Geochemical Evidence for Long-Distance Exchange

Geochemical Evidence for Long-Distance Exchange

Geochemical Evidence for Long-Distance Exchange

Geochemical Evidence for Long-Distance Exchange

Synopsis

Studies of long-distance exchange of goods are of interest to archaeologists because they provide information about economic interactions between different groups of geographically separated people. This volume presents a number of case studies of long-distance exchange from a variety of regions around the world based on evidence obtained by geochemical methods.

Excerpt

Studies of prehistoric exchange have become widespread over the past few years because archaeologists recognize that evidence of exchange between people may reveal new information about the types of economic interaction, social organization, or political structures that existed in prehistory. Long-distance exchange is viewed as a special situation in which the materials exchanged crossed obvious boundaries: geographic, social, or political. This volume presents case studies concerning long-distance exchange from around the world in which the evidence is firmly based on quantitative data obtained by geochemical analysis. Although each of the studies presented here employed one or more geochemical techniques, the studies are not about the details of a technique or the details of the statistical methods used to find patterns in the data. Instead, the studies presented here focus on interpretation of the geochemical data to investigate interactions between prehistoric individuals and groups, to study the effects of social and political organization, and to provide information about changes induced by the depletion of resources, etc.

Most of the research reported in this volume was supported by public funding (e.g., National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society, federal and state agencies in the United States, and similar supporting agencies in foreign countries). We feel that acceptance of public support obligates all researchers to make their data available to future researchers after publication of the main interpretation. Dissemination of the data allows future researchers to revisit the data for several possible reasons: (1) to reaffirm the original investigator's assertions; (2) to offer a new interpretation based on new ideas; (3) to compare new data with the old data and thereby increase knowledge; and (4) to use the

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