Restricted Forms of Knowledge in Pre-contact Coast Salish Lithic Craft Traditions

Author(s): Adam Rorabaugh

Year: 2015


Recently anthropologists have increasingly recognized the role that the control of knowledge has in the production and reproduction of social inequality in small scale societies. In the case of the pre-contact Coast Salish of the Pacific Northwest, ethnographic data emphasizes the role that the control of elite prerogatives had in the maintenance of their status. Drawing upon cultural transmission models, these social relationships would be reflected not only in the prestige goods often discussed by archaeologists but in a shift towards more restricted household learning in a wide range of technologies during the Marpole period (2400-1000 BP) when large winter plank house villages and hereditary forms of social inequality are argued to have emerged. High resolution analyses of formed lithic tools from previously excavated archaeological collections was conducted to examine fine scale stylistic and metric variation in assemblages in sites throughout the Salish Sea. The impacts of material quality, tool curation, and time-averaging effects were also assessed and did not appear to be factors significantly patterning this sample. Overall these data suggest that the learning of these technologies may have been restricted by gender and kin lines, and became increasingly influenced by prestige over the past 3,000 years.

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Restricted Forms of Knowledge in Pre-contact Coast Salish Lithic Craft Traditions. Adam Rorabaugh. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397464)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;