This article discusses the relationship of technology and knowledge in the framework of Habermas’ theory of communicative action. For this, the distinction between practical and discursive knowledge is central. As a tool for the analysis of historically specific cases of technological actions, I draw on the concept of the ‘operational chain’ and apply it to the decoration of bronze and copper objects. I draw on two examples, an ethno-archaeological study from today’s southeastern Turkey, and an archaeological context from the Iron Age kingdom of Urartu in eastern Anatolia. The analysis reveals that practical knowledge plays an important role in the course of productive processes, the main element being skills in eyeballing. Implications for the structuring of cooperation in technology are discussed.