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Society for American Archaeology

Some Relationships between Behavioral and Evolutionary Archaeologies Author(s): Michael Brian Schiffer Source: American Antiquity, Vol. 61, No. 4 (Oct., 1996), pp. 643-662 Published by: Society for American Archaeology Stable URL: Accessed: 20/04/2009 15:55
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Michael Brian Schiffer

Diversity in archaeology's social theories is desirable, butfactioning of the discipline into antagonistic, paradigm-based camps underminesthe scientific enterprise. In order to promote efforts at building bridges between differenttheoreticalprograms, this paper examines relationships between behavioral archaeology and evolutionary (selectionist) archaeology. Potential commonground is brought to light, incompatibilitiesare critically examined, and possible synergies are explored. It is concluded that there is no fundamental reason why these two programs cannot work in concert to achieve the goal of explaining behavioral (or evolutionary) change in human societies. Whetherproductive relationships can be established between other programs remains to be determinedon a case-by-case basis. La diversidad de teorias sociales en arqueologia es necesaria, pero la partici6n de la disciplina en facciones antagonisticas basadas en paradigmas sabotea la empresa cientifica. Para promover esfuerzos destinados a crear puentes entreprogramas teoricos distintos, este articulo examina las relaciones entre arqueologia conductual y arqueologia evolucionista (seleccionista). Se resaltan las areas comunes, se examinan criticamente las incompatibilidades,y se exploranposibles sinergias. Se concluye que no existen razonesfundamentales por las que estos programas no puedan trabajar en concierto para alcanzar la meta de explicar cambio conductual (o evolutivo) en sociedades humanas. La posibilidad de que se establezcan relaciones productivas entre otros programas queda por determinarsecaso por caso.

Scienceconsistsin grouping facts so thatgeneral laws or conclusionsmay be drawnfrom them
-Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882, p. 70

ince the early 1970s, processual archaeology's social theory (sensu Schiffer 1988) has sufferedmanyindignitiesat the handsof critics (for useful discussions, see LambergKarlovsky 1989; Preucel 1991; Trigger 1989; Yoffee and Sherratt 1993). Even so, processualism-albeit now in many varieties-remains well entrenchedin everydaypractice,and it is doubtful that any competing programwill be able to dislodge it and achieve a comparable position of dominance. For the foreseeable future, then, a multitudeof minorityprograms,includingbehavioral, evolutionary, cognitive, and Marxistarchae-


ologies, will struggle to win followers and alter disciplinary practice (see discussions in Wandsnider 1992). As a result,archaeologists may need to become accustomedto an abundanceof seemingly incompatiblesocial theories,contributing to the "thousandarchaeologies"I previously welcomed (Schiffer 1988:479).Althoughdiversity in social theory is desirable (Knapp 1996), division of archaeology into antagonistic camps, seeminglyincapableof engagingeach otherin discussions of substantive issues, diminishes the integrityof the disciplineas a scientific enterprise. An alternativepattern of communicationcan be envisioned. Instead of caricaturing,misrepresenting, or summarilydismissing rival programs, archaeologists might make a diligent effort to understand each other's social theory-maybe even build some intellectual bridges. Perhaps because their positions on significant issues of

Michael Brian Schiffer * Departmentof Anthropology,University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 AmericanAntiquity,61(4), 1996, pp. 643-662. Copyright? by the Society for American Archaeology 643

1975. Schiffer 1995b). 1994). behavbetween some examines relationships paper ioral and evolutionary archaeologies (both are reladefined below). Senior 1995. initiate promising dialogues (e.possible sharedtenetsturnout to be surprisingly numerousand significant. 193. I have alreadyexploited common ground between behavioral and postprocessual archaeologies for explaining instances of behavioral change pertaining to portable radios (Schiffer 1991) and early electric automobiles (Schiffer et al. Confrontedeven then by a plethoraof competing archaeologies.J. In view of the improvementof inference in recent years. 1995b. 1994).Second.had outgrown its traditionalboundariesand was reconfiguringas a new science-a behavioralarchaeology. ioral archaeologycrystallized as an explicit program in the early 1970s at the University of Arizona (for a history.g. 4. ask idiographic (historical) or nomothetic (general) questions about the relationships between people and artifacts (Reid et al. development Behavioralistsseek to explain variabilityand change in human behavior by emphasizing the study of relationshipsbetween people and their artifacts. Nielsen 1995.I begin with a brief the two programs overviewof both programs. McGuire 1995. It is suggestedthatsome evolutionary positionsare are actually and. 1995b. much behavioral archaeology has been idiographic.g. Duringits brief existence..possible synergiesbetween archaeology. behavioral archaeology nonetheless that can offers a distinctiveconceptualframework social new of the inform theory. 1995:8). Similarly. this An explicit experimentin communication.644 ANTIQUITY AMERICAN [Vol.O'Brien and conet al. and proceduresfor investi- . 1975. many papers in Expanding Archaeology (Skibo et al. Wylie 1995). we maintained. however. the portable radioand automobileresearchesnonethelessraise hopes thatadditionalworkalong these lines might lead eventually to a more integrated discipline (see also Duke 1995). of four interdependent and I offered a framework the discipline (Reid et strategiesfor reintegrating al. behavioralistshave crafted a frameworkof behavAn outgrowthof processual archaeology. No.Behavioralistsemphaticallysee no conflict between history and science (Reid 1995. areas of potential common ground are set forth. William Rathje. examinedbetween evolutionThe relationships areof threekinds. see Schiffer 1995a). behavioralarchaeolhave been to ogy's main nomotheticcontributions the realms of reconstructiontheory and methodological theory (sensu Schiffer 1988).depending on their interests. 1976. Although handling unconventional subjects. O'Brien and Holland 1995b. are explored. 1988. This should not be surprisinggiven that processual archaeology had failed to lay a firm foundationfor inference. some behavioral archaeologists are eager to hold discussions with practitionersof other programs (Walker et al.the structure tent of the following discussions reflect but one behavioralarchaeologist's perspective. Schiffer 1975a. archaeologies ary andbehavioral First. insupportable peripheral-if not detrimental-to evolutionary And third. The foundation of this framework is a new definition of archaeology as "the study of the relationships between human behavior and material culture in all times and all places" (Reid et al. Although progress remains modest. 1992). The discipline. more importantly. 1995).. 1995). for example. 61. Jefferson Reid. concepts. Although behavioral theorists tend to privilege nomothetic questions (e. Orser 1995. By focusing on people-artifactinteracBehavioral Archaeology tions. Schiffer 1976:Chapter1). some behavioralists now assign to the creationof social theory a higher priority (Schiffer 1992.the paper of evolutionary treatsthe assumptions archaeology with behavioral that seem incompatible principles. 1975:864). principles. if only to make up for their profoundneglect elsewhere in the the context of historical case studies. Schiffer 1975a). the interplay between variation and selection processes (more on this below). without the tools for creating a behavioral past. Behavioralarchaeologists. Thattheremay be important has two these between already programs tionships been suggested by several evolutionists(O'Brien and Holland 1995a:178-179.both studies also have evolutionaryfeaturesin thatthey treat. Walker et al. 1996 social theory lie between today's theoretical extremes.diachronically. Surprisingly. Needless to say. the prospects for a behavioral archaeology seemed bleak.

behavioralistslay stress on studyingbehavior:what people actuallydid or do (Nielsen 1995. 1995).directlyor indirectly. see Longacre and Skibo [1994] and Skibo et al. Thus. crucial interactionswould be adverselyaffected. "functionally equivalent" artifact types (Schiffer 1979). whereas those focused on individualactivities are termed behavioralchains (Schiffer 1975b.see Schiffer [1995d].to all otheractivities by movements of people and artifacts. (Nielsen 1995.consist of people. As the name implies. artifact. for recent developments. artifacts are an integralpart of human activities. These compromises can be illuminated. Walkeret al. a white wedding gown is as essential to a traditional church wedding as wrenches are to tearing down an engine. 1992:Chapter 7). human. by people in behavioral components-a Behavioralcomposociety's units of organization. and use) are known as flow models manufacture. Walkeret al. which involve selection between alternativeartifactsor the case of artifact types. Schiffer and Skibo 1987). Schiffer and Skibo 1997). Because each kind of artifact tends toward andperformance uniquenessin its set of properties there are few true characteristics. 1997). animal). from a marriageceremony to rebuildinga diesel engine. Reid 1995.) In the following synopsis. defined as the interactionbetween elements (e. I highlight the tenets of behavioral archaeology most relevant for engaging the evolutionaryprogram. entail compromises among performance characteristics and interactions (McGuire and Schiffer 1983. 1997). fromwhich much of this section is adapted. in the absence of either. a society) are connected. thermal. procurement. Schifferand Skibo 1987. Life histories based on groups of relatedactivities or processes (e. and artifacts (Rathje and Schiffer 1982:Chapter 2. The structuredrelationshipsbetween activities establish the causal pathways along which behavioral changes travel(Schiffer 1979. The artifacts(andeven people) takingpartin an activity have. . specific propertiesthat affect their in particular suitabilityfor interacting ways.. and interactionpatterns. Schiffer 1992:Chapter 1).. Developmental cycles are (Goody 1971).. by use of performancematrices. Rock 1974). Above all. Activities are usually carriedout. by virtue of their materialcomposition and form. As a result. The basic units of behaviorare activities. at least one of which is an energy source (Rathjeand Schiffer 1982:Chapter 3. After all. anotherorganizingframework. Schiffer and Skibo 1997.g. Schiffer and Skibo 1987. These are known as perforactivity-specificcapabilities mance characteristics and can pertainto any kind of interaction-mechanical.g. Schiffer and Skibo 1987). much behavioralchange occursin responseto the (often unintended) consequences of previous artifactand activity replacements (Schiffer 1979. (For an introductionto behavioralarchaeology.otherelements. Reid and Shimada 1982. for a concise codification of fundamental tenets. Schiffer 1992. see Schiffer [1995c].individualactivities in a behavioral system (e.Schiffer] RELATIONS BETWEEN BEHAVIORAL AND EVOLUTIONARY ARCHAEOLOGIES 645 gating humanbehaviorwheneverand whereverit occurs."disjunctions" are created that can initiate further change processes.also usually lack exact functionalequivalents(Schiffer 1979). patterns in these compromises are influenced by specific behavioralfactors of lifeway and social organization (McGuire and Schiffer 1983. Behavioral archaeology's basic concepts and principles establish a basis for formulating researchable questions about variability and change. [1995]. 1976).which furnish explicit comparisonsin relation to activityspecific performance characteristics (Schiffer 1995b. the definable stages of existence in the life histories of behavioral components (Rathje and Schiffer 1982:Chapter 4. when one kind of artifactreplaces anotherin an activity or when one kind of activity replaces anotherin a behavioralcomponent. Thus. Activities.g. Schiffer 1992. The life history of artifacts(and of people) is a favored framework for organizing behavioral studies (Rathje and Schiffer 1982:Chapter 4. etc. Change processes can also restructure relationshipsbetween activities. (Schiffer 1972. Far from being autonomous. 1976).which varyin energysources. visual. Walker1995. places. this theoretical framework emphasizes that behavioralor societal change is change in activities. Change processes. such as households and nents. communities. Schiffer and Skibo 1997). 1995). often recurrently.

4. 61. neoevolutionary of entire stagemodels. Dunnell. Beginning in the mid-1980s. This contention.g. and history-can contribute.646 AMERICAN ANTIQUITY [Vol. Leonard and Reed 1993:648.ethnoarchaeology. whichposit transformations societies from tribe to chiefdom or chiefdom to state. 1996 The explanationof behavioralvariabilityand change depends on having available countless new experimentallaws and theories. permits selectionists to integrate evolutionary concerns with the reality that the archaeologicalrecord is mainly artifacts.."the hardparts of the behavioral segmentof phenotypes"(Dunnell 1989:44). A distinction of signal importance is that and varibetween processes of variety-generation evolutionists ety-selection (Dunnell 1980:39). proponentsof evolutionaryarchaeologyhave takenrecentlyto calling themselves "selectionists" (e.g. The concept of extended phenotype (Dawkins 1982). 1979. but see Neff 1992:156). Selectioniststakepains to distinguishtheirprogram from others in archaeologythat are seemingly evolutionary. Evolutionary Archaeology Evolutionaryarchaeologyhas its proximateroots in the writings of Robert C. are dismissed as Spencerianor Lamarckian. Commonly.artifactshavingsuch effects are whereasartifactsneutralwith respect "functional. when realized through varied research strategies-e. has enjoyed some suc(contra Dunnell cess 1992a. then.does not sit well with the processualarchaeologistswho also considerthemselvesto be evolutionistsor regardtheir work as evolutionary(for examples of the latter. 1995:16. to building a new behavioral science (Walkeret al.Althoughthe discussions below treat mostly Dunnell's seminal formulation of evolutionary archaeology. No.. However.g. experimental historarchaeology.some of whom. 1989). In this paper. the papersin Teltser 1995a). see Johnsonand Earle 1987. Neff 1993:28). 1982. however. 1992b). contributions to the literatureof evolutionaryarchaeology have come from many investigators.For example.g. Similarly.The term "selectionist"also identifies the process-natural selection-that these latterarchaeologistsbelieve to be most importantfor explaining evolutionary change. Behavioralists. showing little interest in investigatingthe sources of new variants. Perhapsappreciating that their programis but one of several maintaining an evolutionarystance. 1980).variantsare alternativevarietiesof an artifact class that are winnowed over time by selection processes. Bettinger 1991.O'Brien et al. 1984. recent contributions-some seemingly more behavioral-are also consulted. . archaeologists whose researchis informedby behavioralecology or evolutionaryecology also wear the Darwinianmantle (e. especially his 1980 paper in Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory (see also Dunnell 1978a. Spencer 1990). emphasize the latter. cannot supply off-theshelf answers to explanatory questions.many selectionist studies focus on the "replicativesuccess" of artifacttypes ratherthan on the reproductive success of individuals (Leonard and Jones 1987:214.O'BrienandHolland 1990:45). Jones et al.. O'Brien and Holland 1990. 1995. especially in the context of case studies. Sanderset al.however. O'Connell and Hawkes 1981. we have a framework that. strives to account for the unique contingency-bound successes and failures of artifact classes (and other traits of the extended human phenotype) in the history of a locality or region (Dunnell 1980:39. O'Brien and Holland 1995b.the fashioning of these principles.selectionistand evolutionist are used interchangeably. are elaboratingand broadeningthe program(e." to fitness are "stylistic"(Dunnell 1978a. principle by principle. Selectionists stress that artifact variants can affect the biological fitness of humanorganisms. Graves and Ladefoged 1995:160. Simms 1987). Neff 1992:179. The evolutionaryprogramrests on the claim that Darwinian theory has not been properly or widely applied to cultural phenomena (Dunnell 1980). 1993:27. Evolutionfor the selectionist is the differential persistenceof discretevariants(Dunnell 1980:38). prehistory. while an effort still in its infancy (Schiffer 1995b). 1995). The selectionist. 1994). ical archaeology. Neff 1992.. Explanationconsists in showing how specific factors of the selective environment-usually the natural environment-were responsible for the differential persistence of competing variants (Leonard and Reed 1993:650). Rather. which readily encompasses human activities and artifacts (Jones et al.

g. 2.have been disinclined thus far to ask or answer nomothetic questions (see discussions below). LeonardandJones 1987:200-201).some ostensibly selectionist models closely resembleadaptationistscenarios(e. showing how the replication(or reproduction)of each kind of variantwas favoredor disadvantaged by virtue of its propertiesand performancechar- .. Schiffer and Skibo 1987.requiresbehavioralreconstruction or inference. because any other move forsakes a Darwinianperspective(Dunnell 1980)." or environmental tence in responseto demographic stress.. The following 11 statements repreof the common ground. and principles establishes a startingpoint for further discussions. which is expressedin systemiccontext terms. as in cultural transmission.however. 1994). Scientists are also permittedto pose historical questions. To explain evolutionarychange. 1992a. Schiffer 1995a.or societal. Selectionists insist that all change be treated in this way.Selectionists should take no exception to this statement. the identificationof widely-if not universally-shared assumptions. Ramenofsky 1995:137. because they believe that their realm is the archaeological record (Teltser 1995b:3). 3. As this becomes generally appreciated. 1997. anthropology's 4. Practitionersof each will doubtless take exception to some statements enumeratedin this section. 6. however. however. selectionists. Doubtless influenced by selectionists. Dunnell 1978a.g. human. the search for common ground between them is an exercise fraught with peril. the investigator situatesthe competitionbetween alternative variantswithin a specific selective environment.tenets. Operatinganalytically in the systemic context. 1989. Leonard 1989. 1992b). In Search of Common Ground Because neither evolutionary archaeology nor behavioral archaeology is a homogeneous program.Schiffer] RELATIONS BETWEEN BEHAVIORALAND EVOLUTIONARYARCHAEOLOGIES 647 not Darwinian(e. wondering what is different or distinctive about selectionism. The adjective "cultural"merely means learned. When processualistsand behavioralistsuse these latter case studies to obtaina quick peek into the evolutionaryprogram.selectionists may accept variationand change in humanbehavioror societies as the focus of inquiry..they are apt to become confused. behavioralists have been energetic in establishing new principles.e. In practice. Despite Dunnell's (1980:48) occasional acknowledgmentthat "humanbehavior"is "the some selectionists may principal subject matter. 5. The phenomenologicalworld of interest is variationand change in human behavioror societies. Schiffer et al.. as in culturalphenomena. which in the abstractis anathema to many selectionists (e. the possibility is kept open that otherkinds of change also occur-perhaps even some that are transformation-like. 1995:2-4). the adaptive-systemsmodels built by processualare also heavists and sometimesby behavioralists becausethey non-Darwinian ily criticizedas being and conflate variety-generation variety-selection processes(e. Evolutionarychange is regardedas the differential persistence of discrete variants. Nonetheless.In recentcase studies. sent a first approximation 1. but some behavioralistsmight be ratherreluctantto jettison most sacred cow. O'Brien and Holland 1992:37..however. In the explanation of variationand change. Both programs attach importance to these questions and emphasize that scientific methods are appropriate for evaluatingour tentative answers-i. Leonard and Reed 1993). selectionists make behavioralinferences and seek to explain change in systemic-contextphenomena (see "On Behavioral Inference"below). culture is not treated as a causal agent (Braun 1991:427." contest this tenet.Walkeret al. scenarios assume that sysThese "adaptationist" of people intentionally a result as tems change solving problems. GravesandLadefoged1995. Similarly. Because scientific activity involves not only the explicit use of theories and laws but also their origination and evaluation.g. yet. some behavioralists have come to appreciate the value of treating change as the differentialpersistence of discrete variants(e. models and hypotheses. Schiffer 1991.g. That both programs espouse a scientific claim: we are epistemology is an uncontroversial scientists strivingto explain empiricalphenomena by explicitly employing well warrantedtheories and laws.g.steering their behaviorin ways such as intensifying subsisthat are "adaptive.. Dunnell 1980:40). 1978b. as in cross-culturalregularity.

Teltser 1995b:6) and also seems compatible with behavioral archaeology..for example. studying the life histories of artifacts. preforms. 200). This statementis the stock and tradeof the behavioralistbut should occasion few objections from selectionists. specific historical explanations offered by selectionists and behavioralists converge-at least structurally-to a considerableextent (compare. evolutionary theory alone can solve archaeology's myriad explanatory problems. O'Brien et al. these ideas actually undermine efforts to establish an evolutionary archaeology. this statement should be acceptableto most practitioners in both O'Brien and Holland 1995 programs (compare with Walkeret al. No. 1995). Although a few fields do have grandtheories. The life-history frameworkis useful for sorting out some causes of variation. Indeed. 8. In behavioral archaeology. and in physics general relativity cannot explain thermionic emission or the effects of doping on semiconductors. moreover.g. 1994. Incompatibilities the common Although groundbetween evolutionary and behavioralarchaeologies may be appreciable. 4. Schiffer and Skibo 1987). these theories are but a tiny part of the nomothetic products of those sciences-the part most visible to people on the outside. Schiffer 1992).There is also interest in trackingthe life histories of phenotypic features (O'Brien and Holland 1992:52). and bifaces were not competitive variants but stood in ontogenetic (developmental) relations to one another. many-if not most-exhibiting independence from the grand theory. it appears that selectionistshave unusualviews abouttheory and model building. On the inside. Dunnell 1989:39. In accountingfor differential persistence in these terms. Schiffer and Skibo 1997.. So long as behavior is defined as activities (specific matter-energy interactions between people. people. In comparisonwith genetic transmissionof variation. according to Dunnell (1989:36). 1994). Implicitly selectionists employ this frameworkin their recognition. and new applications appear frequently (e. Theory and Model Building in Science From a behavioral perspective. . For example. as can data requirements(O'Brien and Holland 1995b). 7. Walker 1995).and their understanding may requirenew laws and theories (Dunnell 1978a:198. The argumentdeveloped in this section is simple: the parts of selectionism that behavioralistsfind most unpalatableare without foundation. for example. Behaviorand artifactsare partof the human phenotype. etc. 1993. and behavioral components is fundamental(Rathje and Schiffer 1982. Behavioralists might add that explanations for and variety-selectionprocesses variety-generation are apt to requiredifferentbodies of theory (for further discussion.). Even in biology. O'Brien et al.g.are countlessothertheoriesand experimental laws (sensu Nagel 1961. the selectionist tenets that cannotbe assimilatedby behavioralists have nothing to do with evolutionarytheory per se. It is important to distinguishbetween variety-generation and variety-selection processes. such as Darwinian evolution in biology and general relativity in physics. Apparently. 1996 acteristics(e. Maxwell 1995.. 61. Nielsen 1995. a case can be made that these selectionistpositions are also at odds with modernevolutionarybiology.. This tenet is widely championedby selectionists (e.culturaltransmissioninvolves different processes and mechanisms. one grandtheory generatesall of a field's hypothesesand links all of its explanations (Dunnell 1982:5). see "Seeking Synergies" below). Surprisingly.g. Artifacts play diverse roles in activities. there are also some formidable incompatibilities. behavioralcomponents)remainsto be seen. involving performance-based interactions of many kinds (Braun 1995. Each of these phenomena is made intelligible by process-specific principles. 9.then. 11.but selectionists have been slow to follow up its implicationswith appropriate nomothetic research. explanationsfor mitosis and DNA replicationare not deducible from evolutionarytheory. artifacts. as textbooks and journal articles demonstrate. then.this statement is self-evident.648 AMERICAN ANTIQUITY [Vol. To behavioralists.g. The actualstructure of theoryin any science. Neff 1992. 10. Schiffer and Skibo 1997). that lithic blanks. see also Salmon 1982). and. Braun 1983. Whether selectionists are willing to extend the life-history framework to other classes of variants (e.

may be difficult to test--even today. "theoretical claims ought to be testable. Finally.scientific theoriesdo not articulate immediately with the empirical world (Sober 1984:73). of course. are rational. from the kinetic theory one can deduce neither mercury'scoefficient of thermal expansion nor a gas's infrared emission spectrum. foraging behavior. in testing the kinetic theory of gases. a discipline's grandtheory must "generateits own data"and the units specified in the theory must be "directly measurable in the phenomenological world" (Dunnell 1982:7. If this recipe were followed literally."Going further he claims. and maintenanceof territories. In the latter discipline.mating patterns. archaeologists would be reduced to crafting relationships between measurementson sherds.and measuringinstruments that are based on still other theories and laws (Nagel 1961. A view more generally held in science is that the entities.) Another curious view is that laws and theories are true by definition. Dunnell (1980:88) asserts that a theory's variables "cannot be defined in behavioralterms. "If archaeologists are going to employ evolutionarytheory. At best. or processes postulated by a theory have no immediateempiricalcontent. which are decidedly behavioral phenomena unobservable in the static archaeological record. which involves invisible entities called molecules. In the final analysis. principlerich apparatusthat links theories to observations can lead to unhelpful advice on building archaeological theory and models. mechanisms. interposedbetween theories and observationsare rules of correspondence. in eithercase the instru- ment'soperationis based on principlesotherthan the kinetic theory. lower-levelprinciples. does conformto these criteriabecause. In addition." The most abstractand general theories.none of which is empirical in the paleontological and paleoenvironmentalrecords. archaeologists would be operating in the murky world of merged systemic and archaeologicalcontexts (on the necessity of keeping these contexts conceptually and analytically distinct. but a mathematicallaw (on the distinction. 1995).Schiffer] RELATIONS BETWEEN BEHAVIORALAND EVOLUTIONARYARCHAEOLOGIES 649 is a multitudeof principles-ranging from simple to complex.. and so on-scarcely the stuff of theory (but see O'Brien and Holland 1992). Sober 1984:62). or theoretical laws. In view of the contentionthat theories are definitionally true.Temperaturecan be measured.In short.after .I note that the concept of"true by definition" is itself problematic(e. The position that theory is immune to empirical falsification (Dunnell 1982:16) manifestly contradicts scientific practice. at worst. They are and alwaystrueby virtueof theirconstruction arenot contingency bound. Failure to appreciate the complex. To wit. Tschauner1996). These instruments (and the rules of correspondence that link them to the theory) involve still other laws and theories. in Sober (1984:82) notes. concrete to abstract. see Salmon 1982). one employs appropriateunits and instruments for measuring the variables that it implicates. one has to measure a gas's temperature. it is not a scientific law or theory at all. theories and models incorporatebehavioralvariableson a wide range of systemic phenomena. Dunnell (1982:16) argues that Laws. ideational thatultimately constructs aredeductions . for example. Einstein'stheory of general relativityis still undergoingevaluationyet they are potentially testable (Nagel 1961). see Schiffer 1988. such as predator-prey interactions. The selectionist prohibition against framing models and theories in behavioralterms is out of step with practice in modern evolutionary biology.for they are often unobservable. For example.and narrow to broad-that often deal with unrelated phenomena. it is surprisingthat theories are also said to have a substantialempirical content. The example he provides. with a mercurythermometer or infraredthermometry. 1994:34).. yet a cooking pot-a systemic-context entity operationalized through behavioralinference-was. evolutionarytheory itself cannot be rewrittenin archaeological-context terms: sherds were not part of anyone'sphenotype (unless reused). (On the structureof theory in archaeology.g. According to Dunnell (1989:44). fromprimitive definitions. d = vt (distance equals velocity times time). chips of stone.. see Reid 1985.It could not be otherwise.To operationalizeor test a theory. they must rewrite it in terms of variables that are empirical in the [archaeological] record" (Dunnell 1980:88).then a theory would be precluded from implicating mechanisms and processes.

In that paperhe seeks to explainthe selection for "waste" behavior. selectionistsbuild Despite rhetoricto the contrary.such as that the mortuarycult "frequently entails the laborious construction of and disposal earthenmoundsandthe manufacture of vast quantities of goods.g.not to mention a host of empirical units in the archaeological record. evolutionary. Gravesand Ladefoged 1995. Sullivan 1978.To my knowl"mortuary neverencountera caredge. attributingits full flowering to evolutionary archaeology does not differ from processual and behavioral archaeologies.Holland 1992. and explanations-even those offered by selectionists-must be framedin behavioralterms. he makes assertions about past behavior. and reconstructions approachthat professes to be both scientific and Tschauner [1996])-or evolutionary biology . well-established inferences that have greatly enhanced the understanding of past societies worldwide. behavioral. without any evidence or argument.e. but relies mainly on reconstructions profferedby staother investigators. "waste-typebehavior. The decisive dismissal of inferencecontradicts many thoughtfulworks in archaeologicalepistemology (e.g. specifically the Woodland mortuary cults of the easternUnited States that left behind obtrusiveburialmounds. many of which are costly imports" (1989:48). Saitta [1992]. they do require inference (see also Wylie 1995:207-208)." tion" of subsistence. Despite the selectionists' anti-reconstructionist These efforts are labeled "reconstructionism. 1996 is at once cause and consequenceof all. Fritz 1972. implicitly or explicitly. Leonard and Reed 1993. these variables and parametersare more-or-lessbehavioral(i. 61. Because theories and models are formulatedin behavioralterms. Leonard for behavioral the need selectionists in "the nonagricultural with the associated the Woodland of tus mortuary cult" (1989:49). Wylie 1985) and also ignores the countless."Behavioral reconstruction is not science (Dunnell 1980:78. When treating specifics of the Woodlandcase. O'Brien et al.." "populationsin equilibrium at different " for this claim can be found in Dunnell's (1989) own effort to build an evolutionarymodel. O'Brien and deny Many inference and denigrateas unscientific the activi.on a network of behavioral inferences (for other examOn Behavioral Inference ples. survey archaeologists rying capacity or a waste-type behavior. Leonard and Reed 1993. "behavior evolution"(Plotkin 1988:8). modern evolutionary biology could not exist without paleoenvironmentaland paleoecological reconstruction. The variablesand parameters of the model include "mean carrying capacity."and cult"(Dunnell 1989:48)." rhetoric. Sometimes. 1994).." Other selectionist models invoke variables and parametersthat are equally systemic (e. and in contrastto the selectionistposition. systemic context)." "no change or difference in subsistence.. models. ties of archaeologists who reconstructthe past. In every instance. 1982:20." "shortfalls in productivity. O'Brien et al. evaluation of their models patently which Dunnell (1978a:194) elevates to the status requiresbehavioralinference. No. This linkage process is called inference. behavioralists maintain that theories. "behavioral ologies (on the latter'sdependenceon behavioral . but a purveyor of "just-so stories" (Dunnell 1982:20) that should be abandoned (Dunnell 1989:45). through measurement. 1992a:87).650 AMERICAN ANTIQUITY [Vol. and it brings us to a second incompatibility.not-as Dunnell (1980:88) prescribes-written in terms"thatareempiricalin the record. he is forced to operationalizethe model by means of behavioral inferences. cannotbe the foundationof an inference.processual. In accord with evolutionarybiologists. the investigatoris obligated to forge links. see Graves and Ladefoged 1995. Dunnell does not himself construct these inferences from archaeological evidence. Evidence that supports this latter claim can be found in Dunnell's(1989) own explanatorysketch dealing with "waste" behavior. 1994). Ironically. and in this respect of a paradigm. models almost as behavioralas behavioralists. 1989:43. Leonard1989. or postprocessualarchaeAccording to Dunnell (1978a:195). Patrik 1985... nor do excavators uncover a productivityshortfall or a mortuarycult. inferences aboutthe behaviorof particular Because selectionist models are actually expressed in behavioral terms. Salmon 1982. see Duke [1995]. What is more. Schiffer 1976. 4. Dunnell's study of waste is indicative:every selectionist model can be shown to rest.

Dunnell 1992a:81. a thirdpoint of incompatibility. Both bodies of theory. Teltser 1995b)..." areas. including experimentsand ethology (Endler1986. Since behavioralists above all appreciatethat behaviors do change. nomothetic emphasis. specific evolutionary explanations in biology are utterly dependent on functional and behavioral principles supplied by actualistic studies. One reasonfor the reluctanceof evolutioniststo call attentionto functionaland behavioralprincithey raise ples may stem froma defectiveargument It is assertedthatsuch prinagainstreconstruction. the McKellarprinciple specifies that in frequentlymaintainedactivity areas. cf. 1995:4) where nomotheticresearch may lead to the recognitionof regularities (such as correlatesand c-transforms). in kinds of activities.Schiffer] ARCHAEOLOGIES BEHAVIORAL ANDEVOLUTIONARY RELATIONS BETWEEN 651 (e. however.and some are even explicit (e. Krebs and Davies 1981:28-29). When Dunnelldoes mentionthe necessity of func- tional principles.g. 1992b:213. 1978. Moreover. 1984:255-256). despite temporaland spatialdifferencesin artifact types. does this behavioral regularity hold. and in the natureof activity areas.the formerconcernedwith functionalrelationshipsand mechanism." laws of human behavior "are structurally impossible" (Dunnell 1992b:213).ethology.there is modest movementtowardexplicitly countenancing behavioral inference (e. In view of the contradiction between their pronouncementsand practice on inference (Watson et al.. Neff 1992).g. Graves and Ladefoged 1995). ciples presupposethat "behaviorcannot change" (Dunnell 1989:44. For example. (The thresholdsize of residualprimary refuse is expected to vary with situational factors such as the maintenance technology several recent selectionist papers.the latter with historical explanations (Dunnell 1980:36. he does grant. exhibit some regularities whenever and wherever they occur (Schiffer 1975c.Walker to of a behavioralprocess enables the investigator seek or create the "behavioralcontexts" (sensu Walkeret al. until selectionists take archaeological inference seriously by treating it explicitly and adoptingmodern methodology. Indeed. Boundaryconditions of behavioralprocesses enumeratethe identical characteristics among seeminglydissimilar-often culturally diverse-empirical phenomena.g. In their own version of uniformitarianism.he is alluding to laws of chemistry and physics. O'Brien and Holland 1995b. Schiffer 1976:188-189. the ability to establish general principles must rest on a basis otherthanthe belief in behavioral stasis. A close examinationof selectioniststudiesalso revealsuse of many functionaland behavioralprinciples. 1996.) The concepts of behavioralprocess and boundary .. and only in these activity areas. Dunnell 1992b).withoutprinciples producedby functionalanatomy. The behavioralprocess of activityarea maintenanceis boundedby the term "in freIn these activity quentlymaintained activityareas. Jones et al. 39). modernevolutionary biology would be explanatorily impotent. It holds. Dunnell notes that ecology and evolution are distinct bodies of theory.the goals of their programwould appearto be out of reach.The identification 1992:25-28. 1982:12). "are commonly intermingledin particularexplanations" (Dunnell 1980:36. it is troublesomethat nowhere in the selectionist literature can one find a discussion on the place of the archaeologicalequivalentof behavioralecology with its actualistic. cf.and the natureof the refuse [Schiffer 1976:189. Fortunately. Indeed.g. Skibo et al. 1987:63].permeabilityof the substrate. 1995. evolutionaryarchaeologistscannot crediblymaintain any longer that reconstructionis defective and unscientific. 1995). Thomason 1995). 1987:62-63). and behavioralecology. only small artifacts remain behind as primary refuse (McKellar 1983. Given that the constructionof selectionist explanationsrequiressuch principles. Because behavioris "continuouslychanging. Closely relatedto the claims that theories and models should not be built in behavioral terms and that reconstructionof past behavior is to be avoided is the selectionist position on functional principles and actualistic studies. Functional Principles and Actualist Studies Selectionists downplay the importance of functional principlesin specific explanationsand disregardthe actualistic sources of these principles. not behavioral laws built by archaeologists(e. behavioralists argue that certain behavioral processes-such as boiling food in a ceramicvessel over an open fire or disposal of secondary refuse in cities-although not universal. O'Brien and Holland 1995b.

experimental archaeology and ethnoarchaeology-see Schiffer 1978. selectionists alienate the very archaeologistswho ought to be most receptive to their insights on evolution.g. Neff 1992:150. O'Brien and Holland 1990:60. Is therea pointin humanevolutionary As originally formulated..652 AMERICAN ANTIQUITY [Vol. In considering cultural selection. Clarifying Selection Processes In using the term "natural selection. Perhaps one day soon selectionist practicewill include even ethnoarchaeology.g.the evolutionary prohistory culinternal an become does selection at which that contradict tenets of number a contains gram conenvironmental of matter tural independent important parts of behavioral (and processual) I andchangebecomestransformational? straint I to fail I as however.and exploittionary both ideas from programs.But this is no cause for is contentto devise concernsince the behavioralist and employ principles having quite confining boundaryconditions-as long as they are useful for answeringresearchquestions. 1995:178. historically contingent explanations crafted by evolutionarybiologists. It should now be clear why the theories and laws yielded by nomotheticresearch experimental in actualisticcontexts are seldom. Dunnell 1995:42. Skibo 1992).g. Dunnell et al. 1994. selectionists will have to ask their own nomotheticquestionsin makingfull use of the discipline'sactualisticresearchstrategies(e. O'Brien and Holland 1992:45.Moreover. describingthese processes often exhibit a highly circumscribedgenerality. In natural selection. 1994)... see Braun plant and animal recof artiognizing that performancecharacteristics in success their affect fact types replicative selectiona few selective environments. Selectionists may be well advised to cast off the conceptualbaggage that has so burdenedthe program (see also Wylie 1995). prohibits making inferences about the past. might. Schifferet al. to assumeso [Dunnell1980:65]. In the very recent selectionist literature. nomothetic studies. whereas natural selection is retained for selective agents in the naturalenvironment. Dunnell Discussion evinces skepticismwhile asking. 48. ary biology precludes framingtheories and models in behavioral terms. "universal": behavioralprocesses can have very limited Thus. O'Brien et al.for example. Moreover. 63. selectionists will need to princiemploycountlessfunctionalandbehavioral ples (see Sober 1984).Evolutionaryarchaeologists have discussedthe necessity of a concept like culturalselection. 1994. Hull 1988:463). how the study of behavioral (or evolutionary)change might be enhanced. 61." Darwin called attention to a kind of selection different fromthatpracticed.. 1994). 1996 conditionscan help us to resolvethe apparent paradox betweenthe constancyof behavioralregularities (andthe principlesthatdescribethem) and the inconstancy of specific behaviors (cf. Nothing in Internalselection is not a process Dunnell is Darwiniantheory per se nor in modernevolution- .LeonardandJones 1987:211. Maxwell 1995. These views in fact distance selectionism from productive research strategies. 4.principles temporaland spatialdistributions. tors. 1989).or moreprecisely.I now attemptto ing with indicate. Dunnell and Feathers 1991.some investigatorshave begun to find roles for experimental and ethnoarchaeologicalfindings (e.Try I thinkit wouldbe thinknot. that could improvethe evolutionaryprogram. competing organisms are winnowed by environmentalfacextremes. maintainingtenets that behavioralistsand processualists regard as clearly wrong.g. Seeking Synergies on common ground between evoluthe Building and behavioral archaeologies. 1989:41. Rindos 1984. Dunnell and Feathers 1991. No. examples. practiced by behavioralists and evolutionary biologists alike. To achieve anything like the richly textured. appreciatewhy any of these ideas is necessary for premature an evolutionary archaeology. to createthe new principles that an evolutionaryarchaeology requires. O'Brien et al. but no consensus has emerged(for various viewpoints. Durham 1991:165). Dunnell 1980:53. or rules out the conduct of actualistic. such as predatorsand temperature in is selection" "cultural the term vogue to Today human to a internal populadesignate processes tion (e. if ever. 1995:184. particular ists themselves are beginningto carry out experiments (e. What is more.

Williams 1992). for now. particular examplesof which exhibitdiscretevari- . one first needs appropriate ways to conceptualizeboth the entities being selected and the selection process. This seemingly undisciplined approach reflects the recognition that the evolution of culturalphenomena occurs simultaneouslyat a greatmany scales.This distinction perhapshad utility in the nineteenthcentury. as in lithic reductionsequences (Dibble 1995. best left an open question. Teltser 1995b)? This question. ential persistence of discrete variants. thereis no theoretical need to embracetransformational change. Dunnell furnishes no argument showing that I suginternalselection must be transformational.this questionis framedas one of scale. see also Wenke 1981). too. In contrast. however. The differential persistence of variants is governed by the population's selective environment. The bulk of these may result from ontogenetic processes. 41. one can find in behavioral archaeology the employment of a bewildering array of units along with analyses conducted at countless scales. they can nonetheless be conceived as general kinds of systemic populations. The possible occurrence of non-ontogenetictransformations of one variantinto anotheris. Another rendering of the question is. Of transcendentimportance is the identificationof populations. In short. However.consistingof discrete variants." he does not discuss scales otherthan those of the individualorganism and the culturalsystem as a whole. that modern evolutionary biologists embraceand study evolutionarychange in diverse units at many scales (e. Although Dunnell (1980:53) notes that selection goes on "ata varietyof differentscales. the selective environmentmay also be internal. I define a population as any collection of potentially competing variants. a population'sselective environmentmay consist mainly of external. (2) units occur in multiple hierarchies. 1995). "devolutionary cycles" of structures(David 1971). (3) units are interrelatedin complex ways both within and between hierarchies.and (4) there are highly varied selection processes. evolution remains the differential importantly. regardlessof the culturalor noncultural character of environmental agentsandmechanisms O'Brien and Holland 1990). Drawing inspirationfrom Hull's (1988) expansive view of selection. Sober 1984.such as a neolithic village's agricultural activities. for example. gest that it need not be. It is clear. at many scales.. stages of household development(Schiffer et al.nonculturalprocesses. In archaeological cases. 1981). populationof wild-animalprocurement which are subjectto selection. Appropriate Units and Scales of Selection A questionfollowing immediatelyfromthe previous discussion is. even in evolutionarybiology (Hull 1988. What are the appropriate units of selection (Dunnell 1995. One can even conceive of populations that undergo both internaland externalselective pressures. Although the units employedby behavioralists were not adopted with evolutionary questions explicitly in mind. and the specific selective pressures to which such populations are subject. sequences of ceramic reuse (Deal and Hagstrum 1995). More (Hull 1988. For example. and growth-related alterations in community organization(Wills and Leonard 1994). An example is a community's activities. however. Lloyd 1988. he also doubtsthatnaturalselection can be effective above the individualorganism(1980:55) until "the appearance of complex society" (1980:66.Clearly. that affect differentkinds of units differentially.if a population is internal to a human society.g. Which populations of variants shouldbe the foci of evolutionarystudy?In selectionist archaeology. which exerts selective pressures. Selection is selection. None of these processes need be called "cultural"selectionor "natural" selection. In demonstrating that internal selection is compatiblewith a Darwinianview of change.Schiffer] ARCHAEOLOGIES ANDEVOLUTIONARY BEHAVIORAL RELATIONS BETWEEN 653 eager to embrace because it implies to him that no longer the differchange is transformational. lacks definitive answersat present. the scale problem remains essentially unresolved (Dunnell 1989:39. society. As in evolutionary biology. Goodyear 1974). by the abundance and accessibility of game. persistence of discretevariants. Dawkins 1982:113). but it is not useful today in the study of cultural phenomena. the population of all condoms being offered for sale in the United States today has a selective environmentthat includes condom-purchasing activities-an environment internal to U. we will encounter instances of transformation-like change.S. This comes aboutbecause (1) there is a vast diversityin kinds of units.

radio-makingcompanies differing in size. 1996 ation. degree of residential mobility. the activities that take place during processes of procurement. 1994. households are variants based on wealth. O'Brien and Holland 1990. and empires (Rathje and Schiffer 1982. Compromises are necessitated because.religious congregations. 4. and maintenance processes (McGuire and Schiffer 1983.. agents. Schiffer 1992:4-6). type of transmission.activities. Examples of immediate and extended selective contexts are appointments. O'Brien et al. behaviorallyrelevant-properties and performance characteristics. There are two main kinds of behavioral components. the following cially on artifact-activity discussion is most applicableat that scale.I focus on the artifact(including its constituentparts and assemblies).such as all corporationsthat manufactureradios. Provisionally I suggest that the general units of behavioralevolution-i. transport.. etc. The artifactis the set of integrated assemblies that functions together in an activity. by flows of energy. Because behavioralistshave done much of their work at the scale of artifacts. Similarly. and delineate variants (e.654 AMERICAN ANTIQUITY [Vol. people come together to perform activities such as hunting or assembling PCs (Schiffer 1992:6).the "tangibleunits of a society's social organization" (Schiffer 1992:4).esperelations. Activities. regional systems.they may or may not have dedicated activity areas and facilities. engine size. Parts are the separately fabricatedpieces or substancesof an single design can maximize an artifact's entire set of activity-specific of An understanding performancecharacteristics. sometimes deeply. Assembly is a very flexible conceptthatcan be used to designate the many levels lying between discrete parts and to subdividingartiartifacts(for anotherapproach facts and linking the latter into systems. and-arrow Behavioralcomponents. One can also define subpopulationsof behavioralcomponents. activity. as in trade-offsbetween performancecharacteristics pertainingto manufacture.the latterneed to be identified in particularresearchcontexts. and mechanisms that make up the extended selective context are those coupled. the patternsin design compromises requiresone to delve. are entities that carry out recurrentsets of activities in patterned locations (Rathje and Schiffer 1982). and behavioralcomponents. richness of artifact inventory. of course. 1992). see Schiffer 1979.and severaltypes of behavioralcomponent.S. the populationof automobilesbeing used in the United States today contains numerous variants on the basis of manufacturer. At each scale (or for each type of unit). Activities are exemplifiedby huntingwith a bowandwritingwith a PC'swordprocessor. disposal. is the task group. These activities exert selective pressures. variety of models manufactured).and corporations.Forexample. behavioralprocesses. among the population of U. to activities in the immediate selective context (on such connections. that is. see Oswalt 1976). .e.Selection pressures in the immediateselective context lead to artifacts that embody design compromisesof many kinds. one can define populationsof discretevariants. output. and the result is the differential persistence of variants (O'Brien et al. examples are a bow-and-arrow and a PC. In task groups. and is defined by ever-largeraggregates of people. maintenance.examplesinclude a chert arrowpoint and a personalcomputer's (PC) power transformer.g. ordinarily. A second type of behavioralcomponent. into what can be called the extended selective context. 61. Schiffer and Skibo 1997).An arrow and a PC's power supply are examples. size of dwelling. No. and so forth.distribution.communities.The first is residentiallybased.which has no residential basis.I next turn to the problem of identifying the selective environmentfor any particularunit. The immediate selective context can be defined as all activities in the life history of an artifacttype.manufacture. Having specified provisional scales and units for evolutionarystudy. 1994. Each of these units. thus.or people. such as work parties.use. 1992. etc.e.use. is actuallya hierarchyof more specific units.. reuse. they might be useful in evolutionary studies. For presentpurposes. The replicativesuccess of a given variantis influencedby its activity-specific-i. Schiffer and Skibo 1987) or even between activities within a given process (Schiffer and Skibo 1997).body style. from least to most inclusive are households. the scales at which selection takes place-are artifacts. The assembly is a set of parts that functions together in an artifact.

. Problem-solving for the creationof new variantsin culturalpopula. Basalla [1988]) is not directedby futureadaptive Indeed. adaptationistexplarapidchanges in the availablevariation. Selection thus retains 1980:62). Joneset al. Hill 1977).the pointedout.see also Schiffer1979. new producedduring an instance of stimulatedvariavariants would be beyond prediction (Dunnell tion can be selected against. mance levels in an activityor an activitythat does Schiffer 1993).of course.g. Dawkins identifyingsignificantproblemsand in forecasting 1982:42-46. but variety-generation in this mannerhas. As selectionistshave rates." Dunnell more than flirt with Lamarckianmechanisms of also asserted that invention "is analo. The process of stimulatedvariationcan help us Nitecki 1990). Thus.erbated. out documenting and accounting for large and Essentially transformational. by the low resolutionof most . however. ticipants(e.g.g. in a populationat one point a changingnaturalenvironment Variation or a growingpopexplanation. which new elements becomes a trivial inquiry. Construingvariety-generating processes its Darwinian role. cause inventionsof a par. Some 1995:129.change. perhaps cept of "directedinnovation"). Neff explainevolutionary changein specific cases reconcileadaptationist and selectionistviews of tion andits sourcesas subjectseminentlyworthyof behavioralchange. such as an artifact times predictable-increases in the conduct of thatdoes not reachbehaviorally significantperforvariety-generating activities (Hughes this process (and certainlythere are othersticularkind to clustermarkedlyin time and space.. This process. in time is a consequenceof bothpriorselectionand ulationexertsselectivepressuresthatareperceived variety-generating processes (e. Neff 1992:147). for example. and tions occurs commonly and sometimes at high the resultis a new adaptation. that of producing new variants (Braun ating processes work in patterned ways. the process of stimulatedvariationin no (1978a:197) to mutation in gous biological systems. invention and as stresses or problemsby a culturalsystem'sparbehavborrowing). not effectivelyplay its role in a behavioralcompoOne hypothesis to account for some bursts of nent. 1995:17-18. of behavioral An appreciation for stimulatedvariationallows throughthe proliferation components inventive us to assignproblem-solving its properrole in evoactivities.g. Braun 1991:428. Variationcreated processes.In the adaptationist framework. the historical and archaeologicalrecords needs..nations conflate processes of variety-generation ants can arise through an expansion of inventive andvariety-selection (e. Rindos 1989:13-15).1992:146. Rindos 1989:3). can be called stimulated variation (compare to Neff's [1992:146] discussion of The literature of selectionistarchaeologyis largely "directedvariation"and Braun's[1991:431] consilent about variety-generating processes. undertaking An argumentcan be made that variety-gener. one cannot the future(e.iors usually lead to an appropriate response. I suggest.Study of the latter is clearly crucial. inventiveactivities of behavioralcomponentsand The telescopingof evolutionary processes is exaccan foster the creationof new behavioralcompo.ena in the selectiveenvironment.g.the study of behavioralevolution. Because selection operateson variation. If stimulatedvariationhappensto furnisha variety-generationis that information(as matter variantthat becomes fixed very rapidly."thus.Unlike "directed because Dunnell (1978a:197) in an early paper mutation"(Dawkins 1982:112) and "guidedvariproclaimed"thatthe specific originor inventionof ation" (Boyd and Richerson 1985:94-98). as a way obviates selection. but is shapedby contemporaneous phenomfurnish evidence of ratherdramatic-and some.the adaptationist model prestate of variationat one point in time immediately sumes that people enjoy a certainomniscience in constrainsthe outcome of selection (cf.. which is illustratedin some Variation detail below..New vari. after all. Like modern evolutionary biologists (e. of its mechanismsand processes far from trivial.Schiffer] RELATIONS BETWEEN BEHAVIORAL AND EVOLUTIONARY ARCHAEOLOGIES 655 Variety-Generating Processes and Stimulated nents. 1995:129. activities in existing behavioral components. 1992:Chapter 7).the entire or energy) coming from changed conditions in evolutionaryprocess may be so telescoped that it selective contexts can stimulate an increase in appearstransformational-whenin fact it was not.lution. archaeologistsshould regardvaria. hamperedthe study becomes centralto evolutionaryinquiry.or both. every variant "randomphenomenon"(Dunnell 1980:66).

This quickly expandingpopulation of inventions served as the raw materialfor selection. In studies of artifacts in capitalist industrial societies. 61. came about through The first burstof variationin stimulatedvariation. Perhaps the process of stimulated variation can contributeto building a fully generalevolutionary theory that assigns ample weight to both varietygenerationand variety-selection. Commercialization involves putting a part.S. 4. just after the turn of the last century. Figure 1 shows changes in the frequencyof U. 1996 archaeological chronologies. caused hiatus in the manufacture Both episodes. Schiffer et al. such variation is likely to be dismissed as mere noise that Aware of this complicates typology-construction. beginning in 1922.I mainly exploit my historical research on radios. predictedby the process of stimulatedvariation. When not utterlyoverlooked. and dead-ends that problem solving also begets. With pent-up demand for consumer products after the privations of the Great Depression and WorldWar II. (It is assumed that variationin this population is directly related to the frequency of different radios commercialized.into radio(andtelevision) manufacture. This process has both variationselecting and variation-generating aspects. hardly a major randomprocess.inventions proliferatedin the parts and assemblies that and receivers(Aitken went into radiotransmitters 1976. in November 1920. should now problem. The second expansion of variation stemmedfromthe movement. such as financial and manufacturing corporations. commercialization is undertakenby task groups. the populationof radio companies resulted from the advent of commercial entertainmentbroadcasting. Equally unsatisfactoryare selectionist explanations that ignore large and rapid increases in the variation available to selection. adaptationist explanations are incomplete and misleading because they gloss over the false starts.rather. Radios at that time were used mainly for ship-toshore communication.656 AMERICAN ANTIQUITY [Vol.over long distances. Schiffer 1991. 1994). which provides some well-controlleddata sets. however.inventiveactivitiescan be highly patternedby stimulated variation.g. assembly. These strongeffects are often discernibleas a clustering in time and space of similarinventions. No.commercialization. In stressingthat problemsolving creates new adaptations. This was an instance of stimulated variationthat derived from the immediate selective context of radios-particularly use activities. which some entrepreneurs and manufacturers interpretedas a portent of profits for firms that commercialized home radios. These processes are examinedhere in turn. Some Illustrations To illustratethe conceptsjust developed. with only some reachingthe marketplace.) The graphindicatestwo dramaticincreases in variationin these behavioralcomponents:(1) in the early 1920s. commencingin 1946 afterthe warof home radios. Stimulated variation can also play a role in commercialization.archaeologists diligentlyseek the fine-grainedbehavioralvariation.assemblies. entrepreneurs.that rigorously winnow inventions..On the otherhand.which makes it difficult to discernrapidexpansionsandcontractions of variation. At the present time. as another radio example demonstrates (Schiffer 1991). . which was unreliable. On the one hand.Forexample.and manufacturers.that our culture-historicalunits so relentlessly obscure (see also Plog 1974). people create prototypes of parts. neither adaptationistnor selectionist explanations furnish adequate accountsof transformation-like changes in behavior. of electronics companies seeking new productsand new marketsafter the cessation of wartime production. In response to the blatant performancedeficiencies of transmitters and receivers.or artifactinto productionand bringing it to market. tion (e. and (2) in the late 1940s. is of invention source variation.and artifactsin orderto demonstratetheir performancecharacteristicsto A financiers. it is useful to examine variety-generation and variety-selection in relation to three processes that occur in the life history of a prodand adopuct type: invention.commercialization generatesvariation in the products available for selection by consumer activities. 1985). various task groups invested resourcesin the inventionof parts and assemblies that could raise the power of transmittersand boost the sensitivity and selectivity of receivers. companiesmanufacturingvacuum-tuberadios for the home market from 1920 to 1955. I suggest.partialsolutions. In the invention process. unintended consequences.

Purchasingactivities exert selective pressures. Duringthe makerssaw an opportunityto offer a type of productthat could allow Americans to hear war news anywhere.and the lattercan be swift and sure. only transistorradios remained on the market(Schiffer 1991). Based on data in Grinder (1995). a newly commercialized product. however. 100 - 0 I 1920 1930 1940 1950 Figure 1. Surprisingly. the result is an expansion of activity variation. The cause of this burst of commercialization activity was situated in the extended selective context of radios and radio companies. the vast majority of newcomers had failed in the radio business. tery economy along with the cachet of "modernity. o >C) C) cO CD a. It should be noted that this episode of stimulated variation involved the commercializationactivities of establishedradio-makingcompanies. An even more dramaticinstance of stimulated variation during commercializationcomes from the history of U. taking them outdoors and using them in diverse activity settings.Although for a few years more expensive than their tube transistorradios had marvelousbatcounterparts.literallyplaying with their new toys. During adoption.S. consumers quickly selected against the tube-basedportablesand. A new product is tried out in old activities and the possibilities of new activities are explored.In 1939 and 1940." As a result. with the intensification of warfareactivities in Europe. from motorcycle-police on the beat to hot-air balloon races. Late in 1954 the first transistor portableradiowas commercialized. however.battery-powered sets that were designed to be easily carried aroundwere rarein the marketplace. These experimentswere widely publicized in radio magazines and called attentionto possi- . many firms eagerly embracedhome-radiomanufacture. in less than seven years.and others were rapidly broughtto market.which can contributeto stimulatedvariation in processes of invention and commercialization. cn 0. portable radios (Schiffer 1991). To wit.Schiffer] RELATIONS BETWEEN BEHAVIORAL ANDEVOLUTIONARY ARCHAEOLOGIES 657 200 0.there was a phenomenaljump in the variety of portable radio models offered to consumers (Figure 2). E 0 o C-.consumersbuy and use commercialized products.the adoption process is also an important source of variation. In 1953 nearly two million portable radios were sold in the United States (Electronic IndustriesAssociation 1970:13)-and every one contained vacuum tubes. A 0 ct C. in the early 1920s. as consumers become inventors. people exploredthe possibilities of home radios. For example. new firms were not founded to produce portable radios (see Figure 1). each company's period of radio production was estimated from the time range of annual models listed. 1920-1955. Changes in the frequency of companies in the United States that manufactured vacuum-tube radios for the home market. by 1949.

in were delineatedthat have some potentialto form the evolution of cultural Significantly. Various assumptions. thereby affecting the differential persistence of households.focusing on variety-selectionprocesses The intricateconnectionsof variety-generation potential common ground. bilities for new kinds of radios.and and variety-selectionprocesses establishrelation. the receiver must use battery or three-way power and be designated as "portable. Tenetsof evolutionaryarchaeologythat cannot and manufacturing corporationsleads to variation in products available in the wholesale market.The processes ate variationat others. ground between the two programs. commercialization. These cascading effects and complicated Discussion relationships of variety-generatingand varietyThis framework of processes in the life history of selecting processes ensure that both must be a product type-invention.Abandonmentof .incompatibilities. 10 percent interval sample of radios listed by Grinder (1995).this paper and has examined some relationshipsbetween evoluthe complex interactionof variety-generation been has illuminated. Impressedby the opportunities.658 AMERICAN ANTIQUITY [Vol. One can envision that the latter variation will be acted upon by additional selection processes. treatedin evolutionaryexplanations. Selection of this variation by retailing was arguedthat these incompatibilities thatarenot. Changes in the frequency of different portable radio models manufactured and sold in the United States. tionaryand behavioralarchaeologies.1 1920 1930 1940 1950 Figure 2. tenets.In historiesof the portableradio (and the In an effort to promote constructive dialogue early electric automobile [Schiffer et al. pheat can crecommon one scale selection nomena. For example. 1920-1955. the selec." All portable radios in this database employ vacuum tubes. inventors and entrepreneurs respondedwith new radiodesigns for special-purpose communicationsgear. some of which were commercialized(Schiffer 1991). in fact. 61. La U3- 20 - 0 1. the selection statements summarizing this apparent common of inventions for commercializationby financial groundappearto be of some importance. 1994]). between acceptedby behavioralistswere scrutinized. 1996 120 100 - 03 0 . and principles ships between units of evolutionat diverse scales.In turn.It stem from place. To be counted as a portable radio. CZ a. and adoption-allows one to investigate varietyConclusion generation and variety-selection in a systematic manner. No. Based on a ca. intebehavioralcomponentsthen createsproductvari. 4.2 10 0 CZ 80 - I 1 CO 0 60 - 40 a. tion processes of consumers influence the variation in household artifact inventories.possible synergies.gral to the selectionistprogram.questionable assumptions ation in the retail marketplace.

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