Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: August 2009

12 - Lithic Technological Organization in an Evolutionary Framework: Examples from North America's Pacific Northwest Region

Summary

Abstract

The organization of lithic technology as a field of study prescribes ecological explanations for variation in the ways that people made, used, and transported stone tools. Although these models go far in providing insight into the economic rationale behind lithic production and use systems, they do not emphasize the historical and evolutionary nature of change in stone tools. The paper offers an approach to integrating ecological and evolutionary views of lithic technology. Two case studies from North America's Pacific Northwest region seek to illustrate how change in aspects of chipped stone tool retouch patterns corresponds with shifts in local subsistence tactics, despite socioeconomic stability on the higher organizational scale.

INTRODUCTION

In 1994, Jan Simek gently chided archaeologists seeking to reconstruct and explain the organization of lithic technology for failing to integrate Darwinian evolutionary thinking into their models. This came at a time when evolutionary thinking in archaeology was beginning to be visible as a significant new paradigm in American archaeology (e.g., O'Brien and Lyman 2003b). Archaeologists interested in evolution have since offered methodological and theoretical advances spanning elements of material culture such as pots and projectile points (O'Brien et al. 1999) to change in entire systems or packages of cultural behavior (Spencer 1995). Yet research into the organization of lithic technology has typically remained comfortably in the realm of ecology and its search for general principles. Although this work has at times been very sophisticated (e.g., Kuhn 1994) its reliance on ecology as the explanatory framework has not yet led to a comprehensive evolutionary theory of stone tools.

REFERENCES CITED
Ackerman, Robert E. 1992. Earliest Stone Industries on the North Pacific Coast of North America. Arctic Anthropology 29:18–27.
Ackerman, Robert E. 1996. Early Maritime Culture Complexes of the Northern Northwest Coast. In Early Human Occupation in British Columbia, edited by Carlson, Roy L. and Bona, Luke Dalla, pp. 123–32. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, B.C.
Anderson, Douglas D. 1988. Onion Portage: The Archaeology of a Stratified Site from the Kobuk River, Northwest Alaska. Anthropological Papers, University of Alaska 22:1–163.
Andrefsky, William Jr. 1994. Raw Material Availability and the Organization of Technology. American Antiquity 59:21–35.
Andrefsky, William Jr. 1995. Cascade Phase Lithic Technology: An Example from the Lower Snake River. North American Archaeologist 16:95–115.
Andrefsky, William Jr. 2004. Materials and Contexts for a Culture History of the Columbia Plateau. In Complex Hunter–Gatherers: Evolution and Organization of Prehistoric Communities on the Plateau of Northwestern North America, edited by Prentiss, William C. and Kuijt, Ian, pp. 23–35. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
Bamforth, Douglas B. 1986. Technological Efficiency and Tool Curation. American Antiquity 51:38–50.
Bar-Yosef, Ofer, and Meadow, Richard. 1993. The Origins of Agriculture in the Near East. In Last Hunters–First Farmers, edited by Price, T. Douglas and Gebauer, Anne B., pp. 39–94. School of American Research Press, Santa Fe.
Bettinger, Robert L. 2003. Comment on “Cultural Diversification and Decimation in the Prehistoric Record” by William C. Prentiss and James C. Chatters. Current Anthropology 44:48–49.
Bettinger, Robert L., and Eerkens, Jelmer W.. 1999. Point Typologies, Cultural Transmission, and the Spread of Bow-and-Arrow Technology in the Prehistoric Great Basin. American Antiquity 64:231–42.
Binford, Lewis R. 1977. General Introduction. In For Theory Building in Archaeology, edited by Binford, Lewis R., pp. 1–10. Academic Press, New York.
Binford, Lewis R. 1978. Nunamiut Ethnoarchaeology. Academic Press, New York.
Binford, Lewis R. 1979. Organization and Formation Processes: Looking at Curated Technologies. Journal of Anthropological Research 35:255–73.
Binford, Lewis R. 1981. Bones: Ancient Men and Modern Myths. Academic Press, Orlando.
Binford, Lewis R. 2001. Constructing Frames of Reference. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Binford, Lewis R., and Binford, Sally R.. 1966. A Preliminary Analysis of Functional Variability in the Mousterian of Levallois Facies. American Anthropologist 68:238–95.
Bleed, Peter. 1986. The Optimal Design of Hunting Weapons: Maintainability or Reliability. American Antiquity 51:737–47.
Boyd, Robert, and Richerson, Peter J.. 1985. Culture and the Evolutionary Process. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Boyd, Robert, and Richerson, Peter J.. 1987. The Evolution of Ethnic Markers. Cultural Anthropology 2:65–79.
Cannon, Aubrey, and Yang, Dongya Y. 2006. Early Storage and Sedentism on the Pacific Northwest Coast: Ancient DNA Analysis of Salmon Remains from Namu, British Columbia. American Antiquity 71:123–40.
Carlson, Roy L. 1996. Early Namu. In Early Human Occupation in British Columbia, edited by Carlson, Roy L. and Bona, Luke Dalla, pp. 83–102. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, B.C.
Carlson, Roy L. 1998. Coastal British Columbia in the Light of North Pacific Maritime Adaptations. Arctic Anthropology 35:23–35.
Carper, Raven G. 2005. On the Use of Biface Symmetry to Assess Biface Production Goals. Lithic Technology 30:127–44.
Chatters, James C., Butler, Virginia L, Scott, Michael J., Anderson, David M., and Neitzel, Duane A.. 1995. A Paleoscience Approach to Estimating the Effects of Climatic Warming on Salmonid Fisheries of the Columbia Basin. Canadian Special Publication in Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 21, 489–96.
Chatters, James C., Hackenberger, Steve, and Lenz, Bruce. 2006. From Paleo-Indian to Archaic in the Pacific Northwest: Transition or Replacement? Paper presented at the 2006 Northwest Anthropological Conference, Seattle, WA.
Chatters, James C., and Prentiss, William C.. 2005. A Darwinian Macro-evolutionary Perspective on the Development of Hunter–Gatherer Systems in Northwestern North America. World Archaeology 37:46–65.
Clark, Donald W. 2001. Microblade-Culture Systematics in the Far Interior Northwest. Arctic Anthropology 38:64–80.
Close, Angela E. 2006. Finding the People Who Flaked the Stone at English Camp (San Juan Island). University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
Cressman, Luther S. 1977. Prehistory of the Far West. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
Davis, Stanley D. 1989. The Hidden Falls Site, Baranof Island, Alaska. Brockport: Alaska Anthropological Association Monograph Series.
Dixon, E. James. 2001. Human Colonization of the Americas: Timing Technology and Process. Quaternary Science Reviews 20:277–99.
Dixon, E. J., Heaton, T. H., Fifield, T. E., Hamilton, T. D., Putnam, D. E., and Grady, F.. 1997. Late Quaternary Regional Geoarchaeology of Southeast Alaska Karst: A Progress Report. Geoarchaeology 12:689–712.
Eerkens, Jelmer W., and Lipo, Carl P.. 2005. Cultural Transmission, Copying Errors, and the Generation of Variation in Material Culture and the Archaeological Record. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 24:316–34.
Eldredge, Niles. 1985. Unfinished Synthesis. Oxford University Press, New York.
Eldredge, Niles. 2000. Biological and Material Cultural Evolution: Are There Any True Parallels? Perspectives in Ethology 13:113–53.
Fedje, Darrel W., Mackie, Quenton, Dixon, E. James, and Heaton, Timothy H.. 2004. Late Wisconsin Environments and Archaeological Visibility on the Northern Northwest Coast. In Entering America: Northeast Asia and Beringia before the Last Glacial Maximum, edited by Madsen, David B., pp. 97–138. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
Finney, Bruce P., Gregory-Eaves, Irene, Douglas, Marianne S. V., and Smol, John P.. 2002. Fisheries Productivity in the Northeastern Pacific Ocean over the Past 2,200 Years. Nature 416:729–33.
Gould, Stephen J. 2002. The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Belknap Press, Cambridge, MA.
Gould, Stephen J., and Vrba, Elizabeth S.. 1982. Exaptation – A Missing Term in the Science of Form. Paleobiology 8:4–15.
Hayden, Brian. 1997. The Pithouses of Keatley Creek. Harcourt Brace College Publishers, Fort Worth, TX.
Hayden, Brian. 1998. Practical and Prestige Technologies: The Evolution of Material Systems. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 5:1–55.
Hayden, Brian, Bakewell, Ed, and Gargett, Robert. 1996a. The World's Longest-Lived Corporate Group: Lithic Analysis Reveals Prehistoric Social Organization near Lillooet, British Columbia. American Antiquity 61:341–56.
Hayden, Brian, Franco, Nora, and Spafford, James. 1996b. Evaluating Lithic Strategies and Design Criteria. In Stone Tools: Theoretical Insights into Human Prehistory, edited by Odell, G., pp. 9–45. Plenum Press, New York.
Hayden, Brian, and Ryder, June. 1991. Prehistoric Cultural Collapse in the Lillooet Area. American Antiquity 56:50–65.
Hoffecker, John F. 2005. A Prehistory of the North: Human Settlement of the Higher Latitudes. Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ.
Kelly, Robert L. 1986. The Three Sides of a Biface. American Antiquity 53:717–34.
Kuhn, Steven L. 1994. A Formal Approach to the Design and Assembly of Mobile Toolkits. American Antiquity 59:426–42.
Kuijt, Ian. 2001. Reconsidering the Cause of Cultural Collapse in the Lillooet Area of British Columbia: A Geoarchaeological Perspective. American Antiquity 66:692–703.
Lepofsky, Dana, and Lenert, Michael. 2005. Report on the 2004 Excavations of the Maccallum Site (DhRk 2), Aggassiz, B.C. Report on file, Archaeology Branch, Ministry of Small Business, Tourism and Culture, Victoria, British Columbia.
Lieberman, B. S., and Dudgeon, S.. 1996. An Evaluation of Stabilizing Selection as a Mechanism for Stasis. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 127:229–38.
MacDonald, Douglas H. 1998. Subsistence, Sex, and Cultural Transmission in Folsom Culture. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 17:217–39.
Mason, Owen K., Bowers, Peter M., and Hopkins, David M.. 2001. The Early Holocene Milankovitch Thermal Maximum and Humans: Adverse Conditions for the Denali Complex of Eastern Beringia. Quaternary Science Reviews 20:525–48.
Matson, R. G., and Coupland, Gary. 1995. The Prehistory of the Northwest Coast. Academic Press, San Diego.
Mitchell, Donald, and Pokotylo, David L. 1996. Early Period Components at the Milliken Site. In Early Human Occupation in British Columbia, edited by Carlson, R. L. and Bona, L. Dalla, pp. 65–82. University of British Columbia Press.
O'Brien, Michael J., Darwent, John, and Lyman, R. Lee. 1999. Cladistics is Useful for Reconstructing Archaeological Phylogenies: Palaeoindian Points from the Southeastern United States. Journal of Archaeological Science 28:1115–36.
O'Brien, Michael J., and Lyman, R. Lee. 2003a. Cladistics and Archaeology. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
O'Brien, Michael J., and Lyman, R. Lee, eds. 2003b. Style, Function, Transmission: Evolutionary Archaeological Perspectives. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
Parry, William J., and Kelly, Robert L. 1986. Expedient Core Technology and Sedentism. In The Organization of Core Technology, edited by Johnson, J. K. and Morrow, C., pp. 285–304. Westview Press, Boulder.
Powers, W. Roger, and Hoffecker, John F.. 1989. Late Pleistocene Settlement of the Nenana Valley, CentralAlaska. American Antiquity 54:263–87.
Prentiss, Anna Marie, Lyons, Natasha, Harris, Lucille E., Burns, Melisse R. P., and Godin, Terry. 2007. The Emergence of Status Inequality in Intermediate Scale Societies: A Demographic and Socio-economic History of the Keatley Creek Site, British Columbia. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 26:299–327.
Prentiss, William C., and Chatters, James C.. 2003. Cultural Diversification and Decimation in the Prehistoric Record. Current Anthropology 44:33–58.
Prentiss, William C., Lenert, Michael, Foor, Thomas A., Goodale, Nathan B., and Schlegel, Trinity. 2003. Radiocarbon Dating at Keatley Creek: The Chronology of Occupation at a Complex Hunter–Gatherer Village. American Antiquity 68:719–36.
Romanoff, Stephen. 1992. Fraser Lillooet Salmon Fishing. In A Complex Culture of the British Columbia Plateau, edited by Hayden, B., pp. 222–65. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver.
Shott, Michael. 1987. Technological Organization and Settlement Mobility: An Ethnographic Examination. Journal of Anthropological Research 42:15–51.
Simek, Jan F. 1994. Organization of Lithic Technology and Evolution: Notes from the Continent. In The Organization of North American Prehistoric Chipped Stone Tool Technologies, edited by Carr, Philip J., pp. 118–22. International Monographs in Prehistory, Archaeological Series 7, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor.
Spencer, Charles S. 1995. Evolutionary Approaches in Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Research 5:209–64.
Teit, James. 1900. The Thompson Indians of British Columbia. Memoirs of the American Museum of Natural History 2(4).
Torrence, Robin. 1989. Re-tooling: Towards a Behavioral Theory of Stone Tools. In Time, Energy and Stone Tools, edited by Torrence, Robin, pp. 57–66. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Tunnicliffe, V., O'Connell, J. M., and McQuoid, M. R.. 2001. A Holocene Record of Marine Fish Remains from the Northeastern Pacific. Marine Geology 174:197–210.
Vrba, Elizabeth S., and Eldredge, Niles. 1984. Individuals, Hierarchies and Processes: Towards a More Complete Evolutionary Theory. Paleobiology 10:146–71.
Yesner, David R. 2001. Human Dispersal Into Interior Alaska: Antecedent Conditions, Mode of Colonization, and Adaptations. Quaternary Science Reviews 20:315–27.