Prentiss Riddle: Time

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Horizons and traditions

Writing about precolumbian ceramics in Brazil, Alex Shoumatoff says,

A ceramic tradition is a series of styles that develop in one place and prevail there for a long time; a horizon is shorter-lived and spreads over a wide area. A horizon extends through space, while a tradition extends through time.

Apparently these are standard terms in archeology and anthropology. But to the naive layperson, they invite the question: what about innovations which are extensive in both time and space? Or in neither?

I suppose that patterns extensive in neither time nor space would be seen as anomalies not representative of anything, if they're discovered at all. But that leaves the most influential class of ideas, those which spread broadly and last a long time. Are they less common than traditions and horizons? Are they water to a fish, and hence don't get their own terminology? Or something else?

And how many of the memes we create today are mere horizons? In the globalist era, do we ever invent traditions any more?

time 2003.10.21 link