«By James R. Keron Graduate Program in Anthropology Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Faculty of ...»
To date, these studies have focused strongly on environmental factors which impact technology. Nelson (1991) noted that the environment creates adaptive problems for humans which necessitate economic strategies for dealing with the environment.
Examples of these problems are A time stress..., energy costs..., mobility requirements..., scheduling, risk management..., social aggregation requirements..., and raw material availability@ (Nelson 1991:60). There are fewer studies dealing with social strategies but the trend is towards seeing style as of adaptive value in signaling social information. This trend is more pronounced within complex agricultural based societies (e.g. Gero 1989) but others have argued for its validity in less complex foraging societies (e.g. Ellis 1989;
Several postulates in this literature bear directly on the situation encountered with local Iroquoian sites. For example, Nelson (1991), following Parry and Kelly (1987), noted that increased sedentism leads to more expedient use of lithics and a less complex/structured lithic industry. Torrence (1989b) also notes a similar trend in the European Mesolithic and attributes this to decreased risk in terms of encountering and capturing game. Both of these are relevant to this study in that the current understanding of the Iroquoian peoples is one of increasing sedentism and reliance on agriculture with a decreasing dependency on hunting beginning in Middle Woodland times and extending through to the historic period. Another example is an assumption that the cost of material acquired through trade will be higher than material procured directly leading to different usage patterns either through greater curation (Morrow and Jefferies 1989) or for use as prestige items (Gero 1989). This argument holds that the cost in terms of energy and time expended will be higher for traded goods than those acquired directly and that more expensive chert will be treated differently than less expensive chert. In terms of different chert acquisition possibilities, it is generally expected that chert acquired through trade would have the highest cost. Chert acquired through specialized acquisition trips would be lower and embedded procurement (e.g. obtained incidentally to other activities) would be the least expensive cost. As groups become more sedentary as is the case with Iroquoian peoples, if raw material is not local, the cost to acquire it will be higher.
Intervening groups may block access. The cost of time and energy to travel to the chert source specifically also drives up the cost. If you can not get chert while food gathering or within an area visited for other purposes (embedded procurement), the cost is higher (Jeske 1989).
The other source of postulates that link the archaeological data back to the behaviourial hypotheses comes from a number of sources that essentially link distance decay functions to cultural processes. Distance decay is a concept borrowed from geographers (for example see Taylor 1975) and proceeds basically by plotting the occurrence of specific source material against the distance from the source. Most often what is plotted is the amount of the material derived from a specific source measured as the percentage of the total such material, against the distance from the source of the sites under consideration. In general, the farther away from the source the lower the percentage becomes or decays. A linear regression is then run against the plot of all points under consideration. Through a process of trial and error several forms of the regression equation are attempted until the best fit is achieved. Serious work in this area extends back 35 years with the definition by Renfrew et al. (1968) of down-the-line exchange based on studies of Near Eastern obsidian source distributions. The postulate is that there is a supply zone in which there is general access to the source but that outward from the supply zone, the material is passed from one group to the next with each group retaining a portion of the material and then trading the rest on to the next group down-the-line. Subsequent to that work, various archaeologists have added to the discussion, introducing linear regression and other methodologies such as trend surface analysis (see Hodder and Orton 1976) as statistical means to describe the observed patterns. Work with the distance decay and linear regression led to an attempt to link different regression curves to specific forms of exchange. For example, a linear equation (straight line) was linked to direct acquisition, a single log equation was linked to downthe-line exchange and a double log equation was linked to infrequent exchange of high value goods between groups by Reid (1986). However, actual attempts to operationalize these postulates has led to problematic results. Janusas (1984) found that a double log model best fit the data for distance decay of Kettle Point chert when plotting the archaic and woodland time in the regression, a situation that would imply infrequent exchange of high value goods. This result hardly seems likely and Janusas wisely declined to make such an interpretation. Reid (1986) also attempted a series of regression analyses on Ontario and Michigan material and after applying the general inferences, concluded that Athe results of archaeological studies of trade and interaction@ should be treated with a Ameasured scepticism.@ Another factor undermining the utility of the models is identified by Hodder (1982) who claims that different forms of exchange could actually create the same regression curve making a simple link between types of equation and variation in equation parameters to different exchange mechanisms suspect. However, Findlow and Bolognese (1982) used differing curves to good effect in a study within a limited area with clear cultural continuity. The difference seems to be in applying the interpretations to too broad a time span or region. Also, simplistic application across a set of data can create problems. Hodder and Orton (1976) noted problematic results even in a limited region where there were in fact two different decay curves: one where transport over land occurred and a different one where transport along water courses occurred. Once these were separated the pattern became evident. In general, the use of distance decay should best be taken as only one line of evidence whose interpretation should be corroborated/evaluated along with other lines of reasoning.
Behavioural Hypothesis Three primary sources of chert account for well over 95% of all chert artefacts in London area Iroquoian assemblages. These are Kettle Point chert, which outcrops in Lake Huron just off Kettle Point, Onondaga which outcrops along Lake Erie from Port Dover to the Niagra river and an assortment of local varieties (local till chert) which is found in the glacial till deposited by the Lake Erie lobe in the area south of London. Any given group had access to all three types and the chert acquisition pattern is not a simple case of either trade or direct procurement but was almost certainly a combination of both.
A further distinction that needs to be made here is that direct procurement could occur in two ways mentioned earlier: either embedded procurement or by a special trip for the purpose of acquiring the chert (Binford 1979, 1980). Any given site would probably acquire chert in a combination of the three forms.
Returning to Clark=s (1982) methodology, the first stage is to identify a set of behavioural hypotheses that are to be tested with the research project. These hypotheses to be examined here are derived from previous work (Keron 1986) described above as well as ethnographic sources (Tooker 1991). They are as follows.
1. Onondaga and Kettle Point chert were the preferred chert but not all groups had unrestricted access to these sources.
2. A down-the-line exchange existed during the Iroquoian occupation of the area.
3. Kettle Point chert was passed from west to east through the study area.
4. Onondaga chert was passed from east to west.
5. Trade routes were controlled by lineages as was documented among the Huron (Tooker 1991; Trigger 1969, 1987).
6. The down-the-line exchange pattern has considerable time depth extending back to the EOI. Documenting this pattern raises the possibility of distinguishing distinct groups in time and space by the percentage of Kettle Point chert.
7. The medium of exchange was raw cores. While this hypothesis was the conclusion in earlier work that led to this study (Keron 1986), as will be shown below in the discussion of the implications of down-the-line exchange, all groups receiving raw cores would contradict many of the results determined in other studies of exchange.
In effect, it would argue against down-the-line exchange. Nonetheless, this conclusion was based on the evidence and real results do not always conform to what the theories dictate. In any event, this hypothesis will be retained and evaluated despite the fact that it may be contradictory to some of the hypotheses regarding down-the-line exchange.
8. There are differences in chert use in different site types, for example, a village versus an agricultural cabin site.
9. As the cost of acquiring chert through trade was high, in order to reduce costs for total chert acquisition, groups in the central and east parts of the study area made extensive use of local till chert to supplement their chert supplies. Local till chert was acquired through embedded procurement.
Test Implications of the Behavioural Hypotheses The next stage in Clark=s (1982) research design method is to develop a set of implications from the behavioural hypotheses and then to operationalize them by developing a set of statistical hypotheses that will measure the implications. Normally, this procedure is done as two separate steps. However, they have been combined in the following discussion. Clark notes that it is frequently possible that some implications may not be able to be turned into testable statistical hypotheses. In the following these were eliminated so that only implications that are testable appear.
Down-the-Line Exchange Implications Much of the work on organization of technology has certainly focussed on lithics and also on the relative costs of various options for acquisition. Essentially there are three primary forms of chert acquisition: embedded procurement, direct acquisition and exchange with another group. A number of papers have explored the relationship between the use of chert that was readily accessible and that which was acquired from some distance. The general assertion is that chert that is difficult to acquire, or requires expenditure of considerable energy to procure, or that is exchanged with neighbouring groups, will be more expensive and thus, will be treated differently than chert that is readily available. The following discussion lists a number of generalizations that have been identified by various authors as to how the organization of technology will vary depending on the ease of obtaining chert. As much of this work has focussed on hunters and gatherers, it is uncertain that all of the following will be applicable to sedentary horticulturalists. However, a number of the principles will tend to hold true regardless of the mobility of the group. The intent of the following set of implications is to develop a set of measures that can be used to distinguish possibly traded chert from locally or inexpensively obtained chert. In each case the source is cited and the relevant statistical hypothesis follows. Numbering of the implications is sequential to facilitate reference later. Definitions of the different types of debris referenced in this discussion can be found in Chapter 4.
1. Non-local chert should be brought to the site in a more reduced state (Morrow and Jeffries, 1989). For debitage, all sites should show a lower percentage of cortex and earlier stage debris like shatter for non-local chert over locally obtainable chert.
Import of finished artefacts as Fox (1981a) has suggested for the Huron would also demonstrate this implication.
2. Non-local chert will be employed in the manufacture of formal tools that require time to make and can be rejuvenated or recycled (Jeske 1989; Morrow and Jeffries 1989).
Onondaga and Kettle Point chert should be preferred for these tools excepting possibly western groups with direct access to Kettle Point since it would be local chert in that area. More tools will be made of non-local chert and there should be more flakes of bifacial retouch and flake fragments on non-local chert.
3. Non-local chert will be discarded largely as exhausted and or broken tools (Morrow and Jeffries 1989). Again this might be more applicable to mobile hunter-gatherers.
However, at sites distant from the source there should be more broken projectile points than at sites close to the source.
4. If long distance chert is more expensive, then Kettle Point chert should get differential treatment in easterly sites and Onondaga in the west for the manufacture of bifaces, scrapers and other formal artefacts. The distance decay of Kettle Point chert should be from west to east and that of Onondaga chert the opposite.
5. Trade in both raw material and finished artefacts could have occurred. Finished artefacts should be found more distant than raw blocks from lithic sources. For imported chert, the ratio of artefacts to flakes should be higher for the more distant sites reflecting a greater emphasis on use as reduced forms rather than manufacture.
6. Traded material will be smaller (Hofman, 1987). While most of the chert would have been used to exhaustion making size difficult to detect, another indicator would be that the traded chert should be more reduced. There should be less early stage debris such as shatter and decortication flakes.
7. Down-the-line exchange should result in a regression line that is single log (Reid 1986). Direct acquisition of should result in a linear equation that falls gradually with distance as the cost of acquisition varies directly with distance.
Lineage Control Implications
5. If lineages controlled trade routes and chert was traded then there should be differential distribution of chert within other villages besides that documented at Harrietsville in the earlier study (Keron 1986).
6. Establishment of a down-the-line pattern of exchange implies ownership and control of the source. It can be taken as indirect evidence of lineage control of a trade route.
Time Depth Implications