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Beyond Willow Smoke and Dogs’ Tails: A Comment on Binford's Analysis of Hunter-Gatherer Settlement Systems

  • Polly Wiessner (a1)

It is suggested that archaeologists would benefit by conceiving organizational variation in hunter-gatherer societies to be the result of both organization around resources and organization around other persons in social relations of production. This approach allows for predictions to be made about the patterning of material remains which are the products of intergroup and intragroup interaction, such as internal site structure, profiles of exchange, stylistic variation in artifacts, etc. To illustrate this point, I outline a number of social strategies for reducing risk in social and natural resources and derive hypotheses about their material correlates. While I emphasize the importance of understanding these strategies within a framework of adaptation, I question whether it is possible to predict strategies of organization from environmental variables alone.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
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