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Miriam T. Stark
World Archaeology, VoL 23, No.1, Craft Production and Specialization (Jun., 1991), 64-78.
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Ceramic production and community specialization: a Kalinga ethnoarchaeoloqical study
Miriam T. Stark
The importance of craft specialization in the development of social complexity has concerned archaeologists for nearly a half century (e.g. Chi Ide 1946) and remains a vital component of research on state formation (e.g. Arnold 1987; Brumfiel 1981; Brumfiel and Earle 1987; Muller 1987; Sinopoli 1988; Tosi 1984). However, comparative ethnographic data suggest that craft specialization constitutes a common economic alternative to an exclusive reliance on farming strategies, particularly for households that are faced with inadequate access to agricultural resources (Netting 1990). Although household-based craft specialization may involve most households in a community (e.g. Hendry 1957; Papousek 1981; Shepard 1963; West 1973 for Mesoamerica), little is known about the conditions under which communitybased specialization develops.
Productive specialization, as used in this study, is viewed as 'the production of goods and services for a broad consumer population, on a (usually) full-time basis, in order to earn a livelihood' (Muller 1987: 15). Individuals in a society may specialize in the production of particular goods, but the development of community-based specialization requires that larger groups of households specialize in one or more alternative productive strategies, since traditional agricultural pursuits alone provide insufficient returns (see also Rice 1987; 189). As defined here, productive specialization may include the manufacture of products (e.g. pottery, baskets and wooden crafts), a cultivation of agricultural resources and the harvesting of forest products (e _ g. grai rts or fi brow; plants, like the Latin A merican maguey plant).
Although com m un ity era ft-special ization is docurnen ted in the ethnogra phic record 1 little is known about the conditions under which such specialization develops beyond the simple correlation between specialization and resource-poorareas (e.g. Arnold 1985). What remains to be explored is the suite of factors that encourages intensification of production and that generates different scales of production by specialist communities. The ethnoarchaeologlcal perspective offered by community' specialization among the Kalinga of northern Luzon, Philippines, provides important insights into these issues.
As a regular component of the archaeological record, ceramics have been the focus of many specialist studies in recent years (Benco 1988; Evans 1978; Hagstrum 1985; Knapp 1989; Kramer 1985; Longacre et at. 1988; Rice 1981). This paper presents an ethnoarchaeological study of community specialization in ceramic production in the remote highlands of the
World Archaeology Volume 23 No.1 Craft Production and Specialization © Routledge 1991 0043~8243/9112301l064 $3.00/1
Ceramic production and community specialization 65
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northern Philippines. Tribal potters in the Kalinga village of Dalupa Pasil now produce and exchange large quantities of ceramics to meet their households' subsistence needs. While Dalupa potters as individuals remain part-time ceramic specialists, potters in fifty-five (72 per cent of) households produce and exchange pottery. The entire village now supplies ceramic cooking pots and water jars to a wide area, as a community specialization.
The paper first presents Kalinga community specialization as a case study. Kalinga craft specialization, as an alterna ti ve subsistence strategy, enables particular communities to participate in a regional exchange system. Following the case study, the issue of community specialization is addressed from a broad ethnographic perspective. Some archaeological implications of community craft-specialization studies are suggested.
The Kalinga case-study
Kal inga potters Ii ve in the rugged Cordillera mountains of northern Luzon, Philippines, in the southern portion of the Kalinga-Apayao Province (Fig. 1). Abundant anthropological
66 Miriam T. Stark
research in the Kalinga area (e.g. Barton 1949; Dozier 1966; Lawless 1977; Magannon 1984; Takaki 1977) provides a cultural context for the University of Arizona's Kalinga Ethnoarchaeological Proj ect. Productive specialization at the comrn uni ty and regional level must be explored to understand how Kalinga pottery IS made and exchanged.
Kalinga subsistence revolves around wet-rice cultivation and swidden agriculture. Hunting and fishing were formerly important components in the subsistence regime (e.g. Dozier 1%7), but have decreased in importance with deforestation and the destruction of riverine fauna by logging and mining companies. Some forest products are still utilized for basketry and other crafts and swidden cultivation produces a variety of crops, including sugar cane, sweet potato (katifa, or the Ilocano camote), taro (gabi), corn, white beans (ugwilas), mung beans (mongo) and coffee (kapi). Most of these crops are grown and consumed by the household. Coffee is becom ing an important cash crop. Coffee beans are harvested, pounded and then transported by truck for sale to the provincial capital of Tabuk. Chinese retail traders then sell Kalinga coffee to wholesale clients in Baguio, the Cagayan Valley and Manila (Magannon 1984: 257).
The Kalinga economy continues to rely on a well-defined barter system, despite the incursion of cash and non- local goods (Takaki 1977). Houses and rice fields are commonly acquired through the exchange of water buffalo (lvang) or gold earrings (lubay). Day-today transactions be tween indi vid ua Is often in vol ve the excha nge 0 f rice for other su bsistence products, incl uding foodstuffs, I umber, pottery and basketry. Exchange (ngina) is fundamental to the Kalinga economic system and has cultural ramifications at every level of each encou nter (see Takaki 1977, for detailed study of this system).
Earthenware vessels, as well as other utilitarian goods, are traditionally distributed within a predominantly barter economy by means of balanced reciprocity (Takaki 1977), Kalinga pots are often used as currency for 'balanced exchange' transactions (op. cit.: 1) in which food, livestock, raw materials, manufactured items, and field labor are bartered for earthenware vessels.
Kalinga pottery making
The tradition of Kalinga pottery manufacture has been the focus of ethnoarchaeological investigation since 1974 by the Kalinga Ethnoarchaeological Project (e.g. Graves 1981; 1985; Longacre 1974; 1981; 1985; 1991; Skibo 1990; Stark 1988). Kalinga potters, almost exclusively women, employ a combination of coil-and-scrape and paddle-and-anvil techniques to produce a range of ceramic vessels for cooking and water storage that are used on a daily basis (Plate 1, p. 69). In the last decade, potters in the Kalinga community of Dalupa have also developed a repertoire of non-traditional, decorative forms that arc widely exchanged. Over fifty non-traditional forms were recorded during the 1987-8 field season, ranging from flower pots and flower vases to money banks and plaques emblazoned with the slogan 'God Bless Our Home'.
Research for this study was undertaken as part of the Kalinga Ethnoarchaeological Project, through the University of Arizona, from October 1987 to tate June 1988. Research explored the issue of communi ty specialization at the community level < At! members of the 1987 project were based in the Pasil Municipality, one of eight municipalities in the Kalinga portion of the province. The Pasil River Valley includes thirteen named Kalinga communities, some of which contain multiple neighborhoods or sitios (Fig. 2).
Ceramic production and community specialization 67
Figure 2 The Pasil municipality, Kalinga-Apayao , Philippines.
Ceramic ethnoarchaeological research prior to 1987 concentrated on the pottery-making village of Dangtalan. The scale of Dangtalan pottery production has steadily diminished since the mid-1970s, while the pottery industry in nearby Dalupa has grown; Dalupa is now renowned for its ceramic specialization, The village of Dalupa was, accordingly, the focus of research on Kali nga ceramic production and community specialization repo rted in this study. I During 1988, Dalupa contained seventy-six households and approximately 400 residents.
Dalupa pottery production
Dalupa potters produce three basic categories of cooking and water storage vessels, as well as a burgeoning repertoire of non-traditional decorative forms (ay-ayam) (Table 1). Table 2 presents the total distribution of Oalupa ceramic forms exchanged during 1988. About 10 per cent (272) of this total falls into the ay-ayam category, Non-traditional forms were more likely to be bought with cash than bartered.
Dalupa pottery production conforms to models of 'household industry' offered by van der Leeuw (1977) and Peacock (1982), as pots are manufactured at the household level for exchange within and beyond Dalupa boundaries. Households may have more than one potter, and potters' household members help at different stages of manufacture and distribution. Dalupa pottery production is subordinate to agricultural activities, so that the frequency of pottery production and exchange fluctuates in response to the demands of the
68 Miriam T. Stark
Table I Oalupa pottery classification.
Type Small Medium Large
Rice cooking Oggatit Ittoyorn Lallangan
Ittoyom ittoyom ittoyom
Vegetable/meat cooking Oggatit Oggan Lallangan
Uppaya uppaya oggan
Water storage Im-immosso Irnmosso
Nontraditional forms Ay-ayarn Ex-large
Table 2 Frequency of Dalupa ceramics exchanged during 1988.
Kalinga name Function Size % of toto!
Ittoyom Rice cooking Small/medium 5.3
Ittoyom Rice cooking Large 4.4
Uppaya Meat/veg. cooking Srna ll/med [urn 67.2
Uppaya Meat/veg. cooking Large .5
Irnmosso Water storage Combined 1.9
Ay-ayam Decorative Combined 9.8
~~ labor-intensive double-cropping of wet-rice fields. Scheduling conflicts between farming and pottery-making and pre-harvest rice shortages largely determine the seasonal pattern of pottery production (Stark 1988).
Dalupa potters peddle their wares without the aid of a marketplace, travelling by foot and truck. Barter trips can last a few hours or even overnight. Two or three potters frequently travel together. Potters with farming responsibilities, small children or infirmities, may ask their relatives for help in bartering or delivering their pots. Consumers also visit potters' homes during social, political and economic occasions in Dalupa, which often include gift-giving and barter of pots (Plate 2, p. 70). Through these mechanisms, Dalupa potters develop a series of regular customers, frequently linked through kinship ties from different settlements. These regular customers, established over many years, are inherited by potters' children when they become potters.
Intermediary traders are a new source of Dalupa pottery distribution since the late 1970s, and several of the potters act as itinerant peddlers. Dalupa potters consign - or barter - their pots to Dalupa pottery merchants who in turn travel to areas where the value of the pots is higher than in Pasil. Dalupa pottery can be bartered in these distant areas for utilitarian goods and raw materials (e.g. wooden mortars and pestles, resin, or store goods). Dalupa potters also exchange their vessels wit h the iti nerant female peddlers known as 'walki ng stores', who frequently visit Dalupa to barter textiles, store goods and produce from the former Kalinga capital of Lubuagan,
Ceramic production and community specialization 69
Plate I Dalupa potter at work in her workshop, located directly below the family residence in a storage/work area. Vessels displayed in this photograph are large rice cooking pots (lallangan iuoyoms ; used for communal meals and special events.
Community craft specialization and the Kalinga regional system
Comparative ethnographic data indicate that community specialization is common worldwide, and that settlements involved in this arrangement often become interdependent. What is the configuration of Kalinga community specialization? The Kalinga regional system transcends the government-imposed boundaries of the Pasil Municipality, and encompasses several communities all located within three hours' walking distance from Dalupa.
Linked by the establishment and maintenance of peace pacts, Kalinga villages have a well-developed tradition of community-based specialization and intra-regional trade (d. Dozier 1966; Takaki 1977). Until the 1930s, Kalinga exchange transactions focused on the importation of Chinese porcelains and water buffaloes from the Philippine lowlands into the mountains, funnelled primarily through channels of kinship. Dalupa pottery production is embedded within this regional tradition of community craft specialization. The exchange
70 Miriam T Stark
Plate 2 Women from the neighboring community of Malucsad as they depart for their home village with Dalupa pots acquired through a December exchange of gifts in Dalupa.
(ngina) of manufactured goods and of raw materials from slightly different ecological zones compensates for substantial resource deficits.
Table 3 lists productive specializations from each participating village in the horizontally integrated Kalinga economy. Although every community produces rice, the Kalinga subsistence staple, population growth and a concomitant decrease in irrigable land that can be converted into additional rice fields have made rice farming a risky endeavor. Annual environmental disasters, such as floods and droughts, tax the ability of Kalinga households in certain communities to harvest adequate supplies of rice for the year.
Community specialization in the Kalinga network is largely explained through environmen tal diversity. Settlements located near forested areas at higher elevations in the Pasil River Valley harvest and trade lumber (for house construction), resin and ochre (for pottery production), rattan (for basketry; rattan shoots are also a Kalinga comesti ble) an d wild game. Communities with ample access to springs raise and exchange watercress and taro, two water-loving crops. Villages with abundant swidden land raise dry-farmed rice, coffee and sugarcane for the traditional Kalinga sugarcane wine. The proximity of communities to particular natural resources plays an important role in shaping community-based productive specialization.
Historical factors, however, also enter into explanations of patterning in the Kalinga regional exchange system. For example, Urna settlements successfully experimented with white bean iPhaseolus vulgaris) cultivation in the early 19605 (Takaki 1977) and have collectively emerged as the center for white beans. The construction of low-technology forges in Urna and Cagalwan enables smiths to produce farming implements (e.g. machetes, hoes and harvesting knives) for lower prices than those available in the provincial capital of Tabuk.
Ceramic production and community specialization 71
Relatively recent road construction near the community of Ableg has made it the source for non-local staples such as salt, sugar, matches, laundry soap and alcohol.
Pottery specialization in Dalupa cannot be wholly explained by environmental factors such as access to good clay sources, as is the case in Ayacucho Basin of Peru (Arnold 1975). The Pasil River Valley is a homogeneous geological unit, so that clay sources are available near every community. Potters were active in four Pasil communities (i.e. Dalupa, Dangtalan, Cagalwan and Balatoc) in the 1950s and 1960s. Pottery-making in Balatoc ceased with the reactivation of Batong Buhay gold mining in the vicinity of Balatoc in the 1970s, as did Balatoc partici pation in the regional network. Cagal wan potters stopped making pottery in the 1960s, and this craft is now on the wane in D angtalan.
Today, D al upa alone specializes in pottery (banga) production, and one Cagal wan residen t described Dalupa as the 'banga factory of Pasil'. During 1988, 2,560 pots were produced for exchange within the regional system (68 per cent of all Dalupa vessels bartered). In Dalupa there is an inverse relationship between the amount of farmland and the degree of specialization in each Dalupa household. Specialist potters live in households with inadequate access to land, and these potters ply their wares at a sufficiently large scale to fulfill household needs. Clearly, community-based specialization in the Pasil area reflects ecological and non-ecological factors.
Table 3 Productive specialties in the Kalinga region: by community.
Productive specialties (including crafts)
Magsilay (incl. Bulen)
(incl. Puapo , Lonong)
Rice, coconuts, sugar cane wine, mung beans, machetes, hoes, harvesting knives
Store goods (sal t, sugar, matches, soap, alcohol), textiles, tobacco Pottery, garlic, ginger
Coffee, 0 ranges, woven sleeping mats, woven pot stands, taro, watercress, sweet potatoes
Coffee, oranges, woven sleeping mats, lumber, wooden pestles, resin, bananas
Coffee, coconuts, pottery
Coffee, lumber, white beans Coffee, I umber, white beans
Rice, coffee, woven sleeping mats, mung beans, white beans, basketry, pea5, chili
Rice, coffee, woven sleeping mats, mung beans, white beans, peas, chili, rattan (fiber and shoots)
Rice, coffee, woven sleeping mats, white beans, peas, chili, rattan (fiber and shoots), ochre, resin, wild game (venison and pork)
Whi te beans, sweet pota toes, watercress, taro, knives, hoes, ochre, resin
72 Miriam T. Stark
Community specialization in perspective
Archaeological theories on the emergence of prehistoric craft specialization emphasize systematic relationships between ecological, demographic and political factors whose interaction leads to population pressure, the need for political control mechanisms, and subsistence intensification. Dow's (1985) cross-cultural ethnological research supports the archaeological craft-specialization theory. He concludes: 'the relationship between agricultural intensity and the division of labor into nonagricultural craft specialties appears to be a rather dynamic process' (1985: 149).
Competing archaeological models of state- organized community craft specialization focus on the causes of and the consequences of community-based craft specialization. In one model) environmental and demographic circumstances (i.e. environmental diversity and population pressure) encourage the development of community specialization, eventually requiring administrative control through state formation (e.g. Sanders and Price 1968). Brumfiel and Earle (1987) refer to this model as the 'adaptationist' perspective. Another model reverses the. direction of causality, so that state control encourages the development of community specialization to enhance the political system's economic infrastructure (e.g. Earle 1987). Although the causes behind specialization in these two models vary, the result is the same; specialization accompanies the development of political complexity.
From an ethnographic viewpoint, under what circumstances does craft specialization occur among tribal and peasant societies" Cross-culturally, craft specialization is common among 1 n tensi ve cu I ti va tors who have excess labor and insu fficie n t land. Netting (1990: 43) notes tha t crafts, trade and wage labor provide non-agricultural options in densely populated agrarian regions. In his analysis of specialized Guatemalan rope making, Loucky (1979: 702) notes that 'most peasants intensify productive [agricultural] efforts and specialize only if they must'. To those for whom agricul tural in tensifica tion is no longer an option, era ft sped al izatio n provides one viable economic alternative among many; others include out-migration and petty commerce.
The ethnographic record is replete with examples of community-based craft specialization: foods, raw materials and utilitarian crafts are distributed across social and ethnic boundaries to com pensa te for local resource defici ts. Arno ld (1985: 192) notes that the pattern of pottery specialization, in response to insufficient agricultural or horticultural resources, is a widespread phenomenon. Pottery constitutes one common medium of exchange that is widely traded for food (Rice 1987: 195). This should not be surprising; after all, ceramic production requires little capital investment and can be organized around other householdbased economic activities.
Community specialization often entails village interdependence in a regional exchange system. This can be the case among societies that have weakly developed market systems or whose economic transactions occur largely outside direct administrative control. For example, Hodder (1981: 81) describes Zambian community-base specialization as a 'marked symbiotic economic relationship' within the Lozi regional framework. Community craft specialization is generally organized at the household level (e.g, Nash 1961), with little supra-household control over production. Ethnohistoric research in Veracruz, Mexico (Stark 1974), and in contact-period Melanesia (Allen 1984; Oram 1982), suggests that such patterns of community specialization have considerable time depth.
Ceramic production and community specialization 73
Craft specialization can be organized under direct state control (as demonstrated through archaeological examples such as the Inka empire: Earle 1987) or outside the domain of administrative production at the household or community level. Rural-urban differences in the context of community-based specialization offers a partial explanation, since urban specialization entails state control over production. In non-urban areas, community specialization often develops and operates outside the realm of state control. In such contexts, craft specialization is one response to environmental variability, in which arable land is not uniformly accessible to residents of a region (e.g, Dow 1985).
Discussion and conclusions
The Kalinga system is not unique in its pattern of village-level specialization (e.g. Spielmann 1986). Anecdotal data exist for African groups inhabiting varying ecozones in Egypt (Nicholson and Patterson 1985), Tanzania (Waane 1977) and Ghana (Crossland and Posnansky 1978; Gyamfi 1980), where markets and widespread craft trading compensates for environmental diversity and uneven resource distribution. Research in Central America (Hendry 1957; Papousek 1981; Shepard 1963; West 1973) and South America (Arnold 1975; 1980; Bankes 1985; Tschopik 1950) has focused in greater detail on community-based craft specialization. A similar pattern has been widely noted in the Pacific, where community productive specialization links island and coastal residents to one another through subsistence exchange (Allen 1984; Harding 1965: Orarn 1982; Specht 1974; Stark 1988).
This discussion of community-based craft specialization includes issues that are important for archaeological research on specializatio n and exchange. The first is the disti nction between site specialization and producer specialization, discussed by Rice (1987: 189). Individual Dalupa potters, Guinaang basket weavers and Magsilay orange producers may not be considered full-time specialists, since they continue to farm rice fields w here available . Yet each of these producers contributes to a community-wide specialization, and it is at the community or site level that archaeologists must understand the economic entailments of specialization.
Many archaeological models of specialization posi t a di rect link between craft specialization and the emergence of social complexity, implying a strong causal link between productive specialization and political administration (e. g. B rumfiel and Earle 1987; Earle 1987). This is because most studies of specialization have concentrated on state-level societies that are characterized by subsistence intensification, urbanism and emergent administrative control. Ethnographically, productive specialization is present in both urban and rural areas. The scale of community specialization and the extent to which it articulates with the national economy varies widely. Earle's (1987) contrast between environmentally induced and administratively produced specialization is more of a heuristic device than a continuum of productive modes. More research is needed on specialization in the context of subsistence intensification and its relationship to emergent stratification.
The ethnographic record indicates that community-based specialization is also an important component in contemporary tribal societies, and may also be the case in the archaeological record of non-state societies. In Kalinga, for example, productive specialization largely operates outside the Philippine national economy and even outside the provincial capital of
74 Miriam T. Stark
Tabuk. Goods are harvested or produced at Pasil communities and are then distributed by individuals through barter visits to other Pasil settlements. Sleeping mats made in Bagtayan rarely travel beyond the Pasil boundaries, and watercress from Magsilay would wilt and become unmarketable by the time of its arrival. Pasil products, generally obtained through barter rather than through purchase, are seldom involved in market transactions in the large centers of Lubuagan and Tabuk.
For archaeologists working in non-state societies, identifying productive specialization in the material record may not be synonymous with identifying social complexi ty. Material correlates of craft specialization may represent a host of organizational structures and specialization often reflects community-based craft production in regional exchange systems, rather than administratively-controlled distributional systems. Enormous variability exists in the range of specialist cera mic prod uction systems documen ted in the ethnographic record, as exemplified in the Motu of Melanesia (Allen 1984) and cross-cultural typologies of the organization of ceramic production (cf. Peacock 1982; van der Leeuw 1977). Accordingly, other lines of archaeological evidence must be evaluated to identify elite-administered production and distribution of prehistoric goods (e.g. high-status burials, residential areas with highly restricted access, or material evidence of large-scale labor projects).
Shepard (1963: 1) notes that ethnology is not the archaeologist's panacea for solving problems in interpreting prehistoric economies. At the same time, however, comparative ethnographic data provide a springboard for future archaeological research. Communitybased productive specialization in Kalinga and elsewhere is a dynamic process, as some specialties emerge in response to particular factors and may subsequently fade as circumstances change. Symbiotic economic relationships between communities - especially in the realm of craft production and specialization - structure many human societies and require further consideratio n.
Research was conducted under the auspices of National Science Foundation Grant BNS-87·15359 to William A. Longacre who graciously induded the author as a participant in the Kalinga Ethnoarchaeological Project. Kalinga assistant Josephine Bommogas and the Dalupa community are gratefully acknowledged for their help and hospitality during the 1987-8 field season. Ronald Beckwith drafted Figures 1 and 2_ The author is also indebted to James Bayman, Catherine Cameron, Mark Elson, Laura Levi and Michael Schiffer, whose insightful CO m men ts and suggestions on the paper im proved its content imrneasurab I y. Responsibility for the paper's final form lies with the author.
Department of Anthropology University oj Arizona Tucson, Arizona 85701
1. Field research, supported by NSF Grant BNS-87-10275 to William A. Longacre, was conducted between October 1987 and .Iune 1988. The data collection strategy applied to ali
Ceramic production and community specialization 75
seventy-six Dalupa households and included population censuses and two separate economic questionnaires. A daily log of pottery exchange transactions was maintained on fifty-five Dalupa potters for the entire 1988 year. A trained Kalinga assistant continued the 1988 log after unstable political conditions truncated the proposed year-long field season in late June, 1988.
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78 Miriam T Stark
Ceramic production and community specialization: a Kalinga ethnearchaeological study
Ceramic production and exchange have become important issues in archaeological research on specialization and state formation. As one form of craft specialization, intensified ceramic production constitutes a common alternative to farming in societies faced with land shortages. Ceramic specialization is commonly practised at the community level, but little is known about the conditions under which village-level specialization develops, Erhnoarchaeological research in the northern Philippines documents specialized ceramic production at the community-level and embeds ceramic production into a regional system of community-based productive specialization, This Kalinga study provides insights on the process of emergent ceramic specialization.
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