Differences in Manufacturing Traditions and Assemblage-Level Patterns: the Origins of Cultural Differences in Archaeological Data
Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory
Reason for embargo
© 2016 Springer Science+Business Media New York A relationship between behavioral variability and artifactual variability is a founding principle of archaeology. However, this relationship is surprisingly not well studied empirically from an explicitly “microevolutionary” perspective. Here, we experimentally simulated artifactual variation in two populations of “artifact” manufacturers, involving only a single behavioral difference in terms of their “tradition” of manufacturing tool. We then statistically analyzed shape variation in the resultant artifacts. In many respects, patterned differences might not have been expected to emerge given the simple nature of the task, the fact that only a single behavioral variable differed in our two populations, and all participants copied the same target artifact. However, multivariate analyses identified significant differences between the two “assemblages.” These results have several implications for our understanding and theoretical conceptualization of the relationship between behavior and artifactual variability, including the analytical potency of conceiving of artifacts as the product of behavioral “recipes” comprised of individual “ingredient” behavioral properties. Indeed, quite trivial behavioral differences, in generating microevolutionarily potent variability, can thus have long-term consequences for artifactual changes measured over time and space. Moreover, measurable “cultural” differences in artifacts can emerge not necessarily only because of a strict “mental template” but as the result of subtle differences in behavioral ingredients that are socially learned at the community level.
We are grateful to Noreen von Cramon-Taubadel, Metin Eren, and the anonymous reviewers and editors at JAMT for helpful and constructive comments on this paper. This research was partly supported by the Leverhulme Trust (F/07 476/AR) and by the Research Foundation for the State University of New York.
Article in Press
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Springer via the DOI in this record.
Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 2016, pp. 1 - 19