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Local scale cultural transmission: how are neutral artifact traits manifested at neighborhood boundaries?

Author(s): David Thulman ; Maile Neel

Year: 2017

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Archaeologists are paying increasing attention to prehistoric social organization using learning theory, social networks, and the distributions of artifact variation. A starting assumption is that artifact variation will present an isolation-by-distance distribution, a concept developed by Sewall Wright to explain population genetic distributions. Here we extend Wright’s work and adopt his neighborhood model as an analog to explore the small scale interactions between two groups making different variations of the same artifact. We examine the boundary conditions and explore three hypotheses of human behavior that would result from interactions of two groups: blending the shape of both artifact variants, blending of the minority shape, and exaggeration of shape differences to assert ethic identity. We test these hypotheses against the null hypothesis of no effect with new statistical methods using the shapes of set of Early Archaic projectile points from Florida, defined using landmark-based geometric morphometrics (LGM). The results show no difference in the distribution of artifact shapes that support any of the hypotheses. We conclude the pattern of shape variation was due to long-term residence of males from outside the neighborhood.

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Local scale cultural transmission: how are neutral artifact traits manifested at neighborhood boundaries?. David Thulman, Maile Neel. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429650)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14560

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America