Matching Items (15)

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Family, "foreigners [untitled]: a bioarchaeological approach to social organization at late classic Copan

Description

In anthropological models of social organization, kinship is perceived to be fundamental to social structure. This project aimed to understand how individuals buried in neighborhoods or patio groups were affiliated,

In anthropological models of social organization, kinship is perceived to be fundamental to social structure. This project aimed to understand how individuals buried in neighborhoods or patio groups were affiliated, by considering multiple possibilities of fictive and biological kinship, short or long-term co-residence, and long-distance kin affiliation. The social organization of the ancient Maya urban center of Copan, Honduras during the Late Classic (AD 600-822) period was evaluated through analysis of the human skeletal remains drawn from the largest collection yet recovered in Mesoamerica (n=1200). The research question was: What are the roles that kinship (biological or fictive) and co-residence play in the internal social organization of a lineage-based and/or house society? Biodistance and radiogenic strontium isotope analysis were combined to identify the degree to which individuals buried within 22 patio groups and eight neighborhoods, were (1) related to one another and (2) of local or non-local origin. Copan was an ideal place to evaluate the nuances of migration and kinship as the site is situated at the frontier of the Maya region and the edge of culturally diverse Honduras.

The results highlight the complexity of Copan’s social structure within the lineage and house models proposed for ancient Maya social organization. The radiogenic strontium data are diverse; the percentage of potential non-local individuals varied by neighborhood, some with only 10% in-migration while others approached 40%. The biodistance results are statistically significant with differences between neighborhoods, patios, and even patios within one neighborhood. The high level of in-migration and biological heterogeneity are unique to Copan. Overall, these results highlight that the Copan community was created within a complex system that was influenced by multiple factors where neither a lineage nor house model is appropriate. It was a dynamic urban environment where genealogy, affiliation, and migration all affected the social structure.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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The archaeology of local human response to an environmental transformation

Description

This research addresses human adaptive decisions made at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition - the transition from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the climate regime in which humankind now lives -

This research addresses human adaptive decisions made at the Pleistocene-Holocene transition - the transition from the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the climate regime in which humankind now lives - in the Mediterranean region of southeast Spain. Although on a geological time scale the Pleistocene-Holocene transition is the latest in a series of widespread environmental transformations due to glacial-interglacial cycles, it is the only one for which we have a record of the response by modern humans. Mediterranean Spain lay outside the refugium areas of late Pleistocene Europe, in which advancing ice sheets limited the land available for subsistence and caused relative demographic packing of hunter-gatherers. Therefore, the archaeological records of Mediterranean Spain contain more generally applicable states of the Pleistocene-Holocene transition, making it a natural laboratory for research on human adaptation to an environmental transformation. Foragers in Mediterranean Spain appear to have primarily adapted to macroclimatic change by extending their social networks to access new subsistence resources and by changing the mix of traditional relationships. Comparing faunal records from two cave sites near the Mediterranean coast with Geographic Information System (GIS) reconstructions of the coastal littoral plain from the LGM to the Holocene indicates the loss of the large ungulate species (mainly Bos primigenius and Equus) at one site coincided with the associated littoral disappearing due to sea level rise in the late Upper Paleolithic. Farther north, where portions of the associated littoral remained due to a larger initial mass and a more favorable topography, the species represented in the faunal record were constant through time. Social boundary defense definitions of territory require arranging social relationships in order to access even this lightly populated new hunting area on the interior plain. That the values of the least-cost-paths fit the parameters of two models equating varying degrees of social alliance with direct travel distances also helps support the hypothesis that foragers in Mediterranean Spain adapted to the consequences of macroclimatic change by extending their social networks to gain access to new subsistence resources Keeping these relationships stable and reliable was a mitigating factor in the mobility patterns of foragers during this period from direct travel to more distant down-the-line exchange. Information about changing conditions and new circumstances flowed along these same networks of social relationships. The consequences of climate-induced environmental changes are already a concern in the world, and human decisions in regard to future conditions are built upon past precedents. As the response to environmental risk centers on increasing the resilience of vulnerable smallholders, archaeology has an opportunity to apply its long-term perspective in the search for answers

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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The consequences of human land-use strategies during the PPNB-LN transition: a simulation modeling approach

Description

This dissertation investigates the long-term consequences of human land-use practices in general, and in early agricultural villages in specific. This pioneering case study investigates the "collapse" of the Early (Pre-Pottery)

This dissertation investigates the long-term consequences of human land-use practices in general, and in early agricultural villages in specific. This pioneering case study investigates the "collapse" of the Early (Pre-Pottery) Neolithic lifeway, which was a major transformational event marked by significant changes in settlement patterns, material culture, and social markers. To move beyond traditional narratives of cultural collapse, I employ a Complex Adaptive Systems approach to this research, and combine agent-based computer simulations of Neolithic land-use with dynamic and spatially-explicit GIS-based environmental models to conduct experiments into long-term trajectories of different potential Neolithic socio-environmental systems. My analysis outlines how the Early Neolithic "collapse" was likely instigated by a non-linear sequence of events, and that it would have been impossible for Neolithic peoples to recognize the long-term outcome of their actions. The experiment-based simulation approach shows that, starting from the same initial conditions, complex combinations of feedback amplification, stochasticity, responses to internal and external stimuli, and the accumulation of incremental changes to the socio-natural landscape, can lead to widely divergent outcomes over time. Thus, rather than being an inevitable consequence of specific Neolithic land-use choices, the "catastrophic" transformation at the end of the Early Neolithic was an emergent property of the Early Neolithic socio-natural system itself, and thus likely not an easily predictable event. In this way, my work uses the technique of simulation modeling to connect CAS theory with the archaeological and geoarchaeological record to help better understand the causes and consequences of socio-ecological transformation at a regional scale. The research is broadly applicable to other archaeological cases of resilience and collapse, and is truly interdisciplinary in that it draws on fields such as geomorphology, computer science, and agronomy in addition to archaeology.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Innovation in context: the process of stylistic change among Hohokam potters in the Phoenix Basin, A.D. 800-1300

Description

The causes and consequences of stylistic change have been a concern of archaeologists over the past several decades. The actual process of stylistic innovation, however, has received less attention. This

The causes and consequences of stylistic change have been a concern of archaeologists over the past several decades. The actual process of stylistic innovation, however, has received less attention. This project explores the relationship between the process of stylistic innovation on decorated pottery and the social context in which it occurred in the Hohokam area of south-central Arizona between A.D. 800 and 1300. This interval was punctuated by three episodes of reorganization, each of which was characterized to varying degrees by significant shifts in ideology, economics, and politics. Each reorganization episode was also accompanied by a rapid profusion of stylistic innovation on buff ware pottery. The goal of this study was to build a framework to understand the variation in the process of innovation as a response to different incentives and opportunities perceived in the changing social environment. By bringing stylistic analyses and provenance data together for the first time in Hohokam red-on-buff studies, I investigated how the process of innovation was variously influenced by social reorganizations at three different periods of time: the 9th, 11th, and 12th centuries A.D. Four variables were used to evaluate the process of innovation at each temporal period: 1) The origin of a stylistic invention, 2) the rate of its adoption, 3) the pattern of its adoption, and 4) the uniformity of its adoption among all buff ware potting communities. To accomplish the task, stylistic innovations and provenance were recorded on over 3,700 red-on-buff sherds were analyzed from 20 sites in the Phoenix Basin. The innovation process was found to vary with each reorganization episode, but often in different ways than expected. The results revealed the complexity and unpredictability of the process of stylistic innovation among the Hohokam. They also challenged some assumptions archaeologists have made regarding the scale and extent of the changes associated with some of the reorganization episodes. The variables utilized to measure the innovation process were found to be effective at providing a composite picture of that process, and thus warrant broader application to other archaeological contexts.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Hohokam core area sociocultural dynamics: cooperation and conflict along the middle Gila River in southern Arizona during the Classic and Historic periods

Description

Patterns of social conflict and cooperation among irrigation communities in southern Arizona from the Classic Hohokam through the Historic period (c. 1150 to c. 1900 CE) are analyzed. Archaeological survey

Patterns of social conflict and cooperation among irrigation communities in southern Arizona from the Classic Hohokam through the Historic period (c. 1150 to c. 1900 CE) are analyzed. Archaeological survey of the Gila River Indian Community has yielded data that allow study of populations within the Hohokam core area (the lower Salt and middle Gila valleys). An etic design approach is adopted that analyzes tasks artifacts were intended to perform. This research is predicated on three hypotheses. It is suggested that (1) projectile point mass and performance exhibit directional change over time, and weight can therefore be used as a proxy for relative age within types, (2) stone points were designed differently for hunting and warfare, and (3) obsidian data can be employed to analyze socioeconomic interactions. This research identifies variation in the distribution of points that provides evidence for aspects of warfare, hunting, and the social mechanisms involved in procuring raw materials. Ethnographic observations and archaeological data suggest that flaked-stone points were designed (1) for hunting ungulates, or (2) for use against people. The distribution of points through time and space consequently provides evidence for conflict, and those aspects of subsistence in which they played a role. Points were commonly made from obsidian, a volcanic glass with properties that allow sources to be identified with precision. Patterns in obsidian procurement can therefore be employed to address socioeconomic interactions. By the 18th century, horticulturalists were present in only a few southern Arizona locations. Irrigation communities were more widely distributed during the Classic Period; the causes of the collapse of these communities and relationships between prehistoric and historic indigenes have been debated for centuries. Data presented here suggest that while changes in material culture occurred, multiple lines of evidence for cultural continuity from the prehistoric to Historic periods are present. The O'Odham creation story suggests that the population fluctuated over time, and archaeological evidence supports this observation. It appears that alterations in cultural practices and migrations occurred during intervals of low population density, and these fluctuations forced changes in political, economic, and social relationships along the middle Gila River

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2010

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Dietary practices, socioeconomic status, and social mobility at Teotihuacan, Mexico

Description

This project investigates social mobility in premodern states through a contextualized program of isotopic research at the archaeological site of Teotihuacan, Mexico. Due to the lack of a concrete methodology

This project investigates social mobility in premodern states through a contextualized program of isotopic research at the archaeological site of Teotihuacan, Mexico. Due to the lack of a concrete methodology that can be used to recover information concerning rates of social mobility from archaeological remains, many traditional archaeological models either ignore social mobility or assume that boundaries between socioeconomic strata within archaic states were largely impermeable. In this research, I develop a new methodological approach to the identification of socially mobile individuals in the archaeological record based on changes in the diet across the lifecourse that can be detected through isotopic paleodietary indicators. Drawing upon cross-cultural research surrounding the relationship between diet and socioeconomic status and established methodologies in the biogeochemical analysis of human remains, this methodological approach provides a basis for broader comparative studies evaluating the nature of social mobility within archaic states.

I then test the practical application of this methodology by applying it to a mortuary sample including individuals from distinctive socioeconomic groups from the pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan, Mexico. The study recovers and uses the dietary isotope ratios within bone and tooth samples from 81 individuals buried throughout the city 1) to define the dietary correlates of wealth and status at Teotihuacan and 2) to identify individuals displaying lifetime dietary changes consistent with changes in socioeconomic status. In addition to supplementing our current understanding of Teotihuacan foodways and processes of geographic migration into the city, I identify an adult male individual from the La Ventilla B apartment compound who displays dietary changes throughout his life that are consistent with downward socioeconomic mobility from a high status socioeconomic group in early adolescence to an intermediate status group later in adulthood. I conclude by identifying ways to move forward with the comparative archaeology of socioeconomic mobility in premodern contexts and highlight the applicability of archaeological information to our understanding of present-day processes of social mobility.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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The effects of Aztec conquest on provincial commoner households at Calixtlahuaca, Mexico

Description

This archaeological study analyses households at the Postclassic site of Calixtlahuaca (State of Mexico, Mexico), to evaluate the directness and collectiveness of local and imperial Aztec rule based on their

This archaeological study analyses households at the Postclassic site of Calixtlahuaca (State of Mexico, Mexico), to evaluate the directness and collectiveness of local and imperial Aztec rule based on their effects on the commoner population. Scholars are divided as to whether Aztec rule was generally positive (due to opportunities for economic and cultural interaction) or negative (due to taxation and loss of autonomy). Contexts at Calixtlahuaca date to three periods, the Dongu (AD 1130-1370), Ninupi (1370-1450), and Yata (1450-1530) phases. The first two phases show the pre-Aztec trajectory, which is compared to the final period under Aztec rule to disentangle general trends toward regional integration from Aztec effects. Each phase includes six excavated households.

I assess economic changes on three dimensions: foreign trade, local craft production, and household wealth. Trade is evaluated for obsidian and ceramics (INAA, petrography, type classification) and local crafting is evaluated for ceramic, lithic, textile, and molded ceramic items. Wealth is measured using all excavated artifacts, with the relative values of artifact classes based on Colonial Nahuatl wills. Prior to Aztec rule, trade was increasing and diversifying, but craft production was low. Under Aztec rule, trade reoriented toward the Basin of Mexico, craft production remained low, and household wealth stabilized. Pre-Aztec inter-household variation for all dimensions is low, before increasing during the Yata phase.

Cultural changes are evaluated for ritual activities and foodways. I evaluate the degree of interhousehold variability, the overall similarity to other parts of Central Mexico, the degree of change under Aztec rule, and immigration versus emulation as potential explanations for that change. Evaluation is based on the distinction between high and low visibility objects and practices. The Dongu and Ninupi phase households at Calixtlahuaca were culturally homogeneous and regionally distinctive. During the Yata phase, the site became moderately more Aztec, but this change was unevenly distributed among households.

Together, the economic and cultural patterns at Calixtlahuaca indicate that the pre-Aztec local organization of power was relatively collective, but that this was partially overlaid by relatively indirect and non-collective Aztec imperial rule, with mildly negative effects.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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Neighborhood socio-spatial organization at Calixtlahuaca, Mexico

Description

This dissertation research examines neighborhood socio-spatial organization at Calixtlahuaca, a Postclassic (1100-1520 AD) urban center in highland Mesoamerica. Neighborhoods are small spatial units where residents interact at a face to

This dissertation research examines neighborhood socio-spatial organization at Calixtlahuaca, a Postclassic (1100-1520 AD) urban center in highland Mesoamerica. Neighborhoods are small spatial units where residents interact at a face to face level in the process of daily activities. How were Calixtlahuaca's neighborhoods organized socio-spatially? Were they homogenous or did each neighborhood contain a mixture of different social and economic groups? Calixtlahuaca was a large Aztec-period city-state located in the frontier region between the Tarascan and Triple Alliance empires. As the capital of the Maltazinco polity, administrative, ritual, and economic activities were located here. Four languages, Matlazinca, Mazahua, Otomi, and Nahua, were spoken by the city's inhabitants. The combination of political geography and an unusual urban center provides an opportunity for examining complex neighborhood socio-spatial organization in a Mesoamerican setting. The evidence presented in this dissertation shows that Calixtlahuaca's neighborhoods were socially heterogeneous spaces were residents from multiple social groups and classes coexisted. This further suggests that the cross-cutting ties between neighborhood residents had more impact on influencing certain economic choices than close proximity in residential location. Market areas were the one way that the city was clearly divided spatially into two regions but consumer preferences within the confines of economic resources were similar in both regions. This research employs artifact collections recovered during the Calixtlahuaca Archaeological Project surface survey. The consumption practices of the residents of Calixtlahuaca are used to define membership into several social groups in order to determine the socio-spatial pattern of the city. Economic aspects of city life are examined through the identification of separate market areas that relate to neighborhood patterns. Excavation data was also examined as an alternate line of evidence for each case. The project contributes to the sparse literature on preindustrial urban neighborhoods. Research into social segregation or social clustering in modern cities is plentiful, but few studies examine the patterns of social clustering in the past. Most research in Mesoamerica focuses on the clustering of social class.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Feedbacks, critical transitions and social change in forager-resource systems: an integrated modeling and ethnoarchaeological analysis

Description

My dissertation contributes to a body of knowledge useful for understanding the evolution of subsistence economies based on agriculture from those based on hunting and gathering, as well as the

My dissertation contributes to a body of knowledge useful for understanding the evolution of subsistence economies based on agriculture from those based on hunting and gathering, as well as the development of formal rules and norms of territorial ownership in hunter-gatherer societies. My research specifically combines simple formal and conceptual models with the empirical analysis of large ethnographic and environmental data sets to study feedback processes in coupled forager-resource systems. I use the formal and conceptual models of forager-resource systems as tools that aid in the development of two alternative arguments that may explain the adoption of food production and formal territorial ownership among hunter-gatherers. I call these arguments the Uncertainty Reduction Hypothesis and the Social Opportunity Hypothesis. Based on the logic of these arguments, I develop expectations for patterns of food production and formal territorial ownership documented in the ethnographic record of hunter-gatherer societies and evaluate these expectations with large ethnographic and environmental data sets. My analysis suggests that the Uncertainty Reduction Hypothesis is more consistent with the data than the Social Opportunity Hypothesis. Overall, my approach combines the intellectual frameworks of evolutionary ecology and resilience thinking. The result is a theory of subsistence change that integrates elements of three classic models of economic development with deep intellectual roots in human ecology: The Malthusian, Boserupian and Weberian models. A final take home message of my study is that evolutionary ecology and resilience thinking are complementary frameworks for archaeologists who study the transition from hunting and gathering to farming.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Away from home: a bioarchaeological approach to migration, community interaction, and social diversity within the Tiwanaku periphery (A.D. 500-1100)

Description

Migrations, past and present, fundamentally influence human interaction, community building, and social evolution. Studies of contemporary migrations demonstrate that the form and intensity of interaction migrants maintain between homeland and

Migrations, past and present, fundamentally influence human interaction, community building, and social evolution. Studies of contemporary migrations demonstrate that the form and intensity of interaction migrants maintain between homeland and host communities shape social dynamics, innovations, and identities. This dissertation applies a contemporary theoretical framework and biogeochemical analyses to elucidate the scale, processes, and impacts of migration in the hinterland of the pre-Hispanic Tiwanaku polity (ca. AD 500-1100). Social diversity is examined by reconstructing the migration histories and dietary choices of individuals interred at the Tiwanaku-affiliated site of Omo M10 in the Moquegua Valley of southern Peru.

Radiogenic strontium and stable oxygen isotope data from human dental and skeletal elements are used to characterize intra- and inter-individual paleomobility patterns at Omo M10. When contextualized with archaeological evidence, these data reveal multigenerational interaction through migration between communities in the highland Tiwanaku heartland and at Omo M10. The observed greater mobility of females and juveniles at Omo M10 indicates that women and families played an essential role in maintaining social relationships and persistent cultural continuity in Moquegua Tiwanaku life. Contact with the highlands waned over time as disruption in the urban highland centers likely weakened ties to peripheral lowland communities.

Stable carbon and nitrogen data from human dental and skeletal elements are employed to estimate intra- and inter-individual paleodietary patterns. Results indicate diet at Omo M10 varied depending on an individual’s community affiliation, sex, age, and level of mobility; diet broadly changed over time with shifting levels of interaction with highland Tiwanaku communities. Intra-individual biogeochemical analyses of migration and diet at Omo M10 contribute a nuanced perspective on the diverse experiences of multigenerational colonists on the periphery of the Tiwanaku polity.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019