Consumer Choices in White Ceramics

A Comparison of Eleven Early Nineteenth-Century Sites
  • Suzanne M. Spencer-Wood
  • Scott D. Heberling

Abstract

Social and economic stratification have long been interrelated by anthropologists and archaeologists (Adams 1966; Clark 1970:217, 221; Sahlins 1958). Since Binford stated that archaeological research on social structure was “one of the major areas of anthropological research yet to be developed” (Binford 1962:219), prehistoric archaeologists have increasingly studied social stratification, often in relation to economic stratification (Flannery and Coe 1968; Hill 1968; Hoffman 1974; Sanders and Webster 1978; Watson 1978). Historical archaeologists have recently developed new methods for measuring attributes of artifact assemblages that may be related to socioeconomic status (Miller 1980; Schulz and Gust 1983; Singer 1985). Within the context of reconstructing past lifeways (Binford 1968:12), this research investigates the possibility of distinguishing patterns of early nineteenth-century socioeconomic stratification among eleven United States archaeological sites on the basis of differences in the relative mean value of whiteware decorative types found at those sites, measured with Miller’s ceramic indices (1980).1 Ceramic indices were used to form a scale of sites ranked according to relative mean value of whiteware assemblages. Relative site positions on this scale were then contrasted and compared with documentary indications of socioeconomic status of site residents, in order to determine the relationship between value of white ceramics and social stratification.

Keywords

Transportation Income Stratification Expense Resi 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne M. Spencer-Wood
    • 1
  • Scott D. Heberling
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of MassachusettsBostonUSA
  2. 2.Heberling AssociatesHuntingtonUSA

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