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Changing patterns of pottery production during the Longshan Period of northern China, ca. 2500-2000 B.C.

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Title: Changing patterns of pottery production during the Longshan Period of northern China, ca. 2500-2000 B.C.
Author: Underhill, Anne P.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Anthropology
Copyright Date: 1990
Subject Keywords Pottery, Chinese
Abstract: This study investigates how systems of pottery production change in relation to increasing cultural complexity. A revised version of the important model outlined by Rice (1981) is presented and tested with ceramic data from the Longshan Period of northern China-. At the end of the period, at least one state evolved in the Huanghe (Yellow River) valley region. The model describes social factors that may cause ceramic change in chiefdoms. It describes three alternative strategies of producers: diversification, simplification, and conservatism. Consumer demand for labor-intensive vessels used in displays of status may also cause changes in production. After Rice (1981), the model predicts that variety of ceramic categories should increase and that vessels should become increasingly standardized. Further, there should be a change in mode of production as sociopolitical complexity increases. The model is tested with ceramic data from three sites in Henan (Hougang, Baiying, Meishan) and one in Shandong (Lujiakou). During a period of six months in 1987, I examined reconstructed vessels from these sites in museums and archaeological work stations located in Henan and Shandong provinces. The following analyses are described: analysis of shape classes defined in site reports (Chapter 4), diversity of shape classes, dimensional standardization, within-class standardization, and assessment of labor-intensive vessels per phase (Chapter 5). In addition, evidence for pottery production at sites and techniques of pottery production are discussed (Chapter 6). Two chapters examine published data on differentiation with respect to nonceramic goods at sites as well. Since sample size is small for each analysis, the conclusions made here should be regarded as hypotheses that can guide future research. In brief, the model is partially supported. A pattern of diversification results in some phases and regions. However, there is no indication of increasing standardization or change in mode of production. Ceramic production in west-central Henan as exemplified by the site of Meishan may have been impacted by a developing bronze industry.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/31371
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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