SOCIETY AND TECHNOLOGICAL CONTROL: A CRITICAL REVIEW OF MODELS OF TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE IN CERAMIC STUDIES
Xã hội và Kiểm soát Kỹ nghệ: Một quan điểm có tính chất phản biện những mô hình thay đổi kỹ nghệ trong nghiên cứu gốm
Helen L. Loney
Source: American Antiquity, Vol. 65, No. 4 (Oct., 2000), pp. 646-668
Gốm Biên Hòa
The use of evolution as either analogy or theory in ceramic change artificially imposes a view of technology that is directed. The use of progress has led to a tendency to equate technological change with technological improvement, as if change were unidirectional. This improvement is usually measured by modern standards of industrialization, such as increasing standard¬ization, increasing speed of production, increasing quantity of production, and the overall increasing formality of the work¬shop. Within models that employ an evolutionary paradigm there is the implicit notion that: a) technology change, when it occurs, only occurs towards improvement; b) improvement occurs toward the most logical, efficient solution to a technologi¬cal problem; and c) such a solution is rooted in fundamental scientific "truths" or "facts," which scientists or technicians "dis¬cover." Over the past twenty years, social scientists studying the development of modern technology and society have questioned the usefulness of evolution as a model for change. A critical appraisal of technologically determinist history of scientific dis¬covery has found that important discoveries are frequently credited with fundamentally changing the course of history. The evi¬dence of modern history and ethnography, however, shows that cultural values and embedded beliefs may be more powerful in selecting and directing developing technologies than any external factors. European archaeologists van der Leeuw, Petrequin, and Loney, among others, are now applying the findings of the techno-sociologists to the development of ancient pottery pro¬duction. Their perspective on ancient technology takes into account personal choice as well as ecological resources and eco¬nomic organization. The approach of European archaeologists permits the investigation of the varied trajectories of ancient ceramic technology without resorting to self-perpetuating, internally self-generating models of biological evolution.
Sử dụng tiến hóa như phép so sánh tương đồng hay lý thuyết trong nghiên cứu sự thay đổi trong đồ gốm đã áp đặt một cách nhân tạo quan điểm về kỹ thuật học mà thuyết hướng tới. Việc ứng dụng nội dung tiến bộ dẫn đến xu hướng đánh đồng thay đổi kỹ thuật với cải tiến kỹ thuật, như kiểu thay đổi theo một phương duy nhất. Sự cải tiến này thường được đo bằng những tiêu chuẩn hiện đại của công nghiệp hóa, như tăng mức độ chuẩn mực hóa, tăng năng xuất sản phẩm, tăng số lượng sản phẩm, tăng toàn bộ công xưởng sản xuất. Trong những mô hình áp dụng mẫu tiến hóa có một ý niệm ẩn: a. Thay đổi về kỹ thuật khi xuất hiện, luôn xuất hiện theo xu hướng sự cải tiến; b. Sự cải tiến xuất hiện hướng theo giải pháp lô gic nhất, hiệu quả nhất đối với vấn đề kỹ thuật; và c. Giải pháp đó có gốc rễ từ những “thực tiến” hay “sự kiện” khoa học cơ bản mà những nhà khoa học hay kỹ thuật viên “khám phá ra”. Trong vòng hơn 20 năm qua, những nhà nghiên cứu xã hội nghiên cứu sự phát triển củakỹ thuật hiện đại và xã hội đã bàn đến sự hữu dụng của tiến hóa như là một kiểu của thay đổi. Một sự đánh giá phê phán lịch sử định luận kỹ thuật của khám phá khoa học cho thấy những khám phá quan trọng thường được gắn với những thay đổi cơ bản trong dòng chảy lịch sử. Chứng cứ của lịch sử hiện đâị và dân tộc học tuy thế cho thấy những giá trị văn hóa và những niềm tin kèm theo có thể mạnh hơn trong việc lựa chọn và định hướng sự phát triển của kỹ thuật hơn là bất cứ nhân tố bên ngoài nào. Những nhà khảo cổ học châu Âu van der Leeuw, Petrequin và Loney cùng những người khác áp dụng những phát hiện của các nhà xã hội học kỹ thuật để nghiên cứu sự phát triển của sản xuất gốm cổ. Viễn cảnh họ đưa ra về kỹ thuật cổ bao gồm sự chọn lựa cá nhân cũng như nguồn sinh thái và tổ chức kinh tế. Tiếp cận này của các nhà khảo cổ học châu Âu cho phép khám phá những đường đi khác nhau của kỹ thuật làm gốm cổ không tính đến những mô hình tự duy trì, tự phát sinh của tiến hóa sinh học.
In this article, I attempt to bring together some which recent archaeological theories in ancient ceramic have technology and change. In particular, I will focus on the contrasting approaches to the development of ancient technology in general, and ceramic technology in particular, in the Anglo-West European literature. Over the past 20-30 years, the degree to archaeologists in American and Western Europe found themselves in general theoretical accord has oscillated greatly. In particular, from a foundation of general agreement between American and European scholars, based on ecological models of ceramic production, there has been a steady distancing of view¬point. I will attempt to investigate the causes of this separation of theory and suggest ways of bridging it.
In Europe, there is currently a group of ceramic analysts, best characterized by Sander van der Leeuw, which has begun to investigate ways in which the relationship between a changing society and its changing ceramic technology can be under¬stood. Influenced by both American and European social scientists and philosophers of science and technology, this approach seeks to combine the established ecological methodology with a new, essentially post- processual, theoretical paradigm that addresses technology as a cultural construct rather than a natural force.
At the core of the current European approach is the distinct and conscious absence of an evolution¬ary paradigm as a model for change. Drawing upon the continuing critique of technology-driven cul¬tural change within the social sciences, many Euro¬pean scholars have tried to avoid thinking of change as in anyway related to Darwinian or biological evo¬lution. Instead, change is dealt with on a more his¬torical, contextual level. Though the contextual approach has been advocated in Europe since the seventies, the incorporation of the current perspec¬tive on the social conception and construction of technology brings a new dimension to ceramic analysis.
This intense interest in the relationship between technology and society, and the resulting interest in how they change over time, has not been followed by American ceramic analysts. In fact, there has been a noticeable waning of interest in the American ceramic literature in the topic of ceramics and change. During the 1970s and 1980s, the ceramic ecology literature was dominated by the topic of modeling and understanding change in ceramic pro¬duction (D.Arnold 1981,1985,1989; Brown 1989; Rice 1981, 1984; Steponaitis 1984; Vandiver 1988; see also Peacock 1977, 1981; Rice 1996b; and van der Leeuw 1977,1984,1993 for a brief discussion). However, the 1990s has seen a sharp decline in the number of articles and research projects devoted to this topic (but see also Barnett and Hoopes 1995; Hoopes 1994; Neff 1990, 1992; Neff and Bishop 1988; Neff et al. 1988; Neff et al.1997, and below for a fuller discussion). Normally, such a change in interest would perhaps be seen as a consequence of a substantial change in paradigm; however, it is doubtful that American ceramic analysis has under¬gone any such shift. Instead, interest has been directed elsewhere, toward questions of production and distribution (Bey and Pool 1992), use/function (Aronson et al. 1994; Skibo 1992), spatial analysis and proximity studies (Arnold 1991; Stark 1992), technique, technology, and style (Hegmon 1992), and gender (Wylie 1991).
I will argue that whereas European studies of ceramic change are undergoing a period of vitality and innovation, American studies have been less fruitful. The use of evolution as an analogy for ancient ceramic development and change in Amer¬ican studies is no longer as helpful or productive as it once was and, further, may be out of step with tech¬nological studies as a whole.
The first section consists of a summary of the past 20 years of debate and research into technology, society, and technological change by historians, philosophers, sociologists, and anthropologists of science and technology. The second section will pre¬sent the current state of European ceramic analysis, with an emphasis on aspects of ceramic change. In particular, this section will highlight the develop¬ment of European ceramic studies out of Leiden Uni¬versity from an essentially economic/culture-ecological perspective toward a contextual approach. This approach has, to a large extent, been a reaction against the use of progressive, evolutionary models, as well as a positive reaction to anthropologists of technology such as Lemonnier. Finally, section three will present the use of evolutionary models in pri¬marily North American-based ceramic studies. In this section I will summarize how ceramic ecologists have attempted to explain ceramic change through the implicit and explicit use of evolution and notions of technological determinism. I will attempt to under¬stand how many current American ceramic scholars have ignored some of the more fundamental devel¬opments in American technological studies, while their European colleagues have not only noted these developments, but made great progress in incorpo¬rating these developments into their interpretations of long-term ceramic change.
Technology and Society: Sociological,Historical, and Anthropological Approaches to Technology and Change
Here I will present a brief overview of the past 20 years of research into technology and technological change by historians, anthropologists, sociologists, and philosophers of science and technology. In par¬ticular, I will outline the development of the current rejection of technological determinism and techno¬logical evolution as explanatory paradigms. The key elements of the new paradigm are the reassessment of the relationship between science and technology, the reassertion of social control over technological change, and the rejection of scientific advancement and technological change as in anyway natural.
History and Sociology of Science and Technology
The modern concept of the relationship between sci¬ence and technology, where science operates inde¬pendently and logically, developing new ideas and models, and where technology follows behind in a subordinate role, putting the new ideas into effect, has been undergoing fierce criticism over the past 20 years (Bijker and Law 1992; Laudan 1984; Pfaffen-berger 1988, 1992). This has included a pragmatic look at how consumers select from new technolo¬gies, and how this in turn affects technological inno¬vation. From the perspective of the archaeologist interested in the development of pottery making, the linking of material consumption with subsequent innovation has implications for the source of tech¬nological change. Change is not always due to exter¬nal sources, and innovation is not always inevitable in the face of change. Further, change may occur, but in a direction that has its own internal logic, and which is strongly bound up in cultural perception, ideology, and beliefs (Basalla 1988; Cardwell 1972). Among the first historians to talk explicitly about technology as separate from science and the arts is Cardwell (1972). Cardwell studied the histories of various technological breakthroughs that have come to be seen as "revolutionary" in their influence on subsequent historical developments. His main aim was in determining to what extent these break¬throughs were the result of spontaneous invention or social recycling. He noted that many "invented" objects, such as nineteenth-century barbed-wire, had in fact been "in the system" for perhaps many cen¬turies before their use became "imperative." Broadly speaking, inventions are in reality constructions of revamped past technologies put to new applications, filling an immediate niche. From the archaeologists" perspective, one could say that the first appearance of any new artifact therefore may not coincide with the zenith of its cultural importance (Cardwell 1972).
Cardwell's approach to the history of technology has been criticized on a number of accounts. First, his accounts are largely descriptive and anecdotal, relying on non-critical documentary sources, from histories to technical manuals. Second, the manner in which he envisions old technologies "rediscov¬ered" by immediate needs is implicitly progressive; society faces challenges that it solves through imple¬menting the most efficient technology available. Nonetheless, in acknowledging the importance of technology, and then concentrating on the history of the objects themselves, instead of the history of sci¬entific discovery, Cardwell succeeds in separating the object from its cultural mythology. Historians and sociologists such as Laudan and Noble take this a step further, rejecting the "anec¬dotal" tradition and criticizing older accounts of the development of science and technology on the basis that they lack "useful analytic tools for understand¬ing change and development within technology itself (Laudan 1984:1; see also Noble 1984:324). Cardwell's approach, though insightful, is still fun¬damentally nonexplanatory. In their criticism of the anecdotal histories of Cardwell and the mainstream historians, Barnes (1974), Laudan (1984), and Noble (1984) have attempted to get at the role of the ide¬ology which privileges technology over social will. Barnes notes that scientific knowledge is thoroughly socially constituted: "Both science and technology are socially constructed cultures, the boundary between them is a matter for social negotiation and represents no underlying distinction" (Barnes 1972 in Bijker et al. 1987:11).
Noble attacks the underlying assumptions of both the technological determinist paradigm, "that machines make history rather than people" (Noble 1984:324), and the "Darwinian" modeling of tech¬nological development in which development must pass "progressively" through the "filters" of objec¬tive science, economic rationality, and the self-reg¬ulating mechanism of the market, "thus ensuring that only the fittest technologies survive" (Noble 1984:324). Instead, he argues that not only is the adoption of new technologies voluntary, but that the people who choose which technologies to accept do so for reasons that are not always economically or scientifically rational or predictable (Reber and Smith 1986:8; see also Clark and Parry 1990; Schwartz Cowan 1983).
Laudan rejects the view that technological knowledge is infinitely cumulative. Rather, she char¬acterizes technological knowledge as a finite "pool" whose elements do not accumulate indefinitely, but are replaced and lost. Technological knowledge is not necessarily cumulative, precisely because it is not easily communicated except by direct demon¬stration (Laudan 1984:7). This provides a further criticism of progressive processualist/functionalist research that attempts to fit short-term technologi¬cal change with long-term "goals" of increasing technological improvement (e.g., Braun 1983:125, 1987:164; Dunnell and Feathers 1991; Neff 1992; Steponaitis 1984).
Kelly and Kranzen agree with Laudan, demon¬strating that in historical and contemporary exam¬ples, technological transfer is very difficult to achieve. Even with the use of manuals, the fastest way to instruct a group of engineers on the use and maintenance of machinery is to send out with the machinery personnel trained on the original site (Kelly and Kranzen 1978)—a similar point Childe made much earlier (Childe 1930:10; but see also Conkey 1990:10). Basalla also recognizes the com¬plex nature of technological transfer, describing the problems the post-1812 American textile industry had in assimilating British machinery. Originally, British machinery had to be smuggled in, piece by piece, without manuals or trained operators. In the earliest instances, the machinery had to be sent back unused, because without face-to-face train¬ing, the Americans were unable even to assemble the equipment (Jeremy 1973 cited in Basalla 1988:83).
Basalla has directly criticized the use of biologi¬cal evolution as an analogy for technological change and development. He argues that the evolution of technology follows no inherent, progressive program and states that just as biological evolution operates on extant features of individual members of species, so too does technological improvement operate on existing mechanical attributes. He rejects, however, the notion that technological evolution bears any¬thing other than a superficial resemblance to bio¬logical evolution. For example, he denies that technology is necessary for human survival: "inso¬far as we are animals, on the zoological plane of exis¬tence, we too could live without [tools]. Of course, without technology we could neither occupy nor visit many regions of the earth we now inhabit. . . . But we could survive, and survival is what we have in mind when we ask how elementary a level of tech¬nology is required to meet our basic needs" (Basalla 1988:13).
Basalla recounts how most technological "revo¬lutions," including the invention of the cotton gin, steam engine, motor car, and movable-type printing press, involved the selection of novel aspects of arti¬facts whose design features had a long continuous pedigree. The reasons for the selection of those spe¬cific artifacts, and their specific attributes, is entirely a consequence of perceived cultural needs. These needs are entirely contextually specific; many "inventions" were perfectly possible at earlier peri¬ods in history, but would have not answered any spe¬cific public interest.
Bijker and Law (1992) have demonstrated the power of public interest in the development of seem¬ingly crucial technologies. The results of study of the Nimitz Freeway collapse in Oakland during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake revealed that the Cal¬ifornia Highway Department and the Oakland City Council may have had adequate technology to pre¬vent the collapse, but owing to the political neces¬sity of balancing public interest with state expenditures, were unable to put in place all of the possible safeguards (Bijker and Law 1992:3). They state that "all technologies are shaped and mirrored by trade-offs in our society" (Bijker and Law 1992:3). Technologies are heterogeneous, and tech¬nological change is neither self-contained nor self-propelled. Bijker and Law conclude that the notion that technologies have natural trajectories is a deeply embedded belief within Western science, but one that lacks empirical backing (Bijker and Law 1992:17).
Anthropology of Technology
Similar approaches to understanding the role of tech¬nology and society have recently arisen within cul¬tural and social anthropology. The postmodernist movement, as epitomized by Apadurai (1986), has approached material culture in general as entirely cul¬turally contextual, with no aspect of material life privileged higher than any other. More productively for ceramic studies has been the resumed interest in material culture by anthropologists Latour (1993), Latour and Woolgar (1986), Lemonnier (1986, 1993), Miller (1985, 1994), Pfaffenberger (1988, 1992), Rowlands (Rowlands and Warmer 1993), Rye (1976, 1977, 1981), and Thomas (1991).
Pfaffenberger (1988,1992) and Thomas (1991), writing for an explicitly anthropological audience, have attempted to compel scholars to readdress tried-and-true beliefs about the role of technology in society, in order that they might be able to observe and reconstruct the social systems that contain them. Pfaffenberger identifies a "Standard View of Technology," in which technology is in fact a rather mystical, threatening, and ultimately ambivalent concept: "(l)ike Siva in Hindu iconography, tech¬nology is seen through the Modernist lens as both creator and destroyer, an agent both of future promise and of culture's destruction" (Pfaffen¬berger 1992:495). He argues against the linear pro¬gression of artifact development, which demands a steady and orderly accumulation and implementa¬tion of technical knowledge over long periods of time. He cites the work of Goody and Bloch, who have found that among non-Western groups, from Ghana and Malagasy respectively, knowledge is more heterogeneously kept (Pfaffenberger 1992:507-508).
Thomas, in his reappraisal of the Micronesian Cargo Cults, sees a very complex and intimate rela¬tionship between society and technology. He notes that it is not so much that elements of technology are symbolic, but that societies use, design, create and adopt, and manipulate technologies that contain important symbolic meanings. Consequently, intru¬sive technologies, such as firearms, are accepted because they filled a preexisting social need, and the modifications that followed had little to do with what Western European gunsmiths would recognize as efficient or even advisable. However, these modifi¬cations were imperative within that social context (Thomas 1991).
Lemonnier rejects the notion that technology exists outside social constraints. His work represents a nexus between the long-standing interest among French sociologists and anthropologists in technol¬ogy and society (Leroi-Gourhan 1971 ; Levi-Strauss 1963; Mauss 1935) and the European and American scholars noted above (Lemonnier 1986, 1993;Rye 1976,1977;Thomas 1991). He states that even though technical processes:
have to take place within the constraints of mat¬ter, however relative those constraints may be in terms of men's knowledge in a particular place and at a particular time, and because their social aspect is sometimes hard to perceive or, in any case, to admit, scholars tend to consider tech¬niques as a set of constraints. . . . But the logic and coherence of this technological knowledge ... are not related solely to the physical phe¬nomena that are set in motion by a given tech¬nique. Social representations of technology are also a mixture of ideas concerning realms other than matter or energy. In short, the mental processes that underlie and direct our actions on the material world are embedded in a broader, symbolic system [Lemonnier 1993:3].
Lemonnier believes that technical features and technological processes function partially or entirely on physical matter and social meaning. His work among the Anga of New Guinea demonstrated that seemingly arbitrary decisions concerning the devel¬opment of warfare technology were deeply logical from within the Anga social framework. This is a per¬spective shared by several recent ethnographers. Guss has noted the strong link between the mythic cycles of the Yekuana of the Amazon and their weav¬ing technology (Guss 1989), while Collett has noted the importance of fertility symbolism in the iron-smelting process in eastern and southern Africa (Col¬lett 1993).
Lemonnier has proffered the concept of techni¬cal "choices," which consist of the many options, both physical and social, with which creative tech¬nicians must operate. Like Basalla, Lemonnier believes that, from our perspective as scholars, changes in technology over time appear to be the result of goal-directed problem solving. However, Lemonnier argues that this may not be an accurate portrayal of the events leading up to that change. In particular, "goals" may be subtly related to social strategies of which prehistorians in particular may be unaware.
Equally important is Lemonnier's acknowledg¬ment that for many societies, both past and present, the difference between "technical" and "social" phe¬nomena is inconsistent. For example, Skibo draws sharp distinctions between "techno-function," "socio-function," and "ideo-function" aspects of Shipibo pottery use (1992:34). These distinctions are based on Rathje and Schiffer's three aspects, which are argued to make up the function of a mate¬rial object within society (Rathje and Schiffer 1982:67-69; Schiffer and Skibo 1987:598-600; Sackett 1977:370 in Skibo 1992:33-34). Lemonnier, on the other hand, states that such distinctions, if indeed made by a society in question, would vary according to conscious social strategies and uncon¬scious embedded social symbolism (Lemonnier 1993:4-5).
Development of European Archaeological Theories of Ceramic Change
The European approach to technological change in archaeology developed from the diffusion of culture history, through the economic studies of Grahame Clark (e.g., 1954,1972), Eric Higgs (1972), the sys¬tems approach of D. L. Clarke (1968, 1972) and Renfrew (1972), to the current postprocessual/post-modern "historical" approaches of Hodder (1985, 1991). Summarizing current European approaches is in fact extremely complex. Unlike the development of New Archaeology, which had a more or less uni¬form effect on the archaeology of the 1960s and 1970s, there has been no corresponding theoretical development that has been uniformly adopted throughout Europe. Consequently, postprocessual-ists, postmodernists, Marxists, Neo-Marxists, and many kinds of culture historians operate side-by-side, alternately ignoring, or collaborating with, each other.
Complementing the American ceramic ecology movement is the group of scholars that have come out of the University of Leiden. Spearheaded by van der Leeuw, the Leiden school in the 1970s and 1980s developed along similar lines to the ceramic ecol¬ogy movement, emphasizing a combination of eth-noarchaeology, ethnography, and scientific analysis within a broadly ecological paradigm. Kolb, in fact, credits van der Leeuw with bridging the gap between ceramic ethnoarchaeology and ceramic ecology, par¬ticularly in his identification of the large number of variables involved in pottery manufacture (Kolb 1989a:297).
For Kolb, van der Leeuw represented the strongly sociological approach of European ceramic analysts. However, though Kolb saw the contribution of van der Leeuw and his students as one of strengthening the ceramic-ecological paradigm, many aspects of van der Leeuw's research, even in the early 1980s, show signs of embracing contextualism over eco¬logical determinism. In particular, Annis (1984, 1985), Annis and Geertman (1987), Balfet (1984), and van der Leeuw (1984) began to break away from developing general production models. Instead, their research placed emphasis on contextual develop¬ment, how local conditions and behavioral variabil ity interact with historical events to produce the craft as it exists on the ground.
Van der Leeuw (1984) modified an essentially ecological/systems approach to identifying evidence of pottery trade with a plea for studying pottery in its proper context. "[I]t should be noted that it is not useful to extract phenomena observed in single instances from their context, 'explain' them, and then generalize this explanation to situations with com¬pletely different contexts" (van der Leeuw 1984:56, original emphasis). He demonstrated, via a histori¬cal discussion of production and distribution of medieval Rhenish ware, how many possible vari¬ables can exist for any given study of pottery. He questioned the ability of the archaeologist to distin¬guish social from ecological variables in ceramic production sequences (van der Leeuw 1984:64).
Balfet has contributed to the understanding of the social forces that influence vessel form and manufacturing technique. Her studies of North African pottery production showed how two ceramic traditions could exist, side-by-side, each with its own vessel forms and using noncompli-mentary techniques, handmade vs. wheel (Balfet 1984). She also noted that they were gender spe¬cific, and that distribution was discrete and nonover-lapping. Her conclusion that vessel shapes are the combined result of the limits imposed by chosen construction techniques and "techno-economic conditions of production" (i.e., issues of demand, conceptions of superior quality) demonstrated the importance of the social element in the development of ceramic production.
Annis, in her works on Oristano pottery on Sar¬dinia, has contributed several salient points to the crit¬icism of the dependency on progressive models of ceramic change. For instance, when looking at the replacement of one type of water flask with another, she notes a marked improvement in the quality of the product (Annis 1984:40). This improvement took the form of a more stable glaze, smoother fabric, and generally more streamlined appearance. However, she cautions that technical variation is only a small aspect explaining the change from one type of pro¬duction to another (see also Costin and Hagstrum 1995). Historically, the change from one material to another occurred approximately 50 years after new local clay and water sources had become available. Annis emphasizes that this long lag time between new resource and new product indicates the impor tance of social factors governing the use of the old resources (see also Dean Arnold  and Lackey ). Archaeologists, however, "who would rec¬ognize in the replacement of the old flasks the real¬ization of a wish to obtain a product of more advanced technical qualities... would restrict them¬selves to only one aspect of the reality and possibly not the most important one" (Annis 1984:41).
The Leiden School has continued to develop a systematic "scientific" approach to ceramic studies. This approach has included the development of a the¬ory of pottery typology (Franken 1987,1989,1995); the use of ethnographic and ethnoarchaeological observation (Annis 1995; Annis and Jacobs 1986, 1989; van As and Wijnen 1989); and linkage of fab¬ric analysis with production studies (Annis et al. 1995; van As and Jacobs 1995; Edwards and Jacobs 1986). The primary focus of most of the work deriv¬ing from van As and his colleagues has been on-site or period-specific issues, though more recent projects such as the Riu Mannu survey of western Sardinia have attempted to look at the broader issue of the development of ceramic technology over time (Annis et al. 1993). The theoretical issues involved in under¬standing the development of pottery in Sardinia have concentrated on the colonial relationship between Carthage and Rome on the one hand, and Sardinia on the other (Annis et al. 1998). Overall, the Leiden School has maintained its original theoretical per¬spective, while incorporating postmodern elements of current archaeological interpretations.
Recently, van der Leeuw has parted from the Lei¬den school, and in collaboration with anthropologist Pierre Lemonnier, has been approaching the whole concept of technological change and innovation in an entirely new light (van der Leeuw 1993; van der Leeuw and Torrence 1989). In his view
English-speaking anthropologists and archaeol¬ogists have never really developed a theory of "technology," a coherent conceptual apparatus for the study of techniques. The study of ancient, and contemporary non-western, tech¬niques and technologies has thus languished due to a lack of intellectual context. It has gen¬erally been confined to a descriptive outline of different techniques as examples of "man's extrasomatic means of adaptation to the envi¬ronment" (Binford 1965) [van der Leeuw 1993:238].
Van der Leeuw argues that by emphasizing peo¬ple's subordination to the natural realm, Anglophone archaeologists sacrifice explanation for description. He blames this attitude on very deeply held ideas about "primitive man, dominated by nature," which is the basis of the American school of processual archaeology (van der Leeuw 1993:239). He notes that archaeologists seldom study the alternatives that prehistoric potters had to choose from, only the actual choices they made.
[N]ot nature but culture is the main constraint of technique . . . thus, analysis of ancient pot¬tery-making should focus on the choices the potter makes ... the choices, rather than the materials and tools, are crucial in determining the nature and shape of his product, its effec¬tiveness and its life expectancy [van der Leeuw 1993:241].
Petrequin has been able to demonstrate that neigh¬boring groups of Neolithic farmers in the Jura Moun¬tains of Switzerland were not fully aware of each other's technological knowledge (1993). He notes that while round-bottomed, cord-impressed beakers were replaced by flat-bottomed Chalain pottery around 2600 B.C., there is evidence that this replacement did not go smoothly. The high degree of variability in execution, as well as technological approaches, suggest to him that these people had obtained the knowledge of the form of the pot with¬out the subsequent knowledge of how to make the pot (Petrequin 1993:46). Many elements of the new technology had to be reinvented or in fact approxi¬mated.
Loney (1995) demonstrated that ceramic manu¬facturing techniques during the second millennium B.C. in central Italy did not change in the same man¬ner as did cultural complexity. Contrary to expecta¬tions, and through the use of Xeroradiography, it was possible to show that the manner in which pottery was constructed at the beginning of the Bronze Age remained static throughout the Early, Middle, Recent, and Final Bronze Ages, at the end of the sec¬ond and beginning of the first millennia, B.C. This is in contrast with increasing social and political complexity of central Italy at this time (Loney 1995:75-77, 243-249, 1997, 2000). The lack of increasing production complexity throughout the second millennium is contrary to the early predic¬tions of Peacock (1977) and van der Leeuw (1977), wherein ceramic production develops from house¬hold production to incipient workshop production, along with increasing social complexity. In fact, in comparison with other technologies, including met¬allurgy and agriculture, pottery technology did not respond to an intensification in economic activity and the associated changes in political complexity.
The development of prehistoric and historic pot¬tery industries in Britain and Ireland is a good exam¬ple of technological discontinuity. Pottery production was introduced to the British Isles during the Neolithic, ca. 4000 B.C., accompanying the intro¬duction of plant and animal domestication from Europe (Darvill 1987:49; Gibson and Woods 1997:60; Herne 1988; Kinnes 1988:4; Wardle 1992). Throughout the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, until the second millennium B.C., pottery production remained relatively widespread, using similar tech¬nologies and with broadly similar forms and deco¬ration. During the second millennium B.C., British pottery making seems to become less popular and less central to the craft activities in several regions, particularly in the North and West of mainland Eng¬land (Gibson and Woods 1997:72). Gibson and Woods cite a loss of "dynamism" in the development of style and form, which is compounded by an even¬tual loss of most chronologically sensitive features, such as decoration and rim form by 700 B.C. (1997:73). Overall, by the end of the first millennium B.C. and well into the first millennium A.D., pottery production slows down and ceases in many areas of Britain, including Ireland, northern England, parts of Wales, and mainland Scotland (Boast 1995; Chai¬ns and Harding 1975; Edwards 1990; Herne 1988; Lane 1990; McCarthy and Brooks 1988; Papazian and Campbell 1992). This aceramic phenomenon is not continuous in distribution, however, within the north and west.
In southern and southeastern England and the Midlands, however, pottery production continues in broadly the same trajectory as the rest of Europe dur¬ing the second and first millennia B.C., including the introduction at around 800 B.C. of "fine wares" (Gib¬son and Woods 1997:72-73; Morris 1996:42^13). This development is accompanied by some evidence that pottery production becomes more centralized, less regionalized, and that the subsequent trade in pottery becomes more organized (Morris 1996:49).
Wheel-made pottery is introduced into southern and southeastern England during or shortly before the Roman invasion (Gibson and Woods 1997:77). In Scotland and northern England, large-scale Roman occupation did not result in the introduction of new wheel-making techniques to the countryside as a whole (Barrett and Foster 1991:44-56; Higham 1986:172-181). After the Roman occupation of Britain had ended, there followed another period of decline in pottery production, with many areas ceas¬ing manufacturing altogether (McCarthy and Brooks 1988:61). Pottery production did not begin again in northern Britain on a large scale until the tenth cen¬tury A.D., and in Scotland, until the mid-twelfth cen¬tury A.D. The Scottish indeed resisted a number of attempts to reintroduce wheel-making, only widely taking up an interest with the introduction of gritty wares by French monks in the eleventh or twelfth century (Haggerty 1984:10; McCarthy and Brooks 1988:123).
Evolution as Analogy for Change
Development of Theory of Technological Change in North America
As discussed above, European scholars have devel¬oped a sociologically/anthropologically informed approach to studies of technological change. Stud¬ies tend to be regional, specific, and frequently his¬torically based. In North America, studies of technological change have taken a different route.
The study of the process of technological change, as opposed to changes in technology over time, is a relatively recent one. Technological change has long been incorporated into studies of the rise of complex societies, but usually in a causative role. Despite the strong materialist bias within archaeology, archae¬ologists in North America up until the late 1940s fol¬lowed their cultural anthropological colleagues in eschewing issues of technology and materialism for more humane topics such as kinship, ethnicity, and ceremonialism (Kroeber 1948; Kroeber and Kluck-holn 1952 in Pfaffenberger 1992:491-492; Wissler 1914:447). Material culture was used for chrono¬logical information and as an indicator of cultural spread (Boas in Willey and Sabloff 1980:121-123; Kidder 1924 in Willey and Sabloff 1980; Trigger 1989:151-152).
Technological change, it was thought, developed seemingly by accident, the result of one individual's foresight and ingenuity. Once a technology had been developed, it spread through diffusion, a process without explanation, thus resulting in technological change and development.
The culture ecologists of the 1940s and 1950s, such as White and Steward, returned to evolution as an explanatory model, to reemphasize the progres¬sive nature of human society (Steward 1955; White 1959). White in particular subsumed cultural change under technological determinism, believing that cul¬ture was the result of the development of technol¬ogy, and that, specifically, cultural progress was dependent upon the increasing efficiency of tech¬nology (White 1959:42).
During the 1960s, Binford, Flannery, and Carneiro sought to explain cultural change by apply¬ing the concept of culture ecology to an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the relationship of culture to the environment (Binford 1968; Carneiro 1970; Flannery 1972:9). Binford in particular believed that characterizing cultural change as sim¬ple stages of energy accumulation was incorrect. Given identical environments in which to survive and adapt, cultures would develop in ultimately dif¬ferent directions, based on sociological and ideo¬logical traits (Binford 1965:207-208). Flannery (1972) and Clarke (1968, 1972) tried to model changes in adaptation by identifying the operating "systems" within which all cultures exist. Based in part on Steward's notion of multilinear evolution, Flannery and Clarke both saw social and techno¬logical change as due to complex responses to exter¬nal factors (Clarke 1972; Flannery 1972; Steward 1955).
This emphasis on change as a response to exter¬nal factors characterizes North American archaeo¬logical theory and interpretation during the 1960s and 1970s, particularly within the subdiscipline of ceramic studies. The process of technological change is not questioned, but implicitly assumed to be for the most part self-generating and self-directing (Trig¬ger 1989:292-294). Binford's call for the develop¬ment of "general laws" of human behavior has resulted in a de-emphasis on the study of site-spe¬cific behaviors, thus ruling out the importance of variation in behavior. Though important, "psycho¬logical" aspects of society such as religion and ide¬ology were "epiphenomenal" to ecological adaptation (Binford 1972:198).
The postprocessual critique of Britain and Europe has been discussed elsewhere in this paper. The American response to the call of Hodder (1984:67-68) and Miller and Tilley (1984) for the "abandonment of the use of hypothesis-testing" has been lukewarm at best (Hill 1991:42). In general, the late 1970s saw a split developing between several the¬oretical paradigms, including Marxist materialist approaches (Leone 1981, 1982, 1984), cognitive archaeology (Flannery and Marcus 1994; see also Renfrew and Zubrow 1994), as well as the continu¬ation of more "positivist" lines of research (Hill 1991; Watson 1984, 1991). However, most if not all of these approaches still have at their heart a strong ele¬ment of empiricism, and Preucel notes that "[f]rom Watson to Hodder, almost all agree that archaeolog¬ical data must play a central role in adjudicating between competing explanations or interpretations of the past" (1991:12).
As a consequence, there remains embedded in American archaeology a strong desire to cast inter¬pretation in a scientific, positivist light. There has, as a consequence, been a renewal in the use of evo¬lution—in particular, biological or "Darwinian" evo¬lution—as a paradigm for all cultural change in American studies (Durham 1990, 1992:337) that is largely absent in equivalent European studies (though see Fletcher 1996; Mithen 1996). Durham (1992) notes the long history of archaeological studies with a "phylogenic theme," including most recently Bell-wood's work in Polynesia (1985, 1991), Flannery (1983), and Kowalewski (1990). In particular, Bell-wood's studies have concentrated on the descent of cultures, and their subsequent cultural development once separated from their place of origin (Bellwood 1991; see also Kirch 1984 in Durham 1992). Kowalewski, on the other hand, is concerned with comparative descriptions of changing social systems and being able to account for unexpected variations in developmental trajectories (Kowalewski 1990:39). Kowalewski notes that cross-cultural comparisons between complex systems are at best unsatisfying, lacking the explanatory power to explain why one culture diverged from another under seemingly iden¬tical circumstances (1990:52). Kowalewski (1990) and Flannery (1983) use "evolution" as a term for change, and despite the use of the word "variation" to describe cultural differences, do not go as far as Evolutionary Culture Theoretists in ascribing bio¬logical evolutionary traits to cultural ones.
Evolutionary Culture Theory (or ECT) has an affinity with more science-based archaeological approaches. Scholars such as Dunnell (1980), O'Brien et al. (1994), and Rindos (1989) have sought to apply a theory that is in harmony with the general laws of science. The cultural evolutionary models of Steward, in particular, "helped to release us from the mentalistic, orthogenetic and progressivist attitudes that had dominated the social sciences since their inception. More important, the return to an evolu¬tionary paradigm laid the foundation for a truly sci¬entific model for cultural function and change" (Rindos 1989:1). In this article, Rindos set the stage for the close association between science-based archaeology, including ceramic studies, and Dar¬winian evolution.
Echoing Dunnell (1980), O'Brien has argued that archaeological theory took a wrong turn in the late 1960s when it failed to implement "true" Darwinian principles (O'Brien 1996:6). He claims that evolu¬tionary archaeology lost favor when the emphasis of analysis moved from the group (general laws) to the individual (contextual approach) (O'Brien 1996:7). However, true Darwinian selection operates at the level of the individual "striving for social prestige and power by the use of coercive power" (O'Brien 1996:7).
American Approaches to Ceramic Change: Ceramic Ecology
The ceramic ecological paradigm has been one of the most successful, productive, and influential archaeological paradigms to develop out of the New Archaeology of the 1960s. Embodying many of the fundamental elements of New Archaeology, the broad, cross-disciplinary approach has led to the valid expectation that archaeologists can and should be able to rediscover detailed information on ancient pottery production within the socioeconomic context of an ancient society.
Ceramic ecology began as an approach to under¬standing the organization of pottery production. Inspired by the work of Matson (1965) and Shepard (1964, 1965), ceramicists such as D. Arnold (1981, 1985) sought to incorporate information about the local environment and resources in such as way as to present pottery within a dynamic system of pro¬duction in which technological organization and sophistication can be understood (Arnold 1985).
Ceramic ecologists have shown a keen interest in understanding the processes of ceramic production and change over time, approaching pottery making as an economic activity with concrete restraints such as seasonal timing, local resources, and the laws of supply and demand. In the 1980s in particular, a number of studies attempted to develop predictive models that could be used on a cross-cultural basis (e.g., Myers 1989; Rice 1981, 1984). Other studies attempted to use the intuitive logic of technological change, such as the constant innovation of pottery technology to adapt to microchanges in the envi¬ronment (Neff 1990; Steponaitis 1984; Stimmell et al. 1982).
Ceramic Change as Cultural Evolution
Although Rice has only intermittently been interested in questions of ceramic change, her work has nonethe¬less been extremely influential on both sides of the Atlantic. In particular, her 1981 study of the devel¬opment of Maya whiteware first introduced the evo¬lutionary analogy to ceramic studies. She applied the analogy of genetic variability to ceramic variability, in an effort to understand the changes in composi¬tion, form, and function observable over time. Her main emphasis in employing this analogy was in pro¬viding a framework within which human decision-making processes could be modeled. With the rise of social complexity comes a uniformity of "forces" that dictate cultural taste and need. These forces operate as "natural selection," reducing the former larger number of ceramic variables (glossed as decorative and functional types) into a smaller, widespread and uniformly distributed ceramic assemblage.
Rice also linked the rise of complex society explicitly with the development of a complex ceramic industry. In her case study, she argues that the Maya developed into a stratified "state-level" society, while their potteries developed from household produc¬tion (step 1) to centralized production, including mass production and standardization of form and quality in nonelite wares and greater freedom in form and decoration in elite wares (step 4) (Rice 1981:223). In this study, she does not state explic¬itly why ceramic production would need to develop toward increasing specialization and mass produc¬tion. It is assumed instead that society and technol¬ogy feed into each other, providing stepping stones for further developments in social organization and technological complexity. In short, evolution of ceramic production naturally occurs toward increas¬ing organizational sophistication, phenotypic uni¬formity, and functional complexity, and away from individual production, idiosyncratic decoration, and simple technological function.
After a significant gap in time, Rice has again addressed the issue of ceramic development (1996a, 1999). In her review article, Rice focuses on the ori¬gins of pottery technology, especially the "software" horizons postulated for the Upper Paleolithic in East Asia (see also Vandiver 1987; Vandiver et al. 1989, 1990). Where before, Rice's approach to pottery pro¬duction and development was pragmatic, now she supports a more contextual approach. She is critical of attempts to label pottery making as "women's" technology, solely on the basis of the close associa¬tion of pots with cooking (1999:9-10). Citing Lemonnier (1993) Rice asks: "What circumstances or needs prompted the same invention—fired clay containers- -in so many places at roughly the same time? There can be no single specific answer to these questions for all times and places," thereby greatly underplaying her previous progressive views. How¬ever, she still favors a more direct link between social, economic, and technological development, noting with approval that Hayden's aggrandizer/competitive feasting models of social development can equally be applied to pottery, particularly in regard to the development of elaborate containers for exotic items (1999:11; see also Hayden 1995:260-261).
There have been numerous efforts during the 1980s to test Rice's (1981) results and to apply these models to the archaeological record (Howard 1981; Ellis 1980, 1984; Morris 1981, 1996; Underhill 1991). However, they have not been uniformly suc¬cessful, particularly in Europe. Howard attempted to adopt the framework of Maya whiteware develop¬ment to the development of English Neolithic Wind¬mill culture pottery. She related the organization of production, levels of technical competency, and com¬plexity to level 2 of Rice's model, which "reflects a social system characterized by developing socio-economic differentiation and ranking" (Howard 1981:23). Unfortunately, Howard had to admit that the trajectory of British prehistoric pottery develop¬ment did not follow that of the Maya. In particular, British pottery production does not develop in com¬plexity, scale or function in the same manner as among the Maya, or even as in the eastern or central Mediterranean, particularly Greece and Italy (Guidi 1993; Loney 1995; Richard Jones, personal com¬munication). As discussed above, British pottery reached a zenith during the late Neolithic/Bronze Age, and then either remained relatively stable dur¬ing the first millennium/Iron Age, or dropped off significantly (i.e., in Wales and Northwest England). However, there is evidence to suggest that while pot- tery may not have developed in a complex manner, social organization did, and at the time of the Roman Conquest, around A.D. 60, British society exhibited the characteristics of an intermediate society, with some evidence for proto-urbanism in the south and southeast in the form of oppida (Darvill 1987:169).
Ellis found a similar difficulty in relating the development of Cuceteni-Tripolye culture pottery to the accompanying development of southeastern European social development (Ellis 1980, 1984). While she did uncover evidence of pottery change over the period of second millennia, she found that the change was not predictable, consistent, or easily related to the development of other contemporary technologies, particularly metallurgy. She has par¬ticularly harsh words for the use of technology as an explanation as opposed to an activity (Ellis 1984:4).
Underhill (1991) attempted to test Rice's evo¬lutionary model against Neolithic Longshan pottery production in northern China. She argues that Rice's model (along with Peacock's and van der Leeuw earlier models) anticipates the development of eco¬nomic complexity by showing increasing produc¬tion intensification before the advent of industrialization (Underhill 1991:13). Underhill argues that in Rice's model, independent, part-time potters would reorganize themselves into full-time, nucleated workgroups before the local economy would have demanded it. Further, such reorganiza¬tion would include the appointment of a workshop leader or foreman, who would not only oversee workshop output but also control access to local resources. Underhill contends that the evidence from the Longshan period indicates that the changes to household industry and workshop occurred after the economy and social structure had already under¬gone drastic change. She concludes that within each mode there is great room for modification and change, and that the changes found in the archae¬ological record for ceramics, including higher vol¬ume and changed repertoire, are best explained by change within the existing mode (Underhill 1991:15). The first reaction to a change in demand in ceramic production would be to adjust existing production, not to replace it. This is supported by both the ethnographic and archaeological literature that has revealed great variability in social response to the need for change (Balfet 1965:166-170; Kaiser 1984:292-295 in Underhill 1991:15; van der Leeuw 1984:57-60).
Biological Evolution as Ceramic Change
Science-based ceramic analysts can usually be seen to favor more positivist theoretical approaches to their work, keeping in line with other branches of the physical sciences. By and large, this can be seen in the language that, for instance, scholars such as Neff and Bishop (1988), Rye (1977), and Stepon-aitis (1984) use to describe change and variation in pottery collections. Change is cast as "objective," with little direct mention of the potter, except per¬haps in some of the attempts to identify individual workshop production (Catling 1969; Cuomi di Caprio 1979; Hermann 1989; Maniatis et al. 1982). Recently, science-based ceramic studies have tended to use biological analogies as a basis for under¬standing the elements of pottery production (O'Brien 1996; O'Brien et al. 1994; Neff et al.1997).
Steponaitis is one of the few science-based ceramic scholars to attempt to interpret his data in light of possible behavior. In his study of the changes in ceramic inclusions from 1000 B.C. to A.D. 1000 in Moundville pottery, Steponaitis argued that the observed changes were the result of active techno¬logical experimentation (Steponaitis 1984:108-109; see also Klemptner and Johnson 1985; Stimmell et al. 1982). He further argues that the impetus for such change was the natural desire of society to improve on technology, to reach increasing levels of func¬tional efficiency (Steponaitis 1984:111). He sees the tendency for the use of finer and finer sand, and the replacement of sand by quartz for tempering mate¬rials as the results of a long history of technological improvement, "the only way the potters could cir¬cumvent this technological dilemma was by replac¬ing the tempering material entirely" (Steponaitis 1984:111).
Steponaitis framed his conclusions in a strict inter¬pretation of technological and functional determin¬ism, within a context of natural improvement of technology over time. He assumed that functional improvement over time within technological sys¬tems is predictable. This predictability can, therefore, be used as the basis for interpreting changes in eco¬nomic and sociopolitical organization. Steponaitis also assumed that the advantages of improved ceramic technology are a great enough cultural incen¬tive to explain long-term changes in Moundville pot¬tery. What he did not consider were other lines of evidence that also might explain the change in tem-per kind and size, such as changes in local resource availability (Steponaitis 1984:112-113).
Following on Steponaitis's work, Braun has linked evolution of pottery technology (improve¬ment in inclusion size and type for better firing effects and cooking durability) to shifting subsistence strate¬gies of Woodland-period peoples of western Illinois and eastern Missouri (ca. 600 B.C. to A.D. 900) (Braun 1987; see also Braun 1983). Braun, accord¬ing to Neff, states that the different observable pot-wall thickness among coeval groups in the Woodland period "entailed a slight deficit in success of trans¬mission among potters practicing past preparation and forming techniques leading to relatively thicker vessels" (Neff 1990:174). Variability in the manner with which individuals are making their pottery (which Sackett [1982, 1986, 1990] would gloss as style and Lemonnier  and Latour  as technique) is reduced to an error in gene coding. Dunnell and Feathers (1991) suggest that, among the southeastern Missouri Mississippian potters, shell-tempered pottery is not successfully manufactured until the firing technology is perfected. The inabil¬ity to perfect the technique, in which a consistent tem¬perature of under 700 degrees C is maintained, "would lead to high failure rates, thus entailing large deficits in success of transmission of the shell-tem¬pering trait" (Dunnell and Feathers 1991 in Neff 1992:174, his wording). Thus, transmission of a new technique or technology is only possible if the tech¬nique is an improvement upon an old one.
Over the past decade, Neff has made a substan¬tial contribution toward using a Darwinian paradigm for the study of ancient technology. His scientific analyses of Mexican and Anasazi pottery have con¬sistently been much more than simple lab reports of the chemical components of pottery clays. He has attempted not only to characterize pottery traditions over time, but to demonstrate how and why pottery technologies have had to adapt to external forces, such as political expansion or tourism (Neff 1990:160; Neff and Bishop 1988:505, 518-519).
Neff, in an approach that echoes Evolutionary Culture Theory, has explicitly set out to meet Dun¬nell's challenge that evolutionary theory might be "rewritten in terms that have empirical representa¬tion in the archaeological record" (Dunnell 1980:89 in Neff 1992:141; see also Neff 1990:160). He sees Darwinian evolution as the ideal model with which to understand a process such as ceramic change that is persistent across time and space, but which entails much variation at all stages of conception, execution, and production organization (Neff 1990,1992; Neff et al. 1997). Neff argues that "ceramic evolution is differential persistence of information on ceramic making through history. A theory of ceramic evolu¬tion is therefore a theory of how information on pot¬tery-making is invented, transmitted, recombined, and eventually lost" (1992:142).
He rejects contextual ("ad hoc") explanations of change as lacking internal structure and as essentially not provable (Neff 1990:160), and he reinforces the use of the laws of uniformitarianism in reconstruct¬ing past technological trajectories: "[i]t seems a rather extreme rejection of the uniformitarian per¬spective to suggest that the processes governing change in response to cultural interaction are entirely different in the 20th century from what they were dur¬ing all previous centuries" (Neff 1990:160). His jus¬tification for this approach lies in the fact that "[plotters do not seem to have a single or typical response to culture contact. [Long periods of stabil¬ity are marked by] instances of nearly instantaneous change in traditional pottery industries. . . . This diversity frustrates attempts to generalize about the relationship between culture contact and ceramic production" (Neff 1990:160). He calls for archaeol¬ogists to "bring evolution to the study of ceramic craft, and, in so doing, to provide the means for per¬ceiving prehistoric and modern examples of ceramic change as convergent" (Neff 1990:160).
Neff assumes that variation in ceramic produc¬tion is due to "imperfect" knowledge and is, there¬fore, undesirable as well as unavoidable. He states that in ceramic production, "variability stems from variation in the information, available to potters on how to make pots" (Neff 1990:162). He character¬izes information on pottery-making as customs, con¬ventions and beliefs; this information determines "the aspects of phenotypes of potters, primarily pro¬duction practices and the pots that are produced.. .but since no two potters possess exactly the same rules for making pots, there is phenotypic variation among potters" (Neff 1990:162). Ultimately, he believes over time "information that leads potters to exhibit successful phenotypic characteristics tends to become more common, while information that leads them to exhibit unsuccessful characteristics tends to become less common" (Neff 1990:162). In short, like Hill (1991), he maintains that scientific and tech nological knowledge is cumulative over time.
Neff has produced several case studies on which he draws for confirmation of pots as phenotypic expressions of human culture. His initial synthesis (1990) showed that local Mexican pottery produc¬tion underwent rapid transformation as a result of tourism after World War II. In his two comparative collections, variability of form and decoration were reduced to similar overall expressions (what he char¬acterizes as "convergence") because of the pressures of similar demand. His archaeological sample, Mesoamerican Plumbate ware (Late Classic, A.D. 700-950 and Early Postclassic, A.D. 950-1250), is also inteipreted as having been modified and the repertoire of form and decoration simplified as a result of contact with the rising pre-contact Toltec nation (Neff 1990:169; see also Neff et al. 1997; Neff and Bishop 1988).
In an analysis of Anasazi pottery, Neff et al. (1997) take the theme of genetic modeling of pottery pro¬duction a step further. In this article, they make explicit Neff's view of the genetic relationship between pottery and human culture. They are:
concerned . . . with the evolutionary processes involved in the accumulation of archaeological ceramic assemblages. Since [they] consider ceramic remains to be directly observable parts of the phenotypes of past people [Neff 1992; O'Brien et al. 1994], an investigation of ceramic variation constitutes an investigation of phenotypic variation in past populations. According to evolutionary theory, phenotypic variation is configured over time by differential persistence of inherited information (genetic or cultural) (Neff et al. 1997:473).
They argue that "[selection can be used to explain patterning in the archaeological record because cul¬tural traits (or trait complexes) may be compared in terms of how well their design qualifies them to per-sist under particular environmental conditions (O'Brien et al. 1994)" (Neff et al. 1997:473).
Neff et al. (1997:474) attempt to explain the diver¬sity of chemical composition of sherds from the Pueblo III site of Pottery Knoll, in southern Utah, in contrast with the apparent self-sufficiency of the site from other economic perspectives, including local resources. They cogently argue that adherence to older models linking groups of vessel types and com¬positions to incipient specialization is not supported. These models do not consider local potters adapting their vessel-forming techniques to new forms, thus producing "hybrids." They argue that "selection asso¬ciated with risk in an unpredictable environment favored exchange and other mechanisms of vessel movement without necessarily favoring local spe¬cialization" (Neff etal. 1997:475).
Neff's approach can be criticized on several accounts. First, he makes an unsubstantiated one-to-one correlation between form, decoration, and tech¬nology (manufacturing). Adams (1979), Glanzman (1983), Glanzman and Fleming (1985, 1986), and Petrequin (1993) have demonstrated that form and decoration are not necessarily linked in any cogni¬tive sense, and that potters can consciously manip¬ulate techniques and decoration to suit very specific needs. Consequently, because Neff et al. (1997) have neither developed nor used any method of deter¬mining techniques of manufacture, they cannot be certain that observed changes in decoration bear any relationship with the underlying manufacturing tech¬niques. Their modeling of decoration and form vari¬ability as a "gene pool" presupposes a cumulative pool of technological knowledge, as he states is the case with genetics (Neff et al. 1997:473; see also Neff 1990:160-163). However, it has been persuasively argued by Laudan that knowledge, far from being cumulative, is in fact very easily lost (Laudan 1984:7).
Evolutionary models, though compelling in their methodology and interpretative follow-through, are not entirely satisfying. First, it is hard to reconcile the biological approach of Neff to the more contex¬tual approaches of scholars such as Annis (1984, 1985,1995), Annis and Jacobs (1986), Balfet (1965, 1984), Ellis (1980, 1984), Loney (1995, 2000), and Underhill (1991). Strictly evolutionary models do not consider unevenness in the trajectory of develop¬ment. Progress is described as even and logical, and the results and choices made to achieve these results tend to be characterized as "ideal" though there are many examples of the non-ideal in the archaeologi¬cal record, as have already been cited. There are other, more fundamentally disturbing elements to some of the research relating to evolutionary mod¬eling, such as the astounding equation of culture with genetics (a politically hazardous position, if not an utterly unprovable one) (Neff et al. 1997:473). The key argument here, however, is that an evolutionary argument implies change, and such change in usu¬ally cast as improvement. In summary, ceramic ecology as well as the sci ence-based ancestry of much of American ceramic analysis has resulted in renewed use of an evolu¬tionary analogy in modeling ceramic change. Change is usually glossed as "evolution" (Durham 1992) and is a response to outside forces, such as environment, the economy, climate, and so forth. Change, when it happens, tends toward improvement and efficiency, and trajectories of development are generally viewed retrospectively as having occurred because of logi¬cal, rational insight and experimentation. The results, unfortunately, can often lead to a distinct techno¬logical determinism (Myers 1989). Finally, falling back on evolution and natural selection as analogies has meant that change does not require explanation, outside of issues of selection (cf. Cullen 1996:44).
This section seeks to compare the approaches of ceramic ecologists and those I choose to call social technologists in light of current views on the rela¬tionship between technology and society outlined above. The field of ceramic analysis is vast, and here it is essential to limit the discussion to a few key play¬ers. Therefore, even though there exist many new approaches to ceramic analysis, we must concentrate on those approaches that have directly addressed issues of change to ceramic technology over time.
As argued above, the weight of historical and anthropological evidence comes down against the idea of simple technological improvement in any field of craft production. However, despite this empir¬ical weight, there remains a deeply embedded belief within Western European thought that technology drives history, in much the same way that science reveals truth. Higgs (1997) notes in his review of Smith and Marx (1994) that despite twenty years of clamorous outcry against technological determin¬ism, fetishism, and progress in American and Euro¬pean history and sociology journals, undergraduate students remain drawn to the simplicity of the deter-minist accounts, preferring Occam's razor to Byzan¬tine detail. In fact, instead of determinism becoming less popular as an explanation over time, there is evi¬dence that it is becoming more as it becomes more associated with commercial technologies, which control how products are marketed and viewed. The Smith and Marx (1994) volume points to the politi¬cal advantage of promoting technological determin¬ism in modern capitalist society, and how successful commercialism is in reinforcing and transmitting a belief in determinism. It is this element of techno¬logical determinism that is embedded in much of Western conceptions of ceramic change that I wish to discuss.
Although the concept of evolution, the model of evolution, is a very powerful Western European par¬adigm, it is clear that archaeologists have seldom understood or applied the concept of biological evo¬lution accurately or successfully (Dunnell 1980; see also Gould 1980, 1986). Despite Dunnell's distinc¬tion between biological and Spencerian evolution, and the fallacy of goal-directed development, there remains a tendency for some archaeologists to devise models of change over time that are retrospective. When Darwinian evolution is applied strictly the results are not entirely satisfying, as once again expla¬nation for change is replaced by external forces, in this case natural selection.
The most serious argument against the use of evo¬lutionary models for technological change is that evolutionary models tend toward determinism in one respect or another. When technological change is modeled on biological evolution, change can come a) from random variation or b) as a result of natural selection. Although in biological evolution "improve¬ment" or progress to an ideal form was discounted long ago, in archaeology because of the way in which technology is linked with science that is ideologi¬cally linked with the betterment of humanity, change is almost always seen as for the better, determined by a natural tendency toward efficiency. In particu¬lar, archaeological models of technological evolution have been almost entirely determinist in character. Steponaitis's (1984) and Rice's (1981) early models certainly assumed that technology could only develop in one direction, toward efficiency and com¬plexity, while Peacock (1977) and van der Leeuw's (1977) older models emphasized an industrial end point. Neff et al. (1997), almost twenty years later, have produced the most explicit argument for tech¬nological determinism in ceramic production.
There is now a general consensus within archae¬ology that the strictly ecological approach to archae¬ology, as practiced in the 1960s, privileged the physical environment over society (Hodder 1985; Miller and Tilley 1984). Despite an apparent antag¬onism between the theoretical approaches of Amer¬ican and European, especially Cambridge-based, scholars, most scholars on both sides of the Atlantic broadly agree on the importance of viewing prehistoric societies as powerful cultural entities (Earle 1991; Preucel 1991:12). Archaeologists have as a consequence moved away from the attempt to pro¬duce general laws for social development and are concentrating instead on contextual issues relevant to ancient cultures.
Within subspecializations of ancient technology such as archaeometallurgy (Lechtman 1973, 1977, 1979), textiles (Weiner and Schneider 1991), and ceramics (van der Leeuw 1993), there has been crit¬ical reevaluation of technologically determinist arguments for modeling change. One of the most famous and long-running debates within lithic analysis has been between Sackett (1982, 1986, 1990) and Binford (1972, 1989). Sackett has con¬tinually argued that functionality and efficiency are not universal concepts, but instead are deeply embedded perceptions that can vary radically from one group to another. Research in the 1970s by Lechtman into Incan metallurgy (1973,1977,1979), and its follow-up in the 1980s and early 1990s by Shimada et al. (1982,1983) and Epstein (1993), has brought a similar focus to the role of competing eth¬nic and political ideologies in the development of pre-Columbian metal industries.
Within both European and North American ceramic analysis, there has been a sea-change in how archaeologists view the various elements of ancient pottery, including symbolic use of decoration (Hod¬der 1977, 1978), and political use of form and dec¬oration (Adams 1979; Glanzman 1983; Glanzman and Fleming 1985, 1986). Emerging contextual approaches to construction, production, use and re¬use (Jones 1997;Loney 1995,1997;Skibo 1992) fre¬quently emphasize social imperatives in directing the who, how, what and when of production (Sillar 1996). Current research by van der Leeuw and his associates epitomizes the new synthesis within ceramic analysis, especially of ceramic change. Within a predominately economic/ecological methodology, scholars such as Annis (1984, 1985), Balfet (1984), and Petrequin (1993) have taken tech¬nology out of its central, privileged position within society. Instead, they have begun to view ceramic production from the perspective of not only the pot¬ter, but from the perspective of a person bound within the rules and ideology of the society to which she/he belongs. Consequently, technology may indeed change and develop on a logical trajectory, but log¬ically only from within the local cultural parameters Such logic may not be universal, self-evident, or even self-supporting, but it will nonetheless be inter¬nally consistent.
In the 1960s, 1970s, and early 1980s, European ceramic analysts followed similar theoretical and methodological paths to the American ceramic ecol¬ogy school (Annis 1984, 1985; Balfet 1965, 1984; van As 1984; van derLeeuw 1977,1984). There was a conscious move away from decorative typological analysis and toward more objective, scientific, and rational methods such as provenance studies, with emphasis on reconstructing entire craft systems, such as workshop production and distribution. In common with the ceramic ecologists, and in part influenced by their research, many European studies character¬ized change in a strongly progressive manner, with technology and social complexity changing together.
Since the 1980s, mainstream American and newer European approaches (as espoused, for example, by van der Leeuw and colleagues) have taken increas¬ingly divergent approaches to the long-term study of ceramic technology and the organization of ceramic production. This division between European and American approaches becomes increasing evident as papers in the same volumes take increasingly sepa¬rate approaches to change. Also evident from vol¬umes such as The Many Dimensions of Pottery (van der Leeuw and Pritchard 1984), Ceramic Ecology Revisited (Kolb 1988; see also Kolb 1989a, 1989b), and/Ms* and Potters (Rice 1984), is the lack of recog¬nition or commentary by the editors of this increas¬ing difference of opinion. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of these volumes is indeed the failure to produce a dialogue between the increas¬ingly contextual approaches and the ecological/evo¬lutionary approaches. This has resulted in the current situation wherein there exists in the European liter¬ature almost twenty years of criticism of the use of evolutionary, progressive models in studies of tech¬nological change, without an accompanying response in the American literature.
During the late 1980s and 1990s, Europeans have come under the influence of the postprocessual cri¬tique. The poststructuralist/postprocessualist approach of Western European archaeological the¬orists (Hodder 1984, 1991; Miller 1985; Miller and Tilley 1984; Shanks andTilley 1987) has directly or indirectly influenced modern European ceramic analysts (Sillar 1996; van derLeeuw 1993,1997), as well as some American scholars working in Europe (Loney 1995). As a result, there has been a shift away from the ecological paradigm still dominating Amer¬ican ceramic studies, coupled with a move away from evolutionary models of change and a rejection of the inherent technological determinism such mod¬els can have. Though there has been some attempt by British and American scholars (Ellis 1980,1984; Howard 1981) to apply North American ceramic ecological models to European prehistory, many Europeanists have now moved away from general explanatory models toward historical, contextual interpretations of cultural change.
Most recently, scholars such as Annis (1995), Kingery (1984, 1996), Petrequin (1993), Tite (1996:195-196), and van der Leeuw (1993) have been influenced by sociologists and historians of technol¬ogy and society such as Bijker and Law (1992), Cal-lon (1987), Hughes (1987), MacKenzie and Wajcman (1985), and Pinch and Bijker (1987), as well as a ret¬rospective look at the works of Leroi-Gourhan (1971 , 1945) and Mauss (1935). Recently, within the past 15-20 years, sociologists and historians such as Basalla (1988), Bijker and Law (1992), Cardwell (1972), Hughes (1987), Laudan (1984), MacKenzie and Wajcman (1985), Reber and Smith (1986), and Smith and Marx (1994), and anthropologists such as Latour (1993), Latour and Woolgar (1986), Lemon-nier (1986, 1993), and Pfaffenberger (1988, 1992) have begun to reexamine the extent to which Western European history and prehistory is technologically determined. In short, there is a growing body of thought which sees technological change as a highly politically/ideologically charged phenomenon.
This view of technology as more variable and less predictable than previously thought is well supported by the archaeological evidence. As mentioned above, within Europe pottery production has been extremely variable in its organization, execution, and the extent to which it has undergone change. The evidence of Italian Bronze Age pottery production shows that individual interpretation of technological knowledge is deeply embedded, and over time, highly resistant to change. Finally, the evidence of the development of prehistoric, early historic, and early modern British and Irish pottery production clearly demonstrates the complex nature of technological introduction and innovation. Throughout prehistoric Britain and Ire¬land, there have been regions where for long periods of time pottery production ceased entirely, despite the earlier presence of a well-established industry. These aceramic areas coexisted side-by-side with areas where pottery production continued unchanged or even developed in scale and complexity. Similarly, the introduction of wheel-made pottery in early medieval Britain and Ireland was not uniformly pop¬ular, with parts of Scotland and Northern England resisting the new technology until quite recently. This body of evidence is best served by a theoretical per¬spective that accepts the cultural control of technol¬ogy, one that can incorporate the frequently discordant results of efficiency and improvement with cultural beliefs and desires. It is a perspective that gives ceramic archaeologists a chance to enhance a fre¬quently mechanistic view of pottery analysis with the cultural and personal motivations behind the pro¬duction of material culture.
In this paper I have utilized broad generalizations to make the point about the disparity of approaches to similar phenomena themes in the archaeological literature. For each generalization counterexamples exist; not all European ceramicists care about social structure and not all North American ceramicists are selectionist by nature (I am perhaps the ultimate example of the latter). However, sometimes it is use¬ful to take such a generalist look, in order to make sense of competing approaches, and it is in that light that I submit this work.
This research was funded by NSF dissertation improvement grant number BNS-9116957, conducted at the Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania. I wish to thank my reviewers, especially Dean Arnold and Charles Kolb, for their commentary, which was extremely helpful, as well as those members of the Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow who read the final drafts. Finally, I also wish to express my gratitude to the P.I., and my advisor, Bernard Wailes, and to Andrew Hoaen, Department of Archaeology, University of Edin¬burgh, for his support and commentary.
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Received February 10, 1997; Revised August 13, 1999; Accepted December 13, 1999