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Life Histories of Pots and Potters: Situating the Individual in Archaeology

  • Patricia L. Crown (a1)

Abstract

Archaeologists often implicitly assume that individual ceramic objects were the work of a single individual artisan. Ethnographic and archaeological data suggest that this assumption should be questioned. Ceramics from the Greater American Southwest demonstrate that multiple hands contribute to the finished products in two ways. Two artisans may collaborate on vessels in various combinations of task differentiation. Alternatively, some vessels are modified over time, with artisans adding new features to existing vessels in diachronic collaboration. Such collaborative vessels have implications for understanding labor demands, learning and teaching frameworks, specialized production, and the life histories of ceramics.

Résumé

Los arqueólogos suelen asumir que cada objeto de cerámica habría sido obra de un sólo artesano. Sin embargo, las evidencias etnográficas e incluso arqueológicas sugieren que esta suposición debería ser cuestionada. Cerámicas del Gran Suroeste Americano demuestran que múltiples manos han contribuido en la elaboración de los productos finales de dos maneras: dos artesanos pueden colaborar en la confección de las vasijas a través de diversas combinaciones en la especialización de las tareas. De manera alternativa, algunas vasijas existentes se modifican con el tiempo, con la posibilidad de que nuevos artesanos van añadiendo nuevos elementos en una especie de “colaboración” diacrónica. Tales vasijas “olaborativas” tienen implicaciones para la comprensión de las demandas del trabajo, los sistemas de aprendizaje y de enseñanza, la producción especializada, y las historias de vida de las cerámicas.

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