Diversity in hunter-gatherer technological traditions

mapping trajectories of descent with modification in Northeast California

Peter Jordan, Stephen Shennan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent work has demonstrated that technological traditions can be considered as systems of information transmission that operate on the principle of ‘descent with modification’. In this paper we present an ethno-historical case-study of northeast Californian hunter–fisher–gatherers. Our goal is to understand the factors generating long-term diversity in local material culture, and we begin by investigating the extent to which branching and reticulation explain variation in four distinct technological traditions – basketry, cradles, ceremonial dress and earth-lodges. We then examine whether these four traditions have been transmitted in tandem, or are characterized by entirely different descent histories. The results for this particular case-study suggest that the first three traditions have been closely associated during branching descent, while the earth-lodges appear to have entirely distinct transmission histories. The general analytical framework presented in this paper is readily exportable to other world regions, where local case-studies may generate contrasting insights into historically-contingent patterns of cultural inheritance. Further studies examining potential co-transmission of technological traditions are strongly encouraged as a welcome addition to the cultural transmission literature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-365
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
Volume28
Issue number3
Early online date16 Jul 2009
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

Fingerprint

Trajectories
Earth (planet)
history
Trajectory
Hunter-gatherers
Northeast
Descent
History

Keywords

  • cultural transmission
  • ethnogenesis
  • phylogenesis
  • technology
  • hunter-gatherers

Cite this

Diversity in hunter-gatherer technological traditions : mapping trajectories of descent with modification in Northeast California. / Jordan, Peter; Shennan, Stephen.

In: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, Vol. 28, No. 3, 09.2009, p. 342-365.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{f9bb88add56f4a15880ee8794e859030,
title = "Diversity in hunter-gatherer technological traditions: mapping trajectories of descent with modification in Northeast California",
abstract = "Recent work has demonstrated that technological traditions can be considered as systems of information transmission that operate on the principle of ‘descent with modification’. In this paper we present an ethno-historical case-study of northeast Californian hunter–fisher–gatherers. Our goal is to understand the factors generating long-term diversity in local material culture, and we begin by investigating the extent to which branching and reticulation explain variation in four distinct technological traditions – basketry, cradles, ceremonial dress and earth-lodges. We then examine whether these four traditions have been transmitted in tandem, or are characterized by entirely different descent histories. The results for this particular case-study suggest that the first three traditions have been closely associated during branching descent, while the earth-lodges appear to have entirely distinct transmission histories. The general analytical framework presented in this paper is readily exportable to other world regions, where local case-studies may generate contrasting insights into historically-contingent patterns of cultural inheritance. Further studies examining potential co-transmission of technological traditions are strongly encouraged as a welcome addition to the cultural transmission literature.",
keywords = "cultural transmission, ethnogenesis, phylogenesis, technology, hunter-gatherers",
author = "Peter Jordan and Stephen Shennan",
year = "2009",
month = "9",
doi = "10.1016/j.jaa.2009.05.004",
language = "English",
volume = "28",
pages = "342--365",
journal = "Journal of Anthropological Archaeology",
issn = "0278-4165",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Diversity in hunter-gatherer technological traditions

T2 - mapping trajectories of descent with modification in Northeast California

AU - Jordan, Peter

AU - Shennan, Stephen

PY - 2009/9

Y1 - 2009/9

N2 - Recent work has demonstrated that technological traditions can be considered as systems of information transmission that operate on the principle of ‘descent with modification’. In this paper we present an ethno-historical case-study of northeast Californian hunter–fisher–gatherers. Our goal is to understand the factors generating long-term diversity in local material culture, and we begin by investigating the extent to which branching and reticulation explain variation in four distinct technological traditions – basketry, cradles, ceremonial dress and earth-lodges. We then examine whether these four traditions have been transmitted in tandem, or are characterized by entirely different descent histories. The results for this particular case-study suggest that the first three traditions have been closely associated during branching descent, while the earth-lodges appear to have entirely distinct transmission histories. The general analytical framework presented in this paper is readily exportable to other world regions, where local case-studies may generate contrasting insights into historically-contingent patterns of cultural inheritance. Further studies examining potential co-transmission of technological traditions are strongly encouraged as a welcome addition to the cultural transmission literature.

AB - Recent work has demonstrated that technological traditions can be considered as systems of information transmission that operate on the principle of ‘descent with modification’. In this paper we present an ethno-historical case-study of northeast Californian hunter–fisher–gatherers. Our goal is to understand the factors generating long-term diversity in local material culture, and we begin by investigating the extent to which branching and reticulation explain variation in four distinct technological traditions – basketry, cradles, ceremonial dress and earth-lodges. We then examine whether these four traditions have been transmitted in tandem, or are characterized by entirely different descent histories. The results for this particular case-study suggest that the first three traditions have been closely associated during branching descent, while the earth-lodges appear to have entirely distinct transmission histories. The general analytical framework presented in this paper is readily exportable to other world regions, where local case-studies may generate contrasting insights into historically-contingent patterns of cultural inheritance. Further studies examining potential co-transmission of technological traditions are strongly encouraged as a welcome addition to the cultural transmission literature.

KW - cultural transmission

KW - ethnogenesis

KW - phylogenesis

KW - technology

KW - hunter-gatherers

U2 - 10.1016/j.jaa.2009.05.004

DO - 10.1016/j.jaa.2009.05.004

M3 - Article

VL - 28

SP - 342

EP - 365

JO - Journal of Anthropological Archaeology

JF - Journal of Anthropological Archaeology

SN - 0278-4165

IS - 3

ER -