How does the organization of ceramic production change through time? An Ethnoarchaeological View

Author(s): Dean Arnold

Year: 2016


Changes in pottery through time and their organizational correlates are fundamental to archaeological inference. Such correlates rely upon theory based upon distilling various ethnographic cases filtered through a series of socio-economic and socio-political assumptions about the relationship of production to the society at large. This paper summarizes some of the results of a diachronic study of pottery production units in Ticul, Yucatán, from 1965 to 2008. The data show that the kin structure and physical location of household production persists in comparison to other types of units such as entrepreneurial units and workshops attached to tourist hotels. Even after being heavily influenced by social change, production in many units was intermittent, and occurred in cycles relative to demand, seasonal weather, ritual activities, the lifetime of the potter, and desires for a more attractive vocation. Potters also practiced multi-crafting as part of these cycles to handle economic risk brought on by adverse seasonal weather, economic downturns, and other factors. The paper concludes with some implications for archaeology rooted in insights gained by seeing the rise, fall, and persistence of pottery production units over more than forty years.

Cite this Record

How does the organization of ceramic production change through time? An Ethnoarchaeological View. Dean Arnold. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404862) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8H133VP

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

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