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Society for American Archaeology

In Favor of Simple Typology Author(s): James A. Ford Source: American Antiquity, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Jul., 1961), pp. 113-114 Published by: Society for American Archaeology Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/278245 Accessed: 14/11/2009 08:20
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FACTS AND COMMENTS 1960: 48). All these complexes are thought to have been derived from earlier horizons of the Great Plains, perhaps no more than 4000 to 7000 years ago, before the Northwest Interior Microblade Tradition entered from Asia. It is most unusual to find Lerma points in such a setting as Acasta Lake, for, as MacNeish has pointed out, they seem to belong to an intermontane or cordilleran tradition. The specimens from Acasta Lake are the only ones yet reported from the Canadian tundra; the closest comparable specimens seem to be from Firth River, Kluane Lake, and central British Columbia. Lerma points in British Columbia are not necessarily early. They may have persisted for a long time, perhaps from 9000 to 2000 years ago, according to Borden. This estimate is in accord with that of Suhm and Krieger (1954: 440), who say that Lerma points possibly "appeared . . . several thousand years before Christian era; in Texas from well before the time of Christ to somewhat after." The Lerma points from Acasta Lake, therefore, may not be ancient. Yet their context - with a point in the Agate Basin or Yuma tradition, and in a site apparently lacking the ubiquitous microblades of middle periods of the Northwest Interior--suggests that the Acasta Lake finds are among the earliest so far recognized in the area. MacNeish has written me that the "Acasta Lake find could be a case in which the southward-spreading Lerma type has lasted up until it met the northward-moving Agate Basin types."
I am grateful to T. E. Vaasjo and C. V. Acknowledgments. Sullivan for their cooperation; and to C. E. Borden and R. S. MacNeish for their comments which, when not documented, were verbally given. HARP, E. J. 1959 The Moffatt Archaeological Collection from the Dubawnt American Antiquity, Vol. 24, No. 4, Country, Canada. pp. 412-22. Salt Lake City. MACNEISH, R. S. 1951 An Archaeological in the Northwest Reconnaissance Territories. National Museum of Canada, Bulletin 123, pp. 24-41. Ottawa. 1960 Archaeological Vol. Projects in Canada. Archaeology, 13, No. 3, pp. 194-201. New York. SUHM, D. A. AND A. D. KRIE(ER 1954 An Introductory Handbook of Texas Archeology. Bulletin of the Texas Archeological Society, Vol. 25. Austin. GLENBOW FOUNDATION

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and some archaeologists are using it in analyzing their materials. Wheat, Gifford, and Wasley (1958) expound the methodology clearly, and illustrate with Southwestern ceramics. Phillips (1958) has applied it to Eastern ceramics, while Smith, Willey, and Gifford (1960) have done the job for the Maya region. The discussion ends (for the present) with a theoretical exposition of the method by Gifford (1960). Just to build up my bibliography, I should like to register a feeble word of protest. What is being done by these authors is excellent, but what they say about what they are doing is a little confusing. Archaeological research, like all research, consists of two balanced processes. Analysis is "separation of anything, whether an object of the senses or of the intellect, into constituent parts or elements," (Neilson 1961: 94). The archaeologist must divide or take apart his data into as small units as he either chooses or as is possible for purposes of examination and comparison. Synthesis, on the other hand, is " ... a putting together ... The combination of separate elements of thought or sensation into a whole, as of simple into complex conceptions, or species into general -the opposite of analysis. Hegel." (Neilson 1961: 2560). Dendritic classifications modelled on the biological system of Linnaeus have long been used by culture historians, and with considerable reason, for cultures do tend to branch off from one another like species. The several Romance languages certainly came from the same source. Useful as dendritic systems are as framework or outline for presenting a history which is already known, they are not tools for the analytical phases of research. When the Midwestern Taxinomic Method was proposed by McKern (1939) 32 years ago, he was careful to state that the system had no historical implications. However, history was just what was needed. The technique was misused by a number of students in an attempt to make it an analytical tool and so received much unjustified criticism and fell into disuse. Gladwin (1934) and his co-workers evolved and employed a similar system to present the outline of Southwestern prehistory. It was not used as a tool. Willey and Phillips (1958) have recently made proper use of a flexible dendritic framework. Smith, Willey, and Gifford (1960: 335) clearly state:
A sharp distinction is necessary between the basic working units of ceramic analysis on one hand and devices of a higher order of synthesis on the other. Among the latter may be included concepts such as "tradition," "ceramic system," [etc.]. ... these units [types and type varieties] must be maintained as free agents of analysis.

Calgary, Alberta March, 1961

IN FAVOR OF SIMPLETYPOLOGY
JAMES A. FORD ABSTRACT Proponents of the "type-variety" method of ceramic analysis are criticized for mixing analytical units and the rank hierarchies appropriate to synthesis, and for semantically substituting "type-variety" for "type" without actually changing the method of analysis. IN RECENT issues of AMERICAN a ANTIQUITY,number of pages has been devoted to the new "type-variety" concept

Yet they go ahead and propose to mix analytical units and the rank hierarchies appropriate to synthesis. What is the type in their system but a higher order than "TypeVariety"? The nature of the proposed procedure is further brought out by these same writers (p. 333): "As a result types are actually best left undefined until the very end of the analysis." In the next paragraph: "In practice as well as in theory, then, when adhering to the type-variety concept as defined, all working ceramic analytical units are varieties from start to finish." So, the "type-variety" replaces the old working unit we used to call "type," and "type" is now elevated to the

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AMERICAN ANTIQUITY

[ VOL.27, No. 1, 1961

a preliminary concentration of charcoal by flotation using distilled water and metal screening. The samples were then sealed in Mason jars after baking in an oven to destroy bacteria. The samples located stratigraphically in terms of inches below baseline are as follows: M-1002, A.D. 700 (1260+ 150 B.P., 40-50 inches); M-1003, A.D.990 (970+ 150 B.P., 40-52 inches); M-1004, 1440 B.C. (3400 ? 200 B.P., 62-64 inches); M-1005, A.D. 810 (1150+150 B.P., 58-60 inches); M-1006, 1190 B.C. (3150+200 B.P., 68-76 FORD,J. A. 1954 The Type Concept Revisited. American Anthropologist, inches); M-1008, A.D.810 (1150+ 150 B.P., 70-74 inches); Vol. 56, No. 1, pp. 42-54. Menasha. M-1009, 2880 B.C. (4840+ 250 B.P., 90-94 inches). GIFFORD, A. J. These dates correlate stratigraphically with cultural 1960 The Type-Variety Method of Ceramic Classification as an Indicator of Cultural Phenomena. American Antiquity, complexes detailed in the site report (Irwin and Irwin Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. 341-7. Salt Lake City. 1959). These complexes were labeled A through D. ComGLADWIN,H. S. plex A was represented by a very few artifacts but in1934 A Method for the Designation of Cultures and Their Varicluded diagnostic types of pottery, projectile point, and ations. Medallion Papers, No. 15. Gila Pueblo, Globe. gaming piece suggesting affinity with what has been called MCKERN, W. C. the Fremont culture in western Colorado and eastern 1939 The Midwestern Taxinomic Method as an Aid to Archaeological Culture Study. American Antiquity, Vol. 4, No. Utah. The date of A.D.990 (M-1003) may pertain to this 4, pp. 301-13. Menasha. occupation or a late phase of Complex B. Complex B NEILSON,W. A. (EDITOR) represents an occupation of the widespread, and still Webster's New International Dictionary of the English 1961 little known, Plains Woodland culture. Pottery and Language. G. and C. Merriam Co., Springfield. projectile points are diagnostic. Certainly the dates A.D. PHILLIPS, PHILIP 1958 Application of the Wheat-Gifford-Wasley Taxonomy to 700 (M-1002) and A.D. 810 (M-1005) fit this complex American Antiquity, Vol. 24, No. 2, Eastern Ceramics. both in terms of stratigraphy and chronology since a date pp. 117-25. Salt Lake City. of A.D. 800 (1150+ 150 years) has been reported by SMITH, R. E., G. R. WILLEY, AND J. C. GIFFORD Lamont Laboratory from a "Woodland" site in the Den1960 The Type-Variety Concept as a Basis for the Analysis of Maya Pottery. American Antiquity, Vol. 25, No. 3, pp. ver area (Hunt 1954: 114). 330-40. Salt Lake City. Complex C was recognized by the distribution of cerAND W. W. WASLEY WHEAT, J. B., J. C. GIFFORD, tain types of artifacts including distinctive projectile 1958 Ceramic Variety, Type Cluster, and Ceramic System in American Antiquity, Vol. Southwestern Pottery Analysis. points, scrapers, and associated tools. Complex C was 24, No. 1, pp. 34-47. Salt Lake City. the most difficult to sort out. It clearly belongs to a group WILLEY, G. R. AND PHILIP PHILLIPS of Great Plains "hunting cultures" found elsewhere at Univer1958 Method and Theory in American Archaeology. Signal Butte in Nebraska and at the McKean site in sity of Chicago Press, Chicago. Wyoming, which has given its name to this manifestation. HISTORY However, overlap of this group with Complex B above, AMERICAN MUSEUM NATURAL OF and Complex D below, made it very difficult to set stratiNew York, N. Y. graphic or cultural limits to the artifacts represented. We March, 1961 stated: "Since the fill is shallow compared to the time range represented, there was undoubtedly a considerable amount of mixing, plus the ever present chance of reRADIOCARBON DATES FROM use" (Irwin and Irwin 1959: 15). THE LODAISKA SITE, COLORADO The dates 1440 B.C. (M-1004) and 1190 B.C. (M-1006) show good correspondence with a date from Signal Butte HENRY J. IRWIN AND CYNTHIA C. IRWIN of about 2000 B.C. for a slightly earlier but similar complex. The date A.D.810 (M-1008) comes from 70 to 74 ABSTRACT inches below baseline from a hearth that was apparently Seven radiocarbon dates place the regional sequence dug in from above. The date fits Complex B and well from 3000 B.C.to A.D.1000, validate partially the method determining complexes at the site, and date the begin- illustrates the overlap problem. M-1005 (58-60 inches below baseline) comes apparently from the contact zone ning of maize agriculture in the area. between Complex B and C arbitrarily established as 53 inches (Irwin and Irwin 1959: 12), which might be reRADIOCARBON age determinations on seven samples vised downward a few inches in view of the date. of charcoal from the LoDaisKa site have been obtained Complex D was the only manifestation found in the through the kindness of H. R. Crane and the University lowest levels except for a single parallel-flaked point from of Michigan Memorial-Phoenix Project Laboratory. These were submitted to J. B. Griffin of the University of gravels underlying the site. This complex was identified Michigan. We are grateful to both Crane and Griffin for as some manifestation of the so-called Desert Culture with roots in the Great Basin. The date 2800 B.C. (Mtheir help. The samples were collected with the usual 1009) comes from an early level of this complex. precautions. For some of them it was necessary to make

next higher level in the process of synthesis. Relieved from common drudgery, it has become an executive. It is hard to see what is new about this except the switch in terminology. I suspect that this move has been motivated by a feeling that there is in culture history a naturally packaged unit to which the name "type" belongs. In argument, I can only cite my earlier statements (Ford 1954).

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