Abstract/Details

Embodiments of choice: Native American ceramic diversity in the New England interior


1996 1996

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

In the northeastern United States--as elsewhere--an overemphasis on cultural-historical ceramic typologies and ceramic decoration by archaeologists has stymied research along other axes of ceramic variation. For example, little attention has been paid to the sequence of choices made by potters during the production process. The goal of this study is to examine the complex relationships among technical choices, historical context, and society during the Late Woodland period (1000-1600 A.D.) in the middle or Massachusetts portion of the Connecticut Valley. Ceramic assemblages from two New England Algonquian sites and one Mohawk Iroquois site are examined using an attribute analysis of technical choice. The attributes selected for analysis reflect choices made by potters along the production sequence: paste characteristics, vessel morphology, construction techniques, surface treatments, and firing conditions.

Differences between Algonquian and Iroquoian ceramic attributes are interpreted as embodiments of profound differences in technical systems, which include intended function, the context and scale of production, and stylistic signaling. Since the two groups were interacting and sharing information during the Late Woodland period, Connecticut Valley Algonquians had access to similar kinds of cultural knowledge and technologies. Nevertheless, rather than becoming sedentary farmers, forming extensive and rigid social structures, and producing large, thin-walled, cooking pots like the Iroquois, Connecticut Valley peoples maintained fluid and mutable subsistence, settlement, and social relationships that are reflected in the their diverse and flexible ceramic traditions. Instead of assuming that New England Algonquians were not as culturally or technologically advanced as the Iroquois, I suggest that they can be understood as active agents of their own social change. As such, they made decisions concerning subsistence, settlement, and social structure. As potters, they made choices in ceramic production that both reflected and affected these decisions.

Indexing (details)


Subject
Archaeology;
Art History;
Ancient civilizations
Classification
0324: Archaeology
0377: Art History
0579: Ancient civilizations
Identifier / keyword
Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Algonquian; Iroquois; Mohawk
Title
Embodiments of choice: Native American ceramic diversity in the New England interior
Author
Chilton, Elizabeth S.
Number of pages
227
Publication year
1996
Degree date
1996
School code
0118
Source
DAI-A 57/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
ISBN
9780591048117, 0591048116
Advisor
Dincauze, Dena F.
University/institution
University of Massachusetts Amherst
University location
United States -- Massachusetts
Degree
Ph.D.
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Language
English
Document type
Dissertation/Thesis
Dissertation/thesis number
9638945
ProQuest document ID
304306474
Copyright
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
http://search.proquest.com/docview/304306474
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.