Does Practice Make Perfect? Craft Expertise as a Factor in Aggrandizer Strategies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The focus of this article is on exploring craft expertise and its potential as a factor in aggrandizer strategies. It is argued that there are elements of natural aptitude which enabled certain individuals to excel at flintknapping, allowing them to create objects of exceptional size and beauty in acts of elaborate knapping. Practice alone will enable an individual to reach a certain level of proficiency, but only practice in combination with ability can result in world-class performance. If, as is argued, native ability in some domain is a rare commodity, then harnessing it and developing it through practice would provide an opportunity for a potential aggrandizer to control prestige goods and accrue social capital. In situations where raw material, knowledge, and know-how are ubiquitous, as may have been true for flint technology in southern Scandinavia during the Late Neolithic, this might be one of few means available for a would-be aggrandizer to control prestigious goods.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology


  • inherited abilities, practice, Late Neolithic flint daggers, Flintknappers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-50
JournalJournal of Archaeological Method and Theory
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch

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