Matching Items (5)

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The Cross-scale Interplay between Social and Biophysical Context and the Vulnerability of Irrigation-dependent Societies: Archaeology’s Long-term Perspective

Description

What relationships can be understood between resilience and vulnerability in social-ecological systems? In particular, what vulnerabilities are exacerbated or ameliorated by different sets of social practices associated with water management?

What relationships can be understood between resilience and vulnerability in social-ecological systems? In particular, what vulnerabilities are exacerbated or ameliorated by different sets of social practices associated with water management? These questions have been examined primarily through the study of contemporary or recent historic cases. Archaeology extends scientific observation beyond all social memory and can thus illuminate interactions occurring over centuries or millennia. We examined trade-offs of resilience and vulnerability in the changing social, technological, and environmental contexts of three long-term, pre-Hispanic sequences in the U.S. Southwest: the Mimbres area in southwestern New Mexico (AD 650–1450), the Zuni area in northern New Mexico (AD 850–1540), and the Hohokam area in central Arizona (AD 700–1450). In all three arid landscapes, people relied on agricultural systems that depended on physical and social infrastructure that diverted adequate water to agricultural soils. However, investments in infrastructure varied across the cases, as did local environmental conditions. Zuni farming employed a variety of small-scale water control strategies, including centuries of reliance on small runoff agricultural systems; Mimbres fields were primarily watered by small-scale canals feeding floodplain fields; and the Hohokam area had the largest canal system in pre-Hispanic North America. The cases also vary in their historical trajectories: at Zuni, population and resource use remained comparatively stable over centuries, extending into the historic period; in the Mimbres and Hohokam areas, there were major demographic and environmental transformations. Comparisons across these cases thus allow an understanding of factors that promote vulnerability and influence resilience in specific contexts.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2010

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RITUAL EQUIVALENCY OF MACAWS AND COPPER BELLS IN MESOAMERICA AND THE SOUTHWESTERN UNITED STATES

Description

This paper contributes to an understanding of the connections among indigenous societies in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and the Southwest of the United States by investigating the depositional contexts of two items

This paper contributes to an understanding of the connections among indigenous societies in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and the Southwest of the United States by investigating the depositional contexts of two items of Mesoamerican origin, copper bells and macaws. The analysis shows that Southwestern peoples possibly emulated Mesoamerican ritual practices imperfectly; macaw iconography and the use of copper bells are similar in both regions, but the ritual burial of sacrificed macaws is a solely Southwestern practice.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Social Identification and the Capacity for Collective Action at La Quemada, Zacatecas, Mexico (600-800 CE)

Description

Unlike traditional frontier studies that treat the frontier as monolithic and focus on core-periphery interactions involving colonialism and acculturation, this dissertation seeks to characterize the internal social dynamics of frontier

Unlike traditional frontier studies that treat the frontier as monolithic and focus on core-periphery interactions involving colonialism and acculturation, this dissertation seeks to characterize the internal social dynamics of frontier regions using the collective social identification framework. Concentrating on the intraregional and intrasite scales makes it possible to directly evaluate the bottom-up processes involved in the formation of collective social identities within frontier zones (i.e., sociopolitical development divorced from core-centric actions). Derived from social science research aimed at understanding the development of modern nation-states and social movements, the theoretical framework implemented in this research centers on the idea that sustained collective action depends on the degree to which groups of individuals share networks of social interaction (i.e., relational identification) and recognize membership in the same social categories (i.e. categorical identification). Applying this model to the site of La Quemada, Zacatecas, Mexico, provides a methodology for assessing the potential for collective action through time and across spatial scales based on the degree of categorical commonality or the strength of relational connections among the site’s inhabitants.

Dating to the Epiclassic period (600-900 CE), La Quemada was founded during the cultural florescence of the northern frontier of Mesoamerica, but the site was abandoned ca. 800-900 CE while other polities persisted. Therefore, it is hypothesized that a change in how the occupants of La Quemada identified with one another decreased the potential for collective action over time and contributed to site abandonment. Material proxies in the form of ceramic-style categories (i.e., shared styles expressing categorical affiliation) and fabric classes (i.e., shared pastes indicative of relational networks) are used to assess the temporal and spatial consistency of social identification at multiple socio-spatial scales within the site of La Quemada. The results of this research, however, find that despite fluctuations in the expression of categorical identification among La Quemada residents it was the strength of their relational ties that gave them the capacity to recover. Furthermore, the capacity for collective action was high preceding site abandonment, suggesting that a disruption in the social fabric of La Quemada did not contribute to its decline and abandonment.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018

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The role of ochre in the development of modern human behavior: a case study from South Africa

Description

In recent years, southern Africa has figured prominently in the modern human origins debate due to increasing evidence for precocious behaviors considered to be unique to our species. These significant

In recent years, southern Africa has figured prominently in the modern human origins debate due to increasing evidence for precocious behaviors considered to be unique to our species. These significant findings have included bone tools, shell beads, engraved ostrich eggshell, and heavily ground and engraved ochre fragments. The presence of ochre in Middle Stone Age (MSA, ~250-40kya) archaeological sites in southern Africa is often proposed as indirect evidence for the emergence of symbolic or artistic behavior, a uniquely modern human trait. However, there is no remaining artwork from this period and there is significant debate about what the ochre may have been used for. With a few exceptions, ochre has gone largely unstudied. This project tested competing models for ochre use within the Pinnacle Point (PP), South Africa research area. Combined results from characterization and sourcing analyses, color classification, heat treatment analysis, and hafting experiments suggest MSA ochre is tied to early symbolic or ritual behavior.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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The Social Dynamics of Coalescence: Ancestral Wendat Communities 1400-1550 C.E.

Description

Coalescence is a distinctive process of village aggregation that creates larger, socially cohesive communities from smaller, scattered villages. This dissertation asks: how do individual and collective social relationships change throughout

Coalescence is a distinctive process of village aggregation that creates larger, socially cohesive communities from smaller, scattered villages. This dissertation asks: how do individual and collective social relationships change throughout the process of coalescence, and how might these relationships contribute to the social cohesiveness of a coalescent community?

Coalescent communities share characteristics that reveal the relationship between collective action and collective identities in their social dynamics. Collective identity is a shared sense of oneness among members of a group. It can be understood as the product of two processes: categorical and relational identification. Categorical identification is a shared association with a specific category, such as an ethnic group or a religious association. Relational identification is the product of direct, interpersonal interaction. The potential for a group to engage in collective action is linked to the intensity (prominence as compared to other aspects of identity) and scale (social unit and size of group) of categorical and relational identification.

Patterns in the intensity and scale of categorical and relational identification are used to trace changing social dynamics through the process of community coalescence. The case study is a sequence of four sites that were successively occupied by the same Ancestral Wendat (Iroquoian) community over a period of 150 years in south-central Ontario. The intensity of categorical identification is assessed by measuring the consistency of decorative styles among pottery vessels. The intensity of relational identification is assessed by measuring production variability among ceramic pots and pipes using microscopic characterization.

The analyses reveal a correlation between the intensity and scale of categorical and relational identification and village-scale social cohesion and collective action. Village-scale categorical identification was less intensive during the period of initial aggregation, with a subsequent increase in intensity observed at fully coalesced sites where evidence of social cohesion and village-scale collective action is present. As coalescence progressed, the intensity of relational identification at the village scale decreased. This evidence suggests that changing dynamics of categorical and relational ties among community members were intertwined with the development of social cohesion and the increased potential for village-scale collective action at the culmination of coalescence.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018