Title

An Experimental Examination of Central Canadian Arctic Hunter-Gatherer Pottery and Soapstone Containers

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

4-15-2018

Publication Title

78th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology

Volume

2013

First page number:

158

Last page number:

158

Abstract

Our initial foray into the study of ceramic production in northern North America was stimulated by our profound respect at the ability of western Alaskan women to produce even “ugly” pottery under environmental conditions that can only be characterized as a potter’s nightmare. Here we turn our attention to ceramic containers found even further north, in the Central Canadian Arctic. Here, environmental constraints (fuel shortages and poor weather conditions) on ceramic production are similar to western Alaska, but even more extreme. In addition to facing problems in making the pottery, the people of the Central Canadian Arctic faced unique problems associated with their maintenance and use. Unlike the western coast, in this area an alternative cooking technology was present in the form of soapstone containers. We present the results of experiments undertaken to explore how these two materials compare in terms of engineering principles and performance characteristics. We then consider the broader social setting in which the technologies were employed, to examine how social and technological factors interacted to shape material culture.

Disciplines

Archaeological Anthropology | Chemistry

Language

English


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