Matching Items (15)

141470-Thumbnail Image.png

Resisting Diversity: a Long-Term Archaeological Study

Description

The value of “diversity” in social and ecological systems is frequently asserted in academic and policy literature. Diversity is thought to enhance the resilience of social-ecological systems to varied and

The value of “diversity” in social and ecological systems is frequently asserted in academic and policy literature. Diversity is thought to enhance the resilience of social-ecological systems to varied and potentially uncertain future conditions. Yet there are trade-offs; diversity in ecological and social domains has costs as well as benefits. In this paper, we examine social diversity, specifically its costs and benefits in terms of decision making in middle range or tribal societies, using archaeological evidence spanning seven centuries from four regions of the U.S. Southwest. In these nonstate societies, social diversity may detract from the capacity for collective action. We ask whether as population density increases, making collective action increasingly difficult, social diversity declines. Further, we trace the cases of low diversity and high population density across our long-temporal sequences to see how they associate with the most dramatic transformations. This latter analysis is inspired by the claim in resilience literature that reduction of diversity may contribute to reduction in resilience to varied conditions. Using archaeological data, we examine social diversity and conformity through the material culture (pottery styles) of past societies. Our research contributes to an enhanced understanding of how population density may limit social diversity and suggests the role that this association may play in some contexts of dramatic social transformation.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

136102-Thumbnail Image.png

Social Diversity and Public Interaction Space in the Classic and Postclassic Mimbres

Description

This paper studies the change in social diversity and interaction space from the Classic to Postclassic periods in the Mimbres Valley and East Mimbres Area. Between the Classic and Postclassic

This paper studies the change in social diversity and interaction space from the Classic to Postclassic periods in the Mimbres Valley and East Mimbres Area. Between the Classic and Postclassic periods the Mimbres region of the American Southwest exhibits an increase in diversity of ceramic wares. Previous research suggests that increased diversity of ceramics indicates a more diverse community, which could pose challenges to local social interaction (Nelson et al. 2011). I am interested in whether the architecture of plazas, focal points of communities' social structures, change in response to the growing social diversity. To examine this, I quantify the diversity of painted ceramics at Classic and Postclassic villages as well as the extent of the enclosure of plazas. I find that there is a definite shift towards greater plaza enclosure between the Classic and Postclassic periods. I conclude this paper with a discussion of possible interpretations of this trend regarding the social reactions of Mimbres communities to the changes which reshaped the region between the Classic and Postclassic periods.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-05

137516-Thumbnail Image.png

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

152372-Thumbnail Image.png

The form, aspect, and definition of Anglo-Saxon identity: a study of medieval British words, deeds, and things

Description

In this dissertation I argue that medieval peoples used a different style of identity from those applied to them by later scholarship and question the relevance of applying modern terms

In this dissertation I argue that medieval peoples used a different style of identity from those applied to them by later scholarship and question the relevance of applying modern terms for identity groups (e.g., ethnicity or nationality) to the description of medieval social units. I propose we think of identity as a social construct comprised of three articulating facets, which I call: form, aspect, and definition. The form of identity is its manifestation in behavior and symbolic markers; its aspect is the perception of these forms by people; and its definition is the combination of these perceptions into a social category. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, I examine each facet individually before synthesizing the results. I study the form of identity through an analysis of styles in material culture using a consensus analysis to determine how well objects decorated with the same motif do communicating a shared idea to members of a social group. I explore the aspect of identity through a whole-corpus linguistics approach to Old English, in which I study the co-occurrence of words for "a people" and other semantic fields to refine our understanding of Old English perceptions of social identity. Finally, I investigate the definition of identity by comparing narrations of identity in Old English verse and prose in order to see how authors were able to use vocabulary and imagery to describe the identity of their subjects. In my conclusion I demonstrate that the people of Medieval England had a concept of identity based on the metaphor of a village meeting or a feast, in which smaller, innate groups were thought to aggregate into new heterogeneous wholes. The nature and scale of these groups changed over the course of the Anglo-Saxon period but some of the names used to refer to these units remained constant. Thus, I suggest scholars need to apply a culturally relevant concept of identity when describing the people who lived in Medieval Britain, one that might not match contemporary models, and be cognizant of the fact that medieval groups were not the same as their modern descendants.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

151699-Thumbnail Image.png

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

156414-Thumbnail Image.png

Traveling monastic paths : mobility and religion in medieval Ireland at five early and late medieval Irish monasteries

Description

Mobility is an important aspect of the lives of religious individuals described by medieval texts in early and late medieval Ireland, and biogeochemical methods can be used to detect mobility

Mobility is an important aspect of the lives of religious individuals described by medieval texts in early and late medieval Ireland, and biogeochemical methods can be used to detect mobility in archaeological populations. Stories are recorded of monks and nuns traveling and founding monasteries across Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, and other areas of Europe. However, these texts rarely address the quotidian lives of average monks and nuns who lived in monastic communities. This dissertation seeks to understand if travel was a typical part of the experiences of religious and lay people in early and late medieval Ireland. It also aims to increase understanding of how monastic communities related to the local lay communities, including addressing if the monastery was populated by those who grew up in the local area. Another methodological aim of this dissertation is to advance the field of archaeological biogeochemistry by (1) adding to the bioavailable strontium baseline in Ireland and (2) quantifying the contribution of ocean-derived strontium to coastal environments. These topics are explored through the biogeochemical analysis of 88 individuals buried at 5 early and late medieval monasteries in Ireland and the analysis of a total of 85 plant samples from four counties in Ireland. The three papers in this dissertation present: (1) a summary of the mobility of religious and lay people buried at the monasteries (Chapter 2), (2) a case study presenting evidence for fosterage of a local child at the early medieval monastery of Illaunloughan, Co. Kerry (Chapter 3), and (3) a study designed to quantify the impact of sea spray on bioavailable strontium in coastal environments (Chapter 4). The majority of lay and religious individuals studied were estimated to be local, indicating that medieval Irish Christianity was strongly rooted in the local community. The study of ocean-derived strontium in a coastal environment indicates that sea spray has a non-uniform impact on bioavailable strontium in coastal regions. These findings shed new light on medieval monastic and lay life in Ireland through the application of biogeochemical methods, contributing to the growth of the field of archaeological chemistry in Ireland.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2018

154248-Thumbnail Image.png

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

150258-Thumbnail Image.png

Identity and social transformation in the prehispanic Cibola world: A.D. 1150-1325

Description

This dissertation explores the interrelationships between periods of rapid social change and regional-scale social identities. Using archaeological data from the Cibola region of the U.S. Southwest, I examine changes in

This dissertation explores the interrelationships between periods of rapid social change and regional-scale social identities. Using archaeological data from the Cibola region of the U.S. Southwest, I examine changes in the nature and scale of social identification across a period of demographic and social upheaval (A.D. 1150-1325) marked by a shift from dispersed hamlets, to clustered villages, and eventually, to a small number of large nucleated towns. This transformation in settlement organization entailed a fundamental reconfiguration of the relationships among households and communities across an area of over 45,000 km2. This study draws on contemporary social theory focused on political mobilization and social movements to investigate how changes in the process of social identification can influence the potential for such widespread and rapid transformations. This framework suggests that social identification can be divided into two primary modes; relational identification based on networks of interaction among individuals, and categorical identification based on active expressions of affiliation with social roles or groups to which one can belong. Importantly, trajectories of social transformations are closely tied to the interrelationships between these two modes of identification. This study has three components: Social transformation, indicated by rapid demographic and settlement transitions, is documented through settlement studies drawing on a massive, regional database including over 1,500 sites. Relational identities, indicated by networks of interaction, are documented through ceramic compositional analyses of over 2,100 potsherds, technological characterizations of over 2,000 utilitarian ceramic vessels, and the distributions of different types of domestic architectural features across the region. Categorical identities are documented through stylistic comparisons of a large sample of polychrome ceramic vessels and characterizations of public architectural spaces. Contrary to assumptions underlying traditional approaches to social identity in archaeology, this study demonstrates that relational and categorical identities are not necessarily coterminous. Importantly, however, the strongest patterns of relational connections prior to the period of social transformation in the Cibola region largely predict the scale and structure of changes associated with that transformation. This suggests that the social transformation in the Cibola region, despite occurring in a non-state setting, was governed by similar dynamics to well-documented contemporary examples.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

157298-Thumbnail Image.png

Cibola breadstuff: foodways and social transformation in the Cibola region A.D. 1150-1400

Description

Foodways in societies at every social scale are linked in complex ways to processes of social change. This dissertation explores the interrelationship between foodways and processes of rapid social transformation.

Foodways in societies at every social scale are linked in complex ways to processes of social change. This dissertation explores the interrelationship between foodways and processes of rapid social transformation. Drawing on a wide range of archaeological and ethnographic data from the Cibola region, I examine the role of foodways in processes of population aggregation and community formation and address how changes in the scale and diversity of social life interacted with the scale and organization of food production and consumption practices. To address the interrelationships between foodways and social transformations, I employ a conceptual framework focused on two social dimensions of food: cuisine and commensality. This study comparatively examines cuisine and commensality through time by investigating a range of interrelated food activities including: food production, storage, preparation, cooking, consumption and discard.

While settlement patterns and other more obvious manifestations of aggregation have been studied frequently, by examining foodways during periods of aggregation and social reorganization this study provides new insights into the micro-scalar processes of social transformation, cuisine change, and economic intensification associated with increases in settlement size, density, and social diversity. I document how food production and preparation intensified in conjunction with increases in the size of settlements and the scale of communal commensal events. I argue that foodways were a critical aspect of the social work of establishing and maintaining large, dense communities in the 13th and 14th centuries. At the same time, widespread changes in commensal practices placed a larger burden on household surplus and labor and women were likely the most affected as maize flatbreads and other foods made with finely ground flour were adopted and became central to cuisine. As such, this study provides insights into how rapid social transformations in the late 13th and 14th centuries were experienced differently by individuals, particularly along gendered lines. Studies of foodways, and specifically the social dimensions of food, offer a promising and often underutilized source of information about past processes of population aggregation, social integration, and transformations in the political economies of small-scale societies the past.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

152560-Thumbnail Image.png

Increasing scales of social interaction and the role of Lake Cahuilla in the systemic fragility of the Hohokam system (A.D. 700-1100)

Description

Exchange is fundamental to human society, and anthropologists have long documented the large size and complexity of exchange systems in a range of societies. Recent work on the banking system

Exchange is fundamental to human society, and anthropologists have long documented the large size and complexity of exchange systems in a range of societies. Recent work on the banking system of today's world suggests that complex exchange systems may become systemically fragile and in some types of complex exchange systems that involve feedbacks there exists a fundamental trade-off between robustness (stability) and systemic fragility. These properties may be observable in the archaeological record as well. In southern Arizona, the Hohokam system involved market-based exchange of large quantities of goods (including corn, pottery, stone, and shell) across southern Arizona and beyond, but after a few generations of expansion it collapsed rapidly around A.D. 1070. In this case, increasing the scale of a pre-existing system (i.e., expanding beyond the Hohokam region) may have reduced the efficacy of established robustness-fragility trade-offs, which, in turn, amplified the fragility of the system, increasing its risk of collapse. My research examines (1) the structural and organizational properties of a transregional system of shell exchange between the Hohokam region and California, and (2) the effect of the presence and loss of a very large freshwater lake (Lake Cahuilla) in southeastern California on the stability of the Hohokam system. I address these issues with analysis of ethnographic, ethnohistoric, and archaeological data, and with mathematical modeling. My study (1) produced a simple network model of a transregional system of interaction that links the Hohokam region and California during the centuries from A.D. 700 to 1100; (2) uses network and statistical analysis of the network model and archaeological data to strongly suggest that the transregional exchange system existed and was directional and structured; (3) uses network and other analysis to identify robustness-fragility properties of the transregional system and to show that trade between Lake Cahuilla fishers and the Hohokam system should be included in a mathematical model of this system; and (4) develops and analyzes a mathematical model of renewable resource use and trade that provides important insights into the robustness and systemic fragility of the Hohokam system (A.D. 900-1100).

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2014