Hayden 1998 | Reputation | Technology

Practical and Prestige Technologies: The Evolution of Material Systems Author(s): Brian Hayden Source: Journal of Archaeological Method

and Theory, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Mar., 1998), pp. 1-55 Published by: Springer Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20177377 . Accessed: 14/04/2011 19:15
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Journal

of Archaeological

Method

and Theory,

Vol. 5, No.

1, 1998

Practical and Prestige Technologies: Evolution of Material Systems
Brian Hay den1

The

Design theory provides a useful means for analyzing both practical and prestige technologies, although the goals and constraints of each are very different. The that prestige items were aggrandizer model of prestige technology postulates essential elements in aggrandizer strategies and that prestige items emerged only under conditions and included the most food of sustainable surpluses important innovations of the last 30,000 years such as metal working pottery, sophisticated art, and domesticated plants and animals. The aggrandizer model also accounts for the transformation into of some prestige technologies practical technologies. KEY WORDS: technology; prehistory; prestige; design theory; aggrandizer.

INTRODUCTION
article is an exploration of the differences and origins of two radi different and prestige cally technological strategies: practical technologies. It is difficult to overstate the magnitude of differences between these strate that each strategy has for the evolution gies and the profound implications as well as for the evolution of technology of cultural systems in general. In fact, the emergence of prestige technologies in the last 30,000 years may be the single most important factor in understanding the exponential rate This of technological and cultural change that has characterized human societies as a whole from that time until the present. The loci of innovation have shifted from one region or culture to another over this period continuously upon a complex mixture of changes in environments, resources, depending
1 Archaeology 1S6. Department, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5A

1 O 1072-5369/9?VO30O-0001$15.t)0A) 1998 Plenum Publishing Corporation

2 and cultural influences. However, developments that has been, have generally nology, wherever

Hayden

at the forefront of tech at an ever ac proceeded

celerating pace. In the following pages, I define practical and prestige technologies, a few illustrative examples, and theoretical indicate the historical provide and then discuss how each can be most of each technology, importance frame in analysis. As we shall see, the analytical approached profitably works most appropriate for dealing with each strategy are quite different. as opposites for the pur I treat practical and prestige While technologies some prehistoric of exposition, aspects of objects clearly incorporate poses while to varying degrees. Moreover, I argue that the practical and both and dominant axes of ar domains are by far the most important prestige of lesser tifact variability, future research may identify other dimensions importance.

PRACTICALTECHNOLOGY
Practical technology the word, "technology," defined have previously to solve is meant nology One corresponds most closely to the general way that and other disciplines. As I is used in archaeology tech the term (Hayden, 1993a, p. 203), practical of survival and basic comfort. practical problems

sat is to perform in practical of the underlying technology principles the tasks in an efficient and effective way. For a given problem, isfactorily are solutions alternative between criteria used in choosing technological from how effective each solution is and how costly each solution is.While, solutions or idiosyn with alternative time to time, people may experiment cratic personalities may choose solutions that deviate from optimal practical can be expected to employ efficient in aggregate, most people solutions, and effective selection criteria when the goal is to solve a practical problem

(Schiffer and Skibo, 1997). This is because of the direct link between prac
tical outcomes and survival or discomfort. Time and energy are frequently

limited due to conflicting activities or demands or conditions. In the long
that run, therefore, natural selection should winnow out practical solutions solve problems time or energy than necessary or which involve more sig less well than others. nificantly include various techniques for cutting Examples of practical technology down trees (axes, adzes, choppers, mauls and chisels, saws), for carrying shel items in bulk (baskets, nets, bowls, boxes, skins), for creating adequate ice houses, brush shelters, plank ter (skin tents, bark roofed structures, houses, related adobe houses, pithouses, mat lodges), and many to obtaining food, protection from the elements, other similar tasks Prao and defense.

Practical

and Prestige

Technologies

3

a response to stresses in the tical technology is logically and empirically environment. In most cases, it can be directly related to real survival bene at the beginning of the Paleo fits. The original emergence of technology as a response to environmental lithic is almost universally viewed pressures that were becoming in environments increasingly drier, less for 1994; Schrenk et aL, 1993). ested, and/or more dangerous (e.g., Coppens, the following two and a half million years, there is almost nothing During to indicate that the basic practical nature of human technology had changed in the Lower and Middle in any significant way. All technology Paleolithic to conform to the same basic practical strategy with rare exceptions appears to constitute such as the use of ochers. Practical technology has continued even up into the indus the most of all technology important component trialized and nuclear eras in the form of mechanized agriculture, heavy in for survival transport, dustry, communications, forms are sometimes colored with data added storage, and defense, even nonutilitarian roles. if their

Analyzing

Practical

Technology

ganization

In the last decade, considerable attention has been paid to the "or of technology" (Binford, 1979; Nelson, 1991; Shott, 1986; Bleed, of technology as "the

1986; Torrence, 1989; Bamforth, 1991). Nelson (1991, p. 57) defines the
and integration of strategies selection and discarding tools and the materials using, transporting, needed for their manufacture and maintenance," including "the economic and social variables that influence those strategies." Unfortunately, inmany of these studies, there has been a trend to emphasize highly abstract, un or poorly supported theoretical models tested, (especially focusing on the organization for making, and to deemphasize concepts of risk, reliability, and maintainability) many of the more basic, well-documented factors affecting the organization of that I have addressed elsewhere This is a problem technology. (Hayden, et aL, 1996). In attempting to understand the determinants of practical lithic at the Keatley Creek site in the British Columbia technological organization I was obliged to synthesize both the more traditional approaches Interior, or task performance centered primarily on raw materials and the consid erations raised by the more recent studies cited above. While the resulting that I developed framework is still in a formative stage of development and will undoubtedly some significant it nevertheless revisions, undergo the relationship of provides a reasonable starting point for understanding various factors involved in the generation of practical technologies. to the principles of design theory My approach is structured according

which Kleindienst (1975,1979), Horsfall (1987), and Bleed (1986) have ad

4 vocated as an appropriate

Hayden

framework for understanding conceptual prehis can show how artifacts "allow actors within toric technology. Design theory cultural behavioral systems to adapt in their environments" (Kleindienst, is in many ways similar to the ''cha?ne op?ra 1975, p. 383). This approach

toire" approach of the French (Seilet, 1993; Perl?s, 1992a,b) and the "be
havioral chain" or "flow model" analysis espoused by Schiffer see also Schiffer and Skibo, 1987,1997). 1976; Understanding or goals of a technology is a central concern of all these various (1972, 1975, the purpose

approaches. stone artifacts, although I deal only with chipped the this exercise, can be easily adapted to the analysis of other materials framework such as bone, ceramics, metals, wood, and more recent products. Design theory is often defined as "a means of creating or adapting the context the forms of physical objects to meet functional needs within of known materials, conditions" and social and economic technology, For 1987, p. 333). The basic premise of design theory is that there (Horsfall, to be solved such as killing a deer, crossing a river, is an initial problem a spear. The problem may be dealt with at a very or making making fire, level such as designing shelter, or at increasingly more specific lev general entrance shapes for shelters or designing attachment els such as designing as and so forth. Design devices for structure elements, theory principles in the devel sume that there are different kinds of constraints operating constraints oping of solutions for each problem and that tradeoffs between it unlikely that there will be any single optimal solution to a problem make solutions that can but, rather, a number of more or less equally acceptable a fashion similar to Schiffer and Skibo's (1987) per be conceptualized in are func formance matrix. Among the most powerful of these constraints Once costs. tional requirements, material availability, and production properties, a field of acceptable solutions for a given problem has been identified the choice of which solution is (via trial and error or actual planning), of culture tradition, values, may largely be a matter ideological adopted most of the constraints behavior. However, leading style, or idiosyncratic

in nature and, in up to this level of decision are much more consequential an absolutely the case of practical primary, determining play technology, treatment of design theory. role. See Horsfall (1987) for a more detailed The most critical constraint acting upon the choices involved inmaking consists of effectiveness first and foremost, (Fig. 1) technologies, practical or an object's performance characteristics 1987, p. (Schiffer and Skibo, to. It the task it is meant 599), that is, how well a given solution performs in most cases. At is useful to distinguish four broad levels of effectiveness In my classes the lowest level are solutions that fail to perform effectively. on technology, the problem is available is one opener of opening nontwist beer bottles when no bottle can be found for which many failed solutions

2 a> &. te . x " Is C? O en r.> U j .2 3 s s j: S oii a> ?S (/? 3 tu 2 ? o U -o c u c OJ </5 H 2 ?5c ? te ? e .w l.-. U 5b ? ? j c . . .S t? O M "i e ?** (0 0 U? ? H c S -Su 2 3 53 2 "Si> . "a Sun o js 3 c? O ?? X CO .t?^ a* ts tuOh H w t ui3|qoj j [roipKid 3 cr SI n C/5 oj .5 ? -c o >S 3 i.> >> ^ w S -si "j3 (fl .S^ O o2 ill u H 0? </> .. a? S ?3 ? ? g ? a a> OC w> 1? C .. "O C W Im ni ?2 > U ? O ?J . Q? vJ ^2 . o ?? E -g =1 60 S-l 1O 3 JD O.Practical and Prestige Technologies 5 I? ? te.o gg o ? 3 I w "O II CD ? 1J5S i ?i "d . J?B5 aben .S il 2-2 = ^= T3 .t? s E ? .S S ?. i .2: o * SI 13 e o u o rr >s II .u ^3 C : ? .221 15.2 2 H < en 'S .? .JPS O> ? bO ? T3 C 2 o C C < C JC ? u O U ? bC "? C .2 2 ta ? 3 C <? a? ?. -I ?3 JZ 6 ? 3 lai S.

In the case of having to open of materials quantities bottles this would an involve making in the absence of an opener. For most practical activities technological . At the third level. The highest effective ones. the most commonly consideration the force required. are deleted at the lower levels of effectiveness solutions from Generally. at Keatley In the study of chipped stone technology Creek. there are several very critical aspects of task per to be emphasized and that deserve formance that routinely are overlooked concerns overlooked here. or punching holes in the caps. At the next level. solutions are moderately to achieve a given outcome very effective. Surprisingly. Hayden how important efficiency determine and to be that as the quantity of material Gargett (1990) have demonstrated processed per period of time increases. to be worked on the quantity of material factors tend to be interrelated: or procured. Both formance of time characteristics for high-volume tasks?an approach originally pioneered by Zipf (1949). it becomes increasingly economical and desirable to develop specialized that may have high manu technologies costs but which have much more efficient per facturing or maintenance sired. this includes the crimps out one by one. Three required. a piece of metal or thick plastic to the appropriate opener by filing shape. solutions cannot be implemented. the task. the pre of satisfactory task performance: and the kind of movement other major required. using flaked cobbles. and are generally bottles with a strong long the cap on a are the extremely level of solutions second bottle. the sharp edge of a table. include using the back of these would knife. and so they are usually not considered worthwhile except where large are to be processed. solutions are minimally non-American effective and acceptable only as single-event expedient solutions when more effective For opening beer bottles. no other factor could be identified as playing a more important role in understanding beer Subsumed than effectiveness. the matrix of cultural repertories. it is still common when drinking American ing beers. The time and energy expended are viewed as very acceptable. breaking off the necks. the tip of a shovel. While this problem may no longer be very common when drink beers with twist-off tops. and the efficiency de to perform the time available the mechanics cision to be processed and the time available the quantity of material is in the design solution. These solutions generally require special investments in time and en ergy. tool designs and morphologies under the con straint of effectiveness. For opening beer out a bottle opener.6 Hayden such as using keys or key rings. using thick masses prying to of folded paper. limitations task performance must also consider the risk of tool failure Acceptable or failure to complete the task. Tbrrence (1989) has emphasized the importance for tool designs. and so on. These are the solutions that used in everyday traditional or folk contexts.

wells. shields. Bleed (1986) has pointed out that the risk constraints of failure in some tasks such as whaling and hunting can carry major consequences and that. Shott and others dealing with the "organization of technology" have to concentrate most of their model efforts in this area. constraints: The technology available for undertaking Technological lutions to problems. and relative or wear rates of various materials including their size ranges so and exist in a culture's social Socioeconomic constraints: What constraints and economic adaptations such as transport capacity under varying mobility the possibility and costs of storage or inventorying materials. among impromptu experimentation Australian Aborigines. "maintainable" a ma to be considered in designing The other important constraints terial solution Locational to a practical problem include the following. if no digging stick efficiency was immediately at hand for digging down to water in a stream bed. This throwers. given the immediate tool for a task. constraints: What spatial. constraints: The availability. Binford (1979). tool solutions. whaling. Nelson (1991). such consequences (as opposed gen are not of great importance since abundant time is usually available erally to replace failed tools or to implement alternative solutions even though they may be less efficient or less optimal in other ways. or simple unmodified of behavior appears to be almost universal since it characterizes con type to given solutions nological mented with many solutions ones that empirically worked . it can be assumed Taking all of these major constraints that prehistoric people then proceeded to formulate or design various tech problems (Fig. lack of a specially devised who. building the effects of various mobility especially regimes. 1). bridge construction. but probably chose the on cost or effort the best while economizing to "very effective" (generally from the options at the "moderate" level). social. sleds. spear branches could be used. the relative costs for using the options available. Material performance and other important properties. procurement costs. They undoubtedly experi on an ongoing basis. conditions. climatic or other environmental solutions such factors may constrain the choice and effectiveness of various as the use of weirs. or political activities). effort intensive. the levels of skill required for using these options.Practical and Prestige Technologies 7 to ritual. bowls. in these cases. tended nets.Torrence (1989). I have observed this kind of situational. and the ability to mobilize labor for undertakings such as hunting drives using (1986). and many large-scale. On the other hand. simply used whatever to be at hand to achieve happened a goal even if its level of was not great. into account. such risks can lead either to heavily overdesigned "reliable" tool forms or to quickly repairable. and mines. Thus. or specialized activities.

Are locally available materials suitable or desirable? Are more distant materials within a community's seasonal ranges more suitable or desirable? How many tools are required and what more would their transport costs be? Are yet more distant materials suit able or desirable and what are the costs involved in obtaining them? Is it more economical or to to bring entire cores back to principal residences reduce them at procurement sites and return only with the most suitable maintained tool blanks? What brought back. scrap ing. I have argued that the major modes of stone cutting tools (direct hard hammer percussion. It is at this level to procure and how best to proc that decisions occur about what materials ess them for use as desired tools. the edge angle where cutting. a simple hand-held stone side scraper of almost for scraping a dozen elk hides over a material would be adequate. the possibility of hafting. pressure flaking. foresightful design. are taken and all the design considerations When all the constraints to envisage one or more acceptable into account. Once (through it then becomes trial and error. how specialized to combine two or more functions desirable in the same tool. the duration of its to be. or holding was important. for instance. as much as hunter/gatherers and even primates Hayden handymen and to design theory. whether it was at all the working parts needed use. and edge grinding) are determined primarily by as well as the availability the quantities of materials and being processed. any be far more effective to develop a hafted itwould undoubtedly numerous of high quality stone capable of undergoing reshar endscraper a highly effective has been established tool design penings. if one wants to create a specific tool meant According a specific problem. how reliable to be. or maintenance should Finally. 1989). or by other means). if desired.8 temporary birds. deciding what mode of resharpening be used for given technological tasks was a critical feature for the overall for the attrition tool design considerations in situations of high potential of working surfaces. billet resharpening flaking. how best this tool can be produced and. what are the desired products other If cores are shapes of these blanks? could be used in other tasks to solve . important to determine short period for use in repeated tasks of the same nature. raw material costs of suitable lithic materials and the need to conserve under high mobility situations (Hayden. For instance. it is usually possible tool forms that should satisfactorily perform a specific desired task. its consider overall form (for holding or hafting). and how easily repaired or resharpened the tool needed it needed to be [see Schiffer and Skibo's (1997) use of behavioral as chain models an example of a similar approach]. some of the things that people to solve have had to in this design process include the size and weight of the tool. For scraping a rabbit skin.

tions. The general conclusions of this study appear robust enough to warrant rea sonable confidence It should be em in the overall merit of the approach. an assemblage. By using this framework it should be possible to reconstruct from finished product to initial problem. 1997. although a detailed While there are still a considerable . 44). Once analysts to make inferences about the techno then be in a strong position that gave rise to these solutions as well as about other logical problems or estimated. sense only when it is applied to that this approach makes phasized or even to individual arti individual tool types within a given assemblage individual analysis of all artifacts would be ex facts. Whether local or more distant materials were being chosen for (3) tool use and how important these considerations were. resharpening of the their variability in order to achieve a better understanding tasks for which they were designed. to work backward through the design process. Given solutions (design and production both the technological strategies) and the that existed (for a similar approach to ceramics see Schiffer and constraints other reduced these factors have been established. such to determine. p. that could not be directly measured constraints and decisions More specifically. the procedure consists of examining the various tool types on a task by task basis. from preforms (2) The types of tools that were being manufactured as opposed to core-reduction products at the site. community.Practical and Prestige Technologies 9 can the cores be most economically technological problems? How to meet all these needs at a particular site? to reconstruct and assess it should be possible this framework. and The overall design features of each tool type (their size. in an archaeological assemblage Skibo. how important problems they were in terms of the relative time and energy costs invested in their should solutions. and what decision criteria were used in formulating these solu number of gaps in the empirical a pilot appli of the relationships that are being proposed. 1996). the logic and structure of the overall technological of a tool organization an entire prehistoric It and eventually type. understanding to the modeling of the Keatley Creek site assem cation of this framework blage turned out to be very insightful and successful (Hayden et aL. (4) and assessment of type and potential) edge shapes. weight. to address questions of what ultimate be possible technological were being dealt with by prehistoric inhabitants. should things as a (1) The extent to which cores were being brought to particular site or to what degree blanks and preforms were being for reduction brought to sites.

refitting studies. they must be viewed as a major impedi ment to understand fundamental in any attempt the most aspects of the of technology and of assemblages 1996. organization et aLy 1996). synthetic assemblages the resultant or ethnoarchaeology. to the stone tool technologies sentially speculative relationships are not grounded These models in archaeological remains at all and have never been demonstrated or directly applicable to be either verifiable to stone tool assemblages.. 1996). However. prehistoric I argue that the most productive way to understand tool morphology.. what tools were designed to do). is especially information 1990b). identifying the constraints and design strategies represented these strategies to understand entire by each tool type.." or curation. Nelson. as "expedient" or "curated" assemblages. 1989. Except their techno for Odell. Use-wear important since it can provide ethnographic analogies mechanical . by it simply does not make any sense to include tools 1994. for long distance hunting with tools used for drilling beads or making in some global measure of "mobility" or "reliability. then entire assemblages in terms analyzed of the relative importance of specific task solutions as components within as well as possible interactive relationships the whole assemblages between task design solutions. p. After can be described in this fashion. There in ar debitage approaches that can aid in understanding the tasks that specific tools were chaeology being used for as well as estimating use-lives and other important parame ters. 266. 1991. Tbrrence." a statistic mean could such in real terms? Moreover.e. experiments. Such occurrences are exceedingly by butchering produced rare. material science studies and and theoretical design considerations. because the baskets global assemblage approach obscures the most basic design strategies (i. and Odell. engineering.10 Hayden all tool types have been time consuming and impractical. and technological is by analyzing each type of tool in design. These approaches include use-wear analysis. and then combining strategies used at specific sites and including core reduction are many characteristics. I fully endorse in conjunction the combined use of these techniques with as part of the study of tool formation processes design theory (Hayden. organization its own terms. or "re semblage is entirely endorsed used What have been advocated liable" or "maintainable" and strongly assemblages) some analysts (e. Hayden (Shott. these authors have founded on worldwide culture which provides es models nonlithic material logical of the past. The analysis and characterization of entire habitation site assemblages as complete entities (e.g. The design theory approach makes no sense at all when applied to an as a single phenomenon to be analyzed unless the as entire assemblage cessively the product of a single task such as a lithic scatter a single animal.g.

Clark have both emphasized the powerful forces that impelmany (1986. 3. Earle. and allies or bonding members of success (see earlier discussions by Peebles and Kus. Hayden. 1977. but also on the nature of the ac tions and on the nature of any hafts used. p. tech aesthetic. Clark (1986). in the preceding pages are relevant pri the procedures outlined in dealing with items and artifact types that do not bear any indi marily items. p. pp. or other skills. p. the considerable of surplus produc nical. storage tion and labor represented items would by most prestige impress many of that surplus labor to create people by itself. and Yerkes (1991. 1992a. I therefore turn to the definition and discussion of prestige PRESTIGE TECHNOLOGY While been from the distinctiveness of many kinds of prestige artifacts has long to analyze prestige objects few researchers have attempted in this area other than technical or artistic ones. 14). Costin. Perl?s (1992a). 425. 203). but to display wealth. Objects that successfully (and achieve to possess this goal also make other people want such objects. changing. 1978. Pioneers recognized. 83.Veblen (1989) and G. the logic and strat 1991.Practical and Prestige Technologies 11 not only on materials that were worked. can be imperfect and individual tools or since their application proaches or multifunctional use histories. 1986. Costin (1991). success. The purpose of creating prestige artifacts is not to perform a practical task. and power. 195. 34) . p. 61). one understand the design and technological must employ a somewhat different perspective that emphasizes other kinds of constraints. Clark. G. 1993a. Moreover. The purpose is to solve a social or accomplish a social task such as attracting productive mates. (1985). viewpoints have includedDalton (1971. G. even types can have complex. Perl?s. technologies. in using some of these ap Due caution must be employed. Certainly. p. 86-87. Clarke et al. 1983. Olausson. however. Tlie judicious employment attractive objects could greatly enhance the appeal and the impressiveness of those objects their owners) for others. p. I suggest that the main goal of is to employ as much surplus labor as possible to cre prestige technologies ate objects that will appeal to others and attract people to the possessor of those objects due to admiration for his or her economic. sometimes even to the point of having them only for their own gratification or self esteem without using them for display. p. In order to analyze and cation of having been used as prestige structure of prestige objects. Bradley (1984). problem of social groups together via displays labor. different from the logic egy for creating prestige artifacts are fundamentally and strategy for creating practical artifacts. Therefore.

. people human genetic and developmental variability. items are much more social bonds. rather. 110-114). This is another than they could consume by reason why the emergence of prestige technologies was such a revolutionary than passive and why prestige items must be viewed as more development reflections of power. which. and to produce practical goods that can be exchanged for pres items originating elsewhere.or upper Pleistocene among hunter/gatherers bonding features of subsistence alliances 1987. and political organi economic. 1979. By "pan-human. transformed state. 151). as inherently satisfying or as indicators of health and tronomic experiences success. prestige argue (Hodder. I would argue. and gas tonal. more resources themselves. pp. postprocessualists of cultural systems. relationships to zation possible.12 and material the behavioral displays to However. that person in every human population. they create or support (see Gosden. pp. ritualistic. 1989). For the first to use significantly individuals this enabled time in biological evolution. p. This is really all that is known of to work and is consistent with what is needed for the model seem On the whole. exhibits the same positive reactions to given stimuli but. A tertiary function and labor in a of prestige objects to store surplus production very ability a unique human ability (Hayden. many or most people do. Huntington (Douglas^ I do not mean that every 1984. Because of their central role in aggrandizers' strategies create debt. to create local labor intensive objects such as sculptures or fat pigs. as adaptive in a Darwinian people also used to imitate Hayden of the wealthy and link such imitation certainly be viewed objects are frequently prestige to lure individuals and families into debt or reciprocal in this way. only Clark is insightful enough powerful. prestige items in pr?state socie of wealth." Kearney. Prestige reflections than epiphenomenal the infrastructure of social and political hierarchies without ties constitute to maintain. As which those hierarchies would collapse and be impossible items do play an 1986. 1993b). to the desire to imitate success. These evolved innate human propensities probably apparently as emotionally mid. rhythmic. The generation of hier active role in the functioning can be viewed as a secondary intended func archical indebted relationships is clearly served by the tion of prestige technologies. Thus. and status to respond to certain visual. wealth and power. 44-60. 1994). Used obligations that make hierarchical social. dramatic. but they are still (Hayden. after all could sense. 1970. The surplus labor invested in prestige in technology may be expressed a number of ways including the use of surplus labor to travel to distant or objects made locations in order to obtain exotic and rare raw materials in distant locations. tige A number of material aesthetic qualities appear to elicit pan-human or engender positive reactions when used as displays of success responses and Metcalf.

p. economic-based egalitarian social or political hierarchies. shells. and polished objects such as mica. Coss and Moore. an important subclass of prestige objects is pro prestige objects. broken prestige items 1994. jades. have argued 1988. shine. or impressed by. 12. the earliest candidates for promotion items are formally deposited Among collections of unused blades placed in bogs during the Mesolithic (Karsten. Fischer. In addition to the inherent degree of attraction.. or other socioeconomic competition. 1984. Contemporary jewelry also exhibits these same quali ties. 135. 51. native metals. horns. Clark. gued that humans have innate affinities for sweet or rich foods. Similarly. clear crystals. 1992. 1974) and the deliberately and unused jade adzes of Neolithic Europe (G. 1990). feathers." This of prestige technol subcategory technology might be termed "promotion items seem to occur sporadically ogy.Practical and Prestige Technologies 13 and behavior emotions very much a part of contemporary characterizing In terms of the archae most people and probably all human populations. Most duced exclusively for a single event which involves either their destruction or their irretrievable loss the first and only time they are ever "used. inequali ties between as politi families). (e. ochers. 5-6. Highly colored objects seem to elicit similar responses (e. Chap. objects that sparkle.. Prestige objects may sometimes mauls. see also Hamel. shiny teeth. 1986. 1991. 1989). 110. and societies organized on the other hand (Clark and Blake. the procurement and costs of items become a significant consideration in choosing production to use them as indicators of success or as items that others will also want to acquire (Clark and Parry. to be used to indicate bone or sea shells are some of the most universal prestige and success. Dissanayake. 1977). also serve as practical objects such as jade adzes or sculpted prestige items are kept for use and display at periodic important while some may be used on a daily basis or are exchanged for other events. A number of people 1990. 113). Tran are defined as those intermediate societies between segalitarian strictly societies (lacking significant private ownership." Promotion among transegalitarian groups (perhaps only in the most complex transegalitarian communities) but certainly become more common in chiefdom and state societies. There fore objects that lend themselves to public display are generally favored for prestige use (Schiffer. Bradley. some cherts). Wobst. 56. or transmit light. However. pp. 45. G.g. although I would not be surprised if some of . as do it can be ar very elaborate shapes or highly geometrical shapes. pp. prestige objects are generally meant to be displayed in public at important events. textiles. on the one hand. Clarke.g. T??on. p. 1986. 1983) that most humans are innately attracted to. cally stratified chiefdoms. in egali ological types of objects associated with these displays (whether or bright tarian subsistence alliance rituals or in hierarchical feasts). In traditional societies.

In contrast. Clark. 1986. food is expected ing surplus . in their treatment of mortuary goods and offer a more explicit theoretical and analytical frame silver. while Adad I. Rathje and Schiffer (1982. p. I view status distinctions as emerging from aggrandizer strategies in which prestige technologies play a key active role in acquiring power. I have opted for the present terms not only because they are more self-explanatory and eas ier to use. The terms "practical technology" and "prestige technology" are somewhat similar to Binford's (1962) "tech nomic" and "sociotechnic" terms. to occur. The elaborately buried serpentine and jade ritual cally at La Venta provide a good example of promotion of the Olmec pavements the boast of the Assyrian King Samsi items at the chiefdom level. promotional technology clusively to be destroyed or buried at elite funerals or other public events. lapis state-level society funerary items of at the early state ings. p. 87). items is extremely rare or nonexistent." provides a likely example from a (cited by G. The aggrandizer model cated on the normal and reliable production of surpluses. Without neighboring polities as well as to members researched the matter in detail. more pronounced evidence of feasting involv prior to innovations. My aim is to create work to deal with these kinds of objects. The purpose of promotional is assumed to be the demonstra technologies tion of the power and success of the political unit to all visiting elites from of the sponsoring polity. conflict. it is my impression that in egalitar having the special fabrication of such promotional ian societies. or other stresses occur prior to the ap nutritional. However. development as to view status distinctions emerging items only passively reflecting already established privileges. The stress models mandate that major environmental. pp. 221-224) prefers from systemic stresses with prestige portant the role of ag concerning specifically of these technologies.14 the elaborate for Hayden burials were made specifi grave goods in Upper Paleolithic the funerals. but also because the theoretical below development presented and differs in some im what Binford proposed goes considerably beyond his formulation. as argued above. implicitly or explicitly. The elaborate specialty the most extreme case Egyptian elites probably constitute level of social organization. The archaeological of consequences these divergent views are significant. takes the form of objects made ex Typically. to have raised the "walls of the temple upon lazuli and carnelian. have Archaeologists of these distinctions many either long recognized. and therefore no increases are expected or malnutrition in overall morbidity mortality In fact. and the reason for the grandizers Binford (1983. gold. 65) use terms that are almost the same as Binford's. details from is predi pearance of significant status distinctions.

In sum. such as the tying of two sticks together to make a cross. that therefore these items should also be classified as prestige ritual or social ar there remains a useful category of nonprestige Perhaps this tifacts that should be distinguished from practical technology. 1993a. to impress the participants the primary purpose has become items. Thus. prestige objects symbols are not necessarily ideological since they can be produced with very little cost. procurement or onlookers.b. As discussed below. Where of Renaissance special effort has been invested in the gold it can be argued that or fabrication of these ritual objects. tually bolized but in transegalitarian culture may be prestige-related. or prior to the European Upper Paleolithic. However. 1995a). in material recovered archaeologically a lot of it is.Practical and Prestige Technologies 15 that I use and Binford's is the concepts that objects carrying social that his sociotechnic category does not mandate artifacts can be very in information be labor intensive. and changes in color of hats at marriage). prestige technolo or other hallmarks of transegalitarian societies among generalized gies. often are designed to display power or wealth. the flowering of prestige technologies and other (horti appears to be the hallmark of complex hunter/gatherers I have also strongly argued societies. 1981. aggrandizing individuals use a number of strategies to control those surpluses for their own benefit. 1992.g. Binford's of ar delineates term "ideotechnic" yet another dimension one that can overlap prestige technologies tifact variability. with great investments crosses. On the other hand. I have been exploring and documenting under which various prestige emerge technologies (Hayden. is a topic for future consideration and The Emergence Over of Prestige Technologies the the last 20 years. There are few indications of aggrandizing individuals.. and will not be pursued here. and many of the materials societies. the two classifications coincide. cultural or pastoral) transegalitarian can that complex hunter/gatherers and other transegalitarian communities conditions be understood only in terms of their ability to generate surpluses reliably. the prestige category ac Not all social information cross-cuts the sociotechnic sym category. and very easily as in the case of Australian churingas and extremely exotic items used in rituals. they can be made and of time and effort as in the case are often made. However. some sociotechnic Another difference between string headbands implying full adult (e. Australian Aboriginal expensive status or changes on which sides of a hat tassels are worn after graduation. The few items hunter/gatherers that do occur in the Lower and Middle Paleolithic (such as imported ochers . Thus.

items made and used tive prestige items) and. Owens and . Aside from the presence reasons for viewing some of these Upper objects. found at habitation the property seem to be buried with individuals since they are considered or descent group.b. prestige ritual displays) among for surplus-based competitive (including competition and other transegalitarian communities complex hunter/gatherers (competi there is not much detailed documentation tive prestige items). on the other hand. Although never broke or were tation areas where they sometimes investments these items clearly occur sufficiently in abundant. and combination tens of thousands of hours of labor utilitarian-prestige objects representing of prestige investment (White. such items were commonly kept and used in habi lost. As such they were low in frequency and/or cost and certainly did not on sur involve major amounts of group surpluses and were not predicated pyrite crystals). although shamans of the corporate band. may have all been used in ritual contexts to bond members of subsistence alliances covering that were meant large areas. that they are generally cached ological sites (Dickins. In addition. One of occurrences most the adolescent is double burial of these the spectacular at Sungir with its thousands of ivory beads. prestige items that functioned in graves of high display strategy are certainly very abundant competitive status individuals. 1996). the other independent are as transegalitarian Paleolithic communities complex hunter/gatherers documented by the Beaune (1995) andHayden (1992. Although for it is my impression from my own ethnoarchae all the following statements. on a more regular and lavish basis in occupation sites and burials. items made and used in ritual contexts among between prestige for the purpose of impressing others in order hunter/gatherers generalized alliances within and between groups (noncompeti to reinforce subsistence plus-based one hand. and that such items never if ever. frequently absolutely habitation sites and burials to leave little doubt that they held a significant of the communities and social functions role in the overall economy in volved. It is only in themost complex societies of the Upper Paleolithic.16 and Hayden or in the ethnographic record of generalized as the stone churingas and rock paintings of the Cen hunter/gatherers (such tral Desert Australian Aborigines). I think it is possible competition. (Dickins. 1989. be buried with exotic items of minor value. 1993). decorations. ritual group. 1992. to distinguish. lo that prestige objects are found cated in the most productive environments. in Australia that the elaborate ritual prestige items of experience are rarely if ever recovered hunter/gatherers archaeologically generalized at sacred sites and are rarely. These prestige items also frequently represent substantial of labor and were often created by at least part-time special ized artists. 1996). on the Thus.1993a. might conceivably as part of a surplus-driven In contrast.

More the technological that were probably of most innovations im specifically. 1990a). inequalities. These char areas during the sub acteristics all become more developed in resource-rich as and in the New World the Archaic sequent Mesolithic during and Coupland. Labor version facture would also have been in short supply for the effort-intensive con of animal skins into supple buckskin or clothes or for the manu as wealth of other items that could be exchanged (see Hayden. weirs. The major advances that occur first among complex hunter/gatherers include pottery. while new tion. ground stone cutting The main . for storing surplus crops. boiling.Hayden et aly 1996). prestige technologies the emergence of transegalitarian all complex hunter/gatherers. catalyst behind all these changes seems to be the technological en masse innovations that made the systematic of new re exploitation sources (especially fish. new fish procurement storage techniques (nets. These in the Upper technological developments begin and develop further in the Mesolithic/Archaic. Labor short zones where ages might be especially acute in the temperate large-scale seasonal migrations of ungulate herds occurred and where large amounts of meat or fish could not simply be stored by freezing but required more laborious thin filleting and prolonged drying of the fillets over smoky fires. in the Northwest well-documented 1995. techniques. fishhooks). The in increasing the extractable and usable amounts of food from portance territories include long-term storage technology given (special drying for pit and elevated caches). both ethnographically and ar point of importance first appear in force and flourish with chaeologically. grain. is that. and the intensive exploitation of seasonally abundant resources. 1997) and include relatively high population and wealth evidence of private ownership sedentism. and new transport techniques as sleds and canoes. snar the use of nets in hunting. Paleolithic With domestica even more new resources were added to local repertories. (Matson 1995a. possibly baskets. Hayden. seed gathering and utilization leisters. novations that made the storage of seasonal surpluses possible. such vesting herd animals). techniques were devised domesticated animals. storage. atlatls and bows (for mass har ing techniques. Hayden. and migratory as well as in herds) possible.Practical and Prestige Technologies 17 seasonal densities. Virtually of the major technological advances that are generally associated with ag ricultural societies occur somewhere in the world before the advent of agri culture in complex hunter/gatherer societies. including in the guise of Competitive displays of success may have first emerged during the Pa areas where leolithic primarily in resource-rich labor shortages for maxi resulted in competition for the recruitment of mizing surplus production to the most successful economic productive members groups.

occur in all The first premise is the notion that aggrandizing personalities human populations size [i. Moreover. starvation. 1995). 1990). chiefdom. and monumental (e. Some of nologies these will be discussed in more detail below. the motivations and strategies that may have been used by aggrandizers to promote favored and control food surpluses and the success of these strategies. it is important to understand should emerge among com how and why prestige technologies to understand more For this. (1) of diverse foods. metalworking. Blake et aL. about 200-500 of self-reproducing individuals the proportion of aggrandizers Wobst For the present purposes. as people who are ambitious. Elsewhere ferred to these individuals as accumulators (Hayden and Gargett. under the appropriate de given reasonable in personal histories and envi grees of genetic variability.. and economically aggressive. and domesticated stratified socioeconomic types of cultures toward hierarchically systems.g. po I have re litically. technologies. In order to explore these issues. and (3) the remarkable instability and resilience displayed by transegalitarian.e. I argue as prestige these types of items were tech initially developed and only later evolved into more practical applications..Morrison and Myles. A small percentage of to create major changes active aggrandizers is probably all that is necessary resource conditions. For now.Thorn. the major forces of change In suggesting constitute that aggrandizers Gilman inmany human societies. I am following the lead of Cowgill (1975) and to advance (1981). 1993. in the total population does not have to be great. and sacrifice. (e. domestication community buildings.18 tools. (2) the uncanny convergence pottery. it is necessary several premises and to clarify the conditions under which aggrandizers can be expected to become active and to create prestige technologies. slavery sophisticated structures and graves textiles. I am defining aggrandizers socially. per (1974)]. gourds. Here I defer to the somewhat . and dogs. it is necessary about plex hunter/gatherers.g.. open-ocean that all of Hayden jewelry. and variability occurrence the of aggrandizers in all human populations seems ronments. 1992. relatively assured. incidental watercraft. items). 1996). or TripleA personalities (Hayden. or warfare. the kinds of environments that Aggrandizers and Their Strategies The major argument that I want to explore here is that aggrandizing have been responsible individuals seeking to promote their self-interest for the development of prestige including the use of metals. and stratified communities when confronted with severe setbacks either in the form of epidemics. and acquisitive.

Blake and Clark not in the best interests of the community individuals can be re (1989) discuss the many ways that overly ambitious strained and held in check in egalitarian and transegalitarian communities alike. values. Aggrandizers and often act in ways that are contrary to the their own self-interest best short. They are inveterate risk their risky ventures. and in many cases. and ultimately or ambitious of homicide in controlling excessively demanding individuals. and as frequently differ substantially from those for the rest of the population for industrial and documented world. aggrandizers operate aggrandizers munity norms (Shnirelman. 10. pp. 8. an have. both egalitarian and transegalitarian are held in check among Cashdan (1980) argues that aggrandizers are restrained from behavior and they that is egalitarian hunter/gatherers. of theft and intimidation. They readily values and norms when these values push the limits of their community outside com do not suit them.or long-term interests of the community as a whole. The second premise of the aggrandizer model is that a small number of resource condi aggrandizers can have systemwide effects given appropriate tions. and Leach's and cultural norms can be easily changed and social organization strate. to suit the perceived of community members in self-interest manipulated societies. the accusations of sorcery. and the use of limited violence. there are so personality in effect. aggrandizers are constantly seeking ways to organize other individuals in order to get them to produce more and surrender some produce or labor to aggrandizers.Practical and Prestige Technologies 19 more elegant term "aggrandizer" used by Gould (1982) and Clark and Blake mote other individuals in order to pro manipulate (1994). Once firmly established. Cash studies demon (1954. nomic conditions can be established. as a whole. 262-263) (1980). Indeed. Yet Cashdan shows how quickly these sanctions and checks can be modified or abandoned as soon as basic resource conditions improve. of the communities. 1990). it is un as significant barriers to the realistic to view even severe social constraints successful use of aggrandizing surplus eco strategies as long as favorable. 221. Aggrandizers inner drive to increase their own standard of living and their own repro ductive success. The rationale behind this premise is based on ethnographic and con to develop of aggrandizers observations schemes temporary actively trying that will seem attractive to other members but which. A corollary structures nor cultural norms are dan's elites in many parts of the preindustrial in takers and often involve many others is that neither social of these observations immutable. As Shnirelman's (1990). anyone who is familiar with egalitarian or transegalitarian societies will probably be aware of the sanctions. norms for themselves that frequently create separate standards. Thus. In order to achieve these goals. ciopaths and psychopaths. . an inner motor. In the most extreme expression of the aggrandizing types.

them and subsequent exchanges the promotion of investment exchanges feasts). that appear to itiate projects in critical Hayden of control or give them positions sur 1995a). but and political changes of benefit that produce profound social. economic. that any of the above even a minority of a kinship or community group then he will be in a strong position strategies is to their immediate benefit." well documented inNew Guinea (Feil. cul My most recent (1995a) study of the diversity of transegalitarian tures has identified a number of recurring strategies employed by aggran in their projects dizers to engage large segments of kin or community (Fig. 4.Wiessner and Tumu. 1987. or for them to have effects on basic socioeconomic record. Surpluses game. the hosting of reciprocal and investment feasting. (competitive the use of rare or labor-intensive prestige objects to increase the effectiveness and 8. the value of one's own children through maturation increasing in order to obtain more desirable marriage partners for payments of wealth. archaeological to persuade If an aggrandizer manages characteristics of the community. 7. These into using and supporting prestige community get hooked technologies?a in more detail by Hayden discussed include (1995a). The strategies topic 1. one charismatic and crafty aggrandizer to in benefit most individuals in a community. to obtain allies in warfare. Aggrandizers try to maximize the pro . p. on to promote many other changes as long as surpluses can be produced a large and reliable enough basis to support the surplus-consuming activi are typically in the form of dried fish or ties that he promotes. access. 2. strategies (Bradley. Under appropriate (see Hayden. "The world can be individuals. 1998a). 5. the claiming supernatural Not everyone for them to occur. access to the (surplus) to acquire desirable spouses (both and more 6. of peace the instigation of warfare and the establishment via payments of wealth). or control in a community needs to be involved in these strategies for them to be manifest in the for them to be effective. place aggrandizers other sought-after advantages it takes only plus conditions. As Margaret Mead observed. Sillitoe. domestic animals. 1978. or crops. the use of wealth the use of wealth spouses. how other people in the strategies are the keys to understanding 2). primarily to aggrandizers. over 1984. and indeed that is the only way changed by a few dedicated Such maneuvering is particularly changes have ever been implemented. 46).20 in effect. of all the above of privileged and rituals. 3.

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compelling for these purposes. if the aggrandizer ented enough. roles in prestige technolo The third premise for modeling aggrandizers' that can be ex is that extractable resource conditions (i. The larger the surpluses and contributions the and power of the aggrandizers. 1995a). Hayden 1997). charisma or persuasive intelligence. so creativity.22 duction Hayden of surpluses from supporters. Hayden. 46. plays a critical role in the type and . compensations. the control volving production feasts and gift exchange entailed and consumption (Blackburn. ruthlessness. they aggrandizers concentrate in their hands. strong pressures increasing both and Taylor. Such items could not be from distant places as prestige in distant others (especially obtained by those lacking contacts easily by as being required for but exotic items were often promoted communities). ments. Blanton 1995). corporate debts.e. cient. These qualities ers' motivation. predictable. resources gies and labor rather than with tracted with a community's existing technology or population innovations changes) determine how much ag or surplus-consuming behavior a community will tolerate. One to promote the use of exotic items is for aggrandizers strategy widespread items of value. (Bradley. skill in using deceit. the extent ollary of this premise in terms of the amount of power and wealth succeed. 1976. socially "necessary" and Schulting. Con of surpluses and contributions are always solicited under the guise of "necessary" wedding pay tributions or other defense costs. Aggrandizers greater the advantages typi of private property and the cally promote new values. Another a population. threatening on a and storable surpluses can be generated reliable. Under grandizing the extractable food re and environmental conditions where technological sources cannot yield significant. will be determined by the extent to which sur resource condi is that where corollary pluses can be generated. supported by at least some others in the community. events effective in social and political 1984. As I have argued else calculations. 242. functioning events in in turn. It is only when 1980. 1996). skill in cial and ritual skills. And. if not behavior will be viewed by the community hypothetical suffi 1992. storable. productivity. the social of tions seriously deteriorate for a large proportion form (Hayden. reasons. in order to exclude other people from importance over surpluses and to reduce competition for that control. the scale of analysis undertaken where. (Cashdan. A cor to which is that in the long run. in economic and competence fighting. system will revert to a more egalitarian is that aggrandizers will vary in the personal The fourth premise qualities include the degree of aggrandiz important to their success. aggrandizing at large as unacceptable. p. p. such as recognition of specialized training.. abilities. resources basis without overexploiting and normally predictable staple large is tal that aggrandizing behavior will be tolerated and. or reliable surpluses.

Such regularity is well suited to the archaeological of long-term recovery and modeling cultural change. or differential rates of cut short). the production of surpluses and wealth that they promoted. The fifth premise for modeling is that some or all of the aggrandizers basic strategies that aggrandizers used to lure other community members into producing and surrendering surpluses actually had important survival and re such consequences for supporters as well as aggrandizers. similarity. Whether can be accounted apparent exceptions (e. 1984) that. motivated. then there should be a great deal of regularity. the alliances that they helped create or break. cultural change may be most appropri households. the that they attracted when successful. grandizers will be very intelligent. and ruthless. and it is the most successful is broadened ag and the sys tems they establish that eventually dominate entire regions. creating the most lasting cultural changes.Practical and Prestige Technologies 23 strength of material and behavioral patterns resulting from any given causal in particular. and local communities. communities. given (Hayden and Cannon. if not culture areas. it seems clear that the most successful (over time) charismatic. dealt with by historians and ethnographers. regularities trends in human behavior must be sought at the larger scales of predictive analysis (corporate groups. long timeframes) where the central trends of behavior can be observed to dominate. persuasive. when the scale ately to include large numbers of people. remains to be seen. complex Aubrey on a number of occasions 1982. and even pre at transegalitarian in the cultural developments and even more dictability Cannon and I have argued levels of cultural organization. While productive for others may not have been of any immediate concern to consequences the opportunities that they seized upon to promote successful aggrandizers. will create a great deal of factor. Variable personal qualities. At the scale of short time periods. However. Whether true can be determined this is absolutely only is replete with examples of cultures from many empirically. the inherent variability between in personality and individuals. or other factors in the ecological change (evolution paradigm. but archaeology parts of the world that have followed the same general evolutionary paths of emerging aggrandizers using similar strategies and adopting similar ma terial solutions where resources under discussion permit. either multigenerationally or geographically.. The premises seem capable of at least some of these recurrent similarities em explaining ploying the same perspective that Steward (1968) and Harris (1979) have advocated. It is these aggrandizers who establish perhaps deceitful most successful cultural transformations. regions. and cultural change of material in the idiosyncratic variability patterning short term and on very local scales. If this construct is tenable.g. and the large numbers of supporters . Australia) for on the basis of the variables under discussion. raids or to sue for successful peace.

were undoubtedly to the immediate munities incidental self-serving goals of aggrandizers. pp. Quite as occurring with the removal of subsistence and the pressures opments of surpluses that were used to further individual self-interests establishment rather than as the result of increasing subsistence pressures which required stages new forms of adaptation. acquiring wealth. trade. in waging wars. would improve their success in making and acquiring desirable productive mates. Under the old func and scale when surplus resource production tionalist paradigm. the occurrence of higher levels of warfare and the crea . The major intro as the basis for all of of surplus and wealth duced was the establishment and as a basis for their success. pressures (contra Binford. nor the behavior of those that If neither the proximate motivations these changes seems ever to have been concerned with the wel instigated to view cul it also seems inappropriate fare of the community as a whole. In egalitarian societies. grandizers. and these activities increases. p. However.24 Hayden to obtain fecund and productive mates all conferred critical adaptive on aggrandizers as well as on their supporters and on the com advantages as a whole. "adaptive acquire more mates and more allies would clearly be in better evolutionary with fewer allies and mates. all of these goals were achieved by other means innovation that aggrandizers such as kinship and ritual. surpluses. To this extent. alliance interregional societies were predi in transegalitarian formation. when some communities ag while others would have lacked them. and supported into prestige technologies community bought aggrandizer schemes was that nonaggrandizers thought that these schemes probably better alliances. particularly community for motivating others would have adopted of development. Cohen. 208. all of these undertakings or can be viewed as serving some "function" these developments having an ultimate Communities that could value" for the community. 1985). the contrary. Aggrandizer and spread under conditions where surpluses could be strategies persisted and their these features gave both aggrandizers reliably produced because in the initial of supporters real adaptive advantages. and elite marriages increase in frequency cated on. than communities especially where positions the adaptive advantages for com violent conflicts were prevalent. Virtually all feasting. as developing in response tural changes related to prestige to technology on subsistence 1983. and required. peacemaking. war. the aggrandizer model views these devel 1981. 221-224. and Tumu (1998b. Wiessner munity state that the consequences individuals of not supporting for New Gui?ean the competitive feasts or joining related cults was that they would be unable situations from an evolutionary to obtain brides or allies?both unenviable ability reasons that other people the most common in the point of view. 11) explicitly In fact. appeals they were simply the most effective or necessary and surrender to produce surpluses. Thus.

in these situations are. Prior to the European Upper Paleolithic. so the following discussion emphasizes some of the most illustrative exam ples from different parts of the world. (1992. render intelligible earlier. we can no longer observe these strategies and the material observe the results of their operation remains of their are critical links for understanding Thus. Aggrandizers I have and the Emergence of Prestige Technologies can be expected to develop prestige argued that aggrandizers as a means to display their control over wealth and labor (i. Wiessner and steel for forest clearing in Amazonia (Good. Thus. These situations occur most dramatically with in New Guinea of sweet potatoes (Feil. and the strategies that they used. as a means of storing and concentrating surplus food pro to indebt and reward others for participating in duction. and as a means strategies used to establish hierarchical control over wealth and power?in as modern many respects the same principles pyramid schemes. model proposed by Binford. Increased warfare and regional exchange as responses to increased surplus production under the ag understandable of the aggran the archaeological expectations grandizer paradigm. there are no significant in dications of any prestige in the world. the expansion of the resource trade immediately following to explain. Moreover. technologies their success). 1998a) and in every of many or most people The apparently universal penchants to be attracted to specific qualities of objects mentioned human population listed above. While many types of mate aggrandizers rial indicators are associated with various aggrandizer strategies [storage re and production faunal and botanical features. combined with the five premises the remarkable convergence of cultural traditions and prestige technologies in disparate parts of the globe to which I now briefly turn for a few ex amples. No single tran list is provided systems. it anywhere technologies although . I focus here only on the prestige technologies themselves. prestige technologies functioning. space permits the discussion of but a few examples of prestige created changes items to illustrate how aggrandizers in cultural A more comprehensive in Table I. Cohen.Practical and Prestige Technologies 25 tion of regional base is difficult the introduction and Tumu. however. from the traditional discussed here are quite different dizer model functionalist/systemic/sociotechnic others. 1993).e. and architecture. tradition provides clear examples of all prestige segalitarian technologies.. but we can ologically.1995a) more detailed discussions]. Archae in action. 1987. settlement patterns. see Hayden for mains. production technology.

Lewis-Williams and Dawson. with ancestors. textiles (de Beaune 1995. G. Where technologies these foods were followed. 1992. 1995. mauls.26 Table L A List of theMost Common Types of Prestige Technologies Elaborated practical tools [adzes. Clark. rare wild 1906). 1997. Sherratt. pp. Rosenberg and Davis. labor-intensive and similar items preparations) [shell. 1954. pp. animals baskets and plants. 1990)] 1991) Elaborate burials (Cauwe. especially fish and ogy for exploiting yet other food resources seeds. etc. developments population occur increases in the richest and prestige environ . Handy. 1982. pp. tapestries) Complex Elaborate Arcane Slaves Perfumes Complex Organized & makeup record keeping competitive & sports calendars that some incipient developments is entirely possible may have occurred areas such as south in game-rich Paleolithic in Middle times. 1995. bone. genital 1979. p. These abundant. 1986)] Special clothing [buckskin. 185. of supernatural power (Schele and Friedel. (de Beaune.Blake et aL. 1992)] Display metals & stones (G. 167-170)] Complex boats (Arnold. stone bowls. de Beaune. carved wood. The Epi herd animals could provide large quantities migrating in technol major advances period witnessed paleolithi?/Mesolithic/Archaic en masse. 163) cave paintings. metal pendants. 1995. head deformation.) plumbing. 1992. experiences and other Elaborate Elaborate Massive sources furniture housing architecture (including (Beaune baths. 125)] Special Jewelry (domesticated ivory. 3-8. stone. particularly the clear occurrence France. neck rings. and others (Sherrat. 1995. 1983. 258. (Brigham. Teit. 1983) Drugs & alcohol beer. 1986) Elaborate serving foods containers [pottery. communication & high pain tolerance Ecstatic [trances. Clark. Davis. pp. 1993. 245. p. 1909)] Specialist art (murals. spoons (Carlson. 47. species. to a few exceptional is restricted of prestige regions where technologies of meat. Even during the Upper western Paleolithic. 1995. and nonmanual as displays of mana & tattooing Body deformations foot binding. 1986)] Carvings [figurines (de Beaune 1995. Cofini. p. labor status (Paine. pp. 175-179. cats (de Beaune. 1995. 221) Pet breeding [dogs. 247. 1991. G. 245-252) Complex musical instruments (de Beaune. 23-24. pp.Hayden. Clark. p. Hayden Olausson. 1924) (ear piercing. 42. maces. tooth filing or inlays. 1995. visions. van Berg and Cauwe. medicine war esot?rica costumes & elite languages (Leach. pp. excessive fattening) mutilations. beads. 213. 1990. 1992. 75. (tobacco. birds. wine) cannabis. 1995. de Beaune 1995. bracelets. pp. labrets. 1993. 90. 170-179.

9). while later occurrences of copper among the Northwest Coast complex hunter-gath erers ca. personal commu nication. In and the Levant. even argued forms such as celts.Heskel. and they were never used (Heskel. and later for ritual items such as bells or prestige the much items (Hosier. p. copper suddenly begins North America. 1974. However. that aggrandizers advances of the major technological appear to have in itiated in their efforts to create effective prestige items for their self-serving stone bowls. was for in Mesoamerica p. 50. 1983). Antonio (Elu?re and Mohen. wealthy 1982. pins (Heskel. native metals were 1994. The earliest use of metals the creation of elite Olmec concave mirrors at La Venta. 1997. 1973. and domesticated include metals. Chapman. and coastal Peru. Japan. Shimada and Griffin. Northwest to be worked during the Holocene.Practical and Prestige Technologies 27 ments such as the Levant. p. One of the clearest examples of prestige technologies initial use of native copper to create jewelry or other prestige artifacts.Muhly. Binford (1962) was one of the first to argue that this was because copper was being used as a social object in social complexity increases rather than a utilitarian one and reflected artifacts in the world occur in the early Holocene cultures of Anatolia and the Levant where native copper and lead are first used for beads. pendants. Some coastal and riverine North America. Bradley. 1995). Randsborg. Binford sheets. 1983. 1984. 32-33. Earlier populations of hunter/gatherers in these areas must have been aware of native copper and its unusual prop to work and shape labor intensive erties. discs. 1987. 1996. Gilman. In the New World. Fallers. The earliest metal the advent of iron smelting in the Iron Age France-Lanord and Contenson. and decorative bracelets. 85). native metals an in . pottery. Rosen. 1000 B. 1987). 260. 1996. Rosen. metal socioeconomic exhibiting is associated with working differentiation (Heskel. animals strategies and plants. (1962) has for a prestige role of copper objects around the Great Lakes. until the Holocene in human prehistory. (Lechtman. the initial use of copper and seems to be associated with surplus production. other metals such Knauth. 1978. the fundamental incorporated prestige nature of metal use in this area as well as Europe did not change until during the Holocene. though some of these take utilitarian other On the basis of these early occurrences. In all cases. 1982. Sherman. 1973. 1983. for sustainable mass resource harvesting riverine China. metals never did emerge from the prestige realm even with the quite early appearance of smelting in Peru 1993. p. Peru. Although as gold became into this tradition. 1982. Darvill. 1996. is the Metals. 1983. pp. Pollard. settlements 1996). Jovanovic.R and in the Adena-Hopewell culture were entirely in the domain of small nonutilitarian and tubes.

It was an ideal material with which to transform and store sur and labor. 1993. ioned pp. its difficulty permitting many dif ferent shapes. It is probably because of the similarity in strategies used by aggran of desirable dizers. 1993). wood. catlan (Archaic) times onward. levels of control over labor ranging from coastal de qualities of objects.28 creased level of control over labor. pp. riverine re and some midcontinent chaic (Ritchie.. or skin. items (indicating prestige roles) and. pp. societies use precious metals contemporary Stone Bowls and Pottery. Carlson. In carved. 1965. its high malleability to procure. Wherever abundant. and the appearance not necessarily have long use-lives. developed native copper was available and to the need for prestige items. and because of the similarity in basic human perceptions for a prestige technology. Both stone bowls and pottery appear to have been originally made and used as prestige items inmany areas. aggrandizers used it to display success and attract its difficulty initial attraction of copper was undoubtedly supporters. especially given its high value per unit weight. like pottery. Bradley. 1966.g. Like metals. the California Coast (Jennings. 278-279). stone bowls clearly appear as a . 82-83). 82-83). to work. decline mortuary Some bowls are elaborately of pottery. Sassaman. there can be containers bowls are cumbersome while thin varieties bowls or practical easily of of stone are fragile. plus production to be used in early empires continued The rarest and most costly metals such as China primarily to display prestige (Woskin. 1975. These bowls are generally used as gions (e. and its unusual tinkling sounds when fash resources were The into tubes (Wheeler and Maddin. 8). 1996. 1980. for the same purposes. This is the same shape used most for the earliest Mesoamerican ceramics. Webb. 1975). p. Moreover. in importance after the adoption Coast (Duff. 176-178). the eastern Ar 1974. 1990. gourds. and horticulturalists is especially significant. 1974. that complex hunter/gatherers with subsistence bases as diverse serts to rainforests to boreal environments almost identical solutions as marine fishing to cereal harvesting. basketry. little doubt that the use of stone to make serving to a simple solution is an extremely labor-intensive can be made much more Serving and other containers problem.Duff. 99-100. pp. which occur significantly commonly later. such as the figurine bowls of the Northwest stone bowls occur from Cox the T?huacan sequence in southern Mexico. (as distinct from mortars) occur in many complex Archaic-level cultures including the Northwest Coast (Hannah. and a need Hayden of this magnitude imply technologies Prestige and transegalitarian communi and resources characteristic of aggrandizers ties. And of course. Therefore. in New York state. its shiny luster. of would stone bowls before pottery among many Holocene complex hunter/gatherers stone bowls In North America. and some early forms are tecomate?or gourd-shaped (Willey. pp. In Peru (and many other places). thick varieties bark. 1994).

Cole. in coastal Chiapas. development to be made and of stone bowls was so labor intensive that they continued as prestige the transition to practical items and seldom if ever made centers of pro renowned forms. these may have been used to prepare special foods for feasts and rituals. 106). but fermented Central American isthmus . A number of recent studies in various parts of the world have indicated that the earliest pottery was used primarily in prestige display contexts. p. In the Old World. in the eastern Mediterranean and in the Near East 1989. role as prestige objects. 102. p. p. 1977). 1989). in the western Europe 1995). 214). (1993) the making of pottery in both the New and the Old World. p. 379. 1992. in effect. The clearest likely as part of competitive examples come from the first pottery horizons in Colombia (Pratt. I suggest that studies the tecomate vessel like Sassaman's characteristics (1993) analysis of the cooking performance of Southeastern Archaic pottery and soapstone bowls might be more use items or items associated with the prepa fully recast in terms of prestige ration of prestige feasting foods or beverages. most or reciprocal feastings. if not identical. p.C. to name but a few locations. and some authors even speculate that the use of stone bowls held back the adoption of pottery in these regions [\&n Doren Stern. were. 241. 274. Barnett. p. (Vitelli. Clark and Gosser. 1997) also suggests that where initial forms. such relatively cruder types of pottery represent as the thick cooking wares of the Mesolithic cultures of Scandi Erteb0lle navia. 1986. 1990). (Schmandt-Besserat. and that is why they began as gourd shape forms. 135. Jericho. p. although somewhat ceramics (Gero. That used in both early Mesoamerican stone shape was common bowls and pottery provides considerable support for this interpretation. (Hoffman. The fact that stone bowl technology may have impeded the adoption of pottery in some cases (or that stone bowls decreased in frequency after the adoption of pottery) that initially both of these technologies implies may have played a similar. the prestige equivalents of common gourd containers. 1969. Egypt and Tepe Yaya became especially duction as early as 3500 B. 1970. p. and Jarmo as early as 9000 B. Perrot. see Hoopes and Barnett (1995) and Hayden (1995b). p. in Neolithic (Hoopes. Rosenberg 1995. 45. Hal lan Cemi. Perl?s. 1995. Ronen.Practical and Prestige Technologies 29 later than the first appearance of prestige technology. 1998). They. and Davis. (Clark and Blake. 1992a). 1971. 1991.. Lamberg-Karlovsky. Deborah Olausson (personal communication. Cyprus. (Sherman. For a more de tailed review of this topic. 1968. stone bowls appear before pottery at Ali Kosh.C. 1994. 189. The adoption of pottery by Erteb0lle cultures is not associated with residues have been identified from any subsistence change. see also Sassaman for a New-World But even after the example]. 1979. Thomas.

it is highly significant are concentrated that the first domesticates in the public feasting areas. also be made in various and be given high an important still constitute colors population 1977. lusters. And prestige technology appear predominantly only after early Holocene technologies technologi cal innovations the production had made of reliable surpluses possible in some regions. and especially activities feasting act associated largely with aggrandizer (Dietler. 1990). the domestication of initial domesticates is the occurrence process only in situations where prestige had already developed. while the wild foods are concentrated in the domestic as an elite or ceremonial of maize food 1991). it would and because it lent itself to decorative to protect and cultivate wild species have been necessary it would have been neces beer was valued for feasting. to cultivate cereals or root crops if they did not occur naturally in sary has suggested sufficient quantity. Critical for identifying in maize. consumption Elsewhere of beer preparing beverages. unusually fat or sweet large. which (Hulth?n. Katz and Voigt. ritual. Jennbert that the first do (1984. in the world. 1953. This is an assumption shared by advocates of tively fragile. societies throughout display can be made for initial Domestication. that domesticates species. or species with the other unusual qualities rep resent. the optimal (Cohen. Where carefully. it is pots alcoholic items for prestige items. more to produce than the simple gathering of wild plants labor-intensive and hunting of wild game. 1986) and the role of aggrandizers and rice. and Goland. areas (Umlauf. millet. to distinguish it is possible In situations where food remains associ ated with public feasting from domestic food wastes. pressure models 1988). Initial pottery may have been valued as a prestige technology because it required skilled artisans to produce attractive pots. On the other hand. 1985) were used for brewing in Scandinavia.30 the interior of some Hayden indicates their use for 1977). because it was rela It could elaboration. An important lesson that emerges from this example is that it is relatively as practical technologies when to masquerade easy for prestige technologies one is dealing only with archaeological remains. Even stronger arguments plant as part of aggrandizer and animal domestication taking place feasting must have been 1990b. and the surplus-based foraging models (Winterhaider To obtain exotic. As with metals. at least in probably difficult to mistake practical the regions of origin. 1992). 1995c). Early domesticates strategies (Hayden. Redding. unusually feasting models. ceramics of prestige component high-quality in many contemporary the world. The adoption exclusively . and wine in transegalitarian societies is always a social. while similar arguments mesticates have been made for the domestication of grains in the Near East (Braid can probably also be made for wood.

penchants and the emergence than ma itmay seem that shells are more ubiquitous Shells. Linden (1995. The initial of these products must have been excessively time-consuming development and labor-intensive. p. The are far too ubiquitous of this type of shell and bone technology in the cultures to enumer record of transegalitarian and ethnographic prehistoric are very re ate. Hay 1994. Although terials like metals. However. p. Moreover. I suggest that many of the products of the Neolithic "secondary products revolution" (Sherratt. most unusual. alcoholic drinks. the roots of which must be sought at a very basic level of causality such of aggrandizers. 1954. 411) and Kaelas use of cereals as (1981) make a similar argument for the early Neolithic and Germany. such as the observations as part of a feasting complex. and Taylor.Practical and Prestige Technologies 31 and Kidder. horse riding and transport. and elsewhere 1992. Ethnographic ily in New for feasting animals of domestic purposes exclusively raising Southeast Asia. it is worth noting that in coastal areas. it is worth observing that these technologies stricted during the Upper Paleolithic and become widespread only during the Holocene. prestige owed their status as prestige items to the high labor costs involved in mak of ing them into jewelry. and do Other Domains. Blanton an important base of support den and Maneeprasert. 1981. (Shnirelman. It is another example of convergent different geographic evolution. arguments as basic human . including milk. 1995. domestication independently of occupation in from groups with different histories and different lengths areas. and their first use was therefore probably for prestige and feasting contexts. Guinea. 72. In addition can be advanced I believe that compelling to sup mestication. Leach. 1993) similarly iswhat would be expected from the aggran resource-stress models. with the extraction of much more abundant and stable re sources and dramatic increases in population in certain resource densities rich areas. 1983) probably also began as prestige commodities. 1995) also provide in the early platform mound centers of the southern United States (Fritz for thismodel (see also Hayden. pottery. To extend the in Scandinavia "luxury or ritual products. the Near East. p. 36. invention of metal working and to say. and most difficult to procure shells such as dentalia were used as shell beads and bracelets often items (Barton. 1994). cheese. occurrences bone and ivory beads in inland 1993). the rarest. 1990). The same considerations apply to the production areas (see White. Keswani. Clark dizer-surplus model but is incongruent with for the initial adoption of maize and Blake (1994) make parallel arguments as a high-status food used only infrequently?primar in Chiapas. model even further and increase its explanatory power. to metals. Mexico. stone bowls. and wool. like the independent Needless in different environments emerges pottery.

ethnographic complex 1976. prehistoric in many historically documented leather technology. 1995. tattooing. only in more politically if crafted objects can be. there have been a number tion. 1993b). of stratified societies.Depictions of tailored buckskin clothes inUpper Paleolithic art further supports this interpretation 1995. some of which began to appear technologies prestige the emergence In general. Clearly. and dramatic symbols display common of slaves are remarkably of dogs and keeping among breeding the most 1983. Powers. ivory. these were in other areas like the Northwest for Coast. hunter/gatherers (Watanabe. 1992. these were for the purposes of carrying out exchange (Arnold. 1990). 1983). 167 (Beaune. and stone. carved in bone. Many other types of are listed in Table I. At a much gions of Europe (Beaune.32 Hayden for the development that aggrandizers were responsible port the notions to produce and a highly vis of buckskin clothing since it is labor-intensive of buckskin ible prestige commodity. there can be little doubt re that aggrandizers were alive and very active in some Upper Paleolithic 1995. 22) and the two share Mitchell. In some areas such as Polynesia aggrandizers. pp. the very high costs of constructing elite aggrandizers who usually owned stantial boats was underwritten by and commanded them as well. craft specializa Paleolithic and production of prestige feasting foods. 1985. of feasting foods such as whale blubber and valu types obtaining prestige sub able sea otter pelts. Hayden. of aggrandizers (Clark and Parry. In all cases. p. see Hayden (1990b. and explain these develop to chronicle could be written are much more limited and aims of the present discussion exploratory. pp. The initial development technology seems to have occurred Paleolithic since such a in the European Upper best explains the dramatic increase in the importance of end development some Upper Paleolithic industries as well as the appearance of scrapers in bone needles. p. . the North many in complex hunter/gatherers. the direct volumes The creation. highly role similarities not many ments. Teit. 1909. amber. and has been. 179. later date. On the basis of this evidence and the clear presence of prestige items 168). antler. The domestication of dogs. jet. that reliable open ocean sailing vessels were also created by of suggestions and southern California. the of their success and power. For the detailed argumentation of this interpretation. 1993b). related to the influence. 576. and for the same reasons. Hayden. 274. the labor-intensive of tex production tiles was widely and undoubtedly In addition used for display many to curried purposes cases. such slavery. and body piercing as existed throughout Northwest also seem likely to American numerous have been the result of aggrandizers searching for increasingly In fact.

writing. I have argued that pottery and most. (see Veblen.Bradley. The result has also been the transformation of numerous into prestige technologies or probable Some well-documented of practical technologies. In the case of food items. ever more costly prestige items.Practical and Prestige Technologies 33 The While Transformation of Prestige into Practical Technologies of all prestige the initial development represents technologies of items that ordinarily would not be worth production the time and effort required for use in everyday practical tasks. examples to practical from prestige transformations items include textiles. automobiles. 1973. dogs. 132. to find less costly ways of acquiring the symbols of aggrandizers would try success and power represented items. plastics. 3. Such striving for material viously or low level aggrandizers to higher status is lation by commoners aspiring well documented 1982. or to develop. 1976. 1982. these items are no longer suitable or useful at all as prestige objects and other items to take their place (see Schiffer. p.c). it can also of prestige items that at least some of the craft producers be expected costs in order to to reduce production have sought means would always the labor-intensive maximize that many aspiring It can also be expected their own benefits. would have con 1995b. pp. existing practical technologies. metals.Fallers. Clark. (or average) complexity or the informa items (Cotterell and Kamminga. finely milled grains and white bread. must be developed While the geographical and cultural forefront of these changes has shifted over the centuries and millennia. G. 1990. 196-200). the maximum of 1964. 1988). domesticated foods constitute other examples of this process 1990a. 1992. leather shoes. At this point. if this trend continues too far. in prestige or less costly than. 189-191). if not all. 1976. Sherman. initial domesticates stituted labor-intensive prestige items used in feasting that were eventually . plumbing. For example. Oldeberg by prestige axes that are finely made and (1974) provides the example of two bronze but consist of only a thin layer of bronze over a clay core. (Hayden. pp. p. styles and the development forces successful of the symbols of power essentially aggran cheapening dizers to look for. technological tion and transformed energy content of items (Odum. decorated Schiffer. the resulting cheapened prestige technologies so affordable that they may even become may become competitive with. 9). 1899. 1989) and is probably one of themain driving forces behind periodic shifts The of new prestige technologies. Randsborg. and books. glass. However. do mesticated ceramics. 1984. open ocean boats.Cannon. whether meas ured in terms of the number of types in a technological tradition (Leroi Gourhan. Ob emu they could be used only for display. the net result of this situation has rate of cumulative been an exponentially increasing technological change since the advent of prestige technologies until the present. 1986. p.

of any com their adoption attractive to members forms would have made were hierarchical societies or not. of pottery. At that point. result although rare plastics. technologies give rise to practical vari prestige due to a complex mix of factors do not is undoubtedly in efficiency in the availability of raw materials. including technological. Clark shaping tech (1986. being restricted some wholly to the prestige domain. and there are some relatively egalitarian that grow domesticated animals. changes. but dramatic of large complex urban societies. p. to the replacement nology leading sapphires. namely. from changes in alliances with different ethnic groups. economic. to be confused with prestige tech . automobiles. of prestige all of the above examples In almost technologies were additional into practical transformed techniques technologies. that use metal there are relatively egalitarian groups of hunter/gatherers or axes or ceramic pots. whether they today. agriculture began the main subsistence became staples. an observation As a final note on this topic. some utili to increase the costs of some products also developed (including so that prestige such as celts. costly food delicacies. seem to have been quite and the origins of these technologies certainly knives different. mauls. munity. it is worth reiterating from the consideration of pottery. and clothes) tarian items items still to exist made of the same original prestige materials such as continued crafted textiles. metals. For instance. In contrast. whereas nology. that prestige technology (such as practical can sometimes masquerade as brewing apparatus) technology.34 Hayden to the point where with they were cost competitive improved genetically to expand wild gathered or hunted foods. The progressive increase is also logically the in the standard of living over the past 10 millennia been an unintentional it has undoubtedly of this process. changes including changes value or symbol systems re and changes in of manufacturing technologies. 10) cites the changes in Roman gemstone of lapis lazuli by emeralds. items. had a relatively items. finely precious and other boats. In the case rapidly and domesticates of relatively low-cost utilitarian the development like metals. The ultimate most of both the artisans and the aggrandizers consequence responsible for these developments. Therefore. sulting Precisely why ations while others G. technology practical at least in its region is unlikely of origin. diamonds and rubies as high-prestige low value because times that were until late Medieval they could not be polished when the cutting of diamonds by controlled fractures was developed. communities plants or raise domestic a long series of technological this is the end product of However. increase in the rate of result has been a remarkable the emergence and cultural change. books. finely crafted glass or ceramics.

organizations. 2. is a parsimonious to aggrandizers this approach Second. All that need be assumed of the phenomena to lures that are certainly within types and human responses personality the world. Explanation is powerful (explainsmany different phenomena) and explains unexpected and phenomena relationships (e. ecological nologies under appropriate number First.. spread.g. 7. 4. 10. once means were developed Table H 1. aggrandizers (on a large scale of analysis). explanation is the presence of dealt with. technologies prestige for a wide range this approach is a powerful explanatory model Third. 6. 9. The fact that these motivations in behavior changes can be effective with not have to be viewed as universal for all people?but and a variable of the population even a small. types generate various new insights into and new community values or beliefs brings unexpected and how and why cultures change over a wide spectrum of environments initial conditions. to numerous but similar Leads with congruent independent the world cultural changes throughout Accounts Accounts Is consistent Is consistent Is consistent for for the resiliency of aggrandizive systems systems instability of aggrandizive cases of elite with historic and ethnographic with with behavior contemporary other well established and culture theories sponsored innovations change (e. cases of equifinality. 5. as developing were previously viewed inde that of cultural changes in creating numerous of each other. baubles. for the model appeals to realistic and very powerful motivations do and technology. or spe conditions Fourth. the known contemporary range and are widespread throughout can be expected to Combined with rich resource conditions. no matter what the original environmental or cific histories of groups may have been.Practical and Prestige Technologies 35 Evaluating the Aggrandizer Model and their Viewing aggrandizers causal agent if not universal. domestication. proportion unre the necessity of defending bangles. The role of aggrandizers pendently new types of socioeconomic of prestige technologies. 8. and bright shiny beads?obviates alistic proposals about human nature..g. as a wide strategies aggrandizing of prestige tech of the emergence and technological conditions has a of advantages (Table II). highly motivated percentage of the population which are attracted by rich foods. nonhuman ecology) . Involves Explanation Reveals realistic Advantageous Features motivations of the Aggrandizer Model and very powerful is parsimonious 3. to practical the transformation of prestige technologies) pottery.

cessful are similar throughout has been Fifth. 62). irrigation. as soon as production of surpluses egalitarian elsewhere accounts for still other aspects between aggrandizers Sixth. 1987. and it is these projects required considerable to imagine how they could have originated without difficult aggrandizer did not begin to occur be backing.. and 1978. bronze. wet land reclamation. violence. All of initially developed time and labor to develop. Johnson (Earle. Thus. whether the initial generally on evolving new technologies egalitarian hunter/gatherers hunter/gatherers receiving introduced technologies to sustain reliable Hayden toward pro state their devel augment domesticates). and Parry. these systems become bership has bought into the aggrandizive tremely resilient to perturbations. (Clark it is the lure of gain major Earle. and labor under their control production (e. 1994. subsequent developments of aggrandizers lar. p. fore theUpper Paleolithic. and once some portion of the community mem ex system. these could exert some systems returns themselves rapidly reconstitute to normal conditions. disease. and many other innovations were underwritten iron. aggrandizing fits to be made. large-scale . food. and this can occur only where are in place and where aggrandizers perceive net bene systems aggrandizer In chiefdoms elites underwrote and states. Despite periodic uncontrolled population decimations from famines. oped events surplus production. Stanish. that are much better documented. Urry. aluminum. 2). competition as their instability and their frequently of these systems such high levels of often being obliterated. or impoverished horticulturalists who ing or more productive received more efficient or low-cost technologies do were remarkably simi mesticates from elsewhere. 1993.g. technological and historic developments is largely consistent with subsequent prehistoric The first uses of large boats. 1990). once the possibility of sustainable surplus production have discovered established in a region.. high-productivity their surpluses by using horses. This is because the underlying motivation is basically the same everywhere the strategies that they find to be suc and because the world (Fig. practical technological projects these pro 1987. Elites promoted in order to increase the jects out of their own self-interest. or other causes. warfare. terracing).g. and once aggrandizers successful techniques for getting people to produce surpluses over which aggrandizers control. presumably of prestige items. subsequent similar solutions. by aggran as prestige items. pastoralists (e. with entire communities the model of aggrandizer-sponsored innovation Seventh. As Cowgill (1975) andHobsbawm (1968) argue. agricultural craft specialization and innovations.36 introduced ceeded involved own. floods. which explains why such developments dizers and all these items were that creates innovation.

Obviously. 6) it is more parsimonious to . there is man behavior and meaning which not only is parsimonious. and the consumption a broad consistency over time in hu costly food and drink. Clark. if any. costly tex societies. two In essence. egalitarian socie ties seem to have been the only culture type to exist during the first 2 are a few million years or more of human technological existence. furs. The spread of transegalitarian societies and their interaction with egalitarian societies are a fascinating theoretical topic that only a few researchers have examined 1976. Hedland (Hutterer. there are few. 1994. essentially unexpandable.g. Eggert.. However. to egalitarian groups and then establish parts of the landscape symbiotic relations with those groups in order to obtain hard-to-get forest products in exchange for lower-cost technological (e.. While it is fashionable to view this transition as the result of a biological and and archaic sapiens by fully of neandertals genetic change (the replacement modern enriched forms). 1986. 1992). left societies Today.g. to overexploitation. which are based on limited. and easily overexploited food resources (fundamentally egalitarian and those at the other end which are based on abundant hunter/gatherers). notably the contemporary of exotic or tiles. These and societies in which private ownership self-interest play highly significant roles. the watershed and spread of these socioeco for the appearance periods nomic systems. where that are relatively invulnerable there and using those sur the possibility of producing regular surpluses pluses to enhance the control over labor and resources by certain individu are competitive als. rare metals. They can be expected to expand along well defined resource they such as the agriculturally loessic valley bottoms of corridors. There and prestige of transegalitarian social organization items in the glimmers are clearly Middle but the Upper and Mesolithic Paleolithic Paleolithic. meat. But in broad terms. many of the prestige technologies to serve prestige display functions in tocene and early Holocene continue use of fine leathers and furs. pottery. starches). between I view human cultures as being distributed extremes and tending to be divided into two great families of systems: polar those at one end.Practical and Prestige Technologies 37 in the Late Pleis developed Finally. There are only transegalitarian and stratified societies. glimmers of truly egalitarian in the world. and Dailey. productive Neolithic leave the less productive they also frequently Europe. or as the result of even more vacuous "societies by aesthetic sensibilities" (G. Thus. plants) products or foods (e. fine ceramics. People are not perpetually plastic. boats. p. but also reas are broadly sures us that human responses similar in most places and periods. Junker et aL. there are many inter resources exists cases between mediate the extremes. Transegalitarian to be better equipped resources than egalitarian societies to take whatever want. societies generally appear 1991.

the pr?existence trade routes. economics." Given this costly desirable objects. to name storability. and many other of independent factors must also be relevant. Factors such as the need for cooperative of food labor. prestige is amenable to analysis using design theory. the tasks to be performed different from practical is considerably techno in prestige technologies involve logical problems. which of the Triple A. focusing on a single variable such as potential surplus produc tion does not account for many of the other factors that can also influence the social structure. a general pattern that will weather it is important for analysts to determine from the outset cost-efficient and which attributes to a solutions objects represent or attributes represent unnecessary ex practical problem and which objects or create entire prestige of time and effort to embellish penditure objects. ambitious. the many characteristics resources (returns. patchiness. The the discussion of prestige technologies warrants general are material.38 view the transition in technological and economic terms Hayden (see Hayden. I think. the overriding general impor tance of surpluses in the success acquisitive aggrandizers test of new observations. aggressive. While the general technology remains the same. this generally membership. sometimes situation and because of the extreme variability in materials and designs . The tasks to be performed the communication of success and other related information such as group In technological involves the display of terms. ideological as well as their specific constituents. constraints. Analyzing Prestige Technologies to consideration In this discussion I again restrict myself of lithic ar can certainly be approached the analysis of other materials tifacts. Since some objects can operate in both realms. called "primitive valuables. Clearly. 1993b). As with practical technology. 3). although using the same basic framework. Because the logic and goals of practical versus prestige technologies are so fundamentally I now turn to how prestige objects should different. and values of a community. the is. and importance of the constraints features that remain the same of appropriate to change dramatically (Fig. However. The exploration approaches the analysis of prestige is in an even more state formative technologies than practical technologies. As already noted. the weighting and design considerations. and diversity. but a few). a sufficient number of details change so that approach a separate treatment. scheduling. Nevertheless. history. Task and Socioeconomic the nature of Constraints. and socioeconomic. be approached in a design theory analysis.

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as well as the level of craft specialization ported or stored prestige the nature that is available for making prestige objects (Clark and Parry. nological. the size and nature of the social groups in which objects are to be used or displayed. it is difficult to apply to practical technologies. promising approach dealing with the exchange are ethnographic. other play important or more important than prestige technology. Schiffer and Skibo (1997. or other reasons). rowly in a society. social. however. at present. Clearly. of failure (risk). and available of those events (funerals. such an analysis archae their examples Operationalizing or tautological unless some general be highly subjective ologically would can first be established. marriages. Many of them are still assess many performance characteristics to develop be possible too subjective. 36) outline the principles of one or sale of pottery. the major constraint on the pro acceptable rather than any nar duction of prestige objects is generally socioeconomic defined task constraint as with practical That is. the technologies. such as the inherent attractiveness of a principles luster. However. unintended and bad prestige debts that are never paid due to ruptures of alliances or or the failure of these to materialize. to the risk of failing to perform a social task acceptably. to prestige in contrast to quantify or even it is difficult sonority. and resources can be quite considerable with prestige and this investment technologies. in suc is the major element whereas technology prestige display events.40 Hayden for accomplishing these tasks. In successfully undertaking cessfully completing prestige dis practical all play roles as events factors and achieving their goals. the instability of succes amount of socioeconomic inequality of political sion to positions leadership (Randsborg. marriages role in Moreover. These factors in . symmetry. tations. 1982). breakage of prestige objects. high to prestige is another type of risk that is common There technologies in practical but probably less frequent or less significant In technologies. or labor are probably the most critical factors for under wealth surplus factors will standing the basic design of prestige objects. or other). 1990). there is addition also the risk of losing the entire investment of time. and other attributes. a bright color. albeit important. time ?rni items such as consequences or quantities of the tasks to be performed. Hopefully. efficiency. some it will eventually of assessing relevant notions such as the relative importance of prestige way display events and the consequences of failing to impress target audiences adequately. and others. we can identify many of these ob characteristics" "performance importance as reflectivity. technology plays only a partial. use Schiffer and Skibo's (1997) terminology?such jects?to At criteria this point. failure to impress (for tech This risk derives from bad investment decisions. p. energy. tasks. Socioeconomic size or weight of trans levels of mobility and the practical also determine items.

although plays any role in the design of purely prestige be relevant in analyzing objects that are both prestige and practical in na jade adzes. can produce in contrast to practical tasks. resharpening. Much more work amid the panoply of is required to sort out the role of prestige technology factors implicated in the realization of social goals especially since the suc cess of the task performance may not be known for weeks. these may items. constraints and traditions of ideological Ideological Constraints. can be worked not desired traits). be decorated with complex designs. Given the need to impress individuals and create desires to imitate owners of prestige objects (i. p. an object inexpensively. Labor costs are especially important a Iindee star sapphire like a real diamond. when no immediate solutions may be available or evident. diamond Herkemer sparkles is like a real sapphire. large thin bifaces. constraints on the kinds of objects we can postulate that there are material of a community or even to signifi that will innately appeal to the majority constraints involve prestige cant proportions of itsmembers. oratory ability and charisma. to possess similar objects).Practical and Prestige Technologies 41 elude social skills. the degree to which available materials take on highly into complex shapes. abilities in economic and brokering nontangi and financing. in these considerations. copper celts. and bronze swords. the labor costs in reflective surfaces. technologies to invent new solutions and even create new technological domains such as metal working. appearances Technological Constraints. facturing or other qualities of the materials. from nificant transformations of prestige Production gies. While culture values appear to play some role only in the final choice between ture as with . this generally will prevent the item from being ac as a prestige item unless it is used as a sumptuary item associated cepted with special rights of office and other uses are prohibited. skill in combat and the use of threats. A terials. dance and ritual skills.. and the color and brightness of the ma volved in working these materials. There is no in or replacing parts dication for prestige objects that repair. however. glass crystal is almost the same visually as quartz is the procurement and manu these materials crystal. arranging marriages.e. psychological skills. if the existing technology Also. What differentiates not the physical costs (reflected in purchase or replacement costs). months. Material Constraints. 136) socioscience. also undergo constraints Technological sig those used in analyzing practical technolo on the available items is still dependent there is a much greater tendency in other domains. or take on other attractive qualities. These material as the availability and costs of materials such characteristics performance and low costs are easy availability (in contrast to practical technologies. This is one of the goals of Schiffers (1992. undertakings ble benefits such as rights to hunting or fishing territories. or even years after the actual event.

aesthetic variations. The more cross-cultural the more details we we can bring to the analysis of artifacts. of their differences de types.000 years. or performance on artistic tradi and because there are so few outside constraints touch) an extraordinarily wide tions (other than what individuals agree is pleasing). processualists.. of prestige objects has been generated diversity and in including what appear to be the most bizarre body deformations our own ethnocen sertions and other irrational or "weird" practices from tric point of view (e. the genesis of cultural and structural anthropology. The major constraints solutions really to narrow down these choices are ideological values (e. "fry in relation to the culture that produced and meaning expression that made no sense to Europeans to account for practices was. In the narrow sense. over the last 20.g. For instance. pattern of different classes of artifacts such as practical and prestige Recognition in purpose. I suggest that because almost anything imaginable can be used as pres tige items (provided they exhibit the appropriate psychological and sensory to sight.g. and others). The cross-cultural enables analysts to establish I and others advocate that eralizing approach a firm foundation for inferring significant things about artifacts and the and design under that produced them. and not large lip plugs or foot binding. together with an understanding under which conditions the socioeconomic they occur. together with specific cultural and artistic values and traditions. smell. equal solutions to problems approximately are frequently and cultural value constraints among the most logical the design of prestige objects. and different sym Given the number of bolic ways of interpreting material representations. post and structuralists may be right that such "irra cognitivists. value of antiquities). that operate is truly enormous. the importance of the importance of ancestors. even predictable stood as a fundamental. standing that of past societies. audition. enables sign. and and gen analysts to escape sterile subjective relativism. female genital excision.42 in practical technologies. oversized ear and lip insertions. characteristics of appeal taste. we tradition and value system. hierarchies. stacked neck rings. This is because erful in determining Hayden ideo pow there are so many more possible solutions.. I will be able to add to our understanding con suspect that we will be able to identify the essential cultural ecological value will be augmented ditions under which women's marriage by publicly societies . probably do have to refer to a specific culture all of these different so But in a broader cultural-ecological perspective. stacked neck rings were used. and can be under the same basic prestige message lutions are conveying of human behavior. after ing To understand why all. foot binding. in terms of their specific tional" or bizarre practices can only be understood them. the number of acceptable and effective suitable alternative media styles. the the roles of men and women.

135). technique. also Schiffer and Skibo. although with time.. and both types of sand are available. They do make most for future suitable re simply incom sense within a Design all the basic ecological framework. resharpening. jewelry. many of process of practical objects items that incorporate both prestige rency. Considerations for understanding ease of repair. Considerations. As with design the design of many purely prestige items.g. 1997. the auditory effects (e. 1992. Performance characteristics the structure of practical technologies. As with constraints interact of prestige objects production ent. the degree of attraction generated. producers of jade adzes to adopt this technique in order to be able to increase their own benefits (the number of adzes could make or their net exchange profits) and to broaden their ex they a strategy noted much earlier by Schiffer (1976. the tinkling of stone or copper similar factors can be established For nonlithic materials. The prehensible materialist events and the kinds of display technology a topic (tatooing. some of these concepts may gain cur prestige constraints. are the most obvious. But that is are not important point is that these practices relativistic cultural bumberings. we could expect benefits some. what sion to make an object of a specific type. This change base. multifunctional and practical functions may be related to mobility and transport constraints. 190). Schiffer. rather than quartz sands can reduce the manufacturing time of jade adzes by 25 or even 10%. p.Practical and Prestige Technologies 43 visible or witnessed for such events search. given the deci fashion relatively similar to practical technologies. (see the criteria used appear to be of in understanding the little or no relevance visibility of objects or their "apprehendibility"by large numbers of people.). and given the constraints involved. if not most or all. p. etc. if the use of corundum sands Thus. to produce design considerations for the is quite differ but their relative importance to consider in the analysis of lithic prestige are the contexts of display. For instance. and reduction Production. and perhaps the most efficient. in a Production strategies can be modeled That is. the weight the visual the fragility. and pendants). and and size. ways of pro ducing an item (in order to obtain the biggest impact for one's available to produce a given object. the even development . of efficiently using the largest possible surplus leads seeming contradiction to a major unexpected that I have already discussed. and specialization versus such as reliability. it can Once artisans are committed surplus)? be expected that at least some of them will seek to maximize their own the work involved in its actual production by minimizing given sev eral options with equal outcomes. do not have any obvious referents when designing purely multifunctionality items. the prehension items (including native metals) or attachment the the number of steps involved in production.

p. As Bradley notes. 1995). and production aspects discussed record through either experiments. of production specific types of textiles and ceram steps involved in making terials. p.g. Upham could very effectively Such approaches Costin and Hagstrum. Clark. manufacturing. it might be employed effec actual use. On 2 days' walk even by commercial of prestige many examples objects transported because of their concentrated value. Schiffer. assessments ics has become standard in these fields for measuring complexity (skill) et al. breakage. however. ditions. 135). little to offer concerning used to manufacture in determining items and tively prestige techniques costs in terms of time and effort. p. use-wear analysis may have In the case of pure prestige technologies. indicator of prestige be used in the analysis of other prestige items.. sculpted handles or salmon clubs. in establishing approximate manufacturing or relative the approximate As with practical by establishing technologies. suitable prestige objects must (1984. as with practical technologies.44 tuai transformation gies. in the archaeological ured or monitored of the distance to source ma measures of production steps. And. design consid above can be reasonably meas erations. Obviously these char there are many intermediate other mauls. As with of some prestige technologies. that practical items rarely p. doubtedly than the other hand. Schiffer. their procurement. 1992. 1986. in artifact manufacturing investment (e. or estimates or of socioeconomic observations. estimates availabilities. where objects can be assumed to be entirely practical or entirely prestige cases where in nature. un are carried for more if not to actually increase their value. technologies into practical Hayden technolo many of the constraints. sources of interpretations oral tra such as direct historic analogies.. p. 135). p. clothing. including and Given the early state of this type of analysis for both practical to deal only with extreme cases I have attempted prestige technologies. overlap such as the use of ground stone axes. establishment practical of material of display values. The and decorated antler digging-stick of such objects becomes especially complex where the prestige ma analysis acteristics . 1981. 3. inequalities ethnographic The analysis of the number surplus production (e. 46) be rare or imported or labor intensive to produce. Santley and Pool (1993. sible to establish critical inferences about the use purposes and contexts of these objects with reasonable accuracy. 181) have observed traders.g. there are over great distances. on the at some of these constraints and by making observations values of it should be pos tributes of prestige artifacts related to these constraints. 1992. use. and structuralist analyses of context and meaning may also be use of these artifacts ful to understand the overall formation processes and discard. 826. Another to the source of which the material it is status of an item is the distance and labor made (G.

types of artifacts. such as groundstone costs and benefits of more mun these to parallel manufacturing compare dane counterparts in overall such as actual gourd containers. constraints. pp. goals. The problem has also been confronted by previous researchers 1983. Practical have very dif technologies and outcomes than design considerations. nonprestige to the but are of relatively minor ideological items) importance compared and prestige items. and objects. 1983. axes of practical fundamental therefore not been considered ferent logic. I suggest that there are two basic ways of approach 1992.Practical and Prestige Technologies 45 but far more such as metals or jade are actually more effective. This would according be especially useful where prestige attributes are added onto practical ob jects as with Sackett's (1986) adjunct style. 1996). evaluate the manufacturing costs and benefits of entire (e. Analysis of prestige artifacts is still in the programmatic to but because this approach stage.g. than more commonly used materials. can be effectively although both types of technologies dealt with using a design theory approach. (e. Clearly.. should therefore be analyzed using a slightly technologies. . 1996). 1996). Olausson. I do not however. sequent problems feel that they are necessarily insurmountable. First. 3. efficiency) adzes or gourd-shapped pottery vessels. costly. a problem to be resolved such "mixed" artifacts constitutes Analyzing in the future. it makes a deal of sense to divide the analysis of archaeological great (and all tech items into at least two basic idealized classes: practical and pres nological) dimensions ritual or may exist tige items. Cofini. I have used this approach in a lithic assemblage from Interior British of an entire prehistoric pilot analysis Columbia with satisfying results (Hayden et al. carving of hafts constitute good examples. Darwent.g. once the analysis of purely practical or purely prestige objects has become well grounded. Darwent. 60-61. to be dealt with in such approaches. They prestige different framework.. Surface designs or unnecessary to it may be possible Second.. Other dimensions have here. on theoretical and empirical grounds. Other (e. although Schiffer and Skibo (1997) have pre a complimentary framework that does incorporate aspects of both sented terials in the analysis of individual objects or types of objects. attributes can be isolated and be ing these mixed and analyzed separately to either practical or prestige domains assigned to the framework most pertinent for each attribute. CONCLUSION I have argued that.g. The difference costs and benefits of the prestige versus the mundane solutions would then some indication of the net "prestige cost" of such objects provide (see there are many sub Olausson.

practical technologies more restricted prestige technologies. In both domains to be answered. from plant. that occurs in the devel this as the same process (1988) clearly identifies of hierarchical human societies of increasing complexity. Mesoamerican cargo systems (Hay Hayden. on prestige I have concentrated the bulk of my discussion ogy. prestige technologies (and debts) are distinc they are necessary parts of aggrandizer strategies for acquiring and stratified societies. more suitable. The of technological This change aside from intensified competition. is a risky enterprise with no assurances of survival. He terms opment this process "transformity" since each step transforms a basic quantity of form used to create a new original solar energy into a new concentrated The value of any object can be calculated in terms type of organization. This is a it has parallels in nonhu unique human ability (Hayden. 1994. emu is the cost-cutting artisans and the lower-cost material by or nonelites lation by low-rank aggrandizers in such systems. Prestige technologies essentially reliable surplus production. too. 1990b. It explains important aspects of phe as diverse as Upper Paleolithic art and endscrapers nomena (Owens and 1997. the domestication is also an internal of many other prestige There emergence technologies. The framework that I am advocating clearly focuses on the competition over economic evo surpluses (in order to acquire individual self-interested as the major driving force behind the remarkable cul lutionary advantages) tural and technological evolution of the last 20. storing. technology. and the 1990). accumulate and invest aggrandizers find that risks and it is to their net benefit losses. The result is the transformation to common or of some restricted prestige technologies and the consequent search for new. there are still many important questions On theoretical grounds. and concentrating food surpluses into other desirable forms. Yet investing in future outcomes is always a risky business with many setbacks surpluses and losses. 1993b). despite has many advantages. of the total solar energy. in prehistoric archaeol technology has been less prominent. of plants and animals. to herbivore. model resulting aggrandizer-based among which is its unusual scope and power.000 of these types of hierarchical emergence since the advent of human years is the single most important development tive because of appear to emerge under conditions ity. the present model fits well with the broad ecological principles espoused by leading theorists. They constitute a means of converting. Odum in succeeding trophic levels. The benefits in transegalitarian power and material societies in the last 20.000 years. but man ecology in the form of the concentration of information (organization) to carnivore. mechanism mechanism successful balance.000-30. 1995a). But life. den and Gargett. to . Thus. On surpluses. Hayden.46 Hayden even ignored.

complexity Transportation 97: 733-747. This statement prestige tance of local traditions of values and styles. I thank them all. Many course on the evolution of technology. innovation and social Arnold. and helped discuss or mous reviewers all provided important comments ment of the students in my formulate many of the concepts used here. I view all of the above strengths as partial anti considerable relativism. M. Zede?o Mike Schiffer. dotes to the excesses of postprocessual ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Schiffer for the encourage like to thank Michael I would Foremost. through the many to make it publishable. wittingly or unwittingly. and maritime 56: 216-234. too. (1990). among maritime use: A California in the west Mediterranean. the use of highly polished especiallywhite use of textiles. Prudence Franco. the use of rare sparkling metals. American Antiquity adaptations J. organization J. and anony Richard Yerkes. Arnold. Technological Bamforth. Small-scale transport of early Neolithic 64: 859-865. Antiquity pottery Chiefs. American Anthropologist hunter-gather land and hunter-gatherer D. the current model provides an im in a cross-cultural fashion with basis for analyzing human behavior portant time depth. to Anita Mahoney who persevered and Joan Wolfe. helped field test and refine the approaches presented. and the use of improved objects such as bone and shell. Thanks go. of people attract significant numbers re that these features should be commonly from the aggrandizer model raw the appropriate of the world where in many parts curring elements occur and that they should persist through time and characterize materials as much as they characterized prehistoric contemporary prestige items just to rmnimize the great impor is not meant items. it ismeant to account items that developed inde of prestige for the recurring characteristics use of rare sparkling in many different parts of the world?the pendently the use crystals. hunter-gatherer-fishers Complex of the Channel Islands. . Thus. Maxine Kleindienst. of the manuscript transmutations REFERENCES CITED of prehistoric California. American Barnett. objects such as mineral of finely curried leather and furs. to pull the many threads of this article together. Charles Cobb. 57: 60-84. Rice. (1991). (1992). the varieties of plants and animals. Nora Debbie Olausson. specialists. (1995). societies. Antonio Gilman. Antiquity example. Michael Shott. however.Practical and Prestige Technologies 47 attributes that It is also worth noting that if there are certain material it follows in all human populations. W.

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