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Cooperative harvesting of aquatic resources and the beginning of pottery production in north-eastern North America

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 January 2015

Karine Taché
BioArCh, Department of Archaeology, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK Department of Anthropology, Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY 11367, USA
Oliver E. Craig
BioArCh, Department of Archaeology, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK


What benefits were derived from the invention of pottery, and why did ceramics remain marginal for so long? The increasing use of pottery has been seen as a response to large-scale harvesting in a model that favours economic advantage through increased efficiency. This paper challenges that view; combining carbon and nitrogen isotope and lipid analysis, the authors argue that pottery was used selectively for storing or processing valued exchange commodities such as fish oil. Its use can be seen as part of broader developments in hunter-gatherer society, featuring seasonal gatherings, collective feasting and a new articulation of social relations.

Copyright © Antiquity Publications Ltd., 2015 

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