Collective Action in the Formation of Pre-Modern States

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Drawing on archeological cases from across the globe, with greater detail from our area of expertise in Mesoamerica, we offer suggestions for strengthening analytical methods and generating more transdisciplinary research programs that address human societies across scalar and temporal spectra. Volume 25 , Issue 6. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account.

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Richard Blanton

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While the Mantle community plan exhibits a more cohesive layout than Draper, the settlement had a dynamic occupational history. Cross-culturally, plazas are socially integrative facilities and the Mantle plaza may have served both ritual and secular functions Adler, Wilshusen, If we accept that the organization of space cognitively precedes its material expression Rapoport ; Ingold, , we can infer that the negotiation of the integrated Mantle community plan was generated at Draper or at Spang.

Indeed, one of the more insightful conclusions that can be drawn from this site sequence is that institution-building both preceded and continued to develop concomitantly with aggregated communities. We can thus infer that they served an important and enduring function in the community Birch, Williamson, b: The palisade reconstruction also involved the creation of an earthen embankment, based on the presence of a borrow trench. While the elaboration of the palisade might suggest an increasing concern for defense, there is a dramatic decrease in human remains in non-burial contexts at Mantle compared to Draper.

Figure 5 - Houses 15 and 20, with adjacent houses, Mantle site. Interpreted as the political center of the community. CAD: J. Birch after Birch, Williamson b: At Draper, middens were deposited at the ends of houses, within the village precincts.

Lane F. Fargher (Author of Collective Action in the Formation of Pre-Modern States)

At Mantle, an organized waste management system directed refuse out of the village. Later, waste was also deposited in the borrow trench. The collective adoption of this strategy implies either coordinated decision-making by the village as a whole or the imposition of the practice by those in positions of influence.

Together, the central plaza, prominent residences, waste management system, and the reorganization of the community plan serve to materialize a more complex narrative of social and political relations than is apparent in earlier communities. While positions of leadership may have preceded coalescence, leaders who could build consensus and manage community affairs may have been especially important in larger villages.

Kin groups with longer-lived ties to settlements may have achieved elevated status due to their relative emplacement within the community. In the context of population relocation in the US Southwest, Shachner 24 noted that local resources, rights, and decision-making were controlled by relatively stable individuals and groups, rather than by the community as a whole. In the case of the Draper-Mantle community, those households which formed the original core of the Draper community may have retained control of certain natural and political resources.

Within the 17th-century Wendat confederacy, the founding nations of the Attignawantan and Attigneenongnahac, with the longest historical presence in Wendake, were accorded ceremonial and political seniority compared to the Arendahronon and Tahontaerenat, who were the last nations to join Trigger, While certain individuals came to the fore as leaders respected for bravery on the warpath, individuals may have emerged who were able to effectively organize and maintain village defenses.

Group members often recognize that they have a better chance of stability and increased quality of life with increased organization; granting leaders the power to organize as opposed to power over the organization Hastorf, This figure is somewhat elevated compared to either earlier or later populations in the region Birch, Williamson, b: This intensification of agricultural production may have led to changes in the social relations of production, as has been observed elsewhere in the context of coalescence Kowalewski, Historically, men performed these tasks.

Collective Action in the Formation of Pre-Modern States (Fundamental Issues in Archaeology)

Some degree of higher-level organization involving both sexes would have been required to make decisions about which fields were to be cleared, when exhausted fields should be abandoned, and who would reap the immediate benefits of new field systems. Women were responsible for the planting, tending, harvesting, and processing of maize and other cultigens, as well as gathering firewood and other resources. Women controlled the distribution of foodstuffs which made major male activities possible, including council meetings, diplomatic travel, waging war, as well as ceremonial feasts and festivals Brown, ; Hewitt, Wendat nations and communities also possessed public treasuries which contained furs, worked goods, and stored foods.

Historically, these goods were used to develop diplomatic and trade relations and dispensed in community-wide feasts Trigger, If these coffers started to empty, the community would be called upon to replenish them. Relative percentages of mammal and fish bone in middens Needs-Howarth, Williamson, , together with depressed nitrogen isotope levels in the Draper-Mantle population compared to earlier villages on the north shore Pfeiffer et al.

Evidence for increased interregional interaction and exchange comes from the diversity of non-local ceramics, pipes, and the presence of both Native and European metals at the Mantle site Birch, Williamson, a; Birch et al. The increased importance of trade and the "ownership" of certain trading routes, may have generated new avenues for prestige and influence in community affairs.

These functionally poor vessels are thought to represent the work of novice potters and can be interpreted as evidence for both play and the transmission of technological knowledge and skill. Such distributions may be explained away as the result of taphonomic processes or refuse disposal. However, considered in light of the other evidence for changes in the social means of production, it is possible that these loci were venues for the transmission of knowledge about the production of ceramic and lithic technology Crown, ; Smith, The role of adults as socializing agents and teachers in this process reflects the transmission of child rearing duties from the household to the community level.

The fact that concentrations of these materials were found in association with what we have interpreted as the political center of the community — large, long-lived, prominently located longhouses — links leadership or power and production in ways that have not previously been identified in Iroquoian settlement patterns.

Figure 6 - Distribution of juvenile ceramic vessel fragments IDW. This involved significant changes in the domestic and political economy, the pooling and intensification of male and female labor, and the shifting of some domestic functions from the household to the community level. The importance of landscape features is reflected in the endonyms of seventeenth-century groups Hart, Engelbrecht, , linking the crystallization of ethnic and socio-political identities to the formation of site clusters and aggregated settlements in the late fifteenth and early 16th centuries.

The negotiation of community-based identities and complex organizational structures may have galvanized communities into formative nations as they met the social and political challenges of coalescence. However, the relationship between this process and the formation of the political confederacies of the seventeenth century is less clear.

We are still unsure to what degree the formation of the Wendat and Haudenosaunee confederacies influenced one another and a thorough review of material evidence for interaction and patterns of political development in both regions is needed to elucidate this issue. Examples, World Archaeology , 22, DPA D. Report on file, Toronto, Ontario Ministry of Culture.

War, Trade, and State Formation

Pluckhahn T. Trigger B. University of Georgia jabirch[at]uga. Jennifer Birch. Plan Introduction. Introduction 1 Eastern North American household archaeology has benefitted from increasingly historicized and politicized approaches which locate households within larger socio-political landscapes, rather than treating them as bounded and isomorphic entities Pluckhahn, Agrandir Original png, k. Agrandir Original png, 1,2M. Birch, J.



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