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List of Figures and Tables List of Contributors

VlI ix

1 Introduction: A Review of Contemporary Theoretrca]
Debates in Archaeology
Ian Hodder
2 Behavioral Archaeology: Toward a New Synthesis
Vincent M. LaMotta and Michael B. Schiffer 14
3 Evolutionary Archaeology 65
Robert D. Leonard
4 Archaeological Theory and Theories of Cognitive Evolution 98
Steven Mithen
5 Symbol before Concept: Material Engagement and the
Early Development of Society 122
Colin Renfrew
6 Agency, the Duality of Structure, and the Problem of the
Archaeological Record 141
John C. Barrett
7 Archaeologies of Place and Landscape 165
Julian Thomas
8 Archaeologies of Identity 187
Lynn Meskell VI Contents 9 American Material Culture in Mind, Thought, and


Anile Yelltsch and Mary C. Beaudry

10 P Stcolonial Archaeology: Issues of Culture, Identity

a . ,Md


Chris Gosdell

11 Archaeological Representation: The Visual Convent" f

b h IOns Or

Constructing Knowledge a out t e Past

Stepbanie Moser

12 CuJture/Archaeology: The Dispersion of a Discipline and its Objects

Micbael Shanks






Figures and Tables


2.1 The four strategies of behavioral archaeology 16
2.2 A generalized artifact life history 21
2.3 Examples of critical variables and associated values 25
2.4 Element, energy, and information flows ("linkages")
between activities 27
2.5 Model of a behavioral system comprised of linked
activities 28
3.1 Paquirne (formerly known as Casas Grandes) 81
3.2 Casas Grandes ceramics from the Maxwell Museum,
University of New Mexico 82
3.3 Di Peso (1974) hypothesized type relationships 84
3.4 Hypothesized historical lineage 89
3.5 Relationship of design elements to clustering 91
7.1 Megalithic tomb at Loughcrew, County Meath 178
11.1 The discovery of fire (from Vitruvius 1548) 270
11.2 A Young Daughter of the Piets (ca. 1585), painting by
Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues 272
11.3 Ancient Germans (from Cluverius 1616) 274
11.4 Figures of ancient Britons (from Strutt 1779) 275
11.5 "Man the conqueror of the cave bear" (from du Cleuziou
1887) 277
11.6 Un rapt (1888), painting by Paul jarnin 278
11.7 Cro-Magnon Artists (1924), mural by Charles
Knight 279 1

Introduction: A Review of Contemporary Theoretical Debates in Archaeology

Ian Hodder

There has recently been a marked increase in the numbers of volumes dealing with archaeological theory, whether these be introductory texts (e.? Johnson 1999), readers (Preucel and Hodder 1996; Whitley 1998), edited global surveys (Ucko 1995; Hodder 1991) or innovative volumes pushing in new directions (e.g. Shanks and Tilley 1987; Schiffer 1995; Skibo, Walker, and Nielsen 1995; Tilley 1994; Thomas 1996, etc.). It has become possible to exist in archaeology largely as a theory specialist, and many advertised lecturing jobs now refer to theory teaching and research. Annual conferences are devoted entirely to theory as in the British TAG (Theoretical Archaeology Group). This rise to prominence of selfconscious archaeological theory can probably be traced back to the New Archaeology of the 1960s and 19705.

The reasons for the rise are numerous, and we can probably distinguish reasons internal and external to the discipline, although in practice the two sets of reasons are interconnected. As for the internal reasons, the development of archaeological theory is certainly very much linked to the emphasis in the New Archaeology on a critical approach to method and theory. This self-conscious awareness of the need for theoretical discussion is perhaps most clearly seen in David Clarke's (1973) description of a loss of archaeological innocence, and in Binford's (1977) call "for theory building." Postprocessual archaeology took this reflexivity and theorizing still further. Much of the critique of ~rocessual archaeology was about theory rather than method, and the ma(~ ernphasis was on opening archaeology to a broader rang~ of t~eoretIcal POS1- tions, particularly those in the historical and social sciences. In fact,

? Ian Hodder

- , 1 United States had already taken its hist '

J gy In rne iew of oneal

anwropo 0 " b t it was only a narrow VIew 0 anthropolo and

lingu.isric "turnS, I U ology that the New Archaeologists had gYbas 1'\>0.

, d eultura ec in arch em r

lunon an "us" were taken III arc aeology to prod aced.

h same wr . ' UCe p

When r e h logy the theorIzmg became very abstract .0St_

aJ arc aeo, , I f d' and s

p.r~essu us h such abstraction IS a so oun III other develo. pe.

elahzed, altho l~ rion of catastrophe theory (Renfrew and COok Pl11ents

h· the app lea I e 1979)

sue as 1 h peeing theories have developed their Own sp 'I' .

E t al t e com. eCla IZ d

In ae d h a tendency to be difficult to penetrate. e

'argons an ave d

J f h mrernal moves was towar s a search for external id

One 0 r e Ill. . I . . leas

J legitimatJOn for rheoretica moves withi-, archae) I

and externa irh . h d' . I' oogy

h b n a catching up WIt at er ISClP Illes and an integ .'

There as ee "ration

f d b Similar moves towards an openmg and Integration of deb

o e ate. . ' d '1 ' ate

across the humanines an SOCIa SCiences. Meskell a

are seen ..'. tgues

(chapter B) that contemporary" third wave, feminist Wnters seek to open

debate to a theoretical plurahsm. ~here, has ,also been a looking into archaeology from the outside, especially In philosophy but also in other fields. Shanks (chapter 12) shows how the metaphor of archaeology has wide resonance in cultural studies today. Indeed, he disperses archaeology into broad cultural and interdisciplinary fields. There are numerous examples of close external relations between archaeology and other disciplines in this book. Leonard (chapter 3) describes the productive results of interactions between biology and archaeology. An important emerging area of interaction is with various branches of psychology. Mithen (chapter 4) discusses the links to evolutionary psychology, and both he and Renfrew (chapter 5) describe debates with cognitive science and cognitive psychology. Barrett (chapter 6) shows how the agency debate in archaeology owes much to sociology, and indeed he argues that archaeology needs to he further informed by sociology, Thomas (chapter 7) shows how archaeological work on landscapes has been greatly influ~nced b~ geography, especially by the recent cultural geographers, and

y art hJstory. But it should be pointed out that these interactions with

other disciplines are n t b . f ' , f i f '

. . 0 seen as OrroWlllg rom a position 0 in error-

ttyr') BOhth MIthen and Meskell in their chapters (4. and 8) argue specifi-

cay t at the . 1 . hei

, I' partIcu ar nature of archaeological data especially t err

matena tty and 1 ' .' I'

, ong-termness, has something to offer other discip mes

10 return.

Gosden (chapter 10) d d f

archaeolog' an Shan. ks (chapter 12) point our the nee or

iSts to engag , h . . . f om

other voices d f e WIt postcolonial theory. The cntrque r d

an rom m I ' I . f f ce

theoretical deb F u tip e non~western interests has 0 ten or

ate. or exa 1 N I the-

oretical debat·e b mp e, orwegian archaeology saw a cng. .

a Out the ab'}' , f ' . thOiC

J Itles a archaeologists to identify past e

I ntroduction 3 groups as a result of Sami-Norwegian conflicts over ongms, Reburial issues have forced some to rethink the use of oral traditions in North American ar~haeology ~Anyon et at. 1996), Indigenous groups in their claims for ~lg~ts qu~stlon the value of "objective science" (Langford 1983). A Similar point can be made about the impact of feminism, This has questioned how we do research (Gero 1996) and has sought alternative ways of writing about the past (Spector 1994), opening up debate about fundamentals. The same can also be said of debates about representation in cultural heritage and museums {see Moser in chapter 11; Merriman 1991}. These debates force a critique of interpretation. They challenge us to evaluate in whose interests interpretation lies, and to be sensitive to the relationship between audience and message.

The community of discourses model

It can be argued that archaeology has a new maturity in that, as claimed above, it has caught up with disciplines in related fields in terms of the theories and issues being discussed. Many now, as we will see in this book, wish to contribute back from archaeology to other disciplines (e.g. LaMotta and Schiffer, chapter 2) - this emphasis on contributing rather than borrowing suggests a maturity and confidence which I will examine again below. This maturity al~o seems, t~ i~voJve accepting diversity and difference of perspective within the discipline,

There are always those who will claim that archaeology ~hould speak with a unified voice, or who feel that disagreeme~t within the r~n~s undermines the abilities of archaeologists to con~nbu~e ,to other diSCIplines or be taken seriously. A tendency towards identifying some ove:arching unity in the discipline can be seen in some of the chapters, in this volume. Renfrew (1994) has talked of reaching .an acc~~o~:~~; between processual and postprocessual archaeology in cogOltlve P hsual archaeology. LaMotta and Schiffer (chapter 2) argu~bthadt ot ber

b f 1 t d 'n and be contn ute to y

theoretical approaches can e ormu a e I b f dif-

. h (ch t 4) notes that anum er 0 I

behavioral approaches. Mit en c ap er d he problem

, ' ions h ently converge onto t

ferent paradigmatic positions ave rec 1 b Meskell

of mind. Even the claim of postprocessual archaeo ogy, °tr g'lYC attempt

, I I I' be seen as astra e

(chapter 8), for theoretica p ura Ism can .' (. this case the posi-

, ithin one posinon m

to embrace and incorporate WI I

tion of pluralism). . ,. ' n in discussions about the need

There is often an implicit assumpncn ' li d in the natural

for unity in the discipline that real rnatunty, as g unpse

4 Ian Hodder . niry But in fact, Galison (1997) has argued h

. ces means unur- . h I R t at L

SClen 'J . far from a unified woe, ather he sees it P1lYSICS

, examp e, IS , , as at, '

Jar ompering perspectives, instrumental method fading

one between c " f 5, and

~ I chaeology roo, there IS a massive ragmentatio f eXPer,

Iments, n ar , B A ' n a the d'

, J' 'tIl chose workmg on, say, ronze ge studIes in Eu . IS-

erp me, WI ' I' , rope ft

. "I to do with laboratory specia ists workmg on i 0 en

havtng Itt e I' hi I' hi , I' SOtopes

, I·' roman with Palaeo It IC It IC specia rsts, New Arch and

[itt e In co he sarne ti aeola '

b were J'ntroduced at about t e same time as, but sep glcaJ

r eones , arate fr

computers and statistiCS, as the early w,ork of DaVId Clarke (1970 orn,

D an and Hodson (1975) shows. SIngle-context recordin (B) and

or , h lIb g ark

1982) was introduced to deal Wit arge-sca e ur an excavatio er

, 1 heoreti n, and w

not immediately linked to any partrcu ar t eoretical position A d as

h d " n So 0

In these examples we see that theory, met 0 and pracnce are n I' n,

h 'J he I' k ber domai at Inked

in unified wholes. W let e In s etween omarns certainly ,

di 'I" f i ions b eXist, the

history of the ISClP me IS one 0. interacnons etween separate d '

, 'I' 1 omalOS

ofte.o with their own specra 1St anguages, own conferences and J' . '

I, ,aurnals

and own personnel. As Ga ison (1997) argues for physics, it is thi d' '

d h I' k irhi h di , Sh IS rver-

siry an t e in ages Wit in t e ispersion ( anks, chapter 12) hi

ensure the vitality of the discipline. w ich

We should not then bemaan theoretical diversity in the di 'I'

, , , ISCIP me.

Diversity at the current scale may be fairly new in theoretical d '

b " .. ' h di , I' omams ut It IS not new In t e iscrp me as a whole. These productive t ' '

, . f h d" , I' ensrons are Important or t e rscip me as a whole.

From "theory" to "theory of"

The partial disjunction b tw h '

tified b e een t eorerical and other domains iden-

a ove, as well as the . 1'· ,

cal positions h ' II ' specra tzation and diversification of theoreti-

, ave a remforced th ' h h '

abstract called (( . hi' e view t. at t ere can be something

For many, archa:r~ a~o fg~cal theory," however diverse that might be, this abstract worl~ ogica t eory, has become rarified and removed. In archaeological kn ' a1 PdParently divorced from any site of production of

, , ow e ge the 'I d b

prmclples basic'd ? Oretlca e ate becomes focused on terms,

, leas, Untve I Th '

confrontational b rsa s. eoretical debate becomes by nature

eca Use term d fi

terms. The bound's are e ned and fought over in abstract

f h anes around d fi ' ,

or t eory's sake b e mttons are policed .. Abstract theory

asse ' ecames eng d' b

rtlons. Theoretic I ' age. in attles over opposing abstract

"shah a ISSues ve ' k

19 ut c e loudest" of" h ry qUIC ly become a matter of who can

93), 'W 0 sets the agenda?" (Yoffee and Sherratt

Introduction 5

But in practice we see that the abstract th' ,

particular domains at all. Rather particula eOhrles ,are not divorced from

, , ' r t eortes seem to b f d

by certain sets of tnterests and seem to be rid . e avore

d Ie ate to questions of differ

ent types an sea es. Thus evolutionary pe . h -

, h. rspectlves ave been m

common In unter-garherer or Palaeolithic stud', d ,ost

h d I, h res; gen er studies have

a ess Impact on t e Palaeolithic than on It' d '

b d 'I' h ' a er peno s; subsistence-

ase matena 1St t eones tend to be applied t h . h

d id I heori a unter-gat erers: power

an 1 eo ogy t eones come into their own mai I ' I' , .

d h In y In camp ex SOCieties'

an p enomeno ogy seems to be particularly appli d t hi '

die a pre isrortc mon-

uments an landscapes.

When archaeologists talk of a behavioral or a cogniri h I

" ive arc aeo ogy

they tend to have specific questions and problems in mind F M 1

, . . or er eau-

Panty (1962), thought IS always "of something," In this book Th

(chapter 7) describes how for Heidegger place is always "of so' h~ma~

h I " met 109,

S? t?O, arc" ae? og,!cal ~heory IS always "of something. n Theory is, like digging, a doing, It IS a practice or praxis (Hodder 1992· Shanks in chapter 12). This recognition undermines claims for a universality and unity of archaeological theory.

Of course, it can be argued that archaeology as a whole IS engaged in a unified praxis, a unified doing, so that we should expect unified theories. But even at the most general theoretical levels, archaeologists are involved in quite different projects. Some archaeologists wish to make contributions to scientific knowledge, or they might wish to provide knowledge so that people can better understand the world around them. But in a postcolonial world, such aims of a distanced objective archaeology can easily appear narrow, self-interested and even colonial. As Gosden (chapter 10) shows, in a postcolonial context of multivocaliry, a negotiated past seems more relevant. This may invalve negotiation and accommodation of the idea that past monuments may have a living presence in the world today - that they are "alive" in some sense. In the latter context, abstract theory deals less with abstract scientific knowledge and more with specific social values and local frameworks of meaning.

It is in the interests of the academy and of elite universities to promulgate the idea of abstract theory. The specialization of archaeological intellectual debate is thus legitimized. But critique from outside t~e academy has shown that these abstract theories too are embedded 10 interests - they too are "theories of something," Within the acade~lYI archaeologists vie with each other to come up with yet more theories, especially if they can be claimed to be meta-theories that purpon, to "explain everything," In fact, however, this diversity comes from ~skmg different questions _ from the diversity of the contexts of production of

archaeological knowledge.

6 Jan Hodder

Variation in perspective

A esulr of such processes, there are radical div

s a r .' b k ergence '

d'fferent authors m this 00 construe theory In S In th

way I . . summa e

d'fferences stem partly from the process of vying for d'ff ry, these

I . d b d . I ,.1 erenc '

'nnovation often mfluence y eve opments In neIghbor" di ~J With

I , '1 deri f 109 ISC I'

The variation ,m perspec~lve a so erives ~0I? the fact that r IP,IneS,

different questJOns are being asked from within quite different a~ICaUy production of knowledge.. Sites of

Many of the differences of perspective remain those that h

the discipline since the 1980s or earlier. For example On thave dogged

h ' 'e One h

Renfrew (chapter 5) repeats t e science versus relativism 0 " and

hasi h hesi ' is xiomi PPOSltion d

the ernp aSIS on ypot eSIS tesnng IS ommant in the' an

laMotta and Schiffer (chapter 2). On the other hand Tho ap~roach of

id f h" . , "f' ,mas s (chapt

7) I ea 0 t e rearnmanon 0 ancient monuments a d I er

tries to move beyond this dichotomy (for a wider dis n ,andscapes

. W.I' CUSSlon of thi

Issue see y ie 1989 and Lampeter Archaeology ~ k h IS

h. .. . wor s op 1997)

Anot er dichotomy which srill seems to OCcur concerns h h .

1· h W et er arch

o ogy IS seen as ant ropology or history. For LaMotta d S h' a:-

h 2" I I an c lffer

c apter It IS C ear y a cross-cultural anthropology if h In

hasi hi , , , even I t ey also

emp asis on .lstoflcal Issues at various scales Gen I' . , put

h L • era lzatIon IS a k

r erne throughout many chapters but for s . . ' ey

Leonard, LaMotta and Schiffer, Re~frew and ~~~ au(th~rs, especlall,Y plays a key role. Gosden (cha t ,len c apters 2-5) It general information and local t:r 10) places :he opposition between indeed remarkable th owledge within WIder Contexts. It is western countries ev I at many grant-glvmg bodies in English-speaking to general knowled a ua;~ proposals solely in terms of their contribution

impact of a projectg~n 10~:1 :re Often, ?O questions asked about the the project to local kId. 0n:mulllties or about the relevance of projects, and tho nOWe ge. It IS rather local museums and heritage

" se concerned with I d . h

rnmoflty groups that lik I 1. an ng. ts and identity claims of

on local issues H .he I. e y to eschew universal science and to focus

d' . ere t e relan hi b

pro UctlOn of knowled . ~ns Ip etween theory and the context of

Some auth ge IS evidem,

I h ors, such L M

,c apters 2-4), separat as la otta and Schiffer, Leonard and Mithen

lara I 0 I' e cu ture hi d '

, r eva utlonary , Istory an contingency from behav-

In Schiff ' processes Th' . ,

at h er s (1999) beha' l IS oPPos.ltlOnaI stance is dearly seen

t e abs . VIora appr h "R I d

, ence m th oacn. eaders may be nonp usse

meanIng' . e new the f

value b'l~lgn, symbol int. ' ory o. much vocabulary ... such as

> e lef ,entIOn m ti , . d

I nOrm fu. , 0 IVatlOn purpose goal attLtu e,

, nctIOn' , "

, mind, and culture. Despite herculean

Introduction 7

efforts in the social sciences to define the ft .

physical notions, they remain behaviorall se a ble: ethnocentnc or meta-

, h y pro ernatic and so

fluous rn t e present project" In th l' are super-

represented by Leonard {chapte~ 3} bistoe evodutlon~ry approach as

f h D '. 1 ,. ryan Contmgency are a

o t e arwmran evo utionary process and I " part

Id h ' cu ture IS ItS product but I

WOll argue t at at a cerrain scale of analys th I' ' .

d . IS e se ecnve material

pro. cess orrunates. For Yentsch and Beaudry ( h 9) .

, . I' f c apter rnatenal culture

IS uruversa ; Its use, arm, substance and symb li ,

11 I· A laic mean 109 are cultur-

a y re atrve. t east at the analyticallevei a sepa ti , d

bi , hvsi I '. '. ra Ion IS rna e between

o jective P ysica materiality and the meaning that i ' d .

hi I' l' s assigne to It. They

see t IS ana ynca separation as one step toward hi'

d di f h '. an ant ropo ogical

un erstan mg 0 ow meanmg IS assigned and how lati . hi

, ift re a nons Wit 10

society shi and thus cause changes in meanings of object Th di . ,

,. . . . S, e IVISlon

of meanmg from object allows archaeologists to sort artifact' dif-

f ies and b ' . s mto I

erent categones an egm to evaluate their significance withi ,

, , , In a society.

:rhus the Cartesian Oppositions of materiaUmeaning and subjectl

object are held to: Thom~s and Meskell (chapters 7 and 8) attempt to transcend these dichotomies. They argue against the idea that there IS a material existence onto which meaning is added. Rather for them material existence is always already meaningful and meanin'g is alway~ already lived in the material world by embodied beings. At the theoretical level, many authors dealing with historical specificities, including Yentsch and Beaudry, would take this view. A not dissimilar position is taken by Renfrew (chapter 5), for whom symbols are active and constituting. For him too, the symbolic is part of daily life and it helps to construct the world.

It is possible to see then how these different perspectives are linked to different sites of the production of archaeological knowledge. There are clear underlying differences between the types of interests and questions of those using general evolutionary approaches and those concerned with history and agency. Within this array, individual authors take their own positions. Discourses specific to each approach emerge, and schools are defined. Distinct literatures emerge and separate conferences and circles of citation. Even if these different communities are working along very similar lines they do not communicate well. For example, LaMotta and Schiffer discuss an emulation model without referring to Miller's (1982) agency version. Barrett's (1987 and see also chapter 6) ?oti~n of ~ field of social practice has parallels with LaMotta and Schiffer s notlo~ of activity, but again there is no cross-reference. Renfrew's ~chapter 5) Idea that "weight" can only be "weight of something" is identical ~o Merl~~llPonty's (1962) phenomenological discussion but is coucbed III cogrunve

processual terms.

IntroductIOn 9

construction and the more slowly changing social rna b id .

. D' . res a out I entity

categones. isagreement may OCcur about the relative Importance of the

different scales, about th. e nature of the in. teractions hetwee I .d

'. n sea es, an

abo~t the degree to which the different scales can be accessed with archae-

ological data. B~t there seems to be a general recognition that a muluscalar approa~h IS nbeeded and (lhat archaeology can contribute to a study of the interactions etween sca es.

Another frequently occurring general theme in this volume IS that material culture has a central role to play in what it means to be human. Most authors here seem to be suggesting some version of a dialectical view in which humans and things are dependent on each other. This IS

a reformulation of the Childean Marxist view that "man makes himself" (Childe 1936) or the Geertzian view that it is human nature to be cultural (Geertz 1973), but with a new emphasis on the "material cultural." LaMotta and Schiffer (chapter 2) argue that behavior includes both people and objects. Leonard (chapter 3) suggests that the human phenotype includes behavioral and material culture traits, so that material culture can be described as the hard part of the human phenotype. Mithen (chapter 4) discusses the notion of "the extended mind," whereby even religious thought is seen as dependent on material objects. Renfrew (chapter 5) and Gosden (chapter 10) suggest that it is odd that archaeologists have not paid more attention to materiality and the significance of things. Renfrew refers to Donald's (1991) ideas on "external symbolic storage," and talks of the origins of sedenti~m in terms.of a new embodiment and a new materialization. The theories of behavior used by Barrett (chapter 6) include Bourdieu's account of human agenc! in terms of daily practice, while Thomas (chapter 7) f~llo,:s the expenential approach of Heidegger in describing bodily be~ng m the w~r~d. Meskell (chapter 8) talks of identity being grounded in the rnatert~hty of the body. For Shanks (chapter 12), people are aiv:rays li~ked to objects _ cyborgs are the norm. Thus, for him, material ~rtlfacts are no~ "objects" in any simple sense. Rather, they disperse into networks 0

linkages between a great variety of factors. di f

In all these ways then, it is being argued that an und~rstan I~g of

human behavior, a. g~ncy, and culture needs to include a. Close stldu YD,o_

b . d d on the materia wor . IS

the ways in which human eings epen d te-

agreement may exist amongst the authors about how humadns an rna. I th t humans depen on matena

rial culture interac. t .. Some may argue a I '6 11. Others assert

I II' h . depend on too s speer ca y.

cu ture genera Y Just as t ey . b . derstood in terms

that the relationship with material cult.ure has to h e ~7" the "we" are

of the very construction of self and being, Thus tb ~ ct ~~ concepts and always already partly material, as are the most a s ra

8 /all Hodder . . .

. . to ddferent commurunes, communic .

earatiOn JO Th diff atlon i

With thIS P lk ass each other. e I erences becom S

ople ra acr di ffi I Ide eXac

difficult as pe . h d d convergence I cu t. 0 not wish t d. -

erba[l'd and en~renc e ~ but they become difficult to transcend b 0 eny

e real dtfferences ecause

there ar

of discourse.


. this volume twO areas of convergence stand out. B th

In the chapters 10 . . . haeoiozi I' 0

·rh·ng disuncnve about arc aeo ogtca eVIdence - a ba

concern some I . . J' B f " se

hi h contribute to other dlSCIP meso ecause 0 the dlstInctiv

from W Ie ro. . . '. 1 . h e

f the archaeologIcal evidence in re anon to t ese two areas nature 0 in contrib . id d ) archaeologists feel a confidence m contn ~tmg to WI er ehates. The

rwo areas concern the long term an~ material culture.

As regards the long-term perspective offered by archaeology, there is a general recognition by the author~ in thiS. volume of t.he importance of multi-scalar approaches in addressing a Wide range of Issues. As already noted, the scale at which questions are asked has wider implications in the contexts of production of archaeological knowledge. Gosden (chapter 10) suggests making a distinction between general information of wider relevance, and local knowledge of relevance to local communities. This point is illustrated in the case studies provided by Yentsch and Beaudry (chapter 9). AJI the authors in this volume recognize the need to distinguish short-term and long-term influences on human behavior. LaMotta and Schiffer (chapter 2) make a threefold distinction between interactions occurring a.t t.he micro level, activities involving the performance of tasks, an~ systemic Interactions occurring within everything from households to ~atJon. states. They put most emphasis in their work on the proximate desPlecl~UY activity) scale. Both Leonard and Mithen (chapters 3 and 4)

ea With longer-term h b hi

involv d I' . P enomena, ut as Leonard points out, t IS

es ea mg With the i f

individ . 11 I e Issue 0 whether selection operates at group or

ua eve s. Renfrew (h 5) . h 1

ogy for its e hasi . c apter castigates postprocessual arc aeo-

mp aSIS on md"d I . d

work at the' I IVI ua expenence, but he stresses the nee to

micro eve] of th . di id .

without confu' h e 10 I. VI ual and at the macro level of SOCIety

SlOg t e tw . II

eralizing stateme dO., especia y when it comes to the value of gen-

nts an ...

sizes how long-t SenSitiVIty to COntext. Barrett (chapter 6) empha-

ki erm process d f h

wor Ing OUt of . es nee to be understood in terms 0 t e

di micro-proces h h

Irectlon of path f ses, sue as the tempo of gift-giving, or t e

(chapter 8) Cont S 0 mho~ement in Iron Age round houses.. Meskell

rasts t e md··d· . . .

IVI ual, flUid processes of daily IdentIty

10 JOlt Hodder d foregrounds an archaeological

, on situate ness

, This emphasIS d the present, ,

rheones., _ on the past an on d that wide divergencies occurred

spectlVe b n expecte d .

per'.J 'r might have ee 'ati hip between humans an. n .. tateria]

Wli e ( f h elatIons I , hi

f muJation ate t dly in the chapters in rms volume.

'0 the or. s repeate . ,

I I one key idea rewrn, I It re differs from language. Schiffer

cu rore, rh arena cu u I b h .

Thi is the idea at m h'ff (C/lapter 2) deve op a e avioral

IS I nd Sc I er .., I

(1999) and LaMotta a 'h Most authors In this vo urne have

catIon teary. .' 1 d b

Proach to communi . h t material culture 15 rnarupu ate y

ap f the View tad h 9) A

moved away rom . ( Yentsch and Beau ry, c apter . t

'I e-lIke way see M' h (ch

humans In a anguag. . evolutionary terms.. It en c apter

" can be seen In d

one scale, this Issue , f aterial culture and language 0 not

h h volunon 0 m h I

4) argue.s r at t .e e d R f w (chapter 5) decouples. t e ear y use

'1 I' re an en re

necessan Y cor.re a, 'g.nl'[icant shifts in how humans made

f m later mace Sl . ,

of language ro h ale a similar point can be made ill terms

. I I· e At anot er sc ,

mat~na ~u tur d ethno raphic observation. Meskell (chapter 8) notes

of hlsroflcall a~ g have developed a more complicated discourse

that medica science may ,,' d f 11 h

, h h d the ancient Greeks, but It oes not 0 ow t at

about livers t an a " "{Craib 1998 109)

I" ophl'sticated than was Plato s lrver ( rai : .

my rver IS more s ior whi 1

In response to the need to develop a theory of behavior w IC 1 goes

b d the models of language and discourse, Barrett (chapter 6) uses

eyon ice and srructurati Th .

Bourdieu's and Giddens's theories of practice an structuratron. err

account of behavior foregrounds the use of non-discursive knowledge in daily practice. Thomas (chapter 7) uses Heidegger's and Ingold's ideas of being in the world. Moser (chapter 11) adds that the non-verbal (in this case visual images) may express things we are not aware of. A similar point is made by Yenrsch and Beaudry (chapter 9). Moser defines the non-linguistic conventions that are used to make visual images meaningful. These conventions deal with, for example, authenticity and singulariry, Shanks too, in chapter 12, points to the importance of the visual 10 human, and specifically archaeological behavior. Again then specific

h ' ighr i ' "

t, eones rm t vary, but there is a widely accepted view that archaeolo-

gists need to ,focus on the particular material character of their data and develop specific, non-language-based, models.


So the conclusion, based on thi

Despite the enormous gap d di small sample of essays, is positive. despite the evidence th s ahn. Isagreements about fundamentals and

at arc aeologi I h . '

ca t eonsts are trapped in separate

'. . Introduction. II

non-communicating discourses there ' I

d ' ' IS at east ..

moves forwar . In particular, there is ab d some indication of

ith h " un ant eVlde f '

engagement WIt ot er dIsciplines and th nee 0 Increasing

w.ider debates. This more extensiv; enga e entrhy of archaeology into

h 1 ' . gement as 0 d

when arc aeo ogisrs sense a greater c fid CCUcre at a time

f hei , on ence abo t h

character 0 t err evidence, In particula rh ' u. t e particular

h I ' h r, ere IS a Wid .

that arc aeo ogists ave a particular exp rti , . e recognition

h ' , else regardmg b h h

term and t e materiality of human life Th is th ot t e long

. , ' ere IS t us ernerc: id

of archaeologists contnbuting to wider db. rglOg eVL ence

ibuti , e ates, not lust b '

These contn unons mvolve archaeologists ki , ,orrowmg,

, spea 109 m thei h

not as anthropologists or historians. There is th r ow~ rig t,

fid us a new maturity and

con ence.

Perhaps adding to this maturity and confid b

" " . h ence, Ut also under-

mmmg It, IS a new p ase of reflexivity and critique hi'

isrs trv to resoond as arc aeo ogical

theorists try to respon to the challenges of workmg wirhi I ba!

' , I In ago a and

plural environment. The operung of debate to a wid f'

, , '" er range 0 VOIces

from feminism to indigenous interests and minority gro hid

. , ups as e to

q~le~t1~nmg about first 'pnn~)ples and taken-for-grameds within the

discipline. T~e ~hap~ers 10 this volume indicate some directions which respond to this Situation and focus on issues of representation and power (e.g. Moser and Shanks in chapters 11 and 12), The processes of postcolonialism and the new information technologies create a new context in which archaeology will work. But It is a fluid and complex context in which theory and practice are in a continual state of challenge and renegotiation. This volume may help that process forward, but it cannot hope to define it or structure it.

Note: This introduction is shorter than might have been expected, because in asking authors from a diversity of perspectives to contribute to the volume, I undertook not to situate their work within a polemic of my own. Nevertheless an introduction had to be written, but it is difficult to place the authors within a historical perspective without slanting the account in some way. I circulated a draft of the introduction to, all the authors and I have incorporated their comments in this final version a~ fully as I can. I apologize to th~ auth~rs if I have misre~res,ented their Views but thank them for enrrustmg their work to my edltonal contra.


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London: Routledge.

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Humanities Press.

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Preucel, R. and I. Hodder (eds) 1996. Contemporary Archaeology In Theory.

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Renfrew, C. and K. L. Cooke 1979. Transformations: Mathematical Approaoes

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Schiffer M B 1995 B h . .' . I S It Lake J£y •

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Behavioral Archaeology Toward a New Synthesis

Vincent M. LaMotta and Michael B. Schiffer


Behavioral archaeology is commonly equated with the study of the formation processes of the archaeological record and with the reconstruction of the cultural past through behavioral inferences. Although not inaccurate, such a characterization incompletely describes the goals of the program. In this chapter, we present a general framework for explaining behavioral variability at a number of scales, thereby dispelling the myth ,that behavioral archaeologists are concerned only with reconstruct~ng p,ast behavior. Drawing on a growing corpus of literature - by behavlO~ahsts and others - we lay the methodological foundations for

a behaVIOral archaeol . d d .

, ogy geare towar explanation and then present

case studies that ill t h d '

h . us rate t e evelopment and application of explana-

tory t eory. We sugge t that I .

, s at exp anatlOns for many of the same types of

processes of mterest t .

selectionist hi? processuahst, postprocessualist, Marxist, and

arc aeo ogists - 0 formulared : " f

analysis _ als b ,nee re ormu ated in appropnate uruts a

o can e furmsh db' 'I I

e Y pnncrp es of behavioral arehaeo ogy.


Behavioral. h .

includ" arc aeology is diff '

f' mg other bran h erent from many other social SCIences,

o Inte' c es of arch I'd

ractlons behve aeo ogy, m that it is based on the stu Y

en people ad" h

n matenal objects ("behavior"). Be av-

Behavioral Archaeology 15

ioralists seek to develop appropriate method and the f '

" 11 f f variari ory Or studYlUg and

ex:plammg a arms a variation 10 human social r f .

h fi "I fie In terms of behav-

ior. Among t erst prmci p es a the program is the co ' 'h '

. h f d . nV\ctlOn t at vana-

rion in te . arm an . arrangement of artifacts archite tr d '

, ' I"' . d " ' cure, an cultural

depOSits m ivmg systems an 10 the archaeologic I d '

d f h b h ' a recor IS most

directly the pro uct a uman e avior (controlling for n I I f

d fan-ell tura Or-

mation processes), an not a some second-order analytical lik

"1 . , construct I e

"culture, me~ta ,states, or ~daptlve Imperatives (Walker et al. 1995)

For the behavioralist, then, virtually any aspect of human I'lf ' .

"'. e IS open to

scientlfi~ scrutiny and explana~lon ~o long as research questions can be

framed tn terms ?f pe~ple:-oblect mteractions. Thus, many traditional questions of SOCial SCientists, as well as the corresponding units of analysis, need to be reformulated in terms amenable to study within a behavioral framework. Indeed, the provision of such an alternative behavioral lexicon for studying human social life has been among the primary goals of behavioral archaeologists.

Reid et al. (1974; see also Reid et al, 1975; Reid 1995; Schiffer 1995a: ch. 1) first crafted behavioral archaeology as an explicit program at the University of Arizona in the early 1970s. Though originally an outgrowth of the "new" (processual) archaeology developed by Binford (1962, 1965, 1968) and others (e.g. Deetz 1965; Hill 1970; Longacre 1970), behavioralists promoted an expanded archaeology that would overcome the many methodological and theoretical failings of early

processualism. '. "

To behavioralists, the irreducible core of archaeology IS Simply the

study of material objects ... in order to describe and explain huma,n behavior" (Reid et a!. 1975: 864, emphasis added). In the 1970s-, ~IS definition shifted the focus of explanation away from the adaptatl~ms( concerns of processualism and toward the explanation of beha:loral variation at many scales. Importantly, behaviorally defined uruts of

. b desi d t anscend or cross-cut the

analysis and explanation can e esigne to r "

, dari hat ci 'be the "cultural systems

temporal and spatial boun aries t at circumscn , " h d

. h b h " 1 chaeologists estab IS e a

studied by processualists. T us, e aviora ar, b

. d d . othetic statements a out

science of human behavior groun e 10 nom . , '

. fi d b dary conditions - ranging

people-object interactions under speer e oun

from highly specific to highly gener.a!. 974 1975) offered four

In their seminal statements, Reid et al. (,1 . I? rh t appeared to

. id f for a discip me a

research strategies to provi e ocus , ' h diverse research

b ., b h ." ral science wit

e reconfiguring into a new . e avio

agendas (figure 2.1). . khors the areas of com-

Strategies 2 and 3 are the theoretiCal w?r, ~rs~~at could be applied parative research for developing general pnncip es

16 Vincel1t M. LaMotta and Michael B. Schiffer --------~~----~ Material Items


2. EthnoarCh aeololt1t and experirn "'1

h ental

arc aeology

4. MOdern rnaterial culture Studies

Figure 2.1 The four strategies of behavioral archaeology (adapt d f

1995) e rom Reid

Human Behavior

1. Prehistoric, historical and classical

archa eol ogies

3. Study of long-term behavioral change

Behavioral ArchaeOlogy 17

rchaeologists, and many others - has been among th

a lifi d B h ' e program's most

visible and pro I c pro ucts, e aviora! archaeologists I h

the explanatory frameworks adopted by processualists cha so ,c alhlenged

I ' II ' argl1'lg t at the

new archaeo ogy s a -purpose causes - population press ' '

d d vari ure, envirOn-

mental change an stress, an various cybernetic process _

f 1" b h ' I es were for

purposes 0 exp airung e aviora and organizational v ' , '

. ULahon and

change, smalll~provements over those of CUlture history (Schiffer 1976:

2). Instead, Schiffer (1975a, 1976: 2-3) urged archaeologists t d I

I heori did 0 eve op

new behaviora t eories, rna e s, an experimental laws by drawing on

the methods of strategy 2 of behavioral archaeology, and by exploiting the archaeol?gical record itself (strategy 3) as the most appropriate source of evidence on long-term change processes, After twenty-plus years of behavioral researc~, we are now in a position to synthesize a methodological and theoretical framework for achieving these goals,

Apparently, one message that many archaeologists take from these early critiques is that behavioral archaeologists are atheoretical induetivists, hostile to explanation and to the construction of "social theory. "I Others surmise that behavioralists are concerned solely, or at least primarily, with the discovery of "universal" laws of human behavior - i.e. principles that are true in all times and in all place~ (e.g. Flannery 1973; McGuire 1995; O'Brien and Holland 1995; cf. Wylte 1995). In fact, both beliefs are incorrect. Behavioralists have repeatedly called for the building, not borrowing, of explanatory theory, and they have devoted much effort to the construction of such theory III recent years (see bel~w). Ev~n in the 1970s and 1980s, behavioralists offered some f?rmulatlons akin to social theory (e.g. McGuire and Schiffer 1983; RathJ; and McCarthy 1977· Schiffer 1979) and c-transforms/ and correlates can themselves constitute social the~ry in certain research contexts (LaMotta 1999; Schiffer 1988· Tani 1995). The behavioral approach ma~ appear to b,e

, . " ial" theories on the baSIS

inductivist because It proposes to construct soc 'I d

of regularities in observed or inferre,d intera~tions between Pbehop ~ aol_

1 b" nons however e avtora

objects. By privileging peop e-o jeer mteracnons, , h h man

. f socia I theory across t e u

ists seek to redirect the construcnon 0 'I scientific unless

' h ' I sci b neither behaviora nor

SCIences: be aviora science can e . 1 Shiffer and Miller

it also attends to artifacts (Schiffer 1995b: 23; s~e ~h:o d~scovery of truly 1999b; Walker er a1. 1995). ~ast~y, although 0 ram's goals, many "universal" principles of behavior IS amo~~a: ~~:a~oralists are com' examples in this chapter demonstrate 1ywhere along the mitted to building explanatory theory that operates ar

continuum from general to specific. k h like the old social

The new behavioral theories might not 100 hmu~ocial sciences often

ies b ed from ot er

theories, however. Theones orrow


in explaining specific cases of behavioral variation in prehistoric (strategy I) or modern (strategy 4) contexts. Three decades of research Within strategy 2, encompassing ethnoarchaeology and experimental archaeol_ ogy, has resulted in the development of coun~less experimental laws pertaining to diverse processes of hum~r: behavior, fro~ the use of pottery and groundstone tools, to the deposition of ceremonial trash and human remains. An important feature of this nomothetic research is the construction of "behavioral contexts" - analytical units that specify the boundaries (e.g. material, behavioral, social, ecological parameters) of a process within which a general principle of behavior is applicable (Walker and LaMotta 1995; Walker et al. 1995). As shown below, behavioral contexts playa critical role in the use of nomothetic statements about behavior in idiographic research.

Clearly, behavioral archaeology was, and still is, much more than an extension of the processualist agenda. Behavioral archaeologists not only departed stridently from "new" archaeologists in their treatment of

'd , ' d ilie

evi ence from the archaeological record, but also quesnone

explanatory potential of early processual theory. It was argued that new archaeologists had adopted simplistic conceptions of inference ~nd upon these built inadequate methods for reconstructing past behavlOl~:

fl ' f h "cultura

Con atmg traces of formation processes with traces 0 t e h

. . dy t ese

processes of mterest (Schiffer 1976' Sullivan 1978). To reme

bl ' , f . f ce (Dean

pro ems, behavioralists formulated new models 0 1.0 eren d to

1978; Schiffer 1976: ch, 2· Sullivan 1978) and insisr,ed on the nele983

" • 1 '1976, '

mvestlgate formatIOn processes (Reid 1985; Schiffer 1972, , As a

1985, ] 987), seen as the major source of uncontrolled va[l~blesl;new" result, formation-process research _ conducted by behaviorahsts,

I H Vtn('enl M. l~aM{Jtta and Mich I

ae B, Schiffer

resl 011 L1JHc:>tcd premises abo t h ~

1- . (i - - U uman b h '

( , IcrCIJt and oftcn incompatibl (' e aV10r a d

I I . I h ' e i.e. non-b h " n Us I

k ia v.ora t COrlCS, therefore reou: e aV10ral) ,ua ly elh

h· h ' qUIre new w Units f "lpl~ n_;:-;C<1 rc mg uman life that at first 'h ays of thi k' 0 anal ~'

J h f II ' mIg t seem . n Ing b fill

11 t e () oWIng section We provld . qUIte alie a QUt ad'

. h e an OUtJlUe f n, Q

lory qllestIOns r at currently face beh '. Or the typ

. f , ' a vlorahsts es of e

LUS~lOI1 0 JChavlOraJ method and th ' and later f ,lCp1alla,

. ~ eory necessa f Urntsh,

questIons ngorously. We concJude with J ry Or addre a dIS,

J b h ' 1 severa case st d' SSlng th

lOW e aVJOra theory can explain variat" U res that 'II ~

. f ' ion and cha I UStr

rangmg rom discrer- person-object inr ' nge at several ate

structure of behaVIOral systems eraCtIOns to the organtzaSt~ales,

. IOnal

Objectives; explaining behavior at different scales

What exactly is it that beha vioralists are trying to explainl B "

ti ., b'" I h ' Y expla,

na IOn we mean su surrnng emplrJca p en omena under. h.'

' , nomot et,c

statem~nts , (i.e, explanat,ory, socIal,' '" ,behaVioral theory) and empl!lcal

generahzanons that specify regulannes In behavioral processes at various scales, statements that operate within explicitly and concretely defined boundary conditions (see below, "Behavioral contexts"), It IS convenient to recognize three scales of human behavioral variation, each of which poses a slightly different set of explanatory challenges:

(1) Interaction scale, which is focused on regularity and variation in discrete person-object interactions. ThIS area of research is geared toward understanding the specific processes whereby visual, tactile, acoustic and chemical interactions occur between and among people and artifacts and how such interactions underlie variation and

, b I "Commum'

change in larger-scale behavioral processes (e.g, see e ow, " les

. , , , hI" niversal" pnnClp

cation"). At this level of inquiry, If now ere eise, u, , ht be

" ." h inh ' II ' teractlOns - mig

of behavior - i.e. regulariries t at 10 ere In a In

discovered. " nd diachronic

(2) Activity scale, in which synchronic variation, h Ids Of task

, di id I house 0, f

change, in activities performed by In IVI ua s, ed behavior 0

groups is examined. An activity consists of the patte~~ffer 1992: 78!. one or more material (possibly human) elements (~C ~tentiallY modi' Materials, energy, and information are processed a~ p can develop f~~

"AI 'behavIOfS h OOil

fied in the COurse of an acnviry, . ternatrve s of sync r

, k d ch pattern h e are

the performance of the same baSIC tas ,an SU h ugh time. T es 5 b.

variation in activity performance may change t fa 1 in at this scale. II

h 'I' k to exp ar

among the processes that be aviora IStS see

BehaVioral Archaeology 19 ti ·1 explanatory research at the activirv scale has already be

stan la, h 'en Con-

d by archaeologists and as Yielded, for example many pn I

ducte '.' . .' ,>' . nClp es

xpiaining variation and change In the design and use of artifacts a d

for e ( "T' hi» b I ) n

h"tectLIral spaces see rec no ogy e ow .

arc 1 l h' h I

(3) Systemic s~a e, at w, Ie, eve' synchronic va~latlon, and

' h onic change, 10 the orgaruzano-, of one or mare behaVIOral systems

diac r b h 'I " ' f

Piained, A" e aviora system IS a set a patterned actiVities that

are ex , h 1 hvsi I ld

'. late a human grou.p wit t re p ysica wor and with Other behav-

artlCU , 9 99) f

' 1 ystems (Schiffer 197 , 1 2; or example, a household commu-

rora s , , ,

. 'nstitution, regional system, or nation-state can each be modeled as

nlty, I '. , h "f' , ,

b h vioral system. Variations 10 t e orgaruzano-, 0 actlVltles, and in

a e a , I d inf ..' fl

h . rworks of materia , energy, an I ormanon ows among these

t riviries {termed "linkages"}, are some of the behavioral phenomena

actIVl 1 f 1 d

" ' ed at this scale. How, or examp e, 0 patterned networks of

scruttnlZ ietv or t'b h '1 ~" H

' " develop within a SOCIety or e aviora system, ow are pat-

acttvItles d i f ' hi' h d di f

d fl S of materials, energy, an In ormation esta IS e among 1-

terne ow h" d

' ities and human actors? How are c ange processes uunate

ferent activi I d Add

' hi behavioral system and how do such changes sprea? \_

from WIt mad b h ' I

ionall . processual questions, when reformulate 10 e aviora

tiona y, mabny ommodated at this scale of analysis (see below, "The

terms, can e ace

" ")

'bi ) questions . hasi h h

l~ iting three scales of behavioral analysis, we emp asize t at ~ac

~ POSt ~'Herent set of explana tory principles. Althou~h explanatlo,os requires ai, I henomena will likely contnbute to exp afor lower-order behaviors p ct that higher scales will entail

' f h' h der processes we expe ,

nations or ig -~r , b f lly reducible to lower-order pnn-

emergent properties that may no~ e ~ the organization of activities in ciples. For example, l~ng-term c ange l~ be explained efficiently by the a community (systemic scal~) ma'h n~ h 'or of individuals participatsame principles used to exph~a,te tel e ~I netheless explanations for ing in discrete activities (activity sea e')li b~ behavio;al without being such higher-order phenomena can Stl

reductionist. . seeking principles of behavioral

Finally it is important to note that, beh . al archaeologists do not

, II I e avior isms th

regularity and change at a .sca es, h ism or set of mechaOisms t atf

' 'I nous mec arns , 'fi t dyo

posit a priori, a smg e exoge . Because the SClentl C 5 U f

' ines b h ioral processes. f h a set a

drives or determines e avIO, h 'mposition 0 sue

, , 'II' its mfancy, tel Th t present

human behavior IS sn III L d If-limiting. us, a

" Id b remature an se , of explana-

causal principles wouic e p "I tmg of a Wide array , t

" . d mpmca tes I hand rejec

we favor the application an e , I iation and C ange, 'I

di behavlOra var d f om a sing e

tory frameworks regar mg. 1 must proeee r

, 'archaeo ogy

the notion that explanation m

high-level social or cultural theory.


Vincent M. LaMotta and Michael B. Schiffer

Foundations: method and theo~

In this section we discuss fundamental definitions and .

. . l' d fi . . f h UnIts of

includmg a materia rst e ninon 0 uman behav' . analYsI

d d i h . d: f' lor, an S,

methodology groun e In t e stu y a artifaor life hisr . . analYtltal

. I d . 1 b Ones In c

rive behavIOra. c.ontexts, an a matena. - eha.vi_o.ral model for ornpa~a.

ing and explaining change processes In actIVitIes and' descflb. In behaVioral



Behavioral archaeologists define the basic unit of analysis _ h

. . 1 he i . f urnan

behavior - precise y as t e .lnteractIon o. one or more living individuals

with elements of the matenal world (Reid et a1. 1974, 1975). As a uni of analysis, "behavior" includes both people and objects (Walker et al. 1995). This analytical focus on both the material (artifact) and organis. mal (people) aspects of behavior distinguishes behavioral archaeology from other theoretical perspectives founded on purely organismal Conceptions of behavior (sensu Walker et al, 1995: 5-8). In organismal perspectives, an analytical barrier divides the animate organism from the inanimate world of material objects, and explanations for actions of the human organism are generally framed in terms of changing external variables ("the environment") or internal states ("ideology," "values," "attitudes," or "intentions"). Behavioralists do not argue that changes in environmental variables are uninvolved in behavioral change (e.g. see Reid 1978), nor do they dispute that people's knowledge affects their behavior (e.g. see Schiffer and Miller 1999bj Walker 1998b). Nonethcd less, we conceive of behavior - when defined to include both people an

bi I . I . I ial and cog-

a jeers - as a p lenomenon that mediates all eco ogica ,SOCI ,

. . . . t of extra-

rntrve processes; through behavior the potential rrnpac . I

b h . I h 'f. t BehavtOra. e aviora p en omena on life processes is made mant,es.. f the

ists, therefore, are not concerned with explaining the beha~lOr 0 Fur'

. ld f cnfacts.

o.rgamsm as a process somehow distinct from the wor 0 a. har is

th'f . . fashion r

. errnore, art I acts define the boundaries of behavior In a r d h dis-

usefu.1 analytically, facilitating cross-cultural comparisons an h.t e that

c f b h . . . a fas Ion

overy 0 e aVloral principles. To study behavior rn tl'lize a

. .' we U

recognIzes the centrality of artifacts in human jnteractlon~, . ities _

fram k I . I. 'l'ty In actlV f

ewor t rar focuses on regularities and variam I di osal 0

for exa I . h ki and ISP

. mp e, In remaking, using, reusing, brea JOg,


BehaVioral ArclJaeology 21

SystemIC context

\ ArchaeologIcal conlCX!


ment ---+ Manufacture - Use ---~ ..... DIsca d

p,",u" 1 \ Reuse ~:~O"'"'J Decay

....___-L.. Reclam

Figure 2.2 A generalized artifact life history (adapted from Schiffer 1976: 46)

Life histories and behavioral chains

At the core of behavioral methodology lies th~ life .hist?ry concept. An artifact's life history is the sequence of behaviors (I.e. I~teracttons and activities) that lead from the proc~rement of raw matenals and manu-

f f that obj ect, through vanous stages of use, reuse and/or reey-

acture 0 f h bi . h

r t the eventual discard or abandonment 0 t e. 0 jeer In t e

c lOhg, 01 . al record - with the possibility. of multiple cycles of manu-

arc aeo OglC . di d

f se and recycling and of reclamation, reuse and rscar

acture, u ,

(figure 2.2). . f b b h

Life histories playa key role in building 10 eren~es a out _past e av-

. d 1 eha vioral systems from their archaeological remains (Bmford ~o;~8~n21~2' Schiffer 1975b, 1976: 44-9, 1987: 13-15; Shi~ma~ ~9~1; Zedefio 1997; cf. chaine operatoire [see Seller 199311), and °h[ (~~~::

. . ." cross-culture researc

units of analysis and com?anson mea flow model or behavioral

and LaMotta 1995). For either purpos d f . y given artifact class in chain (Schiffer 1975b) can be constructe o~ ~n behavioral chain for a a behavioral system (see table 2.1). IAf c.om, Pf e ~nstance would describe

. .. . itua ens 1, or I ,

ceramic cooking Jar, maize, or an. h life histories of these

. h . lIy occur In ted .

all of the interactions t at typlca ial units) involve In

[i I ding human SOCI .

objects' the energy sources me u .. d elements); location,

' .. 1 if sed (cOI1)OlOe . 1

each activity; additiona arti acts ~ . . d h activity'S matena

f t vines, an eac . I

time frequency, and order o: ac I ibuti to the archaeologlca

, . I contri unons . __

output (i.e. actual and potentla c . bl ay be supplied by cross

record). Values for some of these varia vhile rhers must be inferred

. I . . data W leo ible

cultural, ethnographic, or nstoric If I'. eldom necessary or pO.5S1

from the archaeological reco. rd itse . t .IS ~ orporating all Iife-hls~o.ry

I b h . oral cham inc " C[IVlues

to construct a comp ete e aVI. ts representJOg a . 11

activities Rather behavioral chain segmenb I'ow} are more tYPIC:lhY

. '. t" ( see erowr- . f r t e

within a specific "behavioral contex II w the researcher to In e

. I hai gments a 0

constructed. Behaviors Clam se

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~ I- @ 0 1 L Motta and Michael B. Schiffer ____

''-+ Vincent Iv. ' a _______

- .. ' that might have been responsible for the t:

f act!vltIes . lonnat'

types 0 h ological deposit by companng the forma. 1 sp . IOn of

- '6e arc ae . ,atla!

a, s~el..l nd uantitative propertIes (sens.u Rathje and Schiff ,assQ-

elill.JOnafl, ah qrchaeologicaJ assemblage with pr. edictions gen er 1982:

64-5) 0 t at arcn . f h'" erated f

. . I rput assemblages rom eac actiVity In the b h Or

hrporbetlca OUMagers 1975). Beyond reconstruction hO\"ev e baviora.1

h (e.g. see > ... er, eh

c aJJ1 hai . deJs also supply many of the relevant variables ( aVI_

oral c am mo . .. d 1. such a

f . 'I'ry social group, conjome e emenrs, frequency J . S

cype 0 acnv , I h ' OCatlo

d ts) and rheir associated va ues, t at may be used to d fi n,

an outpU . I . "f e ne the

b d 'conditions or "behavlora context 0 a general prin ' I

oun 3IJ ClP e Or

experimenral Jaw.

Behavioral contexts

A behavioral context, the locus of a "process," is a problem-specific u it of analysis (Walker et al. 1995: 4). Such units bring together for exa~:_ nanon and comparison behavioral interactions that share certain characteristics - termed critical variables - that are relevant to the research quesrion(s) at hand (Walker and LaMotta 1995). Behavioral COntexts are particularly useful as exploratory tools: First, the researcher tentatively specifies a principle, or experimental law, that explains regularities or variation in a limited set of behavioral observations. Next, one would draw together a wider array of cases documenting broadly similar behaviors in order to define more precisely the boundary conditions of ~he process described by the tentative explanatory principle. In some msr~nces, a behavioral Context may incorporate behaviors with high spatlotemporal contiguity (similar to a "cultural context" as traditionally defined), but for other research questions behaviors drawn from apparently dis,sirni~ar societies in diverse times and places are brought together (pOSSibly Including ethnographic, historical, ethnoarchaeologlcal, andlor archaeological cases). The specific historical or "cultural" circumstances withIn who h h b h . ." b dd d n

d IC t ese e avioral observations are em e e,

an upon which th' I

", ey are seemmgly contingent are irrelevant so . ong

as vanatlon In th' , I

. bl ose contmgencies does not affect the values of cnnca

vana es.

Boundary co di , d . f 'I

variabl d" ~ mons, efined by particular values for a set 0 C[ltIca

es, e unn the b h ' I . ' '1 The

numb d . e aviora Context of an explanatory pnnclp e.

er an types f " I . h es-

rion Crir: I '. 0 crItlca vanables are specific to the researc qu

, ntlca vanabl . b h 'oral

interaction th es can mclude the specific form of the e aVI ,

facts, the ~ e segment(s) of the behavioral chain(s) of the relevant a~) pe and scale of behavioral component (i.e. "social groUP

Behavioral Archaeology 25

Examples of Critical Variables

Behavioral component

Behavioral chain segmenttst

Type of artIfact

SpeCIfic InteractIon

individual materials procurement ceramic jar

household manufacture bone awl

rirual sodality use corn cob

matrilineal dan abandonment


dig up raw clay grind long bones

use to asperse WIth water ritual structure dismantle and burn roof

Figure 2.3 Examples of critical variables and associated values

involved, and, for some questions, the relationship of the behavior (via "linkage factors," see below) to other activities in the behavioral system (see figure 2.3 for examples). We note that a similar comparative methodology - based on cross-species comparisons of critical variables - has been applied by behavioral ecologists to develop principles, specific and general, for explaining variation in some aspects of animal morphology, behavior, and social organization (e.g. Krebs and Davies 1993: ch. 2), For example, a "niche" could be modeled as a behavioral context within which an experimental law of adaptive behavior is operative,

A hypothetical example serves to illustrate the defin~tion and use of a behavioral context, and to distinguish this comparative method from ethnographic analogy and the direct historical approach (see also, Skibo 1992: ch. 2). Suppose a behavioralist were interested in the spa~lal dl~ferentiation of disposal behaviors involving worn-out ceremomai.a.rnfacts (e.g. see Walker 1995). Based on a limited n,umber of empirical observations derived from archaeological fieldwork In the Pueblo South-

, hesi h bi t sed In cererno-

west, for instance, one might hypot esrze t at 0 lec s u ,

nial activities were disposed of in locations apart from disposal areas used for domestic trash - for example, in specialized ceremonial mldde1ns,

, , d d ri I ms To test the genera It)

shrines cemetenes or aban one ntua roo . f

" ld d rogerher examples rom

of this behavioral principle, one wouraw h

h I 'I s to document at er

diverse ethnographic and arc aeo ogica case 0 ld

1 d d esnc objects. ne wou

instances of disposal of cerernoma an om " lues

, . . f h di posal actIVIties as va

then observe the spatial distribution 0 t ose IS h he si and

h .. I iables sue as t e size

were allowed to vary for at er cnnca varia , , h di I

. biects a d erformmg t e isposar.

type of the social group ownmg the 0 jects a~ , p d location and

d f 'I" . ritual praetltloners, an

egree 0 specia ization among I' ht find that the

Context of use. Hypothetically, the arc~~eo ~g~t ~~~ie objects occurs

spatially differential disposal of cerem00l3 an om

LaMotta and M' h

tc ael B '

when the ceremonial ob' . SChtffer

pnc\[s In non-localized I~ctslare used in ritu 1 ~

. . ~ ntua . . as

lISC IS restricted to th h sodalIties but . perforllled b

ahles and their associ:tedOusehold Or d~mes~~t w~en the I: SpeCjali~ the behavioral Context to ::~~es - ~reatly overs~nlt., These ~r~;' of ritua~ t:.'()urse, this would b J Ich this hypoth . mphfied he ICal \tar'

e On y the fi etlcal· re - d I·

behavioral pattern ar d I rsr step in the Pnnciple a ~scribe

ses by observing ~ha: e~;:c:esearcher ~ould w~~~~ess of eXPI~~:~s. ~f the spatial properties of suc: ~~~nge~ ~n other vari~~~st Ot~er hyp!:~1S

The behavioral context ap °hsa ehaviors. es might haVe e-

. bI proac em I . on

varia es and associated val s crnp °YIng carefull d

di hi . ues, can be Y efi d

lrec.t Istoncal comparisons B h . Contrasted With ne critical

h· . e aVJOr 1 . . analo'

grap IC analogy in how th . a Contexts diff f glcal and

he comparatIve er rom h

met ods used to establish th b dari COntext is defined et n.o.

ti 11 ' e . oun arIes of h . ' and In th

rona y, comparIsons berw h t at campa' e

b een arc aeolo' I f1Son T d'

aS,ed o~ broad si.m~larities between th;I:~u~nd e~~nographic c~se:::~

their regional affilIatIOn or general I I f ~res under study_

D' . . eve 0 SOCIOP iiti I" e,g.

etermmants for sirnilarirns or diff . Oltlca complexity"

11 erences In sp '£1 b h .

genera y sought not in the critical variabl I eCl.c e avior(s) are

texts, but in overarching characteristics e; e:p oyed ,10 behavioral Can. t~eir environments); hence, the use of si; t e socle~les Or cul~res (or "Inference tha t if two or more things agr~ee ;~thaloglcal reahsom.ng - an

h 'II one anot er In Some

respects t . ey WI probably agree in others" (Merriam- Webster 1985. 82'

see also Salmon 1982· 61) Th h h' ' ,

. . us, t e yporhesis-resr procedure used

to define the boundaries of a behavioral context is characteristically absent from many examples of "ethnographic analogy." Direct historical analogy, in which similarities between two or more behavioral systems are simply asserted based on the historical and genetic relatedness of the groups involved, employs a comparative logic that is even less rigorous. For example, in certain research contexts a behavioral!st might attempt to explain prehistoric ritual disposal behaviors o~ prehistoric Pueblo groups by examining the determinants of variatio~ In those

b h . ' d Z OJ descene aviors among, for example, their modern Hopi an . u. I .

d . ' . b havlora pat ants. However, even assuming historical contmuity III e I' 'ted

. only Hlll

terns, this narrowly defined behavioral context permIts. . ues-

. . , . bl h behavIors In q

testmg of the effects of other critical vana es on t e . f those

tion, and provides only one (idiographic) level of expla~atlo~h~r unrc' behaviors. The behavioral researcher is more likely to 100 WOh which to

. 1 t xt throug

lated groups to define a broader behavlOra con e

identify a more general principle of behavior. 'b'l'.·n the design of

. - d 1 f fleX! I lty I· b 13\'-

Behavioral contexts permit a great ea 0 . od the en

I I Pansons a research, while ensuring that cross-cu rura com

Behavioral Archaeology 27

ioral principles derived from them are bas d . .

analysis (critical variables) that are defined c~ea ~n cOdmparable uruts of

" . rly an concretely Wh

comparative research 1S structured in this fashi f . '. en

. d ith h . 1On, many 0 the pitfalls

assocIate· Wit t e use of ethnoarchaeological dat f erh .'

" I " b id d a or 0 et nographic

ana ogy can e aVOI e (e.g, see Binford 1985; Cordell et al 1987.

Dunnell 1996: 115; Gould 1978b 1980 1985· O'B . d H' II '

hiff ' , , nen an a and

1995; Sc I er 1978; 1995a: ch. 14; Watson 1982; Wylie 1995) .

Activities and behavioral systems

Having defined "behavior" above, we now explore some other units of analysis. The framework for analyzing activity change outlined b Schiffer (1979, 1992) provides our main point of departure for this di:cussion. This framework serves as a springboard for formulating nomothetic questions about behavioral change at the activity and systemic scales, and for suggesting appropriate lines of research for answering them.

We begin with a model in which the "social system" or "culture" - a common unit of analysis among archaeologists - is recast in behavioral terms. A behavioral system, then, is a set of patterned behaviors that articulates a human group with the physical world around it and with other semi-independent behavioral systems. A behavioral system includes people and only those elements of the material world with which they actually (i.e. physically, visually, chemically, acoustically) interact. Such a system is comprised of activities - patterned behaviors that process matter, energy, and information. Any activity is linked directly (a one or more other activities in the behavioral system through the exchange of matter, energy, and information - the nature, direction, rates, and other constant or variable characteristics of these transfers (termed linkages)


linkage InClors: • Materials



Inform" rion

Inputs and outputs toIfrom other ~crivitits

Inputs and outputs to/trom other activities

Activit)' A

A,riviq' B

Figure 2.4

. flows ("linkages") between

Element, energy, and rnformauon


d MIChael B. SclJlffer 1 "Motta att

28 Vince'" M. LA"


" ///"8,\ 8 ,.".,.,.,\. "

~--~~ ~ ,

" ,

, ,

(0 (0 //

~8/ _/-//

BehavIoral Archaeology 29

how change processes are initiated from with' b h '

di h h h mae aVloral sy t

unders,tan 109 ow sue c ange processes spre d h s em, and

b d "II a to or er act" .

texts, has een - an WI continue to be _ a" , IVlty con-

h major topic of behavioral

researc .

We prop, ose that change processes are ofte '" d

I ' . I' k n initiate and spre d

through a teranons 10 In age factors between a ti "Th a

.. f her.for i c IVttles. e substitu-

tion of one activity or anot er, for mstance is likely to i I

in inputs and outputs (linkage factors) ~ossibly c~ I~VO ve ab change

, h . , , ith hi usmg su sequent

changes In or er actrvities Wit W ich the replaced act" 'ty f

.' bsti IVI was ormerly

linked. Activity su stitunon or change may result from th I

" f e rep acement

in an acnvity 0 :me or more elements (people or materials) with func-

tionally n~n-eqUivalen~ counterparts. Elements possess specific formal and behaVIoral properties - performance characteristics - that are c 'I

I " " rucia

to that e ement s interactions 10 a specific activity. U the performance

characteristics of a substituted element differ from those of the element it replaced, the fit between the substituted element and the activity may be sufficiently imperfect to alter activity performance, possibly leading to changes in linkage factors and far-reaching behavioral changes.

The box overleaf shows a simple example to illustrate the use of the model. The point of this example is to demonstrate that linkage factors provide a useful framework for examining change processes among related activities. The change in performance characteristics of a single artifact type can result in far-reaching behavioral change; however, the direction and extent of such changes largely depend on how activities are linked with each other.

Research both on the processes through which activity and element change may be initiated, and on human responses to technology ~nd activity change, is being pursued rigorously by behavioral archaeologists, Within the context of activity performance, human responses to element substitutions and to changes in linked activities depend (1) on how those changes modify linkage factors (inputs) for the activity in ~u~s~ionj (2) on which linkage factors (outputs) for that activity are prioritized; (3)

. . I . s that can or must be

on the technological and behaviora compromIse . '.

made to offset changes in linkage factors and in acnvrty performa,n~e, and (4) on the availability and interpretation of feedback from a~t~vlty performance. For example behavioralists have addressed ma~y 0h t lese

, d d h f understandmg uman

Issues while developing metho an teary ord (

. . desi facture an use see

mteractions with artifacts dunnges1gn, manu ,

below, "Technology"). . havi I rocesses that

We currently suggest four broad families of be avrora Pd'fications in

, h d .' h ge and cause rna I

mig t initiate element an aCtiVIty c an , . . . . h' a behavioral

h d organi ' of scnvices Wit in

t e nature, structure, an orgamzation







KEY: 0 Activity

0' Environmenr (natural resources) ........... Linkage (specified _. by linkage factors)

.... - ....

( '; Analytical

""_/ boundary for

behavioral system

Figure 2.5 Model of a behavioral system comprised of linked activites

bemg specified by linkage [actors" (see figure 2.4). Flows of matter, energy, and information establish patterned relationships among activities, leading to varying degrees of interdependence - direct or indirecr, strong or weak - among all activities in a behavioral system (see figure 2.5),

A behavioral archaeologist seeking to explain change in an activity would look first to changes In directly and closely linked activities and to proxunare vanation in linkage factors, and second to the structure of Interdependent activities within the system to identify more distant

Sources of change Altho h b h ' I h ' ..

" . ug e aviora c ange processes may be iruti-

ated by external" phe (1"

nomena e.g. c imatic change immigration) the

nature, extent and pe ' f h ..' , ,

strongly d. t·', d brslste.nce a c ange within the behavioral. system '.s

e ermme y the st f I' k . .

chat system. ructure 0 in ages among activities within

Certainly, not all behavioral ch '" ,

from the envlronme t f ange IS initiated by variation in inputs

n Or rom external behavioral systems. Explaining

d Michael B, Schiffer 30 Vincent M, LaMotta an

are confronted with a behav-

f h uristic purposes, we ,

Suppose, or e ised of only three activities:

ioralsystem compnse

A Food procuremenr through fisbi?g

, d sumptlon

B Food prepara[Jon an con

C potter)' making

'sJda' r>. 50000 kcal fish/day 0

o 0,29 cook 109 Jar ~ 0 4 .

C . Food preparatlon F~o~ procurement:

Ponery making and consumption Fishing

. , . I' ked to each other via flows of people, arti-

These acnvmes are In .'. '

f d 'nformation - of which linkage factors we WIJ1

acts, energy, an I . h

id J few for this example. Let us assume that this be av-

consi er on y a I' ;Y ,

ioral system consists of a single behavioral componen~ - ~ large

(IS-person) extended family living on a~ .J~olated PacI,fic Island. Food procurement (activity A) consists initially of fishing alone, Fishermen in our behavioral system employ modern rod-and-reel technology, acquired through trade, to catch fish at a rate of 15 fish/day. Activity A is thus linked to activity B, food processing and consumption, by a linkage factor specified as 50,000 kcal fish/day (input) - sufficient to feed our 25 people. Food processing (activicy B) involves the stewing of fish in ceramic cooking jars, which break or wear out at a rate of about 2 jars/week. Activity B is therefore linked to activity C (pottery making) by a linkage factor of 0.29 jars/day (input).

27,000 kcal wild plantslday

0.10 cooking Jars/day

~ 0.0 I s!otagt jar>lday (-:\ 23 000 k 1 f hid

\ L ) • \!__) of' ca s ay

Ponery makmg F ._-1

fJ1J(1 preparatIon

and consumptIon

Food procurement:


Food procurement:


Next, suppose that most of our 6 h '

or wear OUt an. d cannot b 1 s .ermen s rod~-and-reels break

f de rep aced perh d he vici

o trac e relanons (i e th ' '. aps ue. to t e VICIssitudes

. . ere IS a chan ' link

respect to the input of nge m. I age factors with

new rods-and-reels for activity A). For a

BehavioTal ArchaeOlogy 31

time, at least, they are replaced with simple fi hi

do not possess the same performance ch cane ~ ~ng poles which

] f hi aractenstlcs as d

reel. As a resu tot IS element substitutio . , ro -and-

obtain fish _at a rate of 7 per day, changing ~~ ~:~ry A can o~ly activity B {input of 23,OOOkcal fish/day _ ins Hici ge fact,or wah

1· Thi u cient nourish

for the popu ation], 5 modification in link f menr

. .' A dB' age actors berwe

aC(lVItleS an requires that some behavio 1 h en

basi lori d ra c ange OCcur s

that the aSK ca one nee s of the community ca be 0 0

luti . hr i I he i n met, ne pos-

sib~e .s? utflon midg r mV~lvde tl e initiation of new food procurement

actlVlnes ocuse on WL p ant foods, This would

, ' foraci . , create a new

actiVity (D, o~agmg) linked to acrivrtv B via an input of 27,000

kcaVday of wild plant foods. Although this new activity ld

h ' . f waul

allow r e commuruty to meet Its ood needs, it would also intro-

duce a new element (plant foods) with new performance characteristics into activity B. If preparation requirements for this food differ substantially from those for fish, infonnation flows between activities Band C might stimulate potters to develop ceramic vessels with performance characteristics appropriate for cooking these new foods. Linkage factors from activity C to B. then, might change as well. Obviously, many other behavioral changes might occur as linked activities are compromised by changes in linkage factors.

system. We note that these processes are not all mutually exclusive and

that additional processes will be recognized in the future. .

First, element and activity change can be caused by massive and rapid changes in performance characteristics of eleme~ts. For example, disease epidemics, leading to morbidity and mortah~y, can alter t~e performance characteristics of human, plant, and animal elements III activities and often lead to widespread behavioral change and even structural modification of societies, community reorganization, and large-

scale migration. . ' .' h di ectly

Second as noted above changes in input from actlvloes t at f d

.) "I s may have pro OUD

articulate a behavioral system With natura r.esouree , f

hid' ts may arise rom

effects on that behavioral system. Sue a tere. mpu, h xtractive

h' . f changes m tee

e anges III the natural environment or rom . h must

. , , d f . thi s reason researc ers

actiVltles themselves (or both),. an or I d chan e processes at

be careful to specify the exact lmkage factors an g


d A·lichoel B. Scbiffer

1 L \lotta 011 1) , 1 Vincent 1'. oJJ

J_ . . n historically has led to repeated

. I "penmenratlo I . I di

Third. technoioglCa ex d behavioral change. Techno ogrca mo ifi-

sodes of technologICal and - d manufacture stag.es may produce

epr ) the esrgn an. . if

'anons /experimenrsat h acrensrics (inventions) and -1 these

'- . rformance c ar d iznif

eie-ments \\'Im new pe d d for use - possibly lea to srgm cant

new arnfacts are WIdely a °yTite h oloo-v")" Importantly, the adoption

, , below, ec n 01 " dJ

actlVJn" change (see il t1tf.oresee11 ramifications an or un.

. I· ften ental S I I' .. .

of Dew techno ogles 0 h. h contribute through acnvity linkages to

predicted brproductS w ic may

widespread beha\'iora~ tz; some research questions it is useful

F h we recognIze r at f i di id I

ourn , from the perspective 0 10 IVI ua actors

ramine change processes , b

to ex. . J enrs ("social groups"). Many questions a out

dlor behaviOra compon d

an " th I rionshipls) between structure an . age. ncy, or

~sOCL31 power., e re a I .

.. I . hen phrased in behavioral terms - can be addressed

polirica economy - w .. . ' . f k

from such a perspective within the activity a.nalysls ramewor (e.g.

Ad 1996· Cameron 1999; Nielsen 1995; NIelsen and Walker 1998; Wa~rr; 1998'b; Walker and Lucero 1997). The capacity of individ~als or groups [0 maintain, alter, or redirect th.e .fl.ow~ of pe~ple, matenals, information, and energy among linked acnvmes IS certainly one aspect of behavior that is pertinent to such research. What are the change processes involved? How are such processes initiated? And, what circumstances (behavioral contexts) enable some groups or individuals to modify linkage factors more effectively than others? This is an area where much new research is needed. Nonetheless, we tentatively suggest several behavioral processes through which such changes might be effected (see below, "Formation processes of the archaeological r~cordn). Two asp~cts of these processes merit attention: (1) changes initiated by t?e physical modification of elements during manufacture or ~se (mclu~lflg the ~estru"ction of objects or people), and (2) changes initiated ~~ mformat.lOn (visual, acoustic, chemical, physical) furnished by

an actl\'Jty occurrmg at any . . . bi '1.£ .

. il h '. pomt rn an 0 ject s 1 e history, i.e. activ-

mes enta t e emiSSion of . f· . ., '

ff h bin ormation (VIa Imkage factors) that may

a ect t e su sequent behavi () f h '.

and it is lik I h or SOt e recipients of the information

1 e y t at some change . .. '

such linkage fact ( b I processes are mitiated by variation in

ors see e ow: "C '."

of such processes their . 0' orrunUnICatlOn). A consideration

• " ,1 ongms and eff f h

mdlvldual people beh ' I' ecrs rom t e perspective of

, e aVIOra comp

appr,oach for behavioral I hi on.ems, or sectors provides one

y researc mg s bi lik

economy. u jects I e power and political

. Lastly, in explaining behavioral ch

It should be eVident that d ange at activity and systemic scales

ada ti We 0 not ado t .. ,

P ive assumptions unde I . P , a pnon, the cybernetic or

r YlOg models of b h .

e a vior and social systems

Behavioral Archaeology 33

found, for example, in applications of systems thea r func' .

cultural ecology (~ontra MCGUire 1995: 165). Alt~'u h /Ionahsm, _or

ay explain certain aspects of behavioral system . gd hese theones

m S un er some d-

tions, we recogruze many change processes not ex I' d con 1-

models. Behavioral explanations for change proc xp ame by such

.. . h f acri . . esses must aCCOUnt

for vanatlon In t e types 0 actIVIttes from which s h

d i h I' k f . uc processes are

'Initiated, an In t e 10 age actors by which thev are d

• • J sprea to other


The case stl-tdies

Although the work of constructing a methodological and theoretical framework for an explanatory behaVIOral archaeology has begun, the real work now begins - that of applying this framework to prehistonc, historic, and modern cases of behavioral variation and change. Nonetheless, this skeletal framework already demonstrates much potential for exploring new areas of human life in a behavioral fashion, and for reexamining some of the more traditional concerns of behavioral archaeology from a new, explanation-oriented perspective. To illustrate, we furnish discussions of a number of research areas that are currently being pursued by behavioralists. Some topics may seem fa~iliar ("Te~?nology," and "Formation .processes. of the archa~olo~lCal ..record ); others enter realms not previously explored by behavioralists ( Communication" and "The 'big' questions"). Although we have arranged these to~ical discussions in approximate order by increasing sc~le of behavioral complexity, several scales of behavioral phenomena are in fact addressed under each topic.


•• ,0 1 aspect of all human

The communication of information is a. cntica ib the forward

. ... and contri utes to

behaviors, Information cues mte. ractlOns, . I' kage factors _

. . . , . for t on flows - Via In

motion of activities; moreover, m orma 1 b h . 1 system's activ-

dinan ng a e aviora

establish cohesion and coor marion amo. h Of cts play signifi-

. , I . d b chaeolog1sts t at arn a

meso It is ~ide 'Y recogmzec ~ ar 0 Wobst 1977). In seeking to

cant roles III human commUfllcatlOn (e.g. d t d conventional

. .. h 1 . t ha ve a op e ,

apply this insight, many arc aeo ogisi s. nd humanities (for

h . , . £ h SOCial SCIences a .

t eones of cornmumcanon rom t e bl b cause these theones

Thi . regretta e e

examples, see Littlejohn 1991). IS IS

d Michael B. Schiffer

34 Vil,cellt M. LaMotta all .

, Jrernative beha vioral

however, an a

theory now

BehaVioral A h

. rc aeology 35

senders and responding accordingly. That thi

f h I ' I' f IS aCCOUnt b

ProcesS 0 arc aeo ogica In erence is no acc·d. resern les the

I, b h ' I ent: the new

tion theory genera izes e avioral models of' f communica_

.. h In erence to LI'

of human co~mun~catlon (Sc iffer and Miller 1999b. a Instances

analyses, the Investigator may wish to collapse h iu ch, 4). In certain

I d I . t e tree rol .

but the three-ro e mo e IS the more general 0 es Into two,

Another significant flaw in extant Communicnet: h . .

. I I " a Ion t cones IS th h

Permit only peop e to p ay commuOlcative roles y. at t ey

. . I . . et, 10 everyda 1'£

humans acqUIre consequenna mformation from th f' y I e

plants, rocks, animals, and artifacts, and they infer th per ~rrnances of

. 1 d h""" Th e actions of non-

matena, sen ers sue as spmts, e behavioral rh f .

ithi eory 0 CommUni

cation, however, operates Wit In a behavioral Context th ffi', -

. , .. at IS Sll cientiy

broad to mcorporate mteracnons of this kind as well Thi h .

. • IS t eory permits

interactors of every kind to play any role so long as th h h

. . f h . . ey ave t e

requISite per ormance c aracterisncs (~.g. a receiver must have a sensory

apparatus and be capable of responding), This move forces the' _

.. h f Invest,

gator to ascertain, 10 eac case 0 communication, from which inter-

actors - whether people or not - the receiver obtained information.

The behavioral theory reorients the study of human communication by emphasizing the need to explain receiver responses. ln so doing, the investigator models the relational knowledge that is keyed in by the receiver in a specific communication context- defined by an activity occurring in a place. Such relational knowledge, examples of which are called correlons, has been acquired by the receiver through genetic and ontogenetic hard-wiring and by participation in life history activities. In brief, many correlons probably resemble experimental laws and ernpirical generalizations relating sender behavior to vanation 10 emitter performances. The processes whereby the receiver builds (learns) correions, and determines their boundary conditions, may be likened to the construction of behavioral contexts by the analyst seeking to delimir the boundaries of a principle of human behavior (see ab~ve); her~, however, events and observations in a person's life history furmsh a t~stmg ground for establishing the validity and boundaries of a correlon (10 contrast co the more specific body of cases used by the analyst to estabhsh bou.ndaries for a behavioral generalization). The explanation of .a recelfver

. .' . k th consequential per or-

response requires the investigator to invo e e .

mances of emitters as well as the correlons that have come IItrO play in

iorali d it IS an enormous

that context The task ahead for behavlora IStS, an H

. f d ling correlons. ow-

one, is to develop scientific methodol.ogy .or .mo e 1 modeled rigorously

ever, we contend that correlons can in pr~clple b;9b' 83-8)' after all,

(for some suggestions, see Schiffer and Miller 19· ,

marginalize a rrifacrs;

eXists. mmon1y broad view of communica-

· . b ·It on an unco "f'

This rheorv IS, UI inf . n among people and artt acts wI,thin

. f Ul ormaClO .

rion: the cransrrusslon 0 cnng the theory, Schiffer and Miller

('vitles In consrru f cornmuni .

and between ac I' nrional theories 0 communication are

999b) gue that conve .

(1999a. 1 ar . I, d r symbolic language as the paradigm for

flawed because they. tac~t) aTh~p move constrams the kinds of questions

IJ h communIcatJOn, IS d I'

a uman k bout information transfers, an resu ts in a

that investigators can as a and symbol neither of which are behav-

· J ced focus on meanmg , . bri fl

~sp a ( Iso Gel! 1998). We now summarize fie y argu-

ioral phenomena see add - 1

f h of com.munjcation not groun e III anguage.

merits in avor a t eory . h

Th I paradigm enforces a concern WIt the person who

e anguage , ' .

· . munl'cative performance; he or she IS often called the

ongmates a com , . .

"sender." Investigators attempt to scrutinize the se~der s intent .and mter-

prer [he symbols being employed. In, contrast, Schiffer and ,MIller argue that analyses should be oriented With respect to the receiver, focused on his or her response to the information acquired from performances of other interacrors, Importantly, in this behavioral framework the investigator can treat any human performance as a receiver's response.

Language-based formu lations a Iso marginal ize "non - verbal" comm unicarion modes, such as tactile (mechanical), visual (including most artifacts as well as gestures and postures), and chemical (based on taste and smell), Schiffer and Miller maintain that information obtained through an.Y communication mode is capable of cuing a receiver's response. Thus, privileging the verbal mo.de skews our understanding of how people actuall~ secu~e the mlorm~t1o.n that they act on in everyday activities. The antidote IS t~ shed a pnon assumpnons about the importance of specific

cornmurucanon modes - verb I b 1 '.

. , a or non-ver a - and to investtgate in

particular .mstances of communication, which modes actually supply'the receiver With response-cuing information.

Conventional theories of comm '. .

d urucanon recognize 0 I tw 1

sen er and receiver In el" . n y 0 ro es,

. ImmatlOg the "two b d " . .

and Miller posit three roles. d . - a y constramt, Schiffer

which is always inferred b es·hsen e~ ermtrer; and receiver. The sender,

'. y t e receiver (and s be "

Imparts lOformation by m d'fy' h ° can e supernatural"),

hal 109 t e pr . f

actor, t e emitter J'USt a opertie, 0 the second inter-

. ., s a potter pai h f

emmer's performances _ , mrs t e Sur ace of a bowl. It is the

rh h· e.g. a pot s de " "

at t e receiver senses and which c~ratl~n performmg visually -

through lflference. In everyda '. provide hmlfher with information quentlal mformation from y.afctlvJtles, receivers acquire much conse-

arn acts, makin drv j

g Sun ry Inferences about

d M' I el B Schiffer

, L Motta an tc J(1 ,

36 Fmc!!1It M. fl , . ' ,

'h teriality of a person s biology and Ilfe-

ded In t e ma . f '

.;orre!ons are groun . h rtifact-based theory 0 communIcation

history activities (for anot er a '

see Thomas 1996)" J b on communication has so far been

h h behavlora researc f di

Air aug 'J (' e on the workings 0 iscrete person-

d he i teractIOn sea e I, '

[oeuse at r e ,m ptimistic that work on the role of cornmn,

object JO[eractJO~s), 'lV'e are sOses at higher scales, i.e. within activities and

, ion 10 beha VIOra proce ,

mcsno ,',' a behavioral system, Will develop apace (e.g. see

between actH'mes 10 db k f if

, d Skih 1997 on the impact of fee ac rom arn act per-

Schiffer an I a , ' , I'

f on artifact design actiVitIes). In subsequent examp es, we POlOt

armance " d ' f '

, here such research on commUDlcatron an In ormation

to JOstances w

flows might prove useful.


As stated, artifacts and technologies are a critical focus for behavioral research at all scales. Studies of technologies usually begin with inferences about specific activities in an artifact's life history. Countless correlates as well as c-transforms and n-transforms facilitate these studies which treat all kinds of technological materials. Low-level inference~ about life-~istory activities, now prevalent across the discipline, furnish a fou~datlOn for building higher-level inferences about social and beh~vlOral ph~nomena affected by and affecting the technologies being studied (~athJe and Schiffer 1982: chs 4 and 10; Sheets 1975). For example, inferences about migration (J, L. Adams 1994- Lyons 1999)

and exchange (Zedeno 1994) b f '

\ hi h bl h . can. e ounded on techno.iogical studies

v IC ena e arc aeologisr '

historical questions with s now to adns,wer many traditional culture-

B h 'I' unaCCUS[ome ngor (Stark 1998)

e avrora ists also build th ' ,.'

variability and change Th ehones, for explammg technological

. ese t eones c b d' id d .

groups, which are defined 'h. an e IVI e into three

hi wit respect to the st ,

istory. U1vention comm .' 1" e stages In a technology'S

h I' ) ercia rzauon d d '

arc aeo ogisn conflate th ,an a Option. Traditionally

ese stages m ki " ,

research questions in behevi I ' a illg It Impossible to formulate

for a f ' viora terms. Th ' f . ,

spects 0 mventive act' . , eones 0 invention account

und d ivmes. com '1"

b erstan the processes whereh mercia IZatlOn theories seek to

threooU~ht tOf market by entrepreneu;s Producft types are designed and

ries 0 ado ti , manu actu d arri

indi idual Pion expla in the a '.,. rers, an artisans' and

IVI ua sand b h ' cqUlSItlOn b h ' ,

and pol" ' e aVJOral component e aVlOr of consumers -

mes), Explaining variability a sd (shuch as companies, churches

n c ange l h '

in eac stage requires

BehaVioral Arch I

, aeo ogy 37

different sets of theories, depending on the s 1 f

' ' ca e 0 the beh '

Linder investigatIOn. aVloral Context


Behavioral theories of inventive activities are i thei , f

for i in th ki n err in aney 0

accounts or increases in t e inds and frequen' f ' .: ne model

, 1 cies 0 InVentlv " ,

in relation to a parncu ar artifact type in a b havi e actiVIties

d .' " die aVlOral syste Th

"stimulate varration mo e (Schiffer 1996) wa f d m. e

S era te to fa di I

on invention processes between behavioral and s I ' , ster ta og

h I •. . e ectlomst archaeo]

gists (for tea tter s views, see 0' Brien et a1. 1998). h ,0-

, h' I'· , tt e model which

operates Wit III a very genera ized behavioral Context k he

" ' ifact' . ,see s t e causes

of lflventlve spurts 10 an arti act s selective environment - ' h '

, k d h f' 1'£ hi r.e, t e activ-

ities lin e to t ose 0 ItS I e tstory, For example if th '

, , , e potters ID a

commUlllty, who make their wares by the coil-and-scrape te h '

, , c mque, are

unable to, keep up wl~h demand for their products (i.e. meet the level of

output dlctat~d by linkage factors with ,other activities), they might expenment With ways to speed up production {holding constant the size of the labor pool}. Experiments might include throwing off the hump, using the fast wheel or molds, or altering vessel designs to streamline the hand-building process. The stimulated variation model stresses that invention does not entail adoption: after the period of experimentation, the potters might reject all of these inventions.

Hayden (1998) has developed a model to explain the invention of a number of prestige technologies. This model suggests that every human society having in excess of 200-300 members potentially provides the appropriate demographic and economic conditions (behavioral context) in which a small number of "aggrandizers" can emerge. Where resources are concentrated and abundant, permitting the accumulation of "surpluses," aggrandizers may be able to divert flows of people (labo~) and resources into inventive activities. Such projects often result in the IOv~ntion of new technologies (e.g. metallurgy, ceramics, and ocean-going vessels), some of which might be widely adopted.


Commercialization involves the transformation of techn~logilcal pIoto-

, h de avadab e to con-

types Into manufacturable products t at are ~a, ' is th design

sumers. An important component of commerclal1zatLOn IS e


d Michael B. Schiffer 38 Vincent M. LaMotta an

desi ccount for the formal properties of arti~

1 h . of eSJgn a . I

Behaviora t fanes . 'behavior during matena s procurement

ib bl [Q an artisan s . ) M . .

facts attn uta e .. , (. technical chOices. any investigators

f e actlVltJeS r.e. hnolozi

and manu actur r the design of particular teet no ogles, such as

have offered models fa 1 ]996' Kuhn 1994), ground stone (J, L.

chipped s: (~:Ja~f~ ge; 7~, 'and ve~nacular architectu.re {McG~ire and Adams 1994, H . d wing inspiration from design theories - not Schiffer 1983)'hsometlml es. raother disciplines, Building on these efforts

1 s very be avicra - Ill., 1 '

a way Skib (1997) constructed a fully hehaviora , general theory

SchIffer and 1 0 'f hi f 'f

. h b h 'oral context is the b e istory a any arn act type

of design w ose e avi

in any society. .: 'b ha iorsv wh]

Thi h sts on the premise that an artisan s . e aviors, W ich

IS [ eory re . ' "

determine a given artifact's design, a~e respon~lve to th~t artlfac,t s per-

formances in activities along its entire hehavioral cham. In pnnclple, then, specific interactions in any a~ivit;, fr~m procurement of ~aw materials to discard, can affect an artifact s design so long as the artisan has information about the conduct of those activities (communicated via linkage factors) and the "ideal" performance characteristics required. In practice, however, a great many other factors affect the extent that ideal performance characteristics, appropriate for all activities in an artifact's behavioral chain, are actually weighted in the design process. Among the intervening factors that the investigator needs to consider are the social heterogeneity of the artifact's behavioral chain, which in extreme cases ~a~ impe~e inf~r~ation flow from "downstream" activities, especially In Industrial SOCieties; compromises in performance characteristics necessitated by technical choices having polar effects {lots of sand temper srrengrhens a pot's thermal shock resistance but also decreases its resis~::ce t? impacts}, I~~rningltea,ch!ng frameworks, which accommodate

(L ryth hing from mdlVIdu.ai vanation to a s.o. ciety's "technological style"

ec rman 1977), and diff . . I

' ,. . erences 10 socia power and negotiation out-

Comes among partiCIpants i b h . I h . , , ,

technical choi . f n e aviora c am acnvines, which can tilt

Ices In avor of

Schiffer and Skibo's (1997) b o~e ,group at the expense of others.

requires a great deal of j f ~ avioral theory of design obviously

. , , n ormatIOn about an tif 'b havi ,

actiVitieS, but it promises . hi' ar I act s e avioral cham

d arc aeo ogists th bili

an testable explanations f h ' e a I tty to construct rigorous

Or t e arnsan's decisions,


AdoPtion processes h b

Ad ' ave een of id

OPtion models help one to codnsl erable interest to behavioralists. un erstand

patterns of what culture

BehaVioral A -h

rc aeology 39

historians, g.eographers, and econ.omists called "diffu' '"

nthropOloglsts also study adoptIOn prOces b sian,. EcOnomi

a . ,,' d d . ses, Ut em 1 c "consumptIOn to enote pro uct-acqulsitio b h .' p oy the term

h 1· h n e aVlor (e W·\

tlistorical arc aeo ogists ave long bee' ,g, I k 19%)

~ I 1'. n lnterested ' .

rocesses, on sea es rangmg from household ,In adoption

P1977' Spencer-Wood 1987), and many of S ht~ regions (e,g, South

, t err mod 1

behavioral. e s are quite

The most general behavioral formulation is th t

k a consumer h' h

be individuals, tas groups, and so forth different' 11 ~, w IC can

h ' , ' la y acquire d

whose performance c aractenstlcs are better SUI' ted ,pro ucts

" d to speCific a ti . ,

_ current and anticipate - than are alternative prod (M C i lVltles

3 S hif] d Skib ucts cGUlre a d

Schiffer 198 j c I er an I a 1987j Schiffer 1995b) The : n

th f h' , . e mvesn.

gator assesses e per ormance c aractenstlcs of alternativ d

f" f . "I· . e pro ucts by

means 0 a per orrnance matrix. n constructing a perfo .

. ' . , rmance matnx

one lists pertment activines and the values of contextually I I

h ' , f h re evant per-

formance c aractensncs or t e products being Compared (for examples

see Schiffer and Skibo 1987; Schiffer 1995b: 29-31), Performa '

bl he i , nee

matrices ena e t e mvestigaror to readily display patterns of compro-

mise in the products' performance characteristics and thereby offer explanations for why one was adopted over alternatives,

Other general principles relate adoption patterns to the life histories of individuals (biological variation and social-role changes) and the developmental cycles of behavioral components, especially households. For example, Rathje and Schiffer (1982: 78-80) maintain that age and sex differences among individuals - which often entail participation in differing suites of activities - lead to variation in acquisition behavior. Similarly, individual differences in social roles, income, and wealth also contribute to varied acquisition (and disposal) patterns (e.g, Schiffer et al. 1981).,

Archaeologists have built many behavioral models applying to particular adoption processes, Among the earliest were Binf~rd's formulations about "curared" technologies and the kinds of toolkits adopted by mobile task groups (e.g. Binford 1973, 1979; for a re~iew, see Nelson 1991), The hypothesis that mobility puts severe constramts o~ the tefch-

. .. . bl of influencmg per or-

noiogies adopted by mobile task groups, capa e " . BI d

mance characteristics such as maintainability and reliability (e.g. ee

1986), has been widely accepted.. . d d the "Imelda

In a recent work, Schiffer (1995b: 32-3) a vadnce quisition by

M" ' . inst . es of pro uct ac

areos hypothesis to explain some lOS anch· hich operates

. di id The hypot eSIS, W 1

In IVI uals and behavioral components. . "th 'nvestment of

. hi 'I xt IS that tel

Wit m a very generalized behaviors conte, 1 d to an increase

, formance ea s

reSOurces in an activity, to enhance ItS per ,

d Michael B. Schiffer M LaMotta a11

40 Villcel1t ' .·f rs" (Schiffer 1995b: 33)

. 1 ciahzed] art! ac ." '

, . nona! [i,e. highl) spe repair activities at home are apt

. nirunc I rform car- ,

1I1 U h holds that often pe 'tools One obvIOUS corollary of

Thus ouse 'I' d ar-[(·palr.· ,

' . e man)' specra rze ,c, h wealthier behavioral components

ro acqUlr . h s IS t at . ' h

h 1 eJda Marcos hyper eSI .' and commumtIes) can en anCe

rem d rporatlOnS, dJ . I'

( Peciall)' househol s, co. dd unrless artifacts an or peop e of

es , . d thus a co 95b 32)

man}' actiVitIeS, an " tories (Schiffer 19 : .

, r their lOven d I h 1

restricted functJo~ 0 ba e has contribute many genera ypot ie-

Rathje's Le Proler du Gar g ( RathJ'e and Murphy 1992). Among

, processes see , , 1

ses about consumption mroirive findmg, a tentative aw of

' ' 'the counten

the most fascmanng IS, f b ic commodity - e.g. red meat or sugar

h h Ice a a asr ,

waste, that w en t e pr , are of it is wasted (percentage-wIse)

h r-terrn rncrease, rn ,

- undergoes a s o~ b t because people substitute products that,

by consumers, T~lscome~ a :u basic commodity (e.g. beef), exhibit unalthough they stdl contahlll t teeristics in preparation and consumption

£ if erformance c arac . f '

a~ l~r P d inz rh beef shortage in the spnng 0 1973, Amen-

acnvmes Thus, unng r e , , d h

gh f b f as well as other beef-containing pro ucts t at

cans bou t cuts 0 ee I did

h h d iously consumed and which they apparent y 1. not

r ey a nor preVl ,

k h re well During the shortage, households wasted beef

now ow to prepa , .

at a rate three times that found for non-shortage months (~athJe and Murphy 1992: 61-3)., Although this tentative. law was denve~ from empirical observations in a market-based subsistence economy, It may well be applicable within a more generalized behavioral context.

In studying technology today we are fortunate that, over the past few decades, archaeologists of every theoretical persuasion have furnished countless experimental laws upon which we can now build new theories for explaining technological variability and change. A key behavioral insight is that many theories are needed for explaining aspects of each stage of a technology'S history: invention, commercialization, and adoption, We expect rapid progress in this area because interest in theories of technology is becoming widespread across the discipline.

F . .

ormation processes of the archaeological record

Eventually, most technologies I

OUt break di h" peop e, and other material elements wear

' , ie, or at ecwlse com t b d .

record. While questl'o b. h. e 0 e eposlted in the archaeological

. ns a OUt ted' d

tant, archaeologists mu t I eSlgn an Use of artifacts are impor-

s a so explain h d h '

removed from activities' b h ' W yan ow objects come to be

logical record by way oftn al e lavlOral system and en. ter the archaeo-

cu tura dep " E

OSItion, xplanations for variabil-

BehaVioral A h

. , rc aeo1ogy 41

' ' cultural deposition, a relatively unde d I

tty rn , 1'. r eVe oped

be framed in terms out ined by behavio I' , area of resea h

can d' ra ists In a rc ,

f formation process stu res, Although fa . ver two decad

o . . rmatlon es

[ns critical and necessary for develOPing b ,pr.ocess research

rerna h h . . etter tnfe

f 5 on how sue researc may also help t '11 ' rences, here We

oCU f d h' 0 1 Un1lI1ate th

' nal aspects 0 ,an c anges In, past behaVioral e organlza_

tIO ..' hi' h systems

Behavwral arc aeo ogists ave long insisted h '

. f d di t at the ar h I

' I record IS a trans orme or lstorted reflect' f c aco og-

rca temS (Reid 1985; Schiffer 1976, 1983, 1985 1~o8n7)oWpast ~eh~vioral

sys ive view of f' ), e maInta h

h transformatlve view 0 ormatIOn processes is In t at

t e 'b 'ld'. necessary so 10

Searchers continue to Ul mferences on unreal' . ng as

re h . IStlC and Unte t d

Ssumptions about t e processes that created that d s e

a h. d ' , reeor , In other

research contexts, owever, eposltlonal behaviors princ' lid'

d b· ) ipa y Iscard

and abandonment, nee not e conSIdered as processes that I b

. 1 f h" ' '" on y a scure

the materIa traces 0 ot er, more mterestmg activities R th d

' , " a er, epositional behaviors can an? should be studied to their OWn right within

an explicitly anthropological frame of reference (LaMotta 1999), S'

di d d mce

these behaviors are con inone an constrained by the same kinds of

material and social relations (linkage factors) that impinge on all forms of human activity, the construction of theory to explain variation in depositional behavior should be a high priority for archaeologists (Tani 1995). Further, cultural deposition often involves more than the passive output of expended materials from a behavioral system; deposition may be linked to other activities via outputs of materials, information, and energy - linkages through which it may "act back" on the behavioral system and initiate change processes (see Rathje ,1995; Walk~r et ,al. 1995), This discussion builds on these ideas and pomts to ways 10 which c-transforms (which stipulate how cultural materials are transformed from systemic to archaeological context via human behavior) can be used

to explore behavioral processes at a variety of scales, ,

The study of cultural deposition (and its counterpart, curation] has

. ti 11 valuable tool for

been recognized for some time as a poren ra y , 1

" f tivities and behaviors

examining variation in the orgaruzation 0 ac 1 S hiff

. . 79 1980' Reid 1985; c 1 er

systems (e.g. Bmford 1977, 1978, 19, '. d' were based

1985), With hindsight it is clear that some of the ea,rI,y stu I bleshaviors that

d . f deposltlOna e

on assumptions about the eterrrunants 0 d 5 hiffer 1999),

' h b I' d (LaMotta an c I

mIg t not be as general as was e ieve ." models to explain vari-

Many scholars offered economic or "least effort b d . ed or curated if ation in, for example, which objects would be siden on ove (e.g, Schif-

h I di t nee resi ence m ,

t e OWner were to undertake a ong- IS ,a 'del in the interpretatlOn

fer 1985). Such a model has been applJed WI Y und the time of

f he floors aro

o assemblages left, for example, on ous

d Michael B, Schtffer ---

I LaMotta all ____

4 J Vmcell( ,\'J, .

- H ve\fer archaeologIsts need to define caref II

d ment. 0' , . hi . U Y

rructure aban on , ' behavioral context, Wit In which an

s. • ndtnons, Of, .' J '. eco_

he boundar} co I xplaJns deposltlona vananon, For exam I

t .' I adequate ye f 'f d ' . P e

nomic prmclP e I' panerns 0 arn act eposmon under .' I 'ht exp am CIr-

such a mode nug, location but even then the relative ene

f e5ldence re , ion rand rgy

cumsranc,es 0 r . d ith artifact curanon (an transport) Or dep

di associate WI '11 b di . 0-

expen rures I ent) behaviors WI e con, ItlOned by th

d hen rep acem e

sinon (an r . d with the abandonment event and with Subs

, f. crors aSSoCiate inkaze f eIm,kage a. I d activities- Since linkage actors vary on a case-

I canon-re ate di f

quent re 0, h cher must have an understan mg 0 those factors

b -case baSIS, t e resear "f if de '

} 'Ju J ast-effort explanatIOn or a speer c eposItional

before mvo ng a e d haeoiozi I di

, dd" 11 ethnographic an arcaeo ogica stu res clearly

event A mona y, d d b d

. h t [here are many discar an a an onment processes _

demonstrate r a . I h

, 11 ong sedentary and semi-sedentarv peop es - t at are not

especia y am d S hif

I" d by a least-effort model (e.g. LaMotta an c 1 fer 1999;

exp arne , Add" I I f

Walker1995; see also Gould 1978a: 831)., mona exp ~natory rame-

works, sensitive to depositional processes In other behavioral contexts, need to be developed. Moreover, it must recognized that because depositional behaviors occur in diverse behavioral contexts, archaeologists need [Q develop methods for matching appropriate explanatory theories to the cultural deposits under study (e.g. Montgomery 1993; Walker 1998b).

We rum our attennon now to the development of several alternative models for explaining variation in discard and abandonment behaviors. Several critical variables need to be scrutinized for defining relevant be~avioral contexts, mcluding (1) the location in which a particular ~bJ~ was deposited, (2) the types of objects deposited together, (3) the lIfe-history stage(s) when an object or architectural space entered the a,rchaeologlcal record, and (4) the types of activities that effect deposi-

tional events. These b h ' I h '

CI e aviora p enomena all beg for explanation.

early, much more focu d h hi'

d II h se et noarc aeo ogical research is needed to

iscern ate factors rh t h

tional behavi b a st,ructure t ese and other aspects of deposi-

Cannon 1983~rs ( ut see ... BInford 1978; Gould 1978a; Hayden and

, papers In Camero d 'T k in Sraski

a,nd Surra 1991) WJ, ~ an lorn a 1993; papers rn Stas I

, we suggest focu " , II I

hnked to discard dJ b smg uuna y on those activities direct y

'f an Or a andonm b havi I

ani acts, energy ad' f ' . em e aviors VIa flows of peop e,

G ' n In ormatIon (d 'b d ' .

eneral questions that b escn e m,terms of linkage factors).

I d mUst e asked " h

me U e (I) To which other '" In pursumg these lines of researc

(2), ~~w does deposition w~i~~lties ~re depositional activities linked? actIVI[Jes, affect linkage f ' entails the removal of elements from How de d ' . actors and the f . . ., ~

J epoSltlOnal beha ' per ormance of linked actrvines:

Viars Contrib ' .

Ute to stabiliry, or initiate change

BehaVioral A h

rc aeology 43

eSses with respect to the structure and '

proe , , ' f organtzati

fl 5 of matenal and In ormation in a behav' 1 on of activities a d

OW I d lora sysr ~ W n

f W' tentative examp es, rawn from ethnoora hi em, e prOvide a

e 'II' h h D-' P IC and h

arch that 1 ustrate ow sue questions . h 1 arc aeologic 1

rese , , ' b h ' mig t cad h a

n of deposltlona1 e aviors and, ultimately t . . to. t e ex plana-

no . . , 0 inSights

, I system>s orgarnzanon. ' Into a behav-

lOra deposi " 1

Cultural eposrnon IS not a ways the casu I b

. " P l' a yproduct f

nerating actlvItles. eop e may remove One 0' 0 Waste-

ge b " r more ob'e ()

hitectural spaces from a ehavlOral system to alt h J ct S Or ar-

c f acti , . d er t e perform

ganization a actrvines, an to redirect flows f . ance and

or , f . 0 matenals I

nerg)' and 10 ormation among activities Such de '. ' peop e,

e , " POSItional b h '

an initiate profound, changes In act,l'vity perform d e aVIOIS

e " duce wi d . ance an , throu h

actiVity hnkages, pro uce WI espread behavlOral change S . g

, h d h . trategles em-

Ployed by srxteent - an seventeenr -century Francisca '. '

I, , . n rnlsSlonanes for

spreading Catho IClsm, among natives of the Amencan South '

d blo reli . west provide apt exa~ples."!'o_ estroy Pue 0 r.ehglOus practices, Franciscans burned

and buned relIgIOUS paraphernalia and ceremonial rooms and kill d native priests (e.g. Brew 1949_; D~zier 1970: 47-52; Nequ~tewa 1~9~: 33-6). By destroying and redirecting these objects and people IOta the archaeological record, missionaries initiated change processes In nattve ritual activities that did effect significant, if temporary, alterations in religious practices. In the process, archaeological deposits consisting of discarded (andlor cached) religious paraphernalia, abandoned ceremonial rooms, and maltreated human remains would have been created (e.g. Kidder 1958; 232-40; Smith 1972: 59-67). Behaviors such as these would be especially disruptive in behavioral contexts wherein activity performance depends on objects or people with performance characteristics that cannot be reproduced easily (if at all) by replacement elements (e.g. ritual activities performed with unique paraphernalia or by specialists with esoteric knowledge),

People might also initiate changes in activities and in linkage factors by creating a specific, visually (and/or acoustically) salien~ event ce~tered on discard or abandonment activities. Such events might furmsh t? receivers information about the individuals responsible f?r the deposhl-

. ' 'I' hi (s) the receIvers or [0 t e

tiona] act and about the latter's re ations Ip s to f d I h

I ") This type a rna e as arger community (or even to "the cosmos"). 1 . f rru-

b .. I ). he i t rpretanon 0 n10

een used commonly {if often implicit y ill t e In e f h orpse

, , . ize th t treatment ate c

ary depOSItIOn: archaeologists hypotheSize t, a d information

and the associated deposition of funerary artlf~cts. cOfldveye [tl'cular con-

b h ' I' lif mdlcate a pa

a out t e deceased person's SOCial ro es ill ire, . d i formation

, . ' dlor imparte 10

struchon of the deceased's former identity, an . d omic roles in

t . d hei cial an econ

o receivers about the mourners an t elf so

I I R 'chitter LuMott,l ;Jlltl MiotIC '

44 \ lIIel't1! M. . -...,-

9f?q. I\lcGUJre 1992: ch, ,Peeble and

Cannon 1 L - , I h vi I

rne C(lJ11mU~llr}' (e,g. • Tille\' 1982). PresuOlab Y. some sue vlsua. per-

K 19-7: ~hJnb and '] d 'Irion would cue su bsequent Inter-

us , J " culrurJ epos - I .

for(l1.lnce~ 10\0' In~. d between the SOLlil groups to which

the sUf"I\'ors an fl'

.JetIO))) between d La.X'iorta 1999}. Be are ernp oymg such a

the}' belol1~ed (KIJndru~ an I'd ha ,'e \'Jc,\'ed the depositional evenr) ~ - k: Who wall ' . model. ant' must JS . • the receivers likely to have obtained by

'h- nfarmwon wert' dissemi d .

"'""Thar :.rec1 C I " Id hat informatIOn be isseromate into other

j And how w au r . . f

rhat t're~r: .: ' d as ibl ' lead co changes in actiVity per, ~rmance and

hnked 31.0\ ItICS an P h) e acri\'l(ies? Since all depositional behav-

I kas fa .ror among r os h .

In In age I. . f . \'I·suall)' we suggest that sue questlOn.s are

. -on\'er III ormation, .

JOfS can c I . f . wan.' contexts but for all other discard and

Pertinent nor on) or rno . J • h h .

. b h .: s as well. We also recognIze t at t ese questrone

3handonmenr e av lor b

I. . 'to answer especially m prehistoric settings, ut we

are nor current' easy , 'd' ,

lid har arrentlon to the spariallocanon of epositional events

are con em t . d wi

. d h properries of objects and assemblages, combme With further

an ro [ c .' 'II b .

research on the roles of artifacts in commuOlcanon, WI egm to supply

{he necessary correlates and c-transforms.

It IS also ~pparent that people may use an artifact by depositing it in

the archaeological record, paradoxical though this may seem to the archaeologist. An example helps to elucidate this behavioral phenomenon: 10 some historic Pueblo societies in the American Southwest, spaces below the ground surface serve as conduits to the supernatural and natural realms (e.g. Parsons 1939: 217, 309-11). People alter the behavror of supernatural entities, or of natural phenomena such as rain clouds a~~ ga~e animals, b)' sending artifacts through this conduit (i.e, by modtrying linkage factors With activities involving supernaturals and forces of nature), The Hopi, for example, bury prayer sticks, clay figurines or \'e~sels of wa~er, sending them as offerings to influence the activities of ram-cloud spirits (kl1tsinam) and other (super)natural forces (e.g. Hieb

1979: 580; Parsons 1939: 270-85' Stephen 1936' 824-9· T" 1944·

147-8) H 'I ..' ., inev .

fl' opr ,a so sacrifice eagles and other birds, burying them in

orma ,graves In cemeteries (Fewkes 1897· Voth 1912· 108) The i _

formation of the b· d f ' " e trans

se rr s rom systemic to hi' I f '1'

rates their journev t h I arc aeo ogica context act l-

y ro r e rea m of the' . . h

petition, With offering f . ( ram spmrs w om they are to

569). In these and ~~n Of ra~n Bradfield 1995: 255-6; Stephen 1936: behaviors modify the li~kot erf cross-cul~ural examples, depositional "otherworldly" activities o;ge actfrs tying human activities to the such depo~itional behavio .natu,ra and supernatural actors. Clearly,

f· rs !nvo ve rna h .

o expended materials Th" re t an Just the casual disposal

an artifact may repre~ent I" r:cog~ltfJon tha. t the breakage and burial of

a use or that bi ,

o jeer IS a significant step

------- BeIJa11iorai A,.cI

I . .' Jaeo/n"'-, 4

ds exp arrung varration In orne depo . , OJ "

[(l\var 1 Sltlonal b h .

I fashion at east. c aVlors - i

una h n a Prn)(

L srly recent researc suggests that u d ~

a ' f' n er SOme ..

CS or sequences 0 events, In the life hi condItions \

even , . 1 hi IStory of .' ear ter

'fact person, aruma , or arc Itectural spac ) an abject Ii '

art! '. I f d . . e may cond . .e. an

f (3 partiCU ar type 0 eposmon or discard Tho. !tlon that ob' ,

OT d" I . ]S IS of h jel:t

I ments use in ntua or ceremony. For ex I ten t e ca"e f

e e . amp e the or

emonial items or spaces IS sometimes acco '. manufacture of

cer '.1' 1 mpaOied by .

b .ng objects, aruma s, or ritua structures int h actIVIties that

rt h d bot e SOCIal I

maJly naming t em an y performing other nt d . rea m by for-

sociated with the birth and naming of human b ~s e p£ assage typically

as k 1900 190 b etngs ( Or Pu hi

pJes, see Few es a, 0; Parsons 1939: 454. Ste e 0 exam-

719-21; Voth 1912: 105-9). These ritual acts set' phen 1936: 151,

(sensu Ko pytoff 1986; Wa Iker 1995), these 0 b 'J I" .ta part, or smgu I.arize

d . C S, spaces and' I animals from ornesnc structures and subsistence f I ntua lif hi h auna and typIC H

set them on 1 e- istory courses t at involve ritualized' a y

d d· d uses and a ntu I

ized aban onrnent or iscaro. Research in the prehi a -

f 1 h d IStorlC Amencan

Southwest, or examp e, as emonstrated that there w

I, hi between ri as sometimes a

non-random re ationsrup erween (inferred) structure d

use an subse-

quent abandonment m~de. Walker et al. (2000) and Wilshusen (1986

1988) observed correlations between the location size and suit f i

" ue a inter-

nal features found in Anasazi pit houses and pueblo rooms, on the one

hand, and the treatment of those rooms at abandonment, on the other (see also Cameron 1991). Large structures with complex, formalized suites of internal features (inferred to have been used in rituals), sometimes placed in plazas and set apart from blocks of domestic structures

tend to have been burned at abandonment - in contrast to smaller struc-

tures with more typical "domestic" features, which were burned rarely. Human remains and/or worn-out ritual artifacts also seem to have been preferentially deposited in such structures during, or after, abandonment. These and other cross-cultural examples suggest a general principle of abandonment: use of an architectural space for ritual activities predisposes that structure to be abandoned in a fashion that differentiates it from other types of structures. The challenge that lies ahead is to explain how linkages and linkage factors established during use condition abandonment activities. One way to approach this problem is to incorporate other critical variables (e.g. size and type of the behavioral c~mponent using and abandoning the structure; types of activities to whl~h abandonment activities are linked' and the linkage factors conoectl.ng th~sle e ) '. b h . I texts III whlCl

vents to define additional (more specific] e avJQfa can. .

va . f thi h neral formulation

na~ts 0 this general principle apply (for t e most ge

of this principle, see Walker 1995).

----- Behavioral A h

.' rc aeolo

, rchaeoioglcal deposits, What we pro . gy 47

froOl a 'd POse here' h

, [so work towar more contextualized d IS t at archa I

gistS a '" un ersta di eo 0- , I behaviors - i.e. mvesugare their links n mgs of de '

tiona f 'I' ges to oth ' POSI-

h vioral system - to aci irate explanation Al h et activities in

be a d several factors that may condition . ,t .ough We have di a cusse .' .' lv i vanatlon' d IS-

h viers rhis list IS sure y mcomplete. Additio 1 In epositional

be anise for unraveling and explaining de n~, research holds great

pror . h I I" POSitional beh '

'II inatlng t e structura re ationships within b h' aVlOrs, for

I um " 'lid . . e aVlOral s

rn vanatlOn m cu tura eposmon and f ki ystems that

gave h h ) or rna lng

material patterns t at ,t ose behaviors create in the sense of the

ord Cultural [ormation processes especiaUy d' d archaeological

rec· . I h ' IScar and b d

nt are behavlOra p. enomena that need to be e \' d a an on-

me 'b xp aine not' di

wrting processes to e controlled. ) lust IS-

The 'big' questions

In the Preface to Behavioral Archeology, Schiffer (1976: ix) acknowledged that the reader would not find in that book any "read - d

f h bia i . y rna e

explanations" or t e ig Issues in archaeology, such as the adoption of

agriculture and ~he develo~ment o~ "civilization." Rather, he suggested that the book might be of mterest If the reader were "concerned to ask these important questions in new ways and to devise more appropriate strategies for answering them" (see also Schiffer 1995a: 235),

To date, behavioralists have seldom engaged these same questions (but see Nielsen 1995), perhaps reluctant to tackle them before having an adequate corpus of behavioral method and theory. Although that corpus of principles remains modest, we believe that questions about some of these phenomena can now be formulated in behavioral terms. In this section, then, we indicate avenues for constructing behavioral explanations for the "origins" of agriculture and the development of complex societ,ies. We emphasize that each formulation is merely one of many possible behavioral approaches to the problem; our examples are intended to be illustrative of the method and its theoretical possibilities rather than definitive statements. We frame both discussions in terms of twO ques-

, . d fi d i s of behav-

tions: (1) how can the process( es) of interest be e ne 10 term , '

, d . . h eral pnnclple(s) ior; an (2) what are the boundary condmons on t e gen. , d 'I d

th d ' ) ~ We provide etar e

at escnbe that behavioral process (or processes '. d

di . ' . ' wluch the secan

I~CUsslons for the first question, and point to ways m,

might be addressed fully in a more substantial analYSiS.

d Michael B. Schiffer

M L Motta an 6 l'illcelti ' a

4 h 1 gicaJ and cross-cuI rural research also

Walker's (1995 ) ethnoar~ ae~:rns in the disposal of portable items

d tl'ned important generaj pa, iries He found that such items, When

I en d· itua actlVl ' ,

rha r had been use In n 'a1 trash") tended to be disposed of in

t (" cereJTlOOl ' . . 11

brokeo or w. oro o,u h f m domestic trash. Ritua y used items·

- 'hed t em ro

ways that dlstmgUls, _ patially separate from domestic trash

d 'ted 10 area:; s , d '

were often epOSI b b d broken, and/or burie at the POInt of

d nded to e urne, d'ff" f

dumps, an re h f d that the spatial I erentianon 0 ritual

lIm ortandy: e oun '1 h .

disposa . ,~. ~esult in the aggregation of ceremoma tras In COn-

disposal faClhtle~ can h that found in Jewish genizahs. Thus, aggrecenrrated d,eposlths, SUfCl! as broadly similar life histories prior to discard

of obJects r at 0 OW ., d d h hvsi

gates . f it I uses) tend to be discar e roger er p YSlcally

(at least in terms 0 n ua 'Th h hi'

h "1 discard behaviors- ese et noarc aeo.oglcal

and/or rhroug Simi ar " . . . fyi d . ,

findings have important implicatIOns for identi mg an mterpretlOg

ritual deposits in archaeological contexts (e.g. Walker et al. 2000), Walker (1995), LaMotta (1996), Karun~rat~e (199?), and Strand (1998), for example, working in the ~rehlstoflc Amencan Sou~hwest, were able to identify an aggregate of object types and faunal species that seems to have been preferentially discarded in abandoned ceremonial structures, These associations, combined with the location of discard, provide compelling arguments for inferring that these objects were members of a ritual aggregate. Explanations for the differential disposal of portable objects, like those for the abandonment of architectural spaces, must account for variation in linkage factors that conditions depositional activities. For example, one explanation for a behavior such as the singularized discard of ceremonial trash is that it restricts the flow of visual information from those activities. Indeed, the burning or burial of ,,:,orn-out ritual sacra may, in some contexts, prevent detailed information aboll,t t?e formal properties of these objects from being acquired bY,non-specla!tsrs, thereby precluding the unsanctioned replication of

artifacts used for interact" ith h ' ,

,. .. mg WIt. te supernatural. ThIS IS only one pos-

Sible explanation that must be tested with additi 1 d d h

omitted co id . f mona ata, an we ave

nSI eranon a man I I' k f

brevity N h I hi y re evant In. age actors for the sake of

,onet e ess t IS appr h i di

variation in ritual b' havi ,oac l.n icates one method for explaining

e aviors mcludmg d ' , hat i fi

on the study of pea pi _ bi ' , . epOsltlon, t at IS based rmly

Th e 0 ject mteractlons

, e foregOing discussion of for ' .

directions we envision f h marion process research, and the new

I, or sue work m lik

ear ier behaviorall'st " , ay seem I e a departure from

wmmgs on th . bi

1976, 1983, 1987) We em h . he su ject {e.g. Reid 1985; Schiffer

, P aSlZe owe h . .

processes must continue f h ' ver, t at research on formation

Or t e purpose f fini

a re rung behavioral inferences

L A10tta and Michael B. Schiffer ~s \,illcellf M. atv

The "origins" of agriculture

. ' d monsrrate that by reformulating the questio

h' b ef exerCise we e ir Is oossibl n

In t IS ne '" '. "'n behavioral terms, It 15 pass! e to emplo

f 'cultural origInS J " Ii f "I Y

o .agn 'J h ' co suggest promlsmg rnes a ernpmca research

anr behavJOra tear} f I . ,.

ext . h I· e most important feature 0 ear y agricultun- IS the

Manv beheve t at r 1 . . I A· R' d (

" f d mestlcated plants and amma s. S ill os 1984) and

development a 0 .' ' j h bl

. d domesticatIOn IS SImp y r e expecta e consequence of

others remm us, 'h' Th '

, h n meddling in the lives of at er species. at being the

perSIstent uma . "d fi' ir b h .

ed to focus on the "meddlmg, e rung It e aviorally so

case, we ne "

chat we can discern which behavIOral theones are relevant, Once that is

done, it should be possible to posit the general factors that might lead people to adopt agricultural acti,vities.

The examples in this diSCUSSIOn are based on, sex~ally reproducing plants, but our formulations should also apply, WIth litrle modification to other plant and animal species. We focus on the biological life histories of plants, paying careful attention to the intersection of those life histories with human activities.

The genetically determined life history of a sexually reproducing plant can be divided into a number of behaviorally relevant stages, such as g~rmination, growth to sexual maturity, production of seeds, and seed dispersal, Humans can intervene at any stage, but when people meddle consistently in ~re-harvest stages of many plants, we tend to label those groups as "agriculturalists." However, we should not forget that, on a plant-by-plant basis~ t?e extent of human meddling lies on a continuum.

I~very human actl:lty occurring in the cultural life history of plants, ~~ ectehd or farmed, Involves tech. nologies. In wild-plant collecting activ-

tnes, a ost of technologies k

knives po di can ta e part, such as digging sticks baskets

, un mg stones, and hearth . h . I "

transport and storage F dis, r ere maya so be technologies for

of pre-harvest technoiog~rme hP. ahnts ais? tend to involve a large array

, res, W IC can mel d t I fot cleari

prepanng fields weed' . , u e 00 s or c eanng and

tional technolog'ies _ (mg, pest ,re~uctlOn, and irrigation. Many addirom speCIalized a hi

pottery - often parti " rc itecture to milling stones to

elpate In post-harv . , .

crop rransport seed stor h II' .est actiVItIes of cultivars such as

s ' . ' age, s e 109 wm . "

ervIng. We suggest then th t ' nowmg, grinding, cooking and

" '. ,. " a One wa t f '

OfJ~lOS . is as a question abo . he o. rarne the problem of farming

man~pulation behaviors and t . hUt It e, differential adoption of plant-

conSIstent!· d ec no ogles. To' h '

techn. ol . y to a Opt pa rticular beh' Wit, w y do peo pie begin

ogles fa " avioral st t ' ,

lif hi r mteractlng with I ra egies and associated

e lstones of plants? p ants during pre-harvest stages in the

Behavioral Ar I

, C 1aeolo ,

In seeki~g answers to this q~estion~ w~ should find g) 49

, I theOries about technological vanabdity d h that extant beh ora lai h d an e an ( avI. jicable, To exp am tea option of a technolo ge see above) are

apP eS its performance characteristics in re] ti gy, the InvestiDat

aSsess ' .' A . a Ion to I ,t> Or

1 l'es in relevant acttvities. complete anal ' f a ternatlve tech-

nO og d 'I d YSlS 0 any

, e US to construct etai e performance . one case would

requlr , '£1 11 ' matnces for h

J atives to spec! c co ectmg and farming a t' , , tee no\ogical

a tern h ,. c rvrties - f b

ds in this paper. For eunsnc purposes we s ar eyond OUT

nee I f uggest that . ,

ss the genera per ormance characteristics of h InVeStigators

asse '£ d f tee nolog

, setS of arti acts use or plant manipulatI'o' y aggregates

_ J.e. . n - In seque ia] b

, al systems undergo 109 the transition from hu ti nna ehav.

lor . . n Ing and gath .

f m'lng Our expectatIOn IS that one will find 0 hin enng to

ar ' verarc 109 ,

ompromises among general performance charact '. patterns In

c '1 d h enstlcs such h

mount of edib e pro uct arvestable per unit time h ,as t e

add or arvestmg

nd the effort nee e to make, use, and maintain I ' . area,

a , ' 1·1· h . loved i pant-manIpulation

technologies, especia y t ose emp oyed In pre-harvest '"

.' actiVIties.

Directmg our attention to the performance charact '. f

, h enSUes 0 food-

related technologIes s ould enable us to explain specifi

.' here farrni c sequences of

change, mcludmg cases were farnung technologies are not adopted.

Thus, w_e suggest that a profitable way to research the origins of agriculture IS to compare t?e performance characteristics of the technologies that pre- and post-agncultural societies adopt for meddling in the I'

d . 1 ives

of plants an aruma s.

We also suggest that effort be devoted to defining the behavioral context(s) within which this process of technological adoption occurs. Ethnographically and archaeologically, there appears to be a wide range of variation in the conditions under which people opt for agricultural strategies: in the specific technologies employed, in the relative contributions of farmed and foraged resources, and so forth. We suspect that this variation simply reflects a fairly wide range of permissible values for the critical variables that define this behavioral context (alternatively, it indicates that there is some flexibility in the mix of critical variables that have some bearing on the operation of this process in different cases). Researchers might profitably employ the methods discussed earlier to identify and define the general boundaries on this process - at least some of which already have been researched in detail (e.g. Boserup 1981)

The development of complex societies

A h d 1990 "muiticausal"

s arc aeologists embraced in the 1980s an s,

ex 1 . ' .' (e g Redman

p anatlOns for the development of complex SOCieties .'

a (Irld Michael B. Schiffer 50 "intent M. LaMott

hone could construct any non-trivial ge

it b e unclear OW I f d' n~

1978 j, It ecam . 'welter of ca usa actors iscerned in sp

. f the iOcreasJOg 'bl e-

eralizatJons rom solutions to this pro em: one employin

di We suggest tWO 1 . h g

cdlc stu ,es'h ' a behavioral emp 1aS1S, t e second focus

, I theory avmg· . ~

?rgamzatJona "rowth processes." Resear~h the,n needs to be directed

109 on recurrent hg b h 'oral concexts withm which these processes are roward definmg tee avi

tnJClated 3find sPdredad. the question What phenomena are encompassed

Let us rst 3 ress ' I' d '

" 1 society?" Many archaeo ogtsts, rawmg on neo.

by the term comp ex 1 .' .

f uJations believe that a comp ex society IS one having

evolutionary orm , . ' d

I,' I ganization a mlhtary apparatus un er state control

a state po mca or , " . •

k d 'J lasses or at least a promment elite, many occupational

mar e SOCia c ,. .'

J' t nd so on Regardless of which trait list one uses, complex

specia IS S, a ...' .

society is at best a polythetLC category, J.Il that many exemplars do not

possess every trait, Clearly, "comple,x societ(' ,subsumes an enormous amount of organizational and behavioral variatton.

That the category of complex society obscures much variability is troubling to behavioralists who, above all, privilege the explanation of variability. Thus, the complex society category appears to be somewhat arbitrary, overly inclusive, and lacks a convincing theoretical warrant or a behavioral basis, An obvious move for the behavioralist is to point to the possibility that variability in societal complexity can be modeled as one or more continua (McGuire 1983; Rathje and Schiffer 1982: ch. 3).

Although a dramatic improvement over stage models, treating cornplexiry as a continuum still obscures variability in the character of complexity. FO,r example, two ~oci~ties that are judged to be equally complex on the baSIS of som~ quantitative scale (e.g. size of population integrated numb~r ~f levels m t?e p_olitical or settlement hierarchy, degree of uII~a,mzatlo~), could still differ appreciably in their mix of political re [giOUS, military and co . I d 1 ' '. ' mmerCla eve opments. Apparently variation

10 societal complexity is ire d ibl . I'd' '

[1979] f" e net y mu u irnensional (see Crumley'S

concept a heterarch") Th .

rions of compJexl'ty' f y f f us, we eschew overarching concep-

, m avor a ormulari h . , '

ability that has a behavi I basi . Ions t at are sensitive to van-

vloea aSls - 1 e b h '

people-anifact interactio . . can e p rased 10 terms of

1 ns.

o highlight this variabili

(however defined) is th e dty, we propose that any complex society

d pro uct of diff '11

an sectors. An institutio·n . I I erentia y developed institutions

b . IS a arge-scal b h '

a ureaucratic _ i.e. hierarchical e e avioral component having

47). Concretely, an instinn] ' -dstru~ture (Rathje and Schiffer 1982:

on ash Ion IS a ornam fl' , ,

upra- ousehold level ,ore ared actrvities organized

, In any part of' . '

SOCiety, such as government,

BehaVioral Arch I

aeo ogy 51

the army, universities, labor unions and f

ch\lrch~s, s which can be modeled as speci~lized bProh es~iona\ Sports.

'rutiOO , d e aVlOral

lost! . h. dedicated places an structures for their act' . . systems,

bhs lVltles and I

eSca f people objects, energy, and information betw' regu ate

a 'liS 0 'h Th' een and a

lID I ceS and on ers. e operation of an instir f d . mong

these p am's connections, via linkage factors to Olitsidu "". .e~ends on

h [syste .' ' e actiVitIes a d

t3 , titutions. The investigator can create horizo t I . n to

ther JOS ,.' hi h n a groupmgs '

o , Ily similar InstltutlOnS, w IC can be called at

func[lona .' ' 1 . d ' sectors, such as

, '_ 1 mlhtary, commerCla , to ustrial, transportation d .

Pohtll.a , W h . ' e ucatlOnal

d ligiouS sectors. e suggest t at the differential clevel '

art re ific i ., h opment of

(and the specl c msntutions t at comprise them) is th .

sectors h . 1 . hili . e most Slg-

'fi t axis of be a. viora vana I tty 10 complex societies 1£ h' k'

nl can .' h ., . t IS ind

f J'arion IS of mterest, t. en a pnonty for future research' 'd

o var ib d ' IS to 1 en-

tify the factors that contn: ute to each society's unique mix of sectoral

developments. ,

Identifying these case-speCific factors rests on the recognition th t

. . )' d b a as

institutions (orgamzatlons anse an. ecome more complex they facili-

te interactions of people and artifacts at ever-increasing scales and

ta .' bl h

rates. Thus, institutlons in a ,sector ena e t e management of activities

_ the flow of people and artifacts through space and their interactions,

As people-artifact interacti~ns become more intense and differentiated, institutions change, becoming more complex or failing. Failure may ensue when an institution can no longer process materials, people, energy, or information at rates demanded by linkage factors that connect the institution with activities providing input or receiving output, In such cases, new linkages may be established between the latter activities and other functionally similar institutions within the sector that are better able to meet demands established by increasing rates of material, energy, or information transfer. For example, a two-person partnership can manage a small company that makes and sells craft items in a local market. But if that company expands production dramatically and begins selling in a national market, more people and more kinds of occupational specialists - e.g. managers, designers, artisans, marketers, accountants, shipping clerks, janitors - will be required. Continued growth in prod~ction might eventually yield the modern multinational corporati~n With perhaps a dozen levels of decision-making and thousands of different occupational specialists. To explain fully the differential developme~t of sectors in a specific society, then, we must char~ the cour~e ~£ prOjects and activities that have contributed to the expanSiOn of the 1OSn~uti?ns making up each sector. That is, we must identify changes i~ what Institutions are actually doing: it is people-artifact interactions, 10 con-

d Michael B. Schiffer ____ Vincent M. LaMotta an

basic parameters for organizat" lonal

"1 j_

, ' ' h r establish the

crete aCtiVItIeS, t a

development. f the specific institutions making up h

h development a hat i eae

Alchoug t!lemse!ves can vary somew at mdependentl

d f the sectors· . J h . Y

sector an 0 , one sector sumu ares growt in others I· nth'

, d iopment m .' e

sometimes eve le the political sector grew enormously in tl

U ' d St" tes for examp , . " h ". le

rute a I ki on new acrivmes sue as taxing mcome p

h nrury ra ing , ro-

(wentler ce I g national parks and forests, and cleaning up th

d ng welfare man agin " . , fIe

VI I, ' I in response co the actlvltIes a great yexpanded

em'lronment, part y I Th d "

, . I d mercia! sectors. e nature an extent of IOter-

indusma an com , ' f

I I" k and changes m them over tune are, 0 course, empiri-

secrora 10 ages "d

cal questions to be answered anew m ~ach stu Yo

For the behavioralist, development I~volves more than the growth of

"" the widening and deepening of bureaucracy and the mul

orgamzanon - " " .-

riplicarion of occupational specialists. Indeed, a co~comltant of devel-

opment, regardless of sector, is the prolifer~tJOn of artifacts. ~o~ example, the specialists who perform new behavioral roles - acti vIty-specific behavior patterns (Schiffer 1992: 132) - do so most likely with new kinds of artifacts" Thus, when a modern organization adds a janitorial staff, it also acquires a host of specialized maintenance artifacts, from commercial vacuum cleaners and floor polishers to toilet-cleaning brushes and detergents, as well as dedicated places having furnishings appropriate for the activities they contain (e.g. janitor's store-room or closet). A host of ~ew artifacts may also take part in maintaining hierarchy and in advernsmg social roles. As organizations develop, they come to occupy more and larger structures to house their activities, which also advertise their apparent success and importance.

I~ development is. as much a process of adding artifacts as it is of addhmg ne~ occupational specialists and levels of decision-making then

arc aeologlsts ought to b id ifyi d ". '

h ib . e I enn mg an studymg the general processes

t at COnto ute to in t " .

questions can be han;~~ ~ry expa~slon, enrl~hment, ~nd ch~nge. Such

tion. Cle I d y"behavIOral theones regarding artifact adop-

ar y, an un erstandmg f h d .

us to better apprecl"at h 0, t ese a option processes can enable

e t e matenal di . f .

more: these processes th I l~enslOn 0 growth. But there IS

I ernse yes worki " I'd

a so motors of devel '" mg Wltl110 an across sectors, are

b f do oprnem, We smgle 0 t "

ne Iscussion Both u two growth processes" for

hi" . processes focus 0 1 "" .

t e sea es of mdividuals and b h . n peop e-artlfact interactions, at

holds), that stimulate demand for aVloral components (including housecauses further development of ?ew products. Meeting such demands

The first growth " vanous sectors.

systems f process IS the Si I

o class gradJng in s "II mme process, which maintains

OCla y mobil . .

I e, market-based SOCIetieS

BehaVioral A h

rc aeology 53

k 0 1988: 40-1; Schiffer 1976: 189-91) I

~.i erac e 1" ibl . n such "

II.V' c k uJ1lptuary ru es, It IS POSSI e for people t SOCieties

lac s hi 0 0 purchase "f

(hat" d' ate members ip tn a superordinate class. A artl acts

that lOb Ie orne widespread in subordinate classes s ~p~er-c1~s.s arti~ factS e~cate information about social differentl"atlO'o t "e]~ abtllty to

muO! ". n is Imp" d

corn members of the superordmate class find new"' aired, In

Ponse, ffiliati 1 artltacts that

res " their class a ration ess ambiguously. Th S' can

d'lerUse 0 S" e Immel proc

a d for sociologist. Georg Immel who first studied " 1 ess

(arne if it creates

n t demand for new art! acts and for new technol " an

. cessan ib ,ogles to produce

10 Tllis in turn, contri utes to compleXity by the prelife "

hem,' 0 h k I eratlOn and

t h of organizatlOnS t at rna e new products and by th "

growt ." , " , e expansion

. d and trans porta. non acnvines. Growth m these sectors II

of rra e . " " . can as we

" 1 te growth in the political sector. We submit that the S" I stlJ11U a ' .. 1 0 1 "0 imme

rowth proc~ss, re"sttng u timate y, on specific kinds of people-artifact

g tl'ons IS an Important contributor to the development of in stit

interac, . 0 o. I u-

rions and sectors, especially 10 the United States during the past £\'10

centuries. .

A second growth process IS based" on the Imelda Marcos hypothesis.

Recall that when people (and beh~~l~ral comp.onents) invest resources to enhance the performance of acnvines, there IS an increase in special" ed artifacts (Schiffer 1995b: 33). The demands thus created for innu:erable specialized artifacts are a significant fillip to the development of manufacturing, trading, and transportation organizations, in commercial

nd industrial sectors, that can supply them. Political institutions, in turn, grow as they take on the expanded regulatory and taxation activities that greater commerce creates.

The Simmel and Imelda Marcos growth processes exemplify the kinds

of general processes that can contribute, incre~e~tally, to the develo~ment of institutions and sectors in complex SOCieties. The task ahead IS to delineate additional processes and discern their influence on the dev~l-

I . 0 W· . . t that there Will

opmental patterns of specific comp ex SOCietIes. e expec .

be dozens _ perhaps hundreds- of similar growth processes, "all of them

." . It" the operation of these

based on concrete people-arnfact lOteraCtlons. IS f

"£1 ' "that account or

processes mediated by case-speer c contlflgencleS, . h

" ' 1 " W te that these growt

Increases - and variation - in comp exity. e no f d

, d 1 0 account or re uc-

processes are in principle reversible, an so can as

tions in complexity. . d t mination of

A significant challenge that lies ahead IS the he er . rrh process"

b h . h "of eac grov",

e aVloral-context boundaries for t e operation and how

\VrL "I ··owth process,

I'll nat are the critical variables for a parncu ar gr . f h t process?

d h . . bl I' he operatlon 0 t a "

a c angmg values for these varta es a tel t h ld values WIll

U d d' " nd thres 0

n erstanding these boundary can ItlOnS a

Ad it and Michael B. Schiffer _____ ,4 \';IlCf}1tt M. Lal~ 0 a

- OW down the range of processes likely to

allow the analyst t? narrase Unlike the adoption of agricultural Stearne

. lav in any mven c . d rate

rnro p <l} I l;l a few closely relate processes - the emer .

defined by one or . .' h genc("

gles - ..' ttutional organIzatIOnS IS a muc more general"

of compJexlt}' Lnh ins 1}, involve many different growth processes lZed

henomenon t at rna b b'"W' ' and

p. . f cesses on a case- y-case aSIS. we enCOurage

,'anable mrxes 0 peo '... b ' l' re-

I this variability Y constructmg genera pnnci I

searchers to exp ore h b . h b P es

d b wth processes and t en y resnng t e oundaries

chat esen e geo ' . I . on

. J by constructing behaviora contexts with differl'

those pnncip es '. . dIng

binari f critical vanables and associate va ues. Explanatl'o

com manoos 0 ." ns

{Jexin.r based on principles derived 10 such a fash. IOn will engag lor comp -r .' id . hi e, rather chan conflate, the enormous vananon eVI ent In t IS phenomenon

of organizational complexity.


In the final analysis, the behavioral perspective enables the investigator [Q demystify a "big" question, turning it into many concrete ones having a behavioral basis and thereby rendering it researchable. In the case of agricultural "origins," the new questions focus on pinpointing the conditions (behavioral contexts) under which people adopt technologies for rneddhng In .th~ life histo~ies. of plants and animals. In the study of complex soc~etJes, emphasis IS placed on ascertaining the behavioral factors that influence the differential development of institutions and sectors and on identifying specific growth processes that contribute to greater complexity. In neither case are we attempting to explain a sin-

gular event (e g becomi farmers] ..

( hift f'· . mg armers or a transmon between abstractions

e.g. a s I rom tribe a hi fd

to fa J' . r C re om to state). Rather, effort is devoted

rmu anng quesnons abou t b h . I ' ..

cei d . u enaviora variability and change con-

erve as people-artifact . . . . . , . '

existing behavioral th ~nteractlons In activmes. And, in both cases,

. eones can app I h I h' .

design research for a . h arent yep t e mvesngator to

nswermg t e ne . . .

of many new behavio I h . . w questJOnsj even so, the creation

ra t eones Will also be required.


During slightly more rha .

rora] arch . I n two decades a ..

h. aeo ogy can cou t s an explicit program behav-

arc aeo] . I' n many a I' '

oglca mference On a s I'd f ~comp Ishments, from putting

01 OOtm

g to producing countless cor-

Behavioral Archaeology 55 and n-transforms through experimental archaeol-

sfonns, . h k

5 c-tran h ology In this essay we ave ta en the opportunity

late, h oace seoiver- 's theorv-bui ,

re. ~Ild et n. well to the program s t eery-building efforts.

OgyaU attentlonhas. ral archaeology is a coherent and well-integrated

to C h be a VIO F. . .

A Ichoug I' tie orthodoxy. or some practitioners, especially th. ose

{l '(has It I ki ds of u .

ograrll, I 1 tionary or postprocessua m S 0 questions, behav-

prho tackle elvo u 'roply supplies rigorous methodology, For others the

W h eo ogv 51 .' f bui . '

.oral arc a tive furnishes a starting pomt or uilding new social

I . al perspec . ' hei

behaVior . h rve archaeologists in t elf attempts to study techno-

. whlc se ltural rienosi . . 1 d

theofles, . b 1 t and change, cu tura eposmon, ntua an religion,

logical v~(Ia. 11 .and so on. Because behavioralists have recently placed

UOlcatlOn, . f . 1 h ' . h

coIJlC11 "ty on the creatlOn 0 SOCIa t eory, we anticipate t at

a higher pflor~ose lines will expand in the decades ahead in directions effor~S alo~~ ~e foolhardy to predict. Above all, behavioral archaeology that It waU I in or out specific subject matters a priori. Indeed, the

d not ru e . .' f h

oeS ourages (he inveStigatIon 0 any P enomena that can be

cogram enc . 1 'f' . .

Pd' behavioral terms - i.e, peop e-arn act mteractions m

rendere m



We are greatly indebted to the following individual~ for their p~tience, endurance, and constructive criticism in the course of reading several ear.ber versions of this chapter: E. Charles Adams, Margaret Beck, P. Jeffrey Brantingham, Nancy Daly, Janet Griffitts, Cory Harris, Kacy Hollenback, Sar~h. Klandru~, Billie Krebs, William Longacre, Patrick Lyons, Arthur MacWilliams, julia Meyers, Joanne Newcomb, William Rathje, James Skibo, Jennifer Strand, William Walker, and M. Nieves Zedeiio. All illustrations by Vincent LaMotta except table 2.1 (by Charles Sternberg) and figure 2.5 (by Sarah Klandrud).

1 By "social theory" we mean any and all nomothetic formulations for explaining variability and change in behavior, culture, or society (d. Schiffer 1988). Throughout this chapter, we use the term "behavioral theory" to characterize such general principles based on people-object interactions.

2 Principles that permit an investigator to specify the ways in which a cultural ~ys.tem deposits materials that may be observed archaeologically, e.g. by specIfyl~g system au tpu ts, discard rates, discard loca tions, loss pro bah ilities, or

3 ~u.na~ practices (see Schiffer 1987: ch. 4, 1995a: ch. 2). ..'

[[nclples that relate behavioral or organizational variables to varianon in the form, frequency associations and spatial distribution of material objects

In r' , ,

4 P a .Ivmg. behavioral system (see Schiffer 1995a: ch. 2).

revlously called "coupling parameters" (Schiffer, 1979, 1992: ch, 4).

. M L Motta and Michael B. Schiffer ____

56 Vmcelzt . a


1996. Understanding aggregation in the Ho~ol'ovi pueblos:

Adams, E. Charles . J wer In E. Charles Adams (ed.), RlUer of Ch

I and socIa po . . ange·

sea at stress! J M 'ddl Ll'ttle Colorado River Val/ey, A rtzona, 1-14. Ari.. .

hi. t '0 t se , e . ..ana

Pre 1501) A ~ h I gical Series 185. Tucson: Arizona State Museum

5 Museum lUC aeo 0 hi . indi .

tare L 1994 The development of pre isronc gr. In 109 technology .

Ad IDS Jenny. .' . Ph D D" in

a, f P' ea East Central Arizona. ., rssertanon, Univers'ty

the Point 0 mes ar , " I

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Evolutionary Archaeology

Robert D. Leonard

Archaeolo~y has long been pre-eminently a discipline unto itself ... DIvorce from the biological sciences has been uncontested and amicable .. Anthropology has been able to provide the grounds for the divorce by providing expert testimony on how humans are totally unlike the rest of creation. And, in providing itself with the justification of its own existence, it has provided the rest of biology with defenses for continued belief in the fundamental difference between our own species and the rest of the animal kingdom. In a rather rare instance of interdisciplinary cooperation, anthropology has been able to provide biology with all the reasons necessary to maintain an unquestioned and unquestioning acceptance of the incommensurability of one species with all others. One might expect a critical mind to note the self-serving nature of the argument and question it on those grounds if no other.

David Rindos, 1989

Evolution and archaeology

. .... the late 1970s and

Evolutionary archaeology (EA) had Its ongms m k doi the

. ivid I ht to brea own

1980s when a small group of indivi ua s soug I· of

b I· nd the evo unon

artier Rindos refers to between human evo unon a h eology

h ... theory co arc a

t e rest of organic life by bringing DarwIDlan 1982 1989. Leonard

(Braun 1990; Dunnell 1978a, 1978b, 1978c, 1980, ' '

66 Robert D. Leonard

, d and Jones 1987; Meltzer 1981; O'Brien and Hall 1989; L~o~ar 1984 1985, 1986, 1989). Of course archaeologist ~nd 1990; ,Rm o~ I~tion before that time, and used a few eVolu/ ad long dlscusseh eVd~ScLlssed it in ways that had nothing to do Wiltohnary

rns but t ey I . E I ' . the

rer '. k of by Darwm (1859). vo u trenary Archa eolo '

evolution spo en ff C / ./ E luti gISts

h rly evolutionary e arts as u tum uo utzon in a d

refer to t ese ea , ' hi ' disti r er

, " nf.usion and mamtam t IS Important Istmctlon betw

to nunlTI1lZe co I' WhO een

" d non-Darwinian thought. Les ie rte, one of the g

Darw"Inlan an " I reat

C I 1 Evolutionary thmkers m anrhropo ogy, noted that DarWini

u tura . ' h f 11 . an

theory was absent in Cultural EvolutIOn 10 teo owmg quote:

Ir would be most gratifying to be able to repo~t, in a paper commemo_ rating the publication of The Origin of SpeCIes,' that cultural anthropologists had borrowed. the concept of ev_oJutlon fr~m Da~win and that they had employed this concept to establish and enrich their science. UnfortUnately, we are unable to make such a report. On the contrary, we must point out that the theory of evolution was introduced into Cultural anthropology independently of Darwin and, indeed, of biology in general.

(1959a: 106)

The evolution White referred to was the progressivist evolutionary theories of Herbert Spencer (1857, 1860, 1876), Lewis Henry Morgan (1877), and Edward B, Tylor (1865,1871). The work of these three men


whom White called "the three great pioneers of cultural evolutionism" (1959a: 107), provided the intellectual framework for White's evolutionary perspective that proved so prominent in the middle of the twentieth century, as well as today. While 1959 may seem a long time ago the revolutionary,movement first called the New Archaeology was abou~ to e~erge at the tune, and White's student Lewis R. Binford was its main arc,hl~ect (e.g. Binford 1962, 1968, 1973; Binford and Binford 1966). Butl.dmg upon the work of White (1943 1945 1959 1959b) S hI'

and S ' (S hli " a, , a lOS

, ervice a lOS and Service 1960; Service 1962) among other

writers, the New Archae I d .'

the dorni 'II 0 ogy emerge as processual archaeology -likely

nant tote ectual rno ' h

millennium Thi N Ar h vernenr In arc aeology as we begin the new

• IS ew c aeolog h d luti " '

is. dear that the f y a evo .utlOnary aspirations, but It

y were not ound d D' ,

1980 for this discussion). e upon arwiman theory (see Dunnell

Returning to the quote b Wh'

merit. First if one sees th Y 1 l~e, there are tw.o ways to view his state-

h) e eva unon of humani , ,

to ot er forms of life R' '. umaruty as unique With respect

D . ,. ,as indos im (' d

arwmlan theory was irrel . p ie many do, this was no loss.

built - Cultural Ev I ' eva~t, a different theory was needed and was

I 0 UtI on, Ultimar 1 ' b '

Sua archaeology today H . , e y, It ecame what is called proces-

a' ' owever If 0 .

re unique, and largely imm ' ne rejects the position that humans

une to the ff f

e ecrs 0 Darwinian processes,

Euoluti01tary Ar h

, . c aeology 67

black of a Darwtnlan perspective in archa 1

t e . ' I' h eo ogy was

hile DarwlOlan evo ution as dramaticall '. a great setback

as W h ' h " Y Increased k '

f life on cart ,It as not unti recently been \ OUr nOWledge

o I' f hurnani ernp oyed t

'ddle of the eva utIOO 0 umamty - particula \ h 0 unravel the

rr 1 ' r y t e evoluf

b havior. To Eva unonary Archaeologists th' . IOn of human

ed" ' IS IS a traged T

haeologieal recor IS nothing but a record of th ,y. 0 us, the

arc I . f e evolution f h

b havior, yet severa generations 0 archaeologist h 0 uman

e , 1 kid s ave turned th . b

the incredlb e now e ge-generating machine f D "elf ack

on 'T' hi 1 ' 0 arwmlan \

, nary theory. ro us, t IS ass IS not unlike the I h eva u-

no ' 1 ' oss t at would h

me to the physica sciences had physicists tur d h. ave

CD me t etr b k

Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. ac on

The last twenty years have seen an emergence of D " h

b h' h arWlnlan t eory

in archaeology.- ut t IS as .not been without a struggle ( f

, . ' 'B' 1 see, or

xamples, cntlclsmS 10 ertmger et a . 1996· Boone 1998· B d

e . ," cone an

Smith 1998; Broughton and 0 Connell _1999; Cullen 1993; Lake 1997;

Schiffer 1996; C. S. Spencer 1997). And In the process, Darwinian th

d i b 1 ' eory

has been change m s~ t e, yet l~po~ant ways. The processes of history

that did not let Darwin fully build his theory to incorporate humankind are now not so strong (e.g. the power of the church), and a new consideration of the archaeological record demands that a bit of tinkering had to be accomplished to bring Darwinian evolution to the human past. This might seem a new heresy to some, but archaeology has much to offer to the general theory of evolution.

What is Darwinian theory?

Darwinian theory, if it is anything, is simple. As a theory,- here use~ ~s a set of instructions about how to learn about the organic world - It IS easier to understand than it is to learn how to set the clock on a VCR.

. .. ,. ft lik h f carpenter who cuts rafters

Operatlonaitzmg It IS a era ,Ie t at 0 a I d

k 1 f f bread It must be earne ,

for a house or a baker who rna es a oa 0 " th

, irh . d s f profiCIency. Yet, ere

and most of us can learn It Wit varymg egree 0 iust b 1'-

. isund . t ad - and not Just y re I

is perhaps no other grand Idea so rmsun ers 0 , of

loai d chaeologlsts are some

gious fundamentalists. Anthropo ogists an ,ahr ith the progressivist

. f d' r wtt eit er

the worst culprits .. Many can oun I their more recent

evolutionary ideas of Spencer, Tyl~r, and ~or~an, ~r t we call Cultural proponents Leslie White and LeWIS R. Bm air "wand archaeologists

" thropo ogtsts a

Evolutionism. Why do promment an t taken the rime to

, h t they have no

make this mistake? The answer IS t a , h t they know what

I . k I belIeve t a

earn the difference - they mist a en Y Wh" statement above

ld find ite s

Darwinian evolution is, and wou

68 Robert D. Leonard

" O· h s make the naturalistic fallacy, fearing th

Ishmg r er . at th

aston . wer of evolutionary theory will be brought into e

explanarory po I' h D ". h flloral

O h mistakenly be ieve t at arwirnan teary redu

realms. t ers d di ~ces the

J ' f human existence to un erstan mgs wnt complet 1 '

camp exiry o. " e Y In

terms of "guts and gona~s. , ,

These criticisms are misplaced, and would slmpl! ~ot exist if archae_

I isr would make the effort to understand Darwinian theory. So I '

a ogis S ,. h ' et s

t t the nuts and bolts. At its core, Darwinian t eory states: (1) th

ge 0 here is transrni f h ere

is variation in organisms; (2) t ere IS transmission 0 t at variation

:nheritance; and (3) some variants do b~tter in certain circumstances th~~ other variants, This third component IS the process of natura'! selecti

_ the differential persistence of variation. These rules are simple, like the rules to the game of chess. Yet like chess, there are an infinite numb e of outcomes that can be produced by applying the rules during the cour~r of a game, Applied to human behavior and the archaeological record, these simple rules can be used to help us understand the complexity of our behavior in the same way we can use the rules of chess to understand the outcome of a specific game.

To introduce the concept of evolution to my introductory anthropology classes I often ask them to look around the room at each other.

"Do you see differences in how each other looks?" I ask.

" A f~w m~tt~r affi~mation while scanning their fellow classmates,

That IS vartatton. Differences in height weight skin color eye colo etc." ' , , G

d "Do you look more like your parents and grandparents than you

o each other?" A f h

"Th ' h' ew more catc on and nod or mutter affirmatively.

at IS t e product of genetic transmission, or inheritance."

They nod agam.

"You are here today becaus tai h

tars possessed w f bl.e cer am c . aracteristics that your ances-

ere avera em··6 '

quence your ancestors had mo speci c e.nvlronments, and as a conse-

those characteristics That i re offspnng than others who lacked

f ' at IS natural s l ti A

acts constitute the ba '. f ' , e ec Ion. s a whole these three

Thi . SICS a Darwinian ev I' ,.

IS Simple lesson II a utron.

d Usua y works S d

an natural selection and h . ,tu ents see variation, inheritance,

their ancestors to sh hOW It operates - and that it has operated on

d hi ape t em Yet th' ,

oes [ IS perspective deal : h h IS IS only part of the story. How

exp d ' Wit tee I .

r,esse In the archaeol . I vo unon of human behavior as

nectlo b h oglca record> p .

b nita e avior and the ar hi' ut SImply, it does not. The con-

y emp oyi h c aeo ogical d ' ,.

h 109 t e concept of h recor IS made quite Simply

p enotype . "Th P enotype B' I '

959) as. e totality of ch . ,10, agist Ernst Mayr defines the

, aractenstIcs of an individual" (1982:

Evolutionary A h

rc aeology 69

In other words, the phenotype is all aspe ts f

h Sical and it is the phenotype upon which C 0 us, behaVioral and

p y , , di id 1 natural sel .

,VI unfold as LO IVI ua 5 as our genetic stru t ,ectlon operates we . Cures dlctat '

kage - our phenotype - IS shaped both by a e, yet the final

pac h h ' I d ur genes and b

nment - bot p ysica an social. My particul h Your en.vl-

[0 h h' , I a r p enot

f among ot er t mgs, genenca ly determined b h' ype conSists

o , , 11 infl town air b

dan envlronmenta y III uenced nutritional' ,rOWn eyes

an . regIme that d ' , hes taller and 40 pounds heavier than my fath M O1a e me 6

iOoCnsists of behavioral traits that are influenced ev:~' y Pdh~notype also

C . I di bif I more ,reetly b h

nvironment, me u Ing I oca s, sunscreen when I a ' h. fi y t e

e. " m In t e eld a 1996

Chevy pickup" and a genuine affectIOn for the music of Pink Flo d l'

we all have unique phenotypes, as do all life forms yet we Y\' hus,

, f i d' id I h ." ' maya so share

a wide vanety 0 III IVI ua c aractenstlcs, The SOurces f "

h '1 . 0 vanatlon for

many of these eavi y environmentally determined char t . ,

1" . ac enstlcs ace

history chance, and human behavior played out on top of the

, , genotypic


To illustrate the evolution of the behavioral part of our phenoty

I ask my student~ "do you behave differently from each other?" Th~~: of course, recognize that they do. They also recognize that some of their behavior has a genetic component, our brains being the product of the operation of natural selection that has operated on our ancestors for millions of years. This genetic component may establish our individual capacities for learning, influence our choices of mates, our patterns of reproduction, and aptitudes for, say, music or athletics, Students also know that much of their behavior is learned, and largely independent of any genetic influence. Importantly, learning is the greatest variationgenerating component of our phenotype,

We learn behavior through a process that is called cultural transmission. Cultural transmission is not only vertical through our parents, but also oblique from other elders, and horizontal, from our peers, I learned how to use a hammer from my father, to tell time from my grandmother and about Pink Floyd from my friends. Whe~ we learn .,' is th d f shared lOtellectual

10 this manner what we learn IS t e pro uct 0 a , I

, . " I S f b havior is more than simp y

tradition, that IS, homo ogous, orne 0 our e .

. ." d over and over agam,

learned, it is invented. Sometimes It IS mvente hili

. 1 Is pottery the w eei, a

Without transmission. For examp e, stone tOO , " h I 1

b f ti es wit out cu tura

have been. invented and reinvented anum er 0 tim d' I 5 'raits

. d f . e calle ana ogou 1. ,

transmission occurring. These kin S 0 traits ar . I h 'nvention or

b " Important Y tel

ut more regarding these m a moment. 'd cultural -

. " both genetic an

generation of variation and transmiSSion - in a specific

I . acts upon I

creates the phenotype that natural se ecnon

selective environment,

70 Robert D, Leonard ,

h 1 j'sts and human evolutionary ecologists h

, ry psyc 0 og ifi f aVe

Evolu[lona b f models of the speer cs 0 the cultural t

d nurn er 0 ins to b d .rans_

propose a r h work remalflS to e one, and we may b

.. cess. 'ret mue .' D' e as

IDlSS10D peo di ultural transmissIOn as arwm was from und

f understan mg c . k er-

far rorn hani m of inheritance we now now to be gen ti

di the mec anrs . d on i e IC.

stan 109 .' knew natural selectiOn operate on It, but had

Din saW vanatlOn, . . II no

arw . f . was transmitted mtergeneratlOna y. Yet the the

id how m ormatiOn '. h ory

I ea. till operational lust as t e carpenter can cut cafte

of evolutIOn was s 1 ' b k rs

. kn I dge of pure geometry, and the a er can make fine bread

With no owe

'thout knowing the chemistry of yeast.

WI Evolutionary archaeologists, for the most part, leave the study of

h . . of transmission in the capable hands of the evolutionary

rnec amSms '

psychologists and human evoJ~tionary ecologists, among others (Best

and Pocklington 1999; CavallI-Sforza and Feldman 1981; Dawkins 1976, 1982, 1989, 1996; Dennett 1990; Dretske 1989; Dugatkin 1997; Durham 1990,1991,1992; Flinn 1997; Goodenough 1995; Lynch 1996; Lynch and Baker 1993, 1994; Lynch et a!. ~989; Richerson and Boyd 1992; Wilkins 1998). These researchers are interested not only in how transmission happens, but also in what constitutes the units of transmission. Much current work focuses on the concept of memes (Dawkins 1976), minimal units of information that are transmitted.

With respect to transmission in the past, memes were ultimately translated into technology, leaving us an empirical record of cultural transmission (Neiman 1995). Therefore, it is first and foremost archaeologists who "see" transmission in the past. For it is archaeologists, and only archaeologists, who have in their intellectual domain several million years of the hard parts of the human phenotype, the archaeological record. That record transcends all continents and indeed the earth itself - there is now an archaeological record on Earth's moon and every planet probed by our technology. The archaeological record is a record of

vanation transmission d d'ff . I . . .

, ,an 1 erentia persistence of that vananon

as the product of the . f natural selecti

operation 0 natura selection and chance. As a

consequence the reco d f h .

arch I .' r 0 uman evolution can be written only by

B~elo ~glSlts or by those working closely with them.

10 ogica anthropol . f

of morpholo' 1 h OglS.ts may 0 COurse write evolutionary narratives

archaeologis~c_:.h c anges dn the hu~an skeletal structure, but it is only structure and the 0 c~n ~ d~ess the mteraction between that biological larger component ~el t~eO ~gles that, through time, constituted an ever-

In sum, this evolutiona~ma~ phen0f?'pe.

assumptions but '! View outlmed above requires only a few

D ..' assumptIOns th t . . "f

arwmlan theory is t b a are critical and unassaIlable I

o e made 0 . I

peranona . These assumptions are:

Evolutionary A h

1 f f rc aeology 71

Humans are i e orms.

1 .... ratural selection operates on phenoty v p ,

2 1'< ic nh es, maktng I

a phenotyPIC P enomenon. eve utian in pan

3 Behavior is part of the human phenory .

h h 1 . pe, and It .

partially t roug earn mg. IS transmitted

4 Technology is the product of human beh .

f h h aVIOI and

component 0 t e uman phenotype. ,consequently a

5 The differential persistence of behavior '1I b

differential replication of technology throu;~ tim:. reflected by the

As a logical consequence of making these assu .

d h 1 . I mptlons, both h

behavioral an tee no ogtca change can be unde r d' ~~an rs 00 III Danvlman


Evolutionary Archaeology

To bring Darwinian theory to the archaeological record we need a concept that allows us to deal with the success not only of individuals, but of components of phenotypes, e.g. artifacts, George T. Jones and 1 have proposed the concept of replicatiue success to serve this purpose. "All traits, whether material or behavioral, have distributions in time and space, and all traits have what can be termed replicative success, or differential persistence through rime" (Leonard and Jones 1987:


This concept is important, but people don't always understand the

complementary positions of the reproductive success of individu~I~ '. and the replicative success of artifacts. Although contemporary cnnosms that conflate the two exist, I cite J. O. Brew's historic work (1946: 5~1 criticizing the zeal with which archaeologists extended the phylo~en~tlc

. . h A . S thwest His objection

metaphor to cerarruc change In t e mencan ou .

. d d not reproduce. Brew

was that pottery types are not orgaOlsmS an 0 . f k I _

. . f h . h the exception 0 see

wntes: "we still are faced WIth the act t at, WIt .. . -

f hi yare not living organ

tal material, the objects and concepts 0 arc aeo og . I '5 not

, tl rheir deve opment 1

Isms or parts of living organisms. Consequen y, d . the genetic

'£1 h .. e base upon

properly represented by a classi eatery tee niqu

relationships of living organisms." .' . ism evolutionary

N .. I . h I date of his cntIC!, hat i

at surpnsmg y given t e ear y h ' Ie reason t at It

archaeologists appreciate Brew's comment for t e sUD1aeoiogists make allows us to show why he and more contemporary arc

72 Robert D. Leonard

. k b founding reproductive success with replicativ

mlsra e Y con d h . e SUec

add] nes (1987: 215) state t at In one way it is diffi less.

Leonar an a "b . h cu t n

_. t Brew's comment, ut Just t . e same, we musj ask if ot

to appreCl3 e . h f I I th

k I 1 material Brew refers to, or even t e parts. 0 iving organ' e

s e eta . 1 h f . divid I IS111s

d 'a manner idenrica to t at a an In IVt ua. It doe '

repro uces ill ,.' 1999 G s nor "

At a public presentation m Chicago In ,eorge T. Jones a~d

I stated that we would like to add that

the objects of archaeology were parts of living organis~s. Behavior and technology are components ~f,the h.uman phenotype. T~lS ~act is undeniable and the recognition of It IS an Important part of brmgmg Darwinian cheo:.r to archaeology. To deny it takes us out ,of the scientific evolution game completely, and implies as well that those mtere,sred in the evolution of animal behavior in general also need a new paradigm.

While Brew and others are correct in asserting that "pot sherds don't breed," they miss the point. Of course pot sherds do not reproduce (any more than birds' nests and beaver dams do) but pottery is part of the human phenotype (i.e. is part of our behavior), exhibits variation (e.g. different aplastic inclusions in the day, called temper), is replicated as part of the transmission process (is copied), and has differential replicative success in varying environments (e.g. glazes may influence ceramic durability in certain situations). Further, if a ceramic technology enhances the reproductive success(es) of the person or group of persons using it (e.g. they are able to gain nutritional benefi~s through cooking), it is an adaptation and understandable in evolutlOna:r terms. Here we must carefully distinguish between the processualisr use of the term "adaptation" and its evolutionary meaning. :0 a processuahsr, an adaptation is any behavior that has a function

In an environment To a I"'· . ,

h b ,'. n evo UtIOOISt, It IS a phenotypic feature that

as een modified ove ti bv r I .

, ,r nne y natura selection so that it serves an

unportanr evolutionary functi Ad' , ined jf

h . Ian. n a aptation IS best determined 1

t ere IS an arguably caus 1 lati b

mcreased "a re anon etween increased replication and

increase reproductIOn. b h"

cussed below Wh h' ~t t IS IS not always possible, as will be dis-

. ere t ere IS no de bi I' 'd

replication and ' d monstra e re anon between Increase

merease reprod . .

understood in terms f h U.ctl0n, Increased replication must be

reproduction must beo c dance, hIstory, and drift. Likewise, increased

un erstood ' f ' h

currently under invest"' In terms 0 other traits than t at

. Igatlon as 't' I

are Influencing increased ' 1 . IS C early other technologies that

reproduction need to be rdeproduction. In sum, both replication and

t un erstood' b h evolnn " 1

erms. in at evOlutlOnary and histonca

Evolutionary A h

rc aeology 73

Technologies as adaptations

e recognizes the major competitive adva t

Eve,ryo\·tnure the crossbow, the wheel, or nuclear wn ages of antibiotics,

g[lCU ' . luti irnoli eapons for e I

a II as rheir eva unonary Imp IcatlOns as ad " 1 xamp e,

5 we'd' ffi aptatlons at '

a nd places. It IS more I cult, however to irn ' h cenam

'mes a " agine ow \\

tIdvantage in technology can Yield major evolutionary ef£ec~ sma

a tages of the more mundane technologies of life _ d . The advan . k d kers= a- say, oorknobs

b rers WhiS s an nutcrac ers - are much harder to d '

egg ea, ' un erstand and

appreclate.. ,

Let'S look at It a couple of ways. First, go into your kitchen and

fi d every piece of technology tha.t can open cans or bottl d

n "' I' es, an

examine them, paymg particu ar attention to any differences you can

find. I have an assortment of church keys of different lengths and shapes,

well as a variety of types of can openers where one turns the handle as d a blade cuts the lid off of the can. On the other end invariably is an bottle opener - its existence almost an afterthought. The products a f manufacture are of differing materials and grades, the cutting ~lades and handles of varying s~apes and angles. I.also have a variety

f gimme bottle openers from liquor stores - addmg up to a virtual °lethora of technologies. If I'm away from the kitchen, I also have my ~ iss army knife or the interior lock on the door of my truck that will o;~n bottles. I suppose I could find a rock or, concrete block, if I needed to. I am sure that you have as many, or can think of as many If not more,

options. '1 h

For you and me efficiency would appear to matter IItt e w en we are

going to open only one or two cans or bottles. Yet, I'm sure that ~ou . hIther than alternatives

routinely use the same openmg tee no ogy ra, '

" I I· II' iven situatlon. One opener because one works particu ar y we magi d hi d

" d . th grill in the back yar , a t II

works better 10 the kitchen, a secon at. e , in.Thi is despite

d d camp 109 trip. IS I

at a picnic, and yet a fourth on an exten e b bl ffice as we are

the fact that any opening technology would pro a Y su se ; particular

. , b I . ~ ns whenever we u

likely openmg only a few ott es or ca h i di 'dual event that is,

opener. Energy savings would be small for eac d~ IVI ver the c~urse of each bottle or can opened, yet would surely a d f 0 other purposes, a lifetime, consuming energy that could be use ,~rinvestment in offthe?retically including reproduction and, ~ur ~~:e:;ortant point is that sp.nng. While this example may seem trivial, dri n us to make these

I I ion has rive d

whether or not we realize it, natura se ectio 1 _ even mun ane

k' d ffi . nd techno ogy

10 s of decisions regarding e clency a

can-and-bottle-opening technology.

7-l Robert D. Leonard

h e needs to open many bottles, a technolog h

. . ns were on lesv wi y t at

In SI[ua[JO fi.1 i.e opens the most bott es, withour mech '

r ef Clent y, r. ' ., anltal

works rnos fari e should be. preferred. To illustrate this point I.

.J human atlgu , d ' et

fai ure or f ~ el'ghborhood bar to can uct an experiment ""

my aVOflte n d'ff' we

us go to b ders of equal talent to use I erent tools to 0

r uade (VlO arten, d h bar cl pen

pe s L ing We arrrve at 8:00 p.m., an tear doses at 2'00

b rrles for rne evem ' imrnedi 1 . o .' b sy bar: the bartenders irnrne ia re y go to work co

a.m. As It IS aU, , ch 1 " m-

c tamers and tips. Bartender A uses tee no ogy A, and IS abl

Penng tor cus ' E h b e

verage of 6 beers per mmute. ac eer sold results'

to process an a 'f ' . b In

f on average 10 cents m terms a a up. SIX eers opened

a return 0,·' '$ 6 h a

r ns 60 cents in tips a mmute, 3 an our, and $216 by

mmute re Uf , ,

dosing time, Not bad for one eVeDl,ng s wor~. ,

Bartender B using technology B IS not quite so efficient. Rather than

erung and selling 6 beers per minute, Bartender B can only process 5 ~~ers per minute (17 percent less efficient th~n Bartender A). Tips are the same, so Bartender B receives 50 cents a minute, $30 hour, and $180 by closing time, Not bad, but differences in technological efficiency increased Bartender Ns return by $36 for the night, no small sum. Our friendly bartenders agreed to extend our experiment for the rest of the year, and assuming each worked 259 more days (a standard work year in the United States is 260), Bartender A would have earned $9,360 dollars more than Bartender B by tax time.

As the result of our experiment, Bartender B has been unable to adequately feed and clothe his family, and his mortgage and car payments have gone unpaid for several months. His wife has left him, creditors are at the door, his dog is eyeing him hungrily, and all because he used a bottle opening technology that was only 17 percent less efficient than B~rtende~ A~ who is now driving a Cadillac, with a pretty and pregnant Wife at his Side.

Let us ~ook at this another way. Rather than money, let us consider

technological efficiency th .t ' h bi h '

a increases t e irt rate (as well as explams

Bartender A's buddi ducti

h h 100 ng repro uctive success). We start with a society

t at as people and I f

, .' a year y rate 0 growth of 1 percent in a stable

environment Atter 100 h

archaeologis~} the socie years ave passed (~he blink of an eye to an

1 percent rate of g htyLwould have approximarely 270 members at a lives In the neighbfOwht 'd det ~s say that a. second society of 100 members

or 00 urmg this ri ,

nology results in thi d IS time penod. A more efficient tech-

s secon so' havi

rather than the 1 per ciery avmg a 2 percent growth rate,

hi cent growth t f h fi

t IS second society w ld h ra eat erst group. After 100 years,

. . ou ave gr 7

times the size of th fi Own to 24 members nearly three

erst grou ' h "

growth. In sum, a slight technol:', Wit, only a 1 percent difference m

rates may allow one grou f' dg,lC~llmprovement that impacts growth

p a In ividu 1 I ' h

a s to u tirnately out-compete t e

Evolutionary A h

, rc aeology 7~

n'lhat is interestmg a bout this is the fa h ..

[her. w, k ct t at the

o socienes may not even now what h members of

he tWO 'Th' 1 as transpi d \

t onS for It. IS examp e demonstrates th re , et alone

he (eas at subtle d'ff

r I gy that affect rates of growth may h ' . 1 erences In

,hoo a . h. . ave malar I'

re I' ('Ions Furthermore, t at technological dl'ff evo Utlonary

'Jllp lea . , . erence suo ld b '

~ h rchaeologlcal record. U e Visible

to tea le i hi

Fan examp e III pre istory, contemplate the ev I '

Of h b 't' ' d' id 0 utlOnary ad

d to Homo a t ts in IVI uals 2.4 million ' vantage

accrue b kerr oi years ago in th R' ft

11 Y of Africa when ro en pieces of basalt a d h e I

Va e . h ds i hizh n c err turn d

estOrs' graspmg an s mto ig ly efficient Cutting' I e OU[

aOC f ' d ffici Imp emenn Wh

..... endous degree 0 increase e ciency accrued whe h har at

tee,,· d f h id nrocessi n t e s arp edge

f a stOne allowe or t e rapi processing of meat skin db

a ~ 0 h d . . ' , an one? One

h dred percent. ne t ousan percent? Any taito h

un h ' , r, omeowner

rpenter cook, or mec arne who has tned to complete ' I '

ca', . a simp e task

without the approp~late tool would p~~bably argue for the latter. With

this increas~d efficlency, Homo habili: groups using the technology would certamly ou~-reproduce and out-compete groups without it. These simple pieces ?f ch,.pped stone set the stage. f?r early hominid expansion into non-tropical niches of the globe, providing both the means and the population numbers necessary to accomplish the expansion.

Determining that a technology is actually an adaptation is at times straightforward, but more often difficult. With respect to the bottleopening technology, it would be fairly simple. One would first measure the reproductive success of those individuals using each technology, If there is a correlation between a particular technology and reproduction, one then makes a logical argument that it is that technology (as opposed to some other technology) that resulted in increased reproduction. This argument would be supported by experimental evidence, or performance studies of the technology in action (e.g. our productivity analyses of our

bartenders in action) ..

Our argument about technology as an adaptation, then, is based first

on a correlation, second on the logical argument regarding the nature of that correlation and finally on our performance studies. If necessary, we can also support our argument by evidence as to the rates at which tech-

d . dl d an be concep-

nology changes. Adaptations tend to sprea rapi y, an c

l. . I ewriters have been

tua ized as functional replacements. For examp e, typ , I

1 ' p'dly Alternative y,

.near y completely replaced by computers, quite ra I .' , ib '

11 d l ti lar distn enons

non-adaptations tend to have what are ca e en lett "

h I ' opu!anty, nse to

t rough time (Neiman 1993), where they slow y gam p hi h they

, . . 1 h me rate at w IC

a maXimum, and decline at approximate Y t e sa f h rrelation

, h . renee 0 t e co

grew. With the Homo habilis example, t e eXIS . are the

betw ' di 'well known, as

een tool use and geographIc ra lattOn IS ding the

P f 1 Argument regar

er ormance characteristics of stone tOO s. n a

76 Robert D. Leonard

f this relationship is made, resulting in the hypoth .

nature 0 I d eSIS th

. 1 selection favored stone-toO users, an as such, Homo h b·at

na ru ra hi h hesi II . a ili

rh pers are adaptations. T IS ypot eS1S IS SO we SUPPOrted h .s t.: op I' h hIt at It . b adly considered a cone uston rat er t an a lypothesis .

IS . co f . inid di . • and I

considered an explanation 0 horniru ra rations as well. s

One argument made against EA by a group of researchers who h

a research perspective called Evolutionary Ecology (EE) is that S ha,re

. d h k h WIle

exampJes with uch deep tIme. epr may wo~ , t ~ rate at which the

world is changing today clearly Illustrates that mvention and repli .

d ' CatIon

occur much faster than does repro ucnon, As a consequence h

. hnol . d .tey

believe, changes In tee no ogy we are seeing to ay are not evolution b

a mere product of phenotypic plasticity or flexibility of human beh; . Ut (Boone and Smith 1998). That technological change today OCCurs mVI0~ faster than reproduction is, in one sense, undeniable. The last twe~~ years have brought tremendous changes in our lives. Everyday items th Y come to mind include the personal computer, the fax machine . ~~ phones, and the Internet and World Wide Web. These years have bro' ~eh

b . f ' luti h ug t

a our an 10 ormation revo unon per aps surpassing that of the'

, f h .. Inven-

non 0 r e pnnting press.

Many proponents of EE also argue that our minds are the p d

f '11' f co uct

o rnr Ions. 0 y~ar~ of evo~uti~n .whereby natural selection has shaped

OUf .beha~lOr within certain limits, or constraints. Boone and S . h put It th~s way: "Evolutionary ecologists tend to focus on stra:l~c ph~notyplC response and .assume that the trait under study has be~n deSired ?y natural sele~tl~n to have sufficient phenotypic plasticity to trac env~ronmentaJ vanation optimally ... Hence the d

phenotypic variation with evolu . .' y 0 not equate to evolved capacities f d,t1onar~ change; instead they attribute it 5145). or a aptive variation" (Boone and Smith 1998:

To the EE program then . . f

operating within the r~le d.' mosdt 1. not all contemporary behavior is

pa. st. Concomitantly m St 'flctate by natural selection operating in the

h ' os I not all technol . I h

p enotypic plasticity, ogica c ange now is simply

. I ~oth agree and disagree with thi .

~lon IS faster than reprodueu IS perspectIve. I agree that replica-

Incredibly plastic. I ag ~ctlon. I agree that the human phenotype is by millions of years o~e: t I at ,our minds and behavior have been shaped

that hi' vo ution, All of thi .

overw em. mg evidence ex' t h. IS IS, to me, undeniable given

trons To rn k IS Stat supp h

. y nowledge no h arts eac of these proposi-

pr~ram doubts any of ~hes/~searc.e~ working within the EA research

. wo conclusions dra ropOsltlons.

mtellectual dil wn by these criri h

I emma that I b li . lCS, owever, put them into an

e reve restncts th .

elf program unnecessarily.

Evolutionary Archaeology 77

urnents are ostensibly presentist, in terms of . .

hese arg h han seei mterpretmg

First, t . s of the present, rat er t an seemg the past and h

c 10 terrn . luti t e present

the paS d t of the same ongoing eva utionary processes "r . .

ro uc .' h . . 10 me this

as the P (rual of evolutlOO, WIt very odd consequences th '

iscOOS h f time=-: at result

is a!11 ki at a mere snaps. ot 0 time - now .. 1£ evolutio . .

100 mg . . n IS viewed

frorn er by all appearances any vartation or change th t

h. [!lann , . . . a we see

ill t ~s ticular slice of time (or any particular slice of time f h

ill t.hls Phar t we are now operating in is simply plastic - within th or tl at

(ter) t a f e rea ms

roa Ived status. As an un ortunate consequence, the "first" H

four eVO 1 hibi b h omt:

o use fire was on y ex 1 rtmg e avior that would hav b

c.tus to . f II ina th e een

ere'd d "plastic" If those 0 owmg t e EE program had the d

DllSI ere b h . (h f 11 f goo

c . to observe the e avior ope u y rom the safe perspective of

fortuoe hi ) Th' ld h a

ll-f tified time mac. me. . IS wou not a ve been, in the EE

wel· or I . Th' ,

In part of an eva unonary process. IS 15 contrary to the widel

progrtaed' conclusion that fire is an incredible human adaptation th:r

accep 1 . h d .

allowed tremendous popu anon gr?wt an geographic expansion. The

EE program logica~ly lead.s us to this ~nfor~unate perspective.

But let us consider this example in still more detail. If that Homo erectus individual who first used fire had not used it effectively, or if it had not been culturally transmitted to others, it would only have been what I will call a potential adaptation, not a realized one. Human prehistory and history would never have been the same, and you and I would very likely not be here, let alone be considering these issues.

In other words, what may appear plastic from the present day, or even for the past several thousand years, may actually be (1) truly plastic, (2) a realized adaptation at an early stage of its adoption, Of (3) a potential adaptation that may become adaptive under certain conditions that may

never be realized.

So how do we discern the difference? With respect to outcome 1, iden-

tifying plasticity is relatively straightforward in many biological situations. For example, if relatively acid soil produces blue petals in petunias, while alkaline soil produces pink petals, phenotypic plasticity is easily identified. The attribute color is plastic, a function of soil pH. However, determining what is plastic and what is a product of evolution with ~espect to human behavior is much more problematic, if not at times ImpOssible.

Outcome 2 seems problematic at first glance, but ultimately can be

dealt . h .. . 'd'fi d

Wit In a manner consistent with how adaptatIOns are I enti e

abOve R b . d"s

b . emern er, our argument about technology as an a aptation I

ased first on a correlation second on the logical argument regarding the

nature of th 1·"· di We can

I at corre anon and finally on our performance stu ies.

a So sUPPOrt OUf argument by evidence as to the rates at which technology

Evolutiona1'Y Archaeology 79

, all options, we can see that assuming the possibil-

'deong h 1 d h '

f er cOOSl 1 the EE proponents ave pace t emselves m what

AftonlY outCOme n'ecessary intellectual bind. They assume the most

'.v 0 an un d d '

1'1 (llS to rn~ , to empirically emonstrate, an Ignore the other two

s~~ ult positIOn . in fact much eas.ier to demons.trate.

dlfL'C " that are,' h '

ibil!t1es e more reason not to assume p enorypic plasticity

PaSS 'also on 1·' A .'

rhere IS 1 h It of perceivable eva unon, s noted above, EE pro-

nera . a '1 d ' , h

d the ge hat our potentIa an capaciues were s aped over

311 sume t 'd' h d f '

aoeotS a~, ears primanly en 109 at teen 0 the Pleistocene.

P ..... ,Ihon y' " " h

he last ". d that this perspective IS presenust Wit respect to the

~bo"e, I argue Iy it is also presentist with respect to the future.

O fortunate , 'h 1 d if

Past, n ing that evolutiOn as s owe I not stopped, we

than argu h ' " , h

Rather. . on to believe t at It IS mcreasmg, per aps at an

have ev.e.~Yl reas Archaeologists and biological anthropologists well

nua rate. '1 d ki ,

e;{pone . hnology and humamty co-evo ve , mar mg major phy-

knoW ,hOW t~C behavioral changes concurrently with technological ones sialoglcal an he Pleistocene. Yet, when human population growth and

h ghoul t b h

t roU '1 hange are greater than they have ever een, w y does the

hnologlca c h luti has slowed

tee wish for us to assume that uman evo unon as 5 owe,

EE program

'f not stopped? ' f ' li

I h 1999 brought us a world. population 0 6 billion people.

T e year . h ld' fi b'll' I '

, j' f years of evolution gave us t e wor s rst 1 Ion peop e In

M1IlDns o· . T b'll' 1

04 0 ding to United Nations estimates. wo 1 Ion peop e

18 acc r . . , ,

hed I' n only the next 123 years, by 1927. Three billion were

were reac '

h d only thirty-three years later in 1960. By 1974, fourteen

reac e billi A h '

later our population had reached 4 1 Ion. t t e same time,

years, . . . 'II "1

technology has proceeded to change, evolve it you WI , at SlIDl ar rates.

Human evolution has stopped? Is this technological change mere plasticity without direct reproductive consequences as a product of natural

selection? I think not.

Yet, despite these major changes, the other side of human behavior as

adaptation is that not all behavior offers such a reproductive advantage. Furthermore, this kind of behavior may be understood in evolutionary terms as well. Let us take a familiar example. Bartender A's bottle opener may have had a red handle while the bottle opener of Bartender B may have had a green one. Whiie these may have helped the bartenders iden~ify their own tools, there is no advantage conveyed because of the c,olor Itself - any other color would suffice. These kinds of traits, sometimes called stylistic traits by Evolutionary Archaeologists, owe their exist~nce to the vagaries of chance and history. They are subject to the evolutIOnary process called drift and are not directly under the influence of natural selection. This conce~t is difficult to understand, and I present an example to help clarify it.

-8 Robert D, Leonard

I hi elate to a realized adaptation at the early St

H ' does r IS r ' h b age of

changes. 0\\ b a different way than mig t e expected

,. It does, ut in , I "

adopnon, I' ry theory 15 current Y structured, time is rh I'

C· howevo utlona b donti e U tl

iven , b I ich the correlation erween a option of a tech -

renon Y W 11 I • if fi '. no 1_

mare en . d _' re measured. T rat IS, I tness IS mcreased a

d eproUctlon a 'f h I cross

og)' an r It of (he adoptIon a a tee no ogy, an argu

'ons as a resu . . if we d ' h ment

genera[J. b made But what If we on t ave time or if ti

f d ranon can e . ' une

or a ap d'l' b measured? Here we may turn to what I call the Thea

nnor rea I) e 'E' " G ry

ca. Relativity where, as 10 mstem s eneral Theory f

of El'oluttOtU1T)' , d' di , 0

_,' d space become one un er certam con mons.

Reia[I\'Jty time an h hesi

, I· 'f one were to evaluate the ypot eSIS that the adOptI'o

For examp e, 1 , "n

f I computers should bring an on average Increase In reproduc

o persona , " h hI· -

, cess to those individuals urilizing t e tee no ogy, we may not have

nve sue . h di h ic eff '

sufficient time depth available to see t e lac rome eects In one popu-

larion, and ascertain whether or not the ,cha,nges we see are meaningful, as is customary in most biological app!tcatlOns. We do, however, have space, a whole wide world of it, and c~n pO,rentially see ripples in mcreased reproduction as this technology IS replicated and spreads Over space rather than through time. There must be, of course, a logical argument rymg technology to the spatial correlation. Ultimately, with sufficient time, conclusions based on observations of space may be evaluated


jf necessary.

We next turn to our performance studies to provide independent

evaluation of any hypotheses based on space. That is, if we see increased replication across space, associated with evidence for subtle changes in re~roduction, and our performance studies indicate that the technology being used should lead to enhanced reproduction in that environment it is ~o,my mind a reaso~able hypothesis to posit that a particular techn;logy IS indeed an adaptation. In other words, evolution is very likely occurring ~s we sp:ak. Of c~urse, we are not necessarily restricted to evolution as it IS occurnng, as this procedure is applicable for any time period.

Arguments related to outc 3 I f h

di orne re y or t e most part on performance

stu res, and may well sp k hi'

, rh h d ea to tee no ogles well known and technolo-

gies t at a tremendous 'I' '

w'II k potentia to influence evolutionary change we

I never now about rh I

we of course cann t ' kat ~ere ost to the vagaries of history. While

potential, the list a o;pea 1I ~ the unknown technologies with adaptive impact. s but did not I' ~fie ~ nown technologies that could have had

h s m I11te' Tho ] ff '

e called the Mouldb d f' mas e erson s wonderful plow that

d ' . oar 0 Least R '

an .wieh a little imag'l' . eSlstance, the Osborne computer,

f h ,. nation the B t _. .

o t err times we h ' ' e arnax VCR. All the" best" designs

d I ,ave no Idea wh '

ISP a~ techno,logy would be now ,ere agncu!ture, computing, or, video

path hIstory disallowed. If we had followed that evolUtlonary

o Robert D. Leonard

Au archaeological example from northern Mexico

While archaeologists have been working in parts of the North Am ' Sournwesr for over 100 years, our knowledge drops off at the b encan Mexico and the Unired States (Phillips 1989). Much is known borde~ of

d f ili , h a OUt s t

north of the border. an many are ami iar WIt such famo ,1 es

S h f h . us SItes

Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. out 0 t e border lies anoth as

important sire called Paquirne (formerly known as Casas Gra des large

. n es) (

map and figure 3.1), which dates to 1275-1400 (Dean and R see

.. h aveslo

1993). Farther to the south lies ( e extremely well-known arch I ~t

cal region of the Valley of Mexico. Virtually every question ask ~eOtglarchaeological record of the area is influenced in one way 0 e 0 the

r another

New Mexico
Texas '"
I '"
_J o
l_[ '"
Chihuahua «I
\ :s:
\ >-
Llgu~ ill
d~htos ...
I Villa Ahumada.
'\ 'ill
\ ::I
ttl II)
... I ~
c \ Cilleana .-I
VI rt'l
t ::I
' ..
" Il.o
, E
J ~ N
r...g.,"'de ~
D·~m~ I iij
0 40
Farias 82 Robert D. Leonard

Figure 3.2 Casas Grandes ceramics from the Maxwell Museum U' .

N M . ' mversuy of

ew exico

by how one views the relationships - ex ressed in' . ' .,

differences - between the prehistoric ' h b~ f slmIiantles and

h In a. itants 0 the tw

at er,words, every interpretation of the area is b d 0 ,areas. In standing what the similarities and diff ase somehow In underrecords mean, But how do we m 1 er~n~es ~I?ong the archaeological

what do they mean regardin c iltura! ,sImdan:les and differences? And relate to evolutionary ch g, uhtural interactions? And how does this

Let us ~onsider the cer:r;!~::f ~~~n beha~ior?

an Evolutionary Archaeolo. isr ,h Mexico from the perspective of VanPool, and I all of the U ~ ,~hns VanPool, Marcel Harmon Todd

, .' mverslty ofN M·'· '

POts with evolutionary theor as a f ew exico, are examining these

Our results are prelimina hY rarnework for understanding. While

evolun ry, t ey neverthele I d

, IOnary conclusions. Man f ss ,ea us to some important

quite beautiful poiychromes thY °h the ceramics of northern Mexico are

ICons (fig 3 at ave a . . f

C I ~re .2). The motifs d i vanety 0 complex motifs and

amp ex mf' an ICons on th

(W' ormation about ese vessels likely convey

lessner ] 983) group affili ti "

product f h . That is, they hav . ia Ion and individual identity

itself tha~ ~ri~nce and history, as th:r~~~pose., Yet.' the im~ge itse~f is a the prod fg,s an evolutionary d . nothIng inheren .. t In that Image

uct Oint II a vantage I

beautiful as th e ectual traditions th . mportantly, they are all

the beautiful! ese _POts are, they are also at cross-~ut space and time. As COOking greasY padlnted polychrome ve tlools. Dl Peso states: "Many of

e an fo d' sse S we d

a stams de ,re smu ged and soiled by

, monstratln h h

g t at t ese, along with the

Evolutionary Archaeology 83 e used to ferment, cook, and serve, while others of

es wer 1 f ' f d

li arY waf.' sed as funera urmture, to store 00 s, and even to

CIlI~J grace wer; ~Di Peso et al. 1974: 532-3). As tools, those that are e,qll fire hearths Is than others offer a competitive advantage to the

\Jne f rive toO I in th

. re ef ec· h as did the batt e op.eners .m t e example above.

(110 'ng tern, [ a ttri b h

opJe uSl the functiona attri utes, we ave a number of ideas

pe speet to f h '

With re d For example, many 0 t e pots are polished and painted

to be e"al~~~e . 'Chris VanPool h~s proposed t~at this t,rait might be funcaround th olfshed and painted runs reduce spl~lage (Rlce 1987). Reduced tional, as p 1 r evolutionary advantage. This aspect of our research is

I is a c ea d h

spil age" nd we need to understan ow small differences in tech-

, begmnmg, a 'h' ducti

]IlSlt gy may have led to major c angefs pm re~r~ ucnon, d

1100 I D' Peso the excavator a . aquime, propose perhaps the

Char es l' , lati hi b h

id 1 used hypothetical re anons ips etween t e types based

most ~I ,~:rities (figure 3.3). People learned these traditions from each upon slm~ they changed through time. Cultural transmission is implied other, ani awing was involved, and change in both functional and neutral

because e . ic assernbl

. s used to momtor how ceramic assem ages changed through

t[altS wa

time, , '

Archaeologists workmg m the area have proposed a number of com-

peting ideas about these relationships (Leonard et al. 1999):

The Casas Grandes ceramic tradition is related to the Puebloan traditions of the prehistoric American Southwest (Bandelier 1892; Brand 1933, 1935; Chapman 1923; Kidder 1924; Robles 1929).

2 The Casas Grandes ceramic tradition is related to the Toltec (we now know Di Peso's chronology was in error (Dean and Ravesloot 1993) _ the extant tradition at the time of Paquime was actually the Aztec, not Toltec, tradition of Mesoamerica (Di Peso et al. 1974).

3 The Casas Grandes ceramic tradition is a specific derivative of the

Classic Mimbres (Sayles 1936a, 1936b).

4 The Casas Grandes ceramic tradition grew out of the more general Mogollon tradition of southern New Mexico and Arizona (LeBlanc 1986; Lister 1953).

5 The Casas Grandes ceramic tradition is related to the "Lower Gila 6 style" from southern New Mexico and Arizona (Kidder 1916).

The Casas Grandes ceramic tradition is related to the Little Colorado red War t d"

7 T e ra ition (Amsden 1928; Sauer and Brand 1931).

1;~ Casas Grandes ceramic tradition is unique (Carey 1931; Hewett 8).

8 TheblCasas Grandes ceramic tradition is related to both the

pue as of th h' . d h f

M e pre istonc American Southwest an t e Aztecs 0


84 Robert D, Leol1ord

EvOlu.tionary Arcl I

'aeo ogy 85

d '1' be unable to explain their manifestat' ,

n WI Ions in th

eiche,f, a eeord, To presume homology where only analo e, arc~ae-

oIOg!C.3i rh' toric relatedness where there is none. To gy exists IS to

ne IS " d h" presume a 1

presUI oJ11oJogy eXIsts IS t~eny a istonc relationship. To u n~ ~gy

\'Iher~ h tant archaeological matter - and not lust t . Sj t~IS IS a verY lJ11,pOristS. To put it simply, we must identify homoloOg evodutlonary

haeO og d . k' d Y an analo

ar' we are intereste 10 any 10 of human interacs gy

heoe"er . faCtion or be-

VI. ' the past.

h "lor 10 . f h h

a consideration 0 t e nort ern Mexico ceramics h

In our h ' 'I " hi' we t etefore

knoW whie strru arrties are omo ogous and which 1

need to f 1 l i forman are ana ogous

tain the flow 0 eu tura In ormation. To help us solv thi k

to aseer . hi' . , e IS notty

bl J11 evolutlOnary arc aeo ogists make a distinction betw . h

PrO e , ' . f een tee -

1 ies under the direct operation a natural selection and tho . h

no ogl b se t at are

(Dunnell 1978a, 1978 ,1978c; Meltzer 1981; Neiman 1995) S' , not b ith hi' mularities in the former may e eit er orno o~ous or analogous. Similarities

, the latter, however, are more often likely to be homologou F

In .' h s. or

example, a ceramiC tempenng agent t at allows for thinner walled ceram-

ics that allow corn to be processed more efficiently, and with greater nutrition that allows more people to be fed using less fuel, has direct consequences in terms of reproduction, and is, as a consequence, under selection, The symbols used to decorate these pots are unlikely to be under selection, however, and their presence is most likely the result of a historical, or homologous relationship, and their distribution through time subject to drift. By drift we mean change that is independent of the operation of selection, fading in and out of popularity with the passing of time, like contemporary dress and hairstyles.

Both temper and the symbols used to decorate the pots may, of course,

be part of an intellectual tradition, but the ceramic tempering agent may well emerge in different times and places as a product of convergence. We assumed that "plumed serpents," "macaws," "snakes," and other ?ecorations have little such potential to simply be convergent. They Instead reflect cultural transmission and history. As a consequence, we f~c~sed on decoration in order to maximize the probability that the Similarities we see are the product of historical relatedness.

To conduct our analysis of northern Mexico ceramics, we examined 10~ whole pots, recording the presence and absence of 88 differ~nt ~eslgn attributes (see list overleaf). We also recorded classic type descnptions, These ceramics came from a variety of regions in the American

Southwe t d .

s an northern MeXICO,

f As O'Brien and Lyman (2000a 2000b 2000c) suggest, similarities

o ho I . '. ) 'd b

b' . mo ogous traits and intellectual hneages can be Illustrate y

Ulldtng a phylogenetic tree (figure 3.4, pp. 88-9 below). What this tree

Ramos Srandard Poly


Villa Ahumada Ramos Poly


Babieora Paquime Poly


Escondida Paquime Poly


Villa Ah umada Villa Ahumada Standard Poly Capulin Poly


Babicora Standard Poly

Standard POI~

Gila Poly Tonto Poly




Huengos Poly ?

Dublan Poly Corralitos Poly

Carretas Poly

Mara Poly

Red Rim Ceramics Figure 3.3 D' P

I eso (1974) hypothesized type relationships

This previous w k

as h h or can now guide us as . f i

ypot eses regarding hi a set 0 Ideas that we can use

t~o~I' Evolutionary theory Ph roe w,storlCdcultura I transmission and interac-

sum anry in a d: ,ever emand h

all ' 'I In a Ifferent manner th' h Stat we use the concept of

Simi ariti an t at us d b h

above J. le~ are the product of th e. y t ese researchers. Not

larity ,(~vOlutlonary theory recognizee ~ame processes, As noted briefly 20DDe), ~man and O'Brien 1998; O~B ~mologous and analogous simiAnalogousO~OI~go,us similarity is the ne~ and Ly~an 2000a, 2000b, conditions oSlml arl!ty is the product pcfo ~.c~ of historical relatedness.

, r eva uti 0 simila . .

10 confuse the :nary convergence. r responses to similar

change, meanm 0 confounds the

g that we ultimately will ~:::s~es underlying observed little or no knowledge of

86 Robert D, Leonard

Evolutionary Archaeology 87 , a hypothesized historical lineage. As s~ch, it purports to

, su!l1, IS. ri on and. flow of culturally transmitted ideas th th

IS In he dlree 1 'I di eid I b roug

, sure r ace in the regIOn. n IVI ua ranches on the tree

filea d cross sp d d h f ' rep-

'file an ~'d I pots. They are co e on tear right, and they are colo

(lesenc irtdIVl'puao's types; e.g. Ramos Polychrome. Different dusters orf

r b DI es . di h' . 1

oded Y as hypotheses regar 109 rstonca relatedness - partici-

C be seen ' h d i 11 I

PotS caO r or lesser degrees 10 s are mte ectual traditions

. greate. . . "

Patlon to b en the tradmonal types can be found In different clus-

aO e se , . d 'fi d b 1

As C . that many pots 1 enti e as e onging to the same

sUggesting 1 bI b 1 '

ters, 11 more close Y resem e pots e ongmg to different types!

actUa Y f hi h h d

rypes. that the reason. or t IS IS t at tetra itional types con-

We suggest logouS and analogous similarity by being based on some

f nd homo ' ' f

ou, ' of design elements, paste composinon, or sur ace treatment

mbJOation , 'I .,' co her eharactenstlcS. As t re types are constructed usmg a mix of

Olong ot ' h

a, ' lly related and convergent traits to get er, the types may not

hlstOrtca d II h ld

historical relate ness as we as t ey cou .

measure I d f hi

Among the many things (0 be ear~e rom t IS tree, w~ f~und Cluster

7 to be quite interesting, suggestmg cultural, transm~s~lOn between he Classic Mimbres, the later Northern MeXICO traditions, and the ~ohokam and Salado traditions to the north as welL Figure 3.5 shows the table of shared attributes across all clusters. Notice that Cluster 7 (identified in figure 3.4) is characterized by bands, decorated triangles, filled shapes, negative shapes, parallel hatchures, triangles, and triangles with hatching (summarized in table 3.1, p. 92). The probability ofthese seven traits clustering on three different regional ceramic types (Mimbres, Salado, and Casas Grandes) is improbably low given that we recorded 88 different design elements. Ultimately the clusters depicted in figures 3.4 and J.S will be evaluated by using the archaeological methodologies of occurrence and frequency seriation. If we are indeed constructing historical lineages, battleship-shaped or lenticular curves will ultimately provide additional insights into the reliability of our conclusions.

Returning to the eight hypotheses referred to above, we now find Suppor~ for propositions 3 and 5 and no support for proposition 7, (The ~valuat1on of hypotheses 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 await further analysis,) That ,s,th,e Casas Grandes ceramic tradition is not unique, and cultural transmflsslon between the individuals living during the Classic Mimbres period

o soUthern N M·'· . h h ti h

N h ,ew exico persisted at least In part t roug time to r e

orr Mexlc C Gil 1 >J

of h 0 asas Grandes tradition as well as the" Lower I a stye

Sout ern N M .

Add' . ew eXlCO and Arizona.

Itlonal all' d

ultimat I na yses are needed to evaluate these cone usions, an

in ou ehy we may well be shown to be wrong. This is not a weakness r t eory, but a strength that comes with using the epistemology of


Preliminary recorded design attri butes

Running Squares with D

Cross ors


Rectangles Checkered Squiggle lines

Parallel Hatching ~~rpendicular Hatching

iagonal Hatching Serpent

Wing Serpent Macaw

BI Division Quad Division Human Effigy Badger Effigy Bird Effigy Macaw Effigy Owl Effigy Turtle Effigy Fish Effigy Snake Effigy Ribbon Band Snake Band

Macaw 2 Turkey



F Motif

S Motif Chevron Kilted Dancer Fish

Ticking WingFeather Eye Style 1 Eye Style 2 Diamond Eyes Almond Eyes Glasses

Facial Marking T-Shape Death Teeth

Stacking Triangles

V with V

Incised Lines

Incised Ticking

Incised Cross

Incised Scroll

Incised Step

Incised Band

lnci.sed Triangle

Incised Macaw Corrugated

Finger Punched


Triangle with Lines Triangle with Dots Decorated Triangles Interlocking Triangles Square


Interlocking Scrolls Interlocking Steps Steps

Crosshatched Step Squared Scroll

I~terlocking Squared Scrolls Filled Shape

Negative Shape

Balanced Lines


Square with Dot Checkerboard C~eckerboard with Dots Cucie WIth Dot


Running Ch k

ec erboard irh

Runmng Check b Wit Dots

R er oard

unnlng Circles

Running Squares Running Dots Running Squares

~ y
.t:J 0-. QO .Q
01 ... L.,
Q.l ~
to.. ,a - ,f!
~ r'-I
... VI = ~
III .2 -
= c c 0
u • • x
f I 1
" "0
"'0 e
1.1 ='
L.. ~ ..t::
:::; U
-C 0 .....
v c, «I
.. C'il :r: >. >.
"0 ~ >. (3
{Ij - b 0
>. >. E 0 0 >. o, 0...
~ a 0.. 0... 0 >. >.
:::; c, 0 VI ro -
a.. .c e e 0.... 0 ~ 0 0
CI.I -« CII ..... c, 0..
CI.I a a «I ,..... "'0
~ 0 0 .~ u ....... ;:; co:! e 0 0
~ e ~ ~ 0 .....
.c :.c .D l- e +J
.... U C
~ (!3 .- «I (!3 «I ~ 0 VI 0 .-
c( > al al U a u ~ (- c, '-C tn ~ l'f') N ~
~ r- ... ... 10. 10. '- I.,
.! Q.l .e a Q.l
at) ... .B - -
Q.l rn rn rn rn rn
~ ~ VI = = = = =
=' = o - - - -
- u u u u
- o
..e u I I I .--1 I
u -.
7 • a

,;" ,.


"i ,$g "''''' ....
= ;;; 0::;; ... -0
.§ ... "".., ~-g
'" ... _ .. " "" tl
0 ... :1:.'" ;;; ::;:;"" 0"'", -70. CQ_
.... <1> vQ .. i- '" ~
.. 0 0 ~ :::;; .5 -a.~ ~ e
e ;"§. i~ e=- ~
~ -e J:I :: .. ~- a.= W
~ 0 = ..cell <.:1% .......
II(t Co. C t:l ell -e :;;:0 til ... -e "til!,)
- e = J:I
,. ::l 0'" s~3 '" ... i '"
~&!= Q ... ell 0
0 .. g,c
e ell ... = ",,<n "'- Ii;
on.., 8~
.. 0" "" 1<<11 :<11
'" ::.Q ... .l3 ell 0 ...
~ ... 0.. v
~ ..
... <II ~~
.. ~
1 ~J
D \ L....r-"
1 ., .,
~ ~ '"T
e ...
~ ~ 8
~ o e,




~ ~~~

~[D~~l ~





.,J .,


.,J ,

1 ~


.. "l
.,J <U
~ :l
1 iZ
r" .,
.=r- l
l .,


92 Robert D. Leonard

EvOlutionary A h

rc aeology 93


U aders of this book know by now, the word "'th . "

A5 a r~;ngs to different authors in this volume To E leo~ means dif-

f eDt tW" f' vo utlonary Ar h

er 0 theory is a set of rules to ollow in order to und d C ae-

t glstS erstan th 1

00 d US To many others, theory seems to be any set f b e wor d

roun . 0 0 a stracti

a I wish to use at anyone nrne to learn. While evol to Ions

Peop e . kn 1 u ionarv theo

hange as we .gam more ow edge of the world d ry

does C d aroun us the

is remarkably slow an tends to be minor. Evoluti '

change . b . ronary Archae-

lOts are simply seeking to nng, for the first time the d

o ogiS . d d . ,most pro uc-

. set of rules ever use to un erstand life on earth to the h

tt"e h ld f uman past

D '"'"vinian theory. in t e war 0 EA, not every good idea 0 b

_ a.. r a strac-

Constitutes theory. One consequence of this is that many \

non . peop e

play by the same rul~s, and can thus easily build upon, understand, and

evaluate each other 5 work. Importantly, the intellectual product is

cumulative, and cross-cultural. .'

In conclusion, I very much hope this ~lmple piece provides the basics by

which one can understand how evolutionary theory is put into practice. As with chess, one must know the rules in order to play the game.

Your move.

Table 3.1 Shared attributes summary table


Cluster Number of pots

Shared attTlbutes

1 3 Band; Incised Lines
2 2 Band; Filled Shape; Steps
3 6 Band; Balanced Lines; Filled Shape
4 4 Band; Decorated Triangle; Filled Shape;
Interlockmg Square Scroll; Negative Sha .
Triangle pe,
5 13 Band; Balanced Lines; Decorated Triangl . Fil
Shape; Triangle e, I led
6 7 Band; Balanced Lines; Negative Shape' T' gl
o gl . . ' nan e'
Trian e WIth Lines '
7 6 Band; Decorated Triangle; Filled Shape' N .
, egattve
Shape; Parallel Hatchmg, Triangle; Tnangl 0 h
H hi ' e wn
ate ng
8a 14 Band; Filled Shape; Parallel Hatching
8b 14 Band; Decorated Triangle; Filled Shape;
8 total Interlocking Steps
28 Band; Filled Shape
9a 8 Band; Bi-Division; Filled Shape; Ticking;
9b Tnangle
10 Band; .Circle; Decorated Triangle; Filled Shape;
9c 13 Negatlv~ Shape; Parallel Hatching; Triangle
Band; Circle; Circle with Dots; Decorated
9 total 31 Triangle.; Filled Shape; Negative Shape; Triangle
Band; Filled Shape; Triangle science. We used Darwinian evol .

_ hypotheses _ about h ~tlonary theory [Q generate propOSitions

These propOSItiOns m [ e past t at we as well as others may evaluate. powerful theoretical stn or may not stand the test of time, but the of evaluation and ructure behmd them will allow others a means

I ,. a stnct set of 1 f

eva uation. ru es to ollow to conduct such an

Man.y more proposItions of a d'ff

evaluation as well Wh·1 hi I erent SOrt must be forthcoming for

~tyl h . let IS examp\ f

e, omology and d Of e ocused on cultural transmission

• n t much· '

~aterJals regarding fu·' more work needs to be done with these

non h ful . ncnon, analogy d h

- tel evolutlona I 0' an t e operation of natural selec~

scope (f hi ry app ication hi h .

J r IS short essay. - w IC IS, of course, beyond the


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