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Twelve - From Modeling to Destruction

Cyclicity and Multisensoriality in Learning Doctrine in the Bolivian Highlands

from Part II - Legible Signs

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 August 2021

John Bodel
Affiliation:
Brown University, Rhode Island
Stephen Houston
Affiliation:
Brown University, Rhode Island
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Summary

Less glamorous than pottery or architecture, adobe bricks belong to that “Cinderella” class of material culture which archaeologists often ignore. Bricks and their makers’ marks deserve more attention as they can give us invaluable information on the organization and administration of labor. This chapter examines adobe construction and makers’ marks in the Andes, with examples from the ethnographic present and the archaeological past. The author's research on adobe bricks and makers’ marks allows for a theoretical foray into the co-development of labor administration, accounting, and evasion. The chapter argues that the growth of bureaucratic and accounting technology can be modeled as an escalating arms race between tribute payers, local leaders, mid- to high-level administrators, and the uppermost echelon of the state, the royal house. Tracking the evolution of makers’ marks and state accounting unfolds the longue durée of cat-and-mouse mind games played by those who want to capture labor versus those who wish to contribute as little public work as possible.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Hidden Language of Graphic Signs
Cryptic Writing and Meaningful Marks
, pp. 256 - 284
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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