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Signaling Theory, Network Creation, and Commodity Exchange in the Historic Caribbean

Author(s): Todd H. Ahlman

Year: 2016

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Signaling theory is becoming a common tool in the interpretation of slave-era households in the United States and Caribbean. As a heuristic tool, signaling theory’s effectiveness lies in its ability to provide insight into the differential consumption and disposal habits of past populations. This paper addresses not only consumer and disposal habits, but also commodity exchange and personal networks to place the material culture of enslaved and freed Africans from the Caribbean island of St. Kitts into a broader context. Data from three slave village sites dating from the late seventeenth to mid-nineteenth century are examined and show changing consumption habits relating to local and international consumer demands. It is concluded that developing personal networks was as important as purchasing habits and exchange networks.

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Signaling Theory, Network Creation, and Commodity Exchange in the Historic Caribbean. Todd H. Ahlman. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434732)


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min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

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PaperId(s): 517

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