By J L Bintliff
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Additional resources for A companion to archaeology
Neiman went on to suggest that since the attribute being studied was decoration on cooking pots, and since ethnoarchaeological work suggests that successful transmission of ceramic traditions requires a long-lasting relationship between teacher and learner (cf. Shennan and Steele 1999), then the changes in level of intergroup transmission must relate to changes in the level of long-term residential movement of potters between groups. He also pointed out that his conclusions about the patterns of interaction through time in this period and area correspond to those of the culture historians who had studied the phenomenon, rather than with those of subsequent analyses undertaken within a New Archaeology frame- work.
Furthermore, such investigations should provide a basis for supporting their claims, which goes beyond mere assertions on the part of the investigator appealing to some undefined notion of plausibility. Accordingly, this chapter is an argument for Analytical Archaeology in both the senses intended by Clarke: the characterization of diachronic patterns and processes through the application of analytical methodologies. called ‘‘battleship curves’’: chronologically ordered sequences showing the frequency of different stylistically defined ceramic types in successive assemblages (see Lyman et al.
For example, changes in the size of ceramic serving vessels might signal changing sizes of the groups which ate together, rather than an incursion of a new population which preferred vessels of a different size, while new vessel forms might indicate new food consumption practices, perhaps associated with the emergence of new patterns of social interaction or differentiation. Lyman et al. (1997: 224) suggest that North American culture history failed because it used the archaeological units it had created, which were largely stylistic and defined by the archaeologist, as anthropologically meaningful, supposing them to correspond to the cultural classifications of the people who used the artefacts, or to produce useful information about function and adaptation.