Memes of Hohokam Pottery: the Spread of Ceramic Traditions from the Middle Gila River, Arizona

Author(s): Andrew Lack; Mary Ownby

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Cross-Cultural Petrographic Studies of Ceramic Traditions" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The idea of memes, as coined by Dawkins, originally referred to an element of a culture or behavior that is passed from one individual to another by nongenetic means. It was used to examine how cultural phenomenon replicate, mutate, survive, or become extinct. This has clear applications to ceramic traditions where the cultural behavior is passed from one generation to the next with some changes but also the preservation of specific traits. Using this theoretical framework, without the biological aspects, research analyzes the conditions that allowed particular memes to continue, change, or be rejected.

To illustrate how the concept may be utilized, in combination with ceramic petrography, Hohokam pottery from the greater Phoenix area of Arizona is examined. From earliest times, ceramics made in the middle Gila River valley used readily available micaceous rock temper. Recent examination of pottery from several outlying sites to this core area, indicates a continuing preference for micaceous material over easily accessible volcanic sands for temper. Such a trend indicates, the meme of pottery making with micaceous raw materials continued long-term in the middle Gila area and was spread to other adjacent pottery making groups with ties to the Phoenix area Hohokam.

Cite this Record

Memes of Hohokam Pottery: the Spread of Ceramic Traditions from the Middle Gila River, Arizona. Andrew Lack, Mary Ownby. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451529)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23980