnoldussen S. , Jansen R. Meyer M. "Iron Age habitation patterns on the southern and northern Dutch Pleistocene coversand soils: The process of settlement nucleation." Haus – Gehöft – Weiler – Dorf. Siedlungen der vorrömischen Eisenzeit im nördlichen Mitteleuropa. Internationale Tagung an der Freien Universität Berlin vom 20.-23. März 2009 2010 Rahden Marie Leidorf 379 397
5. Ashby F. G. , Maddox W. T. "Human category learning." Annual Review of Psychology 2005 Vol 56 149 178 [Crossref]
6. Ball P. Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another 2004 London Arrow Books
7. Bardone E. , Magnani L. "Sharing Representations Through Cognitive Niche Construction." Data Science 2007 Vol 6 87 91 [Crossref]
8. Bech J. G. Fra fortidsminder til kulturmiljø: hvad Alstrup Krat og Hohøj gemte. 2003 Copenhagen Kulturministeriet
9. Bech J.-H. Assendorp J. J. "Bronze Age Settlements on raised sea-beds at Bjerre, Thy, nw-Jutland." Forschungen zur bronzezeitlichen Besiedlung in Nord- und Mitteleuropa 1997 Rahden Marie Leidorf 3 15
10. Becker C. J. Førromersk jernalder i Syd- og Midtjylland. 1961 Copenhagen Nationalmuseet
11. Becker C. J. "Früheisenzitliche Dörfer bei Grøntoft, Westjütland." Acta Archaeologica 1971 Vol 42 79 110
12. Burke S. N. , Barnes C. A. "Neural plasticity in the ageing brain." Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2006 Vol 7 30 40 [Crossref]
13. Carillo J. D. , Gromb D. "Cultural inertia and uniformity in organizations." The Journal of Law, Economics and Organization 2007 Vol 23 743 771 [Crossref]
14. Casale M. B. , Roeder J. L. , Ashby F. G. "Analogical transfer in perceptual categorization." Memory and Cognition 2012 Vol 40 434 449 [Crossref]
15. Chaigneau S. E. , Barsalou L. W. , Zamani M. "Situational information contributes to object categorization and inference." Acta Psychologica 2009 Vol 130 81 94 [Crossref]
16. Cohen H. , Lefebvre C. Handbook of Categorisation in Cognitive Science. 2005 Amsterdam Elsevier
17. Day M. "Religion, Off-Line Cognition and the Extended Mind." Journal of Cognition and Culture 2004 Vol 4 101 121 [Crossref]
18. Debarbieux B. "The symbolic order of objects and the frame of geographical action: An analysis of the modes and the effects of categorisation of the geographical world as applied to the mountains in the West." GeoJournal 2004 Vol 60 397 405 [Crossref]
19. Dodge R. V. Schelling’s Game Theory: How to Make Decisions 2012 New York, NY Oxford University Press [Crossref]
20. Doidge N. The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science 2008 London Penguin
21. Donald M. A Mind So Rare: The evolution of human consciousness 2001 New York, NY Norton
22. Draganski B. , Gaser C. , Kempermann G. , Kuhn H. G. , Winkler J. , Büchel C. , May A. "Temporal and spatial dynamics of brain structure changes during extensive learning." The Journal of Neuroscience 2006 Vol 26 6314 6317 [Crossref]
23. Flemming A. The Dartmoor reaves: investigating prehistoric land divisions 1988 London Batsford
24. Fokkens H. Fokkens H. , Coles B. J. , van Gijn A. L. , Kleijne J. P. , Ponjee H. H. , Slappendel C. G. "The temporality of culture changes." Between foraging and farming. An extended broad spectrum of papers presented to Leendert Louwe Kooijmans 2008 Leiden Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University 15 24
25. Fokkens H. , Arnoldussen S. Arnoldussen S. , Fokkens H. "Towards new models." Bronze Age settlements in the Low Countries 2008 Oxford Oxbow Books 1 16
26. Foxon T. "Bounded rationality and hierarchical complexity: two paths from Simon to ecological and evolutionary economics." Ecological Complexity 2006 Vol 3 361 368 [Crossref]
27. Graham L. Bouncing Back: Rewire Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being. 2013 Novato, CA New World Library
28. Harrison J. R. , Carroll G. R. Culture and Demography in Organizations 2005 Princeton, NJ Princeton University Press
29. Hatt G. Landbrug i Danmarks Oldtid 1937 Copenhagen Udvalget for Folkeoplysnings Fremme
30. Hatt G. Oldtidsagre 1949 Copenhagen Ejnar Munksgaard
31. Haue N. Møller N. A. , Qvistgaard S. S. , Jensen S. F. "Social stratifikation og den “sociale arv” i ældre jernalder – med udgangspunkt i boplads – studier fra Nordjylland." Nyt fra Vestfronten. Nord og vestjyske bebyggelser fra ældre jernalder 2011 Copenhagen The SAXO-Institute 87 98
32. Herchend F. The Early Iron Age in South Scandinavia: Social Order in Settlement and Landscape 2009 Uppsala Edita Västra Aros
33. Hollan J. D. , Hutchins E. , Kirsh D. "Distributed cognition: toward a new foundation for human-computer interaction research." acmTransactions on Human-Computer Interaction: Special Issue on Human-Computer Interaction in the New Millennium 2000 Vol 7 174 196 [Crossref]
34. Hutchins E. "Material anchors for cognitive blends." Journal of Pragmatics 2005 Vol 37 1555 1577 [Crossref]
35. Hutchins E. "Concepts in Practice as Sources of Order." Mind, Culture, and Activity 2012 Vol 19 314 323 [Crossref]
36. Hvass S. "Hodde." Et vestjysk landsbysamfund fra ældre jernalder 1985 Copenhagen Akademisk Forlag Arkæologiske Studier VII
37. Jensen C. K. "Kontekstuel kronologi – en revision af det kronologiske grundlag for førromersk jernalder i Sydskandinavien." LAG 7 2005 Vol Bd. 1-II
38. Jensen J. "Ulbjerg-graven. Begyndelsen af den ældre jernalder i Jylland." Kuml 1965 Vol 1965 23 34
39. Kristensen I. K. "Kogegruber – i klynger eller på rad og række." Kuml 2008 2008 9 57
40. Løvschal M. "Emerging Boundaries. Social embedment of landscape and settlement divisions in northwestern Europe during the first millennium bc." Current Anthropology (in press) Vol 55
41. Løvschal M. , Holst M. K. "Repertoires of landscape regulations: southern Scandinavia in the Late Bronze Age and Pre-Roman Iron Age." Danish Journal of Archaeology. forthcoming
42. Lucas M. Rewire Your Brain For Love: Creating Vibrant Relationships Using the Science of Mindfulness. 2012 London Hay House Publishers
43. Lutz A. , Greischar L. L. , Rawlings N. B. , Ricard M. , Davidson R. J. "Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2004 Vol 101 16369 16373 [Crossref]
44. MacEachern S. "‘Symbolic reservoirs’ and inter-group relations: West African examples." The Archaeological Review 1994 Vol 12 205 224 [Crossref]
45. Maguire E. A. , Gadian D. G. , Johnsrude I. S. , Good C. D. , Ashburner J. , Frackowiak R. S. , Frith C. D. "Navigation-related structural change in the hippocampi of taxi drivers." Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America 2000 Vol 97 4398 4403 [Crossref]
46. Mahncke H. W. , Bronstone A. , Merzenich M. M. "Brain plasticity and functional losses in the aged: scientific bases for a novel intervention." Progress in Brain Research 2006 Vol 157 81 109
47. Malafouris L. "“Neuroarchaeology”: Exploring the links between neural and cultural plasticity." Progress in Brain Research 2009 Vol 178 253 261
48. Malafouris L. "Metaplasticity and the human becoming: principles of neuroarchaeology." Journal of Anthropological Sciences 2010a Vol 88 49 72
49. Malafouris L. "The brain artefact interface ( bai): a challenge for archaeology and cultural neuroscience." Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience 2010b Vol 5 264 273 [Crossref]
50. Malafouris L. , Frith C. , Renfrew C. "Introduction. The sapient mind: archaeology meets neuroscience." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences 2008 Vol 363 1935 1938 [Crossref]
51. McGlade J. , van der Leeuw S. E. van der Leeuw S. E. , McGlade J. "Introduction: Archaeology and non-linear dynamics – new approaches to long-term change." Archaeology: Time, process and structural transformations 1997 London Routledge 1 31
52. Mithen S. The Prehistory of the Mind: A Search for the origins of art, religion and science 1996 London Thames and Hudson
53. Nielsen J. N. , Mikkelsen M. "En grav fra yngre stenalder og en boplads fra yngre bronzealder." Mark og Montre 1985 55 62 1985
54. Nielsen V. Jernalderens pløjning – Store Vildmose: undersøgelser i Grishøjgårds Krat, pløjeteknik, gravhøje i Store Vildmose, pløjespor under høje 1993 Hjørring Vendsyssel Historiske Museum
55. Nielsen V. Oldtidsagre i Danmark. Bornholm 2000 Højbjerg Jysk Arkæologisk Selskab
56. Odgaard B. V. The holoscene vegetation history of northern West Jutland 1994 Copenhagen Copenhagen University
57. Odgaard B. V. , Rasmussen P. "Origin and temporal development of macro-scale vegetation patterns in the cultural landscape of Denmark." Journal of Ecology 2000 Vol 88 733 748 [Crossref]
58. Olesen M. W. "Midtjysk jernudvinding i yngre jernalder." Midtjyske Fortællinger 2012 119 134 2012
59. Pascual-Leone A. , Amedi A. , Fregni F. , Merabet L. B. "The plastic human brain cortex." Annual Review of Neuroscience 2005 Vol 28 377 401 [Crossref]
60. Pedersen V. J. "Munksgårdkvarteret: Endnu en brik i Snejbjergs forhistorie." Midtjyske Fortællinger 2007 93 98 2007
61. Pinker S. "The cognitive niche: Coevolution of intelligence, sociality, and language." Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America 2010 Vol 107 8993 8999 [Crossref]
62. Pollard J. , Fryer V. , Murphy P. , Taylor M. , Wiltshire P. "Iron Age Riverside Pit Alignments at St. Ives, Cambridgeshire." Proceedings of Prehistoric Society 1996 Vol 62 93 115 [Crossref]
63. Pryor F. Farmers in Prehistoric Britain 1998 Stroud Tempus
64. Renfrew C. , Scarre C. Cognition and Material Culture: The Archaeology of Symbolic Storage 1998 Cambridge MacDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
65. Rogers E. M. Diffussion and innovations 2003 New York, NY Free Press
66. Schaffter M. , Fall J. J. , Debarbieux B. "Unbounded boundary studies and collapsed categories: Rethinking spatial objects." Progress in Human Geography 2010 Vol 34 254 262 [Crossref]
67. Schwartz J. M. , Begley S. The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force 2002 New York, NY Harper Collins
68. Siegel D. J. The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being 2007 New York, NY W. W. Norton
69. Simon H. A. "A behavioral model of rational choice." Quarternary Journal of Economics 1955 Vol 69 99 118 [Crossref]
70. Simon H. A. "Theories of decision making in economics and behavioral science." American Economic Review 1959 Vol 49 253 283
71. Smith B. Haefliger G. , Simons P. M. "Ontology and the Logistic Analysis of Reality (revised version)." Analytic Phenomenology 1993 Dordrecht Kluwer 223 245
72. Stout D. , Toth N. , Schick K. , Chaminade T. "Neural correlates of Early Stone Age toolmaking: Technology, language and cognition in human evolution." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 2008 Vol 363 1939 1949 [Crossref]
73. Stout D. , Chaminade T. "Stone tools, language and the brain in human evolution." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 2012 Vol 367 75 87 [Crossref]
74. Sutton J. Knappett C. , Malafouris L. "Material agency, skills and history: distributed cognition and the archaeology of memory." Material Agency: towards a non-anthropocentric approach 2008 New York, NY Springer 37 55
75. Theunissen E. M. Midden-bronstijdsamenlevingen in het zuiden van de Lage Landen: een evaluatie van het begrip ‘Hilversum-cultuur’ 2008 Leiden Dissertation, Leiden University
76. Thomas R. "Land, Kinship Relations and the Rise of Enclosed Settlement in First Millennium B.C." Vol 16 Britain Oxford Journal of Archaeology 211 218
77. Thrane H. Lusehøj ved Voldtofte – en sydvestfynsk storhøj fra yngre broncealder. 1984 Odense Odense Bys Museer
78. Vestergaard-Poulsen P. , van Beek M. , Skewes J. , Bjarkam C. R. , Stubberup M. , Bertelsen J. , Roepstorff A. "Long-term meditation is associated with increased gray matter density in the brain stem." Neuroreport 2009 Vol 20 170 174 [Crossref]
79. Vinter M. Møller N. A. , Qvistgaard S. S. , Jensen S. F. "Rekonstruktion af det parcellerede dyrkningslandskab i Himmerland. Marker, græsning og bebyggelse belyst i tre mikroregioner." Nyt fra Vestfronten. Nord og vestjyske bebyggelser fra ældre jernalder 2011 Copenhagen The SAXO-Institute 129 154
80. Waterbolk H. T. "Patterns of the peasant landscape." Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 1995 Vol 61 1 36 [Crossref]
81. Webley L. Iron Age Households. Structure and Practice in Western Denmark, 500 B. C-200 A. D. 2008 Højbjerg Jysk Arkæologisk Selskab
82. Young J. A. , Tolentino M. "Neuroplasticity and its Applications for Rehabilitation." American Journal of Therapeutics 2011 Vol 18 70 80 [Crossref]
83. Zerubavel E. "Lumping and splitting." Sociological Forum 1996a Vol 11 549 561 [Crossref]
84. Zerubavel E. "Social Memories: Steps to a Sociology of the Past." Qualitative Sociology 1996b Vol 19 283 299 [Crossref]
85. Zvelebil M. Zvelebil M. "Mesolithic prelude and Neolithic revolution." Hunters in transition. Mesolithic societies of temperate Eurasia and their transition to farming 1986 Cambridge Cambridge University Press 5 15

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Journal of Cognition and Culture — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation