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Ceramic Theory and Cultural Process

Ceramic Theory and Cultural Process

Paperback New Studies in Archaeology

By (author) Dean E. Arnold, Series edited by Colin Renfrew, Series edited by Wendy Ashmore, Series edited by Clive Stephen Gamble, Series edited by John O'Shea

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 284 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 228mm x 16mm | 420g
  • Publication date: 1 July 1988
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521272599
  • ISBN 13: 9780521272599
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: photographs, tables, bibliography, index
  • Sales rank: 1,011,630

Product description

This much-praised book aims to develop a theory of ceramics which will elucidate the complex relationship between ceramics and culture and society. Drawing upon the theoretical perspectives of systems theory, cybernetics and cultural ecology, Dr Arnold develops cross-cultural generalizations to explain the origins and evolution of the craft of pottery making. These processes are organized into a series of feedback mechanisms which limit or stimulate the initial production of pottery and its transition from a part-time to a full-time specialized activity. The author provides extensive ethnographic documentation, taken from a wide-ranging synthesis of the available literature and employing many data from his own fieldwork in Peru, Guatemala and Mexico, to illustrate the existence of these feedback relationships in societies around the world. Each mechanism is viewed, not as a relationship which exists in a few of the world's cultures, but as a universal generalization often based on some unique physical or chemical aspect of the pottery itself. Ceramic theory and cultural process is an innovative approach to the archaeological interpretation of ceramics which significantly extends our understanding of the social, cultural and environmental processes of ceramic production.

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Review quote

' ... a well-illustrated and cogently argued discourse on ceramic ecology.' American Antiquity

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. Resources; 3. Weather and climate; 4. Scheduling conflicts; 5. Degree of sedentariness; 6. Demand; 7. Man/land relationships; 8. Technological innovations; 9. Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.