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The Anthropology of Human Residues

Author(s): Richard A. Gould


Source: American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 80, No. 4 (Dec., 1978), pp. 815-835
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/675514
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The Anthropology
of Human Residues

RICHARD A. GOULD

University of Hawan, Honolulu

Ethnoarchaeology is a new kind of anthropology- the anthropology of human residue


mation. Since discard behavior and residue formation, like language, are univers
human characteristics, their patterning can be studied in a manner akin to gramma
languages. Consistent observed relationships between human behavior and mater
residues in contemporary societies may be posited as propositions for cross-cultural testi
and comparison with prehistoric human residues. Two aspects of ethnoarchaeology--
derivation of these lawlike propositions and the materiali'st approach that this ef
represents--are demonstrated with data on ethnographic behavior relating to lithic
materials among the Western Desert aborigines of Australi'a. In particular, this study
amines the amounts of lithic raw material that are selected, used, and ultimately disc
ed by an aborzgine man during an average year and the way in which the presence of
materials from distant sources ("exotic" stones) in aborzginal habitation campsites can
explained in terms of nonmaterial, i.e., ideational, aspects of behavior. The argum
here is that the ethnoarchaeologist is most effective when he uses a materialist approach
studying patterns of human residue formation to discover the totality of behavior that
explains these patterns. [ethnoarchaeology, discard behavior, materialist approac
Australian desert aborigines]

IF R. G. COLLINGWOOD (1946:282) was right when he argued that the past is reall
and that it can be perceived only in terms of our present-day ideas about it, how
as archaeologists, arrive at ideas about the past that can be verified in some scient
acceptable way? To what extent do our interpretations of the past approximate th
ty that was the past? Are the correlations and patterns discerned by archaeologists
excavated data doomed to a kind of shadow existence in a limbo of their own mak
can we find ways to approach this data that will provide some assurance that they
realities of human behavior and not just the constructs of an ethnocentric imagin

When this is published, RICHARD A. GOULD will be back in Honolulu after visiting
fellowships at Australian National University and Corpus Christi College of Cambridge
University. He received his B.A. in 1961 from Harvard and his Ph.D. from Berkeley in
1965, and from 1965 to 1971 was a curator at the American Museum of Natural
History. Besides archaeological fieldwork in Utah, northern California, Guatemala,
and Polynesia, he has spent 34 months (in four visits) on ethnographic and archeolog-
ical research in Australia. Among his many publications are Yiwara: Foragers of the
Australian Desert, Man's Many Ways (a reader), and Puntutjarpa Rockshelter and the
Australian Desert Culture. He organized and led a seminar in ethnoarchaeology at the
School of American Research, Santa Fe, in 1975, the proceedings of which are pub-
lished as Explorations in Ethnoarchaeology.

815

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816 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [80, 1978

These are some of the questions presently being


all, ethnoarchaeologists are trying to discover con
different kinds of material remains and human b
fer (1927a) and others, ethnoarchaeologists can
they are through the observation of behavior i
hypothetical general principles or potential "lawli
with other ethnographically observed cases and, u
material remains. Thus understood, ethnoarcha
anthropology--the anthropology of human resi
social organization, symbolic behavior, econom
tionally delimited aspects of human behavior, the
focus of inquiry the behavior of discard. The
ethnographer directing his attention to the patte
Heider:

I feel strongly that the archaeologist must recognize himself as a prehistoric ethnogr
must take more seriously the implications which ethnographic examples have for
work .... Studies of house-building and pottery-making are all very well, but fo
chaeologist the emphasis should be on function and disposal rather than on manufactu
are houses and pots used, and what happens to them afterwards [1967:62].
This point of view is well represented in studies by Stanislawski (1969) of the rec
and ultimate discard of broken Hopi-Tewa pottery. The assumption, often ma
chaeologists, that potsherds are usually thrown away into a garbage heap or m
some kind, is equivalent to claiming that, when a pot is broken, the sherds go to
By empirically monitoring the reuse and ultimate discard of potsherds, Stanislaw
much to upset this easy assumption and, at the same time, notes relationships th
be considered by the archaeologist when he excavates.
There is a kind of universality to this approach that has not been noticed much
chaeologists. Human societies, everywhere and at all time, practice discard
behavior is a universal human trait and in some ways is much like language. Patte
discard behavior, when observed ethnographically, can be regarded in much
way linguists treat grammar. Just as a linguist infers the rules of grammar from
of speech, so an ethnoarchaeologist can infer the "rules" that govern the pa
human residue behavior in particular societies. One might wish to argue that a lin
metaphor should be applied only to expressive behavior. When Rowe (1959) an
leagues showed how one could infer "rules" of grammar in prehistoric Peruvian p
styles, they were dealing with a clear case of artistic expression. At times
pressiveness is a feature of residue behavior. For example, Australian Desert a
arrange their habitation campsites to express the condition of social relation
tween extended family groups, so a visitor can readily infer (or "read") how
distance between campsite clusters reflects increased hostility or distrust or vice v
the ethnoarchaeologist, however, it matters little whether or not the people being
are conscious of these rules, since, like the grammar of a language, these r
operationally defined. As Stanislawski (1975:9) has suggested, one can even ex
possibility of "deep structures" in human residue formation that approximate the
by linguists and linguistically oriented anthropologists for universal patterns in
cognition.
It would be presumptuous of me here to attempt to deal with all facets of the ethnoar-
chaeological approach to human residue formation. In an effort to demonstrate the
usefulness of having archaeologists study the anthropology of human refuse, I shall deal
with two considerations that are crucial in any attempt to do effective ethnoarchaeology:
the process by which the archaeologist as ethnographer observes and models the residue

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Gould] ANTHROPOLOGY OF HUMAN RESIDUES 817

formation of the people he studies in order to posit


material remains and behavior, and the materialist appro
chaeology represents.

LITHIC TECHNOLOGY OF AUSTRALIAN DESERT ABORIGINES REVISITED

In 1971 I, along with two colleagues, presented an ethnographic des


stone tool assemblage of the Western Desert aborigines of Australia (Goul
Sontz 1971). Although some limited trial comparisons were attempted, th
tended as an account of toolmaking and tool use among these desert h
with the emphasis on detailed descriptions of attributes of potential
chaeologists. Limited analysis was done with respect to these attributes, b
effort was made at that time to analyze patterns of discard in relati
technology. Since then, this has become an important interest in eth
research, and the ethnographic data collected in the Western Deser
1969-70 permit an examination of discard behavior in relation to both
lithic material circulating through the aboriginal cultural system and to
of and preferences for different kinds of lithic raw materials.
Since the 1971 paper furnishes an adequate description of the prima
ethnographic stone artifacts and their modes of manufacture and use, I s
descriptive remarks here to a general summary of the major kin
represented by Western Desert aboriginal technology. This is in keeping wi
oriented view of technology upon which the whole analysis is based. I
problbms posed by their frequent nomadic movements, often over distan
mi., and their lack of horse, dog, or otherwise assisted traction, the
aborigines' artifact inventory encompasses three kinds of tools: (1) m
that are lightweight and easy to carry (for example, the Western Desert
which serves not only for throwing spears but also for firemaking, as a pe
ment at ceremonies, as a mixing tray for pigments and tobacco, and a
instrument using the stone adz flake hafted to the handle); (2) appliances
where they are needed and reused whenever that particular place is vi
grinding slabs of stone are a good example); and (3) instant tools in which
toolmaking is used whenever the need arises to make necessary imple
materials immediately at hand. Instant tools are often used and discar
tant from habitation campsites and are infrequently trimmed or worn in
recognizable shape. All three kinds of tools are represented in the lithic a
ethnographic Western Desert aborigines.

AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINE STONE TOOLS AS "DURABLE ELEMENTS"


IN AN ETHNOGRAPHIC MODEL

Many archaeologists have stressed the importance of viewing artifacts


terned archaeological remains as more than just objects left behind
Lewis Binford expresses this point of view:
The loss, breakage, and abandonment of implements and facilities at differe
groups of variable structure performed different tasks, leaves a "fossil" record o
tions of an extinct society [1964:425].
While there is general agreement, operationalizing this point of vie
proved difficult. To overcome some of these difficulties, Schiffer (1972b
set of formal definitions and approaches that help the archaeologist visu
artifacts, food, fuel, structures, and other items through a cultural syst

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818 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [80, 1978

Schiffer's scheme (1972b:157) proposes a dual set


cle of two kinds of elements which, together, ma
system. These elements are classified into dur
short, transformers and preservers of energy") a
similar elements whose consumption results in th
fit under the heading of durable elements and ca
for these items, and this is how I propose to tr
Western Desert aborigines of Australia.
During its life within the living cultural system
is seen as reflecting five processes: procuremen
discard. After its discard, a durable element leave
the realm of archaeological context. By analyzing
as stone tools in an ethnographic culture and obse
be their ultimate archaeological context, we ca
general principles whose use will lead to archae
to technology.

Procurement

At the outset it is important to distinguish between stone materials gathered b


desert aborigines from definite quarries, that is, specific localities where usable s
available which are known to the aborigines and are revisited by them, and nonq
stone, which is obtained from the surface of the ground at or near the spot whe
needed for a particular task. In this latter case, the stone comes from a non
source which may be visited only once. As background I should mention that the
Western Desert of Australia lies on an enormous pre-Cambrian plateau or shield f
tion which averages between 300 and 500 m. in elevation above sea level. This
covered with ancient outcrops of resistant rock - white Australians term these f
"reefs" -often surrounded by extensive flakes covered with chunks of rock erode
these reefs. When the original reef formation has eroded completely away, these
pebbles and detritus, termed "gibbers" by white Australians, sometimes form a p
of hard rocks over wide areas. Aborigines obtain usable stone both from loca
crops or exposures (the quarries referred to earlier) and at large from the surfac
bers. In general one can expect to find hard rocks of manageable size and a r
degree of isotropism distributed widely over the surface of many parts of the We
Central Deserts of Australia. Most quarry sites are not named by the aborig
essential to note, however, that many of these quarry sites have specific my
associations and/or a water source nearby and are referred to by the name of th
source and/or sacred site. Generalized surface occurrences of usable stone are not named
by the aborigines, but they, like unnamed quarry sources, can always be located
reference to visible, named landmarks with sacred associations. So far as the present-
aborigines are concerned, there are no sacred associations attached to these genera
occurrences of usable lithic material.
Behavior at these different kinds of procurement sites follow consistent, contr
patterns. At quarry sites one sees aborigines obtaining flakes and small lumps
which are carried away and further trimmed for specific uses. In most cases thes
were unifacially retouched and hafted as adzes (that is, scrapers for shaping h
like mulga [Acacia aneura] ), although a few exceptional instances were seen when
were taken away to be used later as circumcision knives. At more generalized, non
localities, however, stones were used as instant tools, for immediate tasks on
Sometimes this might be a hand ax for removing a slab of wood from a mulg

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Gould] ANTHROPOLOGY OF HUMAN RESIDUES 819

make into a spear-thrower, or it might be a scraper-plan


ing and trimming of a spear-thrower blank. In cases
touched unifacially to sharpen the working edge, but I h
naturally sharp stone was used without any application f
sake of simplicity I shall refer to tools of this general k
tool may serve both functions and also to avoid con
retouch and ovate form we generally associate with ston
Aborigines, both male and female, may also pick up and
and butchering a kangaroo or other game. In every case
disposed of the tools that were manufactured and use
same places. The were never observed to carry the to
some other locality for further retouch and/or use.
Quarry sites, while not always spectacular, tend to
chaeological visibility. Chipping stations at large quar
circular or oval-shaped patches of ground swept clear of
casional hammerstones lying nearby. These small clea
are engaged in percussion-trimming flakes from cores wi
opposed to the much heavier work of obtaining flakes b
sion applied to natural outcrops and large boulders at
flakes one finds around and on such clearings tend g
found over the site as a whole. Although surface ind
quarry sites are rather faint, they tend to be permanen
fects of surface erosion.

I found it impossible to make accurate calculations of the time spent by individual


obtaining lithic raw materials at quarries, mainly because this behavior was com
with other activities such as hunting and visits to sacred sites. Nevertheless, efforts
tain suitable raw materials for certain classes of stone tools far exceeded any other a
of stone toolmaking in terms of labor and time expended.

Manufacture, Use, and Maintlenance

As suggested earlier, stones used as instant tools are given the minimum amou
retouch needed to accomplish the particular task at hand. Direct percussion by mean
a hammerstone (also picked up in the immediate area) to obtain a needed flake
form a unifacial working edge for a chopper-plane is the only technique employed u
these occasions. These manufacture processes occur at or near the task locality a
result in characteristic although rather ephemeral archaeological associations. For exa
ple, one may find a few waste flakes and flake-knives near an earth-oven used t
large game.
For tools made from quarried stone, the processes are more complex. As mentioned
earlier, these items are transported to the habitation campsite where they are further
worked into finished tools. Since it is inconvenient to carry large pieces of stone over long
distances on foot, the aborigines tend to remove selected flakes and cores which are small
and in some cases have a basic shape close to what they intend for the finished tool. The
principal tool type produced under these circumstances is the hafted adz, an artifact
widely reported and described from the Western and Central Deserts of Australia (Horne
and Aiston 1924; Mountford 1941; Thomson 1964; Tindale 1965; Gould, Koster, and
Sontz 1971).
Initial retouch of adz flakes is always by direct percussion with a hammerstone to form
a working edge with a mean angle at midsection of 670. On rare occasions I have seen
unretouched flakes hafted for this kind of use, but in these cases the edge generally re-

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820 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [80, 1978

quires some retouch very soon after it has been u


ent, the adz flake is hafted to the handle of a
scraper for shaping hardwoods (mulga in nearly e
fer's process of "maintenance" applies, since a
become dulled, then are resharpened and used a
20 times for a single adz before the tool is worn d
the term, "lateral recycling," describes somet
aborigine stone adzes. Lateral recycling ". .. des
use . . . in one set of activities and its resump
There are certain, rather uncommon cases where
recycled into use as an endscraper, with one or
used for fine wood scraping.
Most of the time adz resharpening is performed
haft, by means of direct percussion using a wooden
teeth. Descriptions of these techniques appear
1971:157-160). Sometimes an adz flake is extract
repositioned with more working edge exposed for
sees direct percussion with a hammerstone use
flake becomes too narrow from repeated reuse an
and this end point is generally referred to by Au
slugs are perhaps the most common and distinctiv
Pleistocene-age habitation sites in the Australia
Hand-held flake-scrapers are also used by ab
though less often than hafted adzes. Sometime
thrower with him, and he finds he needs to resh
shape a ceremonial object of wood. Irregularly
unifacially retouched by direct percussion for use
trimming, a simple, retouched flake may be u
made either of quarried materials or of stone
vicinity, whichever happen to be more readily av
or recycled in any way. Tools like these are often
tion campsites, but they also may be made at
sharpen a speartip while sitting in a hunting blin
Processes of manufacture, use, and maintenan
aspect which should be examined if one is to see c
cultural system. Here one must review various tas
stone tools in an effort to arrive at calculations o
of isotropic stone which would be used by an abor
course of a normal year under traditional circu
made by the Australian Desert aborigines can be c
as tools for making or maintaining other tools
On the average, an adult aborigine man replac
two years, and he replaces his club at the same ra
once every year. Spearshaft wood tends to dry ou
spearshafts must be replaced about every thre
resharpened at least once every other day. Wo
once a year, but fine carrying-bowls tend to be k
much as ten years. Digging sticks, despite har
replacing only about twice a year.
How much isotropic stone does an aboriginal
complish these tasks? To answer this question we

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Gould] ANTHROPOLOGY OF HUMAN RESIDUES 821

ferent stone tools wear in terms of each task. On the ba


and ethnographic observations, I estimate that one ad
3,058 useful strokes of scraping hardwood like mulga
takes into account variations in lithic raw materials observed in use. Looked at in another
way, this works out to an average of 20 resharpenings in the useful life of a singl
adz flake. An adz must be resharpened once every time it is used for resharp
mulga wood speartip, which works out to about 182 uses per year, or 9.1 adzes per
per year. Similarly, a man will need to replace an average of 17.3 spearshafts p
and he will be able to shape two spearshafts with a single adz flake, thus nee
average of 8.7 adz flakes each year for this task. One adz flake is sufficient for sh
two clubs, and similarly one adz flake will suffice for shaping two throwing-stick
adz flake is generally adequate to do the final shaping on one wooden spear-throwe
data on wooden digging- and carrying-bowls are less reliable, since I observed few
and can offer only a rough estimate. Adzes are used in the final finishing of these
plements and probably require about as much effort as an spear-thrower, that is,
flake per bowl. Adzes are not used at all in shaping digging sticks. These figures d
tempt to separate out occasional substitutions of hand-held flake-scrapers a
spokeshaves for adzes when these tasks are actually performed. The average numbe
flakes (including the equivalent unhafted stone flake-scrapers and spokeshave
were used) is summarized in Table I.
In addition to these basic utilitarian tasks, there are uses applied to the manufac
sacred boards and other ritual paraphernalia. These are hard to estimate, since they
place at irregular intervals and at variable rates. Nevertheless, on some ritual occas
woodworking activities may be considerable. As a general estimate I would add
three adz flakes to the annual inventory, bringing the total now to 23.05. I regard
a reasonable estimate of the average number of adz flakes and other retouched
quarried stone needed by an aborigine man in a year.

TABLE I. ANNUAL RATE OF ADZ FLAKE PRODUCTION TABLE II. ANNUAL RATE OF PRODUCTION AND USE

AND USE BY WESTERN DESERT ABORIGINES. OF "CHOPPER-PLANES" BY WESTERN DESERT


ABORIGINES.

Average No. of Adz


Flakes Used per Average No. of
Tasks Man per Year "Chopper-Planes" Used
Tasks per Man per Year
1. Resharpening
speartips 9.1 1. Replacing spear-
2. Replacing spear- shafts 17.3
shafts 8.7 2. Replacing spear-
3. Replacing spear- .5 Utilitarian & throwers .5
throwers Domestic Tasks 3. Replacing clubs .5 Utilitarian &
4. Replacing clubs .25 Domestic Tasks
5. Replacing throw- 4. Replacing throwing
ing sticks .5 sticks 1.0
6. Replacing wooden 5. Replacing digg
bowls 1.0 sticks 2.0

Total: 20.05 Total: 21.3

7. Replacing 6. Replacing
sacred sacr
paraphernalia 3.0 paraphernalia 2.0
Total: 23.05 Total: 23.3

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822 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [80, 1978

In the case of stone obtained as needed for ma


the average number of tools required is not much
Chopper-planes are used in making the "V"-shaped
to detach a slab of mulga wood for making int
are used also in cutting stalks, roots, or branches
of every kind of wooden artifact, including digg
ioned as the woodworking need arises and are d
one use equals one tool. The case of unretouche
Since these are used mainly for cutting meat and
Western Desert are rather rare events that occur
an accurate estimate of the rate at which these tools are used. In most cases flake-knives
are made of nonquarried stone, usually without any retouch. Sometimes naturally
flakes found lying on the ground are picked up and used as flake-knives, thus con
an important kind of instant tool. My best general estimate would be that approxi
20 of these flake-knives are used by one person each year. Of course, women use t
much as men, and I might add here that women sometimes take a hand in th
finishing of wooden bowls, too. Thus I am being somewhat arbitrary in referring to
stone tools as male tasks, and I think it best to say so. Table II summarizes the
numbers of chopper-planes used per man per year. Here, again, we must also c
tools required in making sacred boards and other ritual objects. My minimum
would be two per year, bringing the total to 23.3.
Now these figures can be combined with weights of individual tool types. I weig
ly nine ethnographic adz flakes before they were hafted and put to use, and I obta
mean weight of 41.4 g. for these. I regard this as an inadequate sample, howev
suspect that the true mean should be lower. Chopper-planes are more variable in w
(not surprising considering their ad hoc nature), ranging from 4.7 kg. to 97.0 g., w
mean weight of 809.2 g. Ethnographic flake-knives had a mean weight of 40 g. The
weights for these different artifact classes are summarized in Table III.

TABLE III. ANNUAL RATE OF LITHIC CONSUMPTION BY WESTERN DESERT ABORIGINES.

Total Amounts of Lithic Raw


Artifact Classes Material Needed per Man per Year

Nonquarried 1. "Chopper-planes" 17.237 kg.


2. Flake-knives 800 g.
Quarried 3. Adz flakes (and equivalent
flake-scrapers) 954 g.

These results mean that about 18.9 times


aboriginal cultural system in a year than st
that about 99.9% of the total lithic mate
localities which are relatively ephemeral an
a habitation campsite. This latter figure
how many flakes-knives are used in the con
used in main habitation campsites. But even
in the habitation area, it would still not aff

Discard

As the preceding analysis shows, much more quarried than nonquarried raw m
appears in habitation campsites, despite the fact that quarried stone represe

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Gould] ANTHROPOLOGY OF HUMAN RESIDUES 823

minute fraction of stone used in the total cultural system. T


when surface scatters of stone are found occurring natura
fact, has been the case on several occasions in the Western
Waste flakes resulting from manufacture abound at qua
shaping of certain tools is performed. Waste flakes from the
habitation campsites, but general observations indicate that t
and represent a second stage in manufacture closer to the fin
volved. I do not have measurements to demonstrate this, but useful studies could be car-
ried out to document shifts in flake size from quarry sites to habitation campsites.
Adz flakes and adz slugs tend to be common in habitation sites, where they are most
often manufactured, used, maintained, and replaced. Along with these one may also ex-
pect to find some hand-held flake-scrapers and spokeshaves. Within ethnographic
habitation campsites, no special area was seen being used specifically for stone tool-
making activities. Rather, all quarried stone tools were made and used by each man
according to his needs in and around the immediate vicinity of his windbreak or shelter,
and disposal of nearly all of these tools occurred there, too.
Chopper-planes are left where they were used and can generally be found lying near
the base of any mulga tree which shows a scar on its trunk to indicate removal of a slab of
wood. Sometimes this happens to be near a habitation site, but more often these task-
specific localities are low on the scale of archaeological visibility and are widely dispersed
over certain parts of the landscape.
Flake-knives are also left where they were used, most often in close proximity to earth-
ovens, where they were used in butchering and dividing meat after a successful hunt.
These roasting sites are low in potential archaeological visibility, although such activities
can also occur in the main habitation camps when game happens to have been caught
nearby. These latter situations can be recognized as activity areas within a habitation
site.

The flow of lithic materials through the ethnographic Australian Desert aborigin
cultural system is summarized in the Figure 1 flowchart (adapted from Schiffer 1972b).
Together with the observations described so far, Figure 1 reveals patterns of discar
behavior in aboriginal lithic technology in the form of a model from which specifi
predictions that are archaeologically testable can be derived. These are:
(1) Stone materials derived from quarry sources will tend to occur in localized associa-

ARCHAEOLOGICAL
-..-* DISCARD --- - CONTEXT
(Cores a Waste ( Localized occurrence
Flakes ) I at quarry sites) Occasional
Iae )LATERAL -
RECYCLING

S ARCHAEOLOGICAL

- TRANSPORT - - MANUFACTURE '-- HAFTING -? -USE - -DISCARD - ----F CONT


campste
STo ) flakescrapers,
hobitaion etc )MAINTENANCE
( Adzes, ( Localizedhabitation
occurrenccam
8 REHAFTING

QUARRY
Occosional
LATERAL

NON- QUARRY- [RECYCLING I ARCHAEOLOGICAL

.-- (,MANUFACTURE
Chopper-planes" --
8 (--Dispersed
- -USE ---- DISCARD AR
occurrences at CONTEXT
most flakef~ak
knives )htie~
task-specific
)I localities )

Fig. 1. Flowcharts of Austra

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824 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [80, 1978

tions with hearths, butchered faunal remains, living


material remains and features characteristic of et
(2) Adzes, adz slugs, flake-scrapers, and spokeshaves
stones. These classes of artifacts will occur more com
campsites than with any other kind of site in the W
(3) Artifacts of nonquarried stone will tend to be a
in habitation contexts unless there happen to be s
nearby.
(4) Nonquarried stone artifacts will tend to occur in dispersed contexts in connection
with various task-specific sites (roasting hearths, woodworking trees, etc.).
(5) Chopper-planes and flake-knives will tend to be made of nonquarried stone. These
tools will tend to be characteristically large, with weights of a total magnitude of over 18
times that of quarried stone artifacts.
(6) Few, if any, finished stone tools will be found at quarry sites.
(7) Waste flakes and discarded cores may be found at both quarry and habitation sites,
but those found in habitation contexts will represent a narrower size range, on the whole,
than waste materials found at quarries, with the means tending toward considerably
reduced sizes. This observation still remains to be quantified.
(8) Sometimes one may find stone tools of both quarried and nonquarried materials
which have been laterally recycled. Choppers, for example, may be recycled into scraper-
planes, and adz slugs are sometimes refashioned as endscrapers.
One may also draw specific cautionary conclusions:
(1) The amount of lithic raw material represented by stone tools from quarried sources
(tending as they do to occur in habitation sites which have a fairly high degree of ar-
chaeological visibility) will represent only a tiny fraction of the total amount of lithic
material used within the cultural system.
(2) Flake-knives will always be a problem for the archaeologist, since they are rarely
ever retouched intentionally or used enough to acquire extensive edge-damage or use-
wear to be identifiable as tools or distinguishable from certain waste flakes.
(3) In the case of both quarried and nonquarried stone materials, tools are made, used,
maintained, and discarded in the context of one place. In the case of the former this is
the habitation campsite. The interference of different activities impinging upon each
other within the confines of the habitation campsite will make it harder for the ar-
chaeologist to separate out these processes in terms of what he finds in or upon the
ground than may be the case in the context of task-specific sites where such interference is
unlikely to occur.
Finally, one may offer a few lawlike propositions based on these data that could serve
as genuine cross-cultural principles, subject to further tests:
(1) Lithic raw materials which are labor-expensive to procure and/or work with will
tend to be used in tools that have relatively long use-lives.
(2) Few, if any, finished stone tools will be found at quarry sites that were used ex-
clusively as a source of lithic raw materials.
(3) The widest variety of stone tool types and raw materials in a particular lithic
assemblage will tend to occur in the context of habitation campsites.

THE MATERIALIST APPROACH IN ETHNOARCHAEOLOGY

Outspoken critics like Harris (1968) notwithstanding, the dominant ap


thropology today are concerned with human symbols, cognition, v
social organization. That is, they are nonmaterialist in nature. Int

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Gould] ANTHROPOLOGY OF HUMAN RESIDUES 825

culture has been regarded disparagingly by some anthro


stamp collecting. Although there are many useful eth
and tool use, domestic architecture, food-gathering an
these do not ordinarily attempt to posit general princip
&-vis materials. Moreover, even the best ethnograph
sometimes lack the empirical detail necessary to discover
crucial in explaining the patterns of discard involved.
turn out to be trained archaeologists who have turne
present-day human material behavior.
Ethnoarchaeology is thus a peculiar kind of anthro
materialist bias. The ethnoarchaeologist looks first at th
are made, used, and discarded (or collected, processed
tions involve a conscious effort to make these obser
Although archaeologists have, at various times, exami
material artifacts (White and Thomas 1972, White and
results for archaeological interpretation have been essent
increasing acceptance of the idea proposed by Clarke
and cognitive codes exist as a "black box" for the arch
and outputs in a human society without specifying th
box."

At the risk of appearing to sound like a "filthy mentalist," I should note that
materialist approach in ethnoarchaeology is not the same as a materialist philosophy.
anthropologists we are interested in questions of symbolism and meaning, but as eth
chaeologists we look at such questions from a materialist point of view. That is, inste
assuming beforehand that symbolic and social variables are somehow to be see
epiphenomena in explaining behavior when compared with variables of a materi
nature, we use the materialist approach to confront the totality of variables that ma
count for the observed patterns of material remains. Human beings do manipulate sy
bols, and their symbolic behavior can affect the total pattern of material residues in
society. Symbolic systems may play a vital role in human adaption, and they can be a
proached from the same materialist point of view by the ethnoarchaeologist as such
of behavioral hardware as technology and subsistence.
To demonstrate how one can apply the materialist approach of ethnoarchaeolog
explanations of behavior that involve both material and nonmaterial variables, I
like to turn now to the problem of modeling the relationship between different lith
materials and a single class of artifacts, flaked stone adzes, of the Western De
aborigines of the Warburton Ranges region of Australia.

Lithic Resources of the Warburton Ranges Region

As part of an archaeological project at Puntutjarpa Rockshelter, near the Warb


Ranges, Western Australia, in 1969-70, a systematic survey was carried out to l
sources of usable lithic material within a 40-km. or approximately 25-mi. radius of t
site. Our efforts were aided by aborigines at the Warburton Ranges Mission, ma
whom continued to visit some of these localities to obtain stone for toolmaking. We
also assisted by the Western Mining Corporation Ltd., then in the process of carryin
a survey for copper ore in this region. The Western Mining Corporation's coverage o
area was complete, with teams on motorbikes and other vehicles inspecting literally e
square foot of ground. These teams informed us of any outcrops or other occurrence
potentially usable stone, thus extending the completeness of the survey beyond
limited means available to our archaeological field crew.

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826 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [80, 1978

In the course of this study, a total of seven cl


noted to occur within this area:

(1) Warburton porphyry. A hard, dark bluish-gray stone with pronounced gran
clusions but with little tendency toward internal planes of cleavage.
(2) Quartz. Hard white or semitransluscent stone with pronounced internal p
cleavage.
(3) Quartzite. A variable category of stones with noticeable fine granular texture and
few, if any, internal planes of cleavage. Color varies from pale yellow to dark red and
reddish-brown. Most specimens collected were hard, with a semisilicious surface shine,
but some specimens tended toward a dull surface and were rather "sugary" in texture.
(4) Red chert. A hard, fine-grained dark red chert with some tendencies to fracture
along internal planes of cleavage.
(5) Opaline. White stone with shiny surfaces but soft internal texture, tending at times
to crumble into a white powdery consistency.
(6) White chert. Hard white to semitransluscent stone with no internal planes of
cleavage. Varies in surface texture from dull to smooth. Rough cortex often present, and
some pieces show a partial slight pinkish to dark reddish-brown coloration.
(7) Agate. Hard, brown to semitransluscent stone, sometimes with pronounced inter-
nal banding. Smooth texture with few internal planes of cleavage. Few large pieces of this
material were seen.

All of these lithic materials have natural sources occurring within a 40-km. radiu
the Puntutjarpa Rockshelter, and no other kinds of potentially usable lithic m
were found within this area. These natural sources take the two forms mentioned earlier:
localized quarry sites and nonlocalized surface occurrences. Localized quarry sites in the
vicinity of Puntutjarpa are summarized in Table IV. These occur as modest outcro
(often nearly flush with the ground surface), although at some localities, especially tho
containing white chert, some shallow digging is necessary to extract unweather
material. The quarries for red chert and Warburton porphyry are no longer used by th
local aborigines, but sources for white chert are still visited and used from time to tim
Nonlocalized surface occurrences are mainly scatters of quartz, quartzite, and agate
extensive flats and gibber plains that lie in the area between the Brown Range and
Warburton Ranges and immediately to the north of the Warburtons. Another importa
nonlocalized source consists of creekbeds lying between the Brown and Warburt
Ranges. Hughes Creek, which passes within 500 m. of Puntutjarpa, contains many usabl

TABLE IV. LOCALIZED QUARRY SITES IN VICINITY


OF PUNTUTJARPA.

Approx. Direct Distance and Lithic


Location Direction from Puntutjarpa Material

1. Spring Granite (Kunapural) 32 km. NE white chert


2. Quarry 4.8 km. W of Spring
Granite 32 km. N white chert
3. Warburton Range (immediately
S of Mt. Talbot) 10 km. NE Warburton porphyry
4. The Sisters 16 km. SE dark red chert
5. Mulyangiri 23 km. N white chert
6. Quarry 1.6 km. S of Wanampi
Well 32 km. E white chert
7. Quarry 0.8 km. N of Mulyayiti 24 km. SE white chert

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Gould] ANTHROPOLOGY OF HUMAN RESIDUES 827

pieces of quartzite and opaline as well as redeposited War


supplies of quartz and quartzite as well as modest qua
available to the ancient inhabitants of Puntutjarpa Ro
site.

Flaked-Stone Adzes and Lithic Raw Materials at Puntutjarpa

A total of 343 flaked stone adzes and microadzes (identical to adzes but smaller in siz
were recovered from Trench 2 at Puntutjarpa Rockshelter from contexts dating from
historic present to approximately 10,000 years ago. This total includes a significa
number of adz and microadz slugs, with all specimens showing the attributes of us
scraping hardwoods described elsewhere (Gould, Koster, and Sontz 1971:149-160; G
1973:10). Adzes and adz slugs collected at Puntutjarpa are identical to those observ
ethnographically in the Western Desert in 1966-70, and the microadzes and micr
slugs are similar in all respects except size. Thus a strong case can be made for a tradit
of adz manufacture and use that has changed little, if at all, during at least the
10,000 years in the Western Desert of Australia.
During the entire 10,000-year history of human occupation at Puntutjarpa, we find
reliance upon the seven classes of locally available lithic raw materials for makin
kinds of tools, including adzes and microadzes. Constant, too, is the low-level but pervas
use of exotic cherts and chrysoprase, that is, lithic materials obtained from outsi
40-km. radius of the site. Table V shows the numbers of adzes and microadzes and
percentages of lithic raw materials used in making them by stratum in Trench
jarpa Rockshelter. The lithic raw material overwhelmingly favored by the a
habitants at Puntutjarpa at all times for making this type of tool was white chert
overall average of 60.3%. White chert is heavily favored for adzmaking t
aborigines living in the vicinity of the Warburton Ranges Mission. Yet e
materials, as defined above, saw use in adzmaking throughout the Puntutjarpa se
with an overall average of 26.2%. In attempting to interpret these results, our j
understand the total pattern presented by the data and not just the statistically
trend represented by white chert. In other words, why was an effort made con
and for at least 10,000 years by the Western Desert aborigines to obtain small b
cant amounts of lithic raw materials from areas beyond the site locale, even wh
materials for adzmaking were abundantly available close at hand?

Experimental Results

A series of experiments was designed and carried out at the American M


Natural History to deal with a variety of problems related to the lithic industri
tutjarpa, and these have been reported in detail elsewhere (Bronstein 1977
aspects of these experiments are relevant to the discussion here. A variety of li
materials was obtained from the Warburton Ranges area and other localit
Western Desert to provide a sample for experimental evaluation of these ma
hardwood-working, in a manner identical with that of the present-day Western
aborigines. These raw materials were collected from the same localities men
Table IV, with some additional "exotic" stones similar to those seen at Puntutjarp
ing from the Lake Throssel region (multicolored cherts) about 320 km. southwes
Warburton Mission and also from the Wingellina Hills (chrysoprase). From
materials, a total of 25 adzes were produced by means of direct percussion with
hammerstone. These adzes were hafted, in turn, to a Western Desert aborigine c
had once been used ethnographically in precisely this manner. The adzes wer

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828 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [80, 1978
TABLE V. NUMBERS AND PERCENTAGES OF LITHIC RAW MATERIALS USED IN

MAKING ADZES AND MICROADZES, PUNTUTJARPA ROCKSHELTER.

Warburton Red White (Dates based


Stratum Porphyry Quartz Quartzite Che
2 5
AX - - - - - 28.6% - 71.4%
1 16 1 4
BX - 4.5% - - - 72.7% 4.5% 18.2% 185 years
1 20 4 16
CX - - - - 2.4% 48.8% 9.8% 39.0%
1 3 3 37 1 16
DX - 1.6% 4.9% - 4.9% 60.7% 1.6% 26.2%
3 2 42 4 19 A
EX - - 4.3% - 2.9% 60.0% 5.7% 27.1%
1 1 1 1 36 13
FX 1.9% 1.9% 1.9% - 1.9% 67.9% - 24.5%
1 5 3 1 19 3 7
GX 2.6% 12.8% 7.7% - 2.6% 48.7% 7.7% 17.9% 1500 A.D.
16 1 4
HX - - - - - 76.2% 4.8% 19.0%

1
IZ - - - - - - - 100.0%
1

JZ - - - - - 100.0% - -
2 1 Upper
KZ - - - - - 66.7% - 33.3% Rockfall
Zone
LZ

1 1

M5 - - - - - 50.0% - 50.0%
1 4 1
N5 - - 16.7% - - 66.7% - 16.7%
1 4 4700 B.C.
05 - - 20.0% - - 80.0% -
1 B

P5 - - - - - 100.0% - -
1 1 1

Q5 - 33.3% - - - 33.3% 33.3%


1
R5 - - 100.0

1 1
S5 - - - - - 50.0% - 50.0%
3 1
T5 - - - - - 75.0% - 25.0%
1

U5 - - - - - 100.0%- - 8000 B.C.


V5 - - - - - - - - C

X5 -..
Totals: 2 9 13 8 207 14 90 343
0.6% 2.6% 3.8% - 2.3% 60.3% 4.1% 26.2% 100%

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Gould] ANTHROPOLOGY OF HUMAN RESIDUES 829

with spinifex (Triodia sp.) resin adhesive, also produced by pre


adzing operation consisted of the operator drawing the hafted ad
actly the manner described in Gould, Koster, and Sontz (1971
bulbar face of the adz was held as constant as possible between
the experiment, and a large piece of fairly fresh mulga (Acacia an
the item to be worked. These strokes continued with pressure app
until the working edge had dulled to the extent that it no longer
whereupon the adz was resharpened in its haft using direct percu
cussor to allow the work to continue. Table VI records the number of useful strokes of
woodworking wear obtained from each class of lithic raw material during this experi-
ment. Each experiment ended when the adz (now reduced to a slug) became so narrow
that it could no longer be held in its haft when subjected to the forces involved in this
kind of woodworking. It should be noted that these experiments, in addition to supplying
information about processes related to use-wear and resharpening of stone adzes, also
furnished replicas of adz slugs identical to those found archaeologically and
ethnographically in the Western Desert, even down to the step-flaking and microscopic
step fractures on opposite sides of the working edge.
A look at Table VI provides some obvious patterns that can assist in the interpretation
of some of the correlations noted above. White chert is by far the best material of those
tested for scraping hard mulga wood. The preferences shown by Western Desert
aborigines, both past and present, for making adzes out of white chert are most
economically understood in terms of both the efficiency and the availability of this type of
stone. One is tempted to follow this line of argument further by noting that exotic cherts
rate second in efficiency to white chert for this type of task, which might seem to explain
the fact that 26.2% of the adzes and microadzes at Puntutjarpa were fashioned of this
kind of raw material, that is, second in popularity to white chert. This argument is
reasonable but does not fully account for the extra effort and planning that were re-
quired to transport this raw material to Puntutjarpa. At the bottom of the scale we find
opaline, representing a raw material with a efficiency of only 1.03% that of white chert.
The wonder is that aborigines used opaline at all for wood-scraping tasks, yet we find a
total of eight adzes and microadzes from Puntutjarpa that were made of this stone. While
our experimental results point clearly to a mechanical explanation of preferences by the

TABLE VI. COMPARISON BY LITHIC RAW MATERIAL OF USEFUL STROKES IN

WORKING HARDWOOD (Acacia aneura) WITH EXPERIMENTALLY PRODUCED

Lithic 500- 1,000- 1,500- 3,000- 5,000- 8,000- 10,000- Average


Raw 0-500 1,000 1,500 3,000 5,000 8,000 10,000 15,000 + of
Material N Strokes Strokes Strokes Strokes Strokes Strokes Strokes Strokes Strokes

White chert 7 1 4 1 1 7,555


Exotic cherts 9 2 2 2 1 1 1 4,073
Warburton

porphyry 3 1 1 1 1,602
Quartz 1 1 2,072
Quartzite 3 1 1 1 2,659
Opaline 1 1 78
Chrysoprase
(exotic) 1 1 3,369
Total Overall average
population 25 1 4 6 2 3 5 2 2 3,058

Note: Because of scarcity, no red chert or a

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830 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [80, 1978

ancient aborigines for white chert in making adzes a


ambiguous in explaining the relative preferences as o
efficiency for each lithic raw material. Though statis
chert, the continuous low-level use of exotic che
utilitarian arguments of efficiency of use or ease of
subpattern that is of equal or greater anthropological
planation in terms of human behavior, and a fur
behavior in terms of lithic material preferences affo
the Puntutjarpa data.

Ethnographically Observed Preferences and Procur


of Quarried Lithic Materials

By far the greatest amount of time and effort in th


during quarrying and transport. Not only did thi
localities where stone could be quarried and collect
the stone back to camp for further shaping and u
ahead of time, since quarries seldom occur in clo
aborigines might otherwise camp in the normal cour
routine. Special efforts were made by aborigines to v
the lithic raw material had something special about i
in this manner, from localities known to lie with
camp. Individual men or small groups of men made s
this type of raw material ran low. Since these trips w
material they collected and carried back were limited
ting was made easier by the use of cloth bags, tin bil
carrying devices, but in other parts of the Western D
contacted desert aborigines carrying one or two
numerous stone flakes tucked up inside their long ha
reduce dulling caused by the edges bumping togeth
and cores were carefully selected at the quarry, and
were used for making adzes and flake-knives (mainly
ting fibrous material in making dance paraphernalia
cutting tasks).
It was almost impossible to get aborigines to expres
specific kinds of lithic raw material for certain task
manifest such preferences in their behavior. This ma
casual attitude toward stone-tool-making and everyda
In the Warburton area, at least, the preference for w
tually absolute, with the only exception being specific
from distant, named localities. That is, aside from
white chert reflects this material's superior mechani
volved with hardwood scraping combined with re
Laverton area, on the southwestern fringe of the We
noted in 1966. There, aborigines regularly made speci
ing dark bluish-gray chert, located on Mt. Weld Stat
the Laverton Aboriginal Reserve. Other experimen
almost the same edge-holding properties as the white
used to shape mulga wood, and at Laverton this m
making and for manufacture of some circumcision k
removal of the slab of mulga wood for making a spea

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Gould] ANTHROPOLOGY OF HUMAN RESIDUES 831

mediately available stones taken from the surface where


place- at least when no steel axes were available for th
It should be borne in mind that at Warburton and Lave
were using increasing numbers of steel axes and chisels f
found it interesting that stone tools were made and used
Aboriginal Reserves, considering the ready availability of
was the more traditionally oriented aborigines, both old
in making and using stone tools.

Sacred Associations as a Factor in Stone Procurement

As mentioned earlier, some adzes and circumcision knives of unusual stone were ob-
served in use at both Laverton and Warburton. These artifacts were made of various
brightly colored cherts, and interviews showed that these items came from spec
localities distant from either Aboriginal Reserve. In every case, the aborigine possessin
such "imported" stone artifacts was able to indicate the exact locality where the mater
was collected and give its totemic affiliation (that is, he was able to name the ancestra
Dreaming character connected to that place), even though the man being intervie
may not himself have gone to the place to collect this stone. In other words, these che
were collected from various sacred sites, where they occurred in close proximity to la
marks of totemic significance. Adzes of such chert (and a few of Wingelinna chrysopr
as well) were not regarded as sacred objects themselves, they were carried openly in ca
where women and children could see them. When I inquired about these items,
response was invariably one of pride, not in the craftsmanship of the tool (which
often poor) but in the raw material. Moreover, the patrilineal Dreaming affiliation of
man being interviewed was always the same as that of the site from which the particu
piece of stone material was collected.
In other words, these tools of "imported" stone were relics that had acquired impor-
tance in the eyes of the owner and his associates because of their close physical proxim
to some important sacred event. It was almost like a pilgrim showing off a piece of th
True Cross or some other souvenir of sacred importance. The stone had been collected
or near the particular sacred site and carried away by a member of the patrilineal cult
lodge affiliated with that site, in many cases then to be passed on to other members of
same cult lodge as a token of their mutual affiliation. Thus it was that these items cam
to rest in habitation base camps, often hundreds of miles from their points of ori
Worn adz slugs made of these materials were simply discarded in the habitation c
area. No attempt was made to curate these items beyond their normal use-life.
To what extent should this behavior, observed as it was mainly in the context
Aboriginal Reserves where contact with Europeans has been intense, be regarded
reflecting traditional values or behavior? When visiting previously uncontacted
aborigines in the Gibson Desert in 1970, I observed behavior exactly like this, so we ca
be assured that it was a feature of traditional life among the aborigines. But I sus
that this behavior on Reserves and in other contact situations may reflect an increased
desire by the aborigines in these places to reassert and maintain their ties to dis
Dreaming places that are too far away now for them to visit regularly. It is entirely pos
ble that aboriginal traffic in relics of this sort has increased since these people have le
the desert and settled in close proximity to Europeans, and this interpretation would fit
well with general tendencies for increased ceremonialism often observed on Aboriginal
Reserves. Moreover, motor transport now enables aborigines to carry these relics farth
than was probably true in the past. I have seen adzes of Wingellina chrysoprase at Lave
ton, over 800 mi., or 1,368 km., southwest of the Wingellina Hills, where several impo
tant Dreaming sites are known to exist (Crawford and Tonkinson 1969).

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832 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [80, 1978

Widespread distribution of such materials nowad


factors, although evidence exists for far-ranging
of the Western and Central Deserts in early and precontact times (McCarthy
1939:425-429). At Laverton in 1966 I observed trade of this kind. Sacred objects like in-
cised boards and stones, decorated and incised pearl shells, emu-feather bundles, and
other items were exchanged between male members of different totemic cult-lodges in a
formal, ritualized manner. Certain incised stones were clearly churinga of Central Desert
origin, while the pearl shell objects came ultimately from the Kimberley District of north-
western Australia. Unlike the exchange and transport of lithic raw materials, this trade
occurred between patrilineages (i.e., totemic cult-lodges) rather than between members
of the same patrilineage. So, while there is good evidence for a traditionally active and
widespread transport and trade of lithic materials and artifacts, there is also evidence to
suggest that present-day traffic in these items under modern, "reservation," conditions
may be even more intense and widely ramified than in the past.
I do not wish to suggest that such sacred associations and trade, either of the intra- or
interlineage variety, arising from these associations necessarily existed in the prehistoric
past to account for the presence of exotic lithic materials for adzmaking at Puntutjarpa.
To do that would be to fall into the error of what Stanislawski (1975:2) and others refer to
as the "fallacy of affirming the consequent." Just because the Western Desert aborigines
do it this way today does not mean they did it that way in the past. Is their another way to
interpret these findings?

Lithic Raw Materials and Social Networks in the Western Desert

Adzes and adz slugs, as maintenance tools, tell us nothing directly about the ec
life of the aborigines or about their efforts to adapt to the uncertain and
poverished resources of the Western Desert. So we must turn to indirect ways o
preting the stone tool data if we are to explain the frequencies of different
materials in adzmaking at Puntutjarpa with reference to contemporary Western
ethnography. Since the presence of "exotic" raw materials, as defined in this pa
itself, evidence of social networks along which such materials flowed, we need t
the role of such networks in relation to the problems of adapting to life in the
Desert.
Anthropologists working in the Central and Western Deserts of Australia have be
quick to note the importance of widely ramified kin networks that facilitate the sharing
food and access to basic resources (Spencer and Gillen 1899, Berndt 1959, Meggitt 196
Strehlow 1965.) Fascination with the complexities of how these networks operate
especially in terms of kin-terminology, sections and subsections, and cult lodge affilia-
tions, should not obscure the overriding concern particular groups of aborigines ha
with using these networks as a means of overcoming risks of drought and other problem
of scarcity in their respective habitats. In a region where water and other basic resource
are not regularly available on an annual seasonal basis, and where amounts of the
resources may be limited even in the best of years, the ability of families to move long
distances to other areas, better favored than their own, is essential. Marriage, totem
cult lodges, naming, and other social relationships involving obligatory sharing are
consistent with the basic ecological requirement that people be able to move into distant
better favored areas and take up temporary residence with the people living in the
places as a means of overcoming the economic uncertainties that act as limiting factors i
the human settlement of the Western Desert.
The presence of "exotic" lithic raw materials in the toolkits of present-day aborigin
the Western Desert is circumstantial evidence for such long-distance social networks

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Gould] ANTHROPOLOGY OF HUMAN RESIDUES 833

the resource sharing upon which they are based. From


Central and Western Desert aborigines, one may propose
effect, that: "Widely ramified, long-distance, kin-based
that live directly off the land where basic resources are
an irregular and unpredictable basis. The more unpredict
more widely these social networks will extend from any
one provisionally accepts such a formulation, the exotic
pa can be interpreted as evidence that such a system of w
to the requirements of overcoming risks in a nonsea
Western Desert was operating at Puntutjarpa continu
years. This interpretation is consistent with presen
phological evidence from Puntutjarpa that indicates
resources during the entire post-Pleistocene at or near th
basic ecological conditions prevailed then as now, and the
tions were solved by the aborigines by means of an ad
social networks-that can be observed operating today
This analysis cannot tell us exactly how these social
Were the "exotic" stones at Puntutjarpa passed on thr
changes? Did lineages even exist there in the prehistoric
answered on the basis of present evidence. But these "exo
kind of symbolic attachment that supported such exchan
be explained in terms of their functional efficiency o
words, an examination of the procurement, usage, and d
raw materials and their relationship to adaptive behav
Desert aborigines reveals that ideational factors do affect
The materialistic approach, in this case, permits us to
nonmaterial behavior as a significant variable in relat
for successful hunting and gathering adaptation in the W

CONCLUSIONS

By looking first at patterns of material residue formation in living,


societies, the ethnoarchaeologist can posit the existence of relation
totality of variables, both material and nonmaterial in nature, that ex
terns arise. A single case, like that of the lithic technology of t
aborigines, can serve to generate hypothetical lawlike propositions tha
pared and tested against other present and past cases. By operatin
avoid the classic pitfall in so much archaeological interpretation of
things about past human behavior that we ought to be finding out
This paper has tried to show that ethnoarchaeology is a systematic e
circumstantial evidence to explain human behavior. The fictional co
Perry Mason notwithstanding, any experienced lawyer will argue
evidence is the best there is, since it cannot be ignored or convincingl
The disproportionately small amounts of lithic material in aborigin
sites (in relation to the total amounts of lithic raw material passing th
system) or the persistence of "exotic" stones for aboriginal adzm
technically superior stone was available much closer at hand, are mater
that demand some kind of behavioral explanations. The ethnoarcha
discover such apparently anomalous circumstances as a way of fin
under what conditions ideational or nonmaterial factors may
understanding the totality of human behavior with which he is concer

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834 AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGIST [80, 1978

the human species' ultimate form of circumstantial


ethnoarchaeologist to make empirical observations
general principles from these cases, to learn how hum
physical residues of their existence.
NOTES

Acknowledgments. Fieldwork for this project was supported by research grant


Science Research Council, New York, and by the Frederick G. Voss Fund for
Research, American Museum of Natural History, New York. Supplementary fund
cle were provided by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra. I
thanks to these institutions for their generosity in enabling this research to pro
Many individuals have helped in the research and in the preparation of this pap
L. C. Brodie-Hall of the Western Mining Corporation, whose good offices furnis
for our second season and expertise concerning their mining survey that aid
research. Sam Mollenhauer of the United Aborigines Mission, Warburton Ranges
tal in allowing us to make use of the Mission's facilities, for which I am extreme
course of doing fieldwork, many aborigines living at the Mission helped in a variety
thanks go to Andrew Lawson, Peter Frazer, Ivan Shepard, Paul Porter, Cyril Hol
Cameron, Mitapuyna Ward, Nyurapaya Ward, Minmara Carnegie, Katapi Ca
Carnegie, and David Davies. Experiments and other aspects of the lithic analysis
by Nancy Bronstein, Jeffry Quilter, and Naomi Miller at the American Museum of
Typing and manuscript preparation were carried out by Freda Hellinger, Social
Institute, University of Hawaii.
I have received valuable advice and criticism from many colleagues. Rhys Jone
tional University) deserves special thanks for his suggestions concerning social ne
to hunter-gatherer ecology, as does Michael Schiffer (University of Arizona) for his
of laws in ethnoarchaeology. Others who have contributed useful suggestions in
Stanislawski, Ruth Tringham, Patrick V. Kirch, Douglas W. Schwartz, Fran
Oliver, Diane Gifford, William L. Rathje, John Pfeiffer, J. Peter White, and Ba
am grateful to all of these individuals for their well-informed advice, although I ac
sibility for the data and arguments presented in this paper. My thanks are also exte
and supervisor of the Secretarial Services Section in the Coombs Building, Au
University, for their help in preparing the manuscript. Thanks go, too, to the Aust
Aboriginal Studies for permitting me to "recycle" some of the arguments and d
peared in a paper I published in Stone Tools as Cultural Markers, edited by R
Canberra, 1977.

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Submitted 4January 1977


Accepted 27 May 1977
Final revisions received 30June 1977

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