anthro. final

anthro. final - Jacob Aguiar Anthropology 75 Professor...

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Jacob Aguiar Anthropology 75 Professor Nichols 12/4/06 Mobility, Tool Technology, and the Availability of Lithic Raw Material Introduction A focus of North American archaeology over the last half century has been defining the relationship between mobility and tool assemblage. Kelly (1988) notes that organization of technology is invoked as a proxy of large scale change in social behavior, usually as evidence of mobility strategy. However, movement cannot be imputed on a continuum of mobility; it is a multidimensional adaptive feature that often occurs differentially within a single band or society. Terms such as mobile and sedentary cannot be applied to entire culture groups, but may be used to describe temporary movement strategies of particular individuals. Therefore, intuiting movement strategy from tool technology must account for the variability that exists within bands or societies. The study of prehistoric hunter/gatherer tool technology is difficult because any facet of material culture is a result of many very complex cultural issues, many of which cannot be accounted for in the archaeological record (Bamforth 1991). I will first discuss the intricacies of mobility, which make apparent the weakness of the theory that lithic technology is a function of mobility strategy. I will then consider raw material availability as a major factor influencing stone tool technology. 1
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Mobility as a Complex Adaptive Strategy A problem which underlies the study of mobility of prehistoric peoples, for which no written record can be referenced, is that we have a crude understanding of the relationship between movement and material culture (Kelly 1992). It is often assumed that each prehistoric culture group exists along a spectrum of mobility. Categories such as mobile, sedentary, forager, and collector are useful for conceptualizing movement strategies, yet are too often used to define hunter/gatherers. Mobility must be understood as a characteristic of individuals, and any single term cannot encapsulate the variability of movement within a group. Eder (1984) goes to great lengths to distinguish between mobility of individuals within groups. People may move individually or in groups, they may travel long or short distances, and frequency of movement may vary considerably between segments of a culture. Movement may also vary between sexes, age groups, and quality of foragers as well. For instance, many ethnographic cases show that mature males often participate in extended logistical forays to hunt or acquire other necessary resources, whereas females remain closer to residential camp and gather local resources. Binford (1980) was a pioneer in the study of hunter/gatherer mobility, conceptualizing the multidimensional aspect of movement. He distinguishes between collectors , who remain at residential camps near key locations, but send out frequent logistical parties to acquire more distant resources, and foragers who frequently move residentially to key resources and send out few, short logistical forays. The
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This note was uploaded on 04/25/2008 for the course ANTH 001 taught by Professor Rotating during the Winter '07 term at Dartmouth.

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anthro. final - Jacob Aguiar Anthropology 75 Professor...

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