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Privatization, Small-Seed Intensification, and the Origins of Pottery in the Western Great Basin

  • Jelmer W. Eerkens (a1)

Abstract

“Brownware” pottery technologies became widely used in the Great Basin around 600 years ago. A significant increase in the use of small seeds within the subsistence economy took place about the same time. I suggest that these two events are linked, that people consciously chose to focus on seeds because they could be privatized, that is, they could be individually owned and were not subject to unrestricted sharing. Pots were an integral component of this process because they could be individually made and owned and could be used within domiciles, placing food preparation and storage out of view from others in the community. Privatization of a staple food resource may have been a response to increased population size and, hence, the number of freeloaders, new village kinship organizations, and a desire to create surplus on the part of aggrandizers.

Resumen

Hace aproximadamente 600 años la tecnología de cerámica “Brownware” llegó a ser ampliamente utilizada en la Gran Cuenca de los Estados Unidos, en la misma época tuvo lugar un aumento significativo en la utilización de semillas pequeñas en la economía de subsistencia. Se propone que estos dos eventos estuvieron relacionados, que la gente eligió conscientemente centrarse en la explotación de semillas porque era un recurso que podía privatizarse, esto es, ellos podían poseer éstas y no estar sujetos a las redes sociales de repartimiento general. Del mismo modo, la cerámica era un componente integral en este proceso porque era un recurso que podía ser elaborado y poseído por particulares, utilizado en las casas para la preparación y almacenamiento de alimentos, fuera de la vista de otras personas de la comunidad. La privatización de una fuente de alimento básico pudo haber sido la respuesta a un incremento de la población, correspondiente también a un aumento en el número de “gorrones”, a nuevas formas de organización de parentesco en el pueblo, y al deseo de los “aggrandizers” de crear un excedente.

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Privatization, Small-Seed Intensification, and the Origins of Pottery in the Western Great Basin

  • Jelmer W. Eerkens (a1)

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