Gifts and commodities in the archaeological record : a study of material culture production and exchange

Hinder, Anna M. (1993). Gifts and commodities in the archaeological record : a study of material culture production and exchange Honours Thesis, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Hinder, Anna M.
Thesis Title Gifts and commodities in the archaeological record : a study of material culture production and exchange
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Science
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1993
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Leonn Satterthwait
Total pages 182
Language eng
Subjects L
200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies
420305 Aboriginal Cultural Studies
Formatted abstract

Objects are produced and exchanged in cultural contexts. This thesis explores the relationship between production and exchange, and the possible manifestations of both processes. At the theoretical level, descriptive analogies are developed from historical accounts to identify relationships without compromising the scientific integrity of the results. The production and exchange of five items of material culture described in historical accounts of Australian Aborigines are studied. The results demonstrate that both the physical form and spatial distribution of artefacts manufactured for exchange are influenced by the social context of production. The understanding of exchange in the archaeological record can be improved by identifying the physical characteristics and spatial patterns of gifts and commodities. The creation and manipulation of gift objects and commodity objects in hunter-gatherer economies are examined to assess these relationships. It is concluded that the cultural context of production does influence the physical characteristics of the artefact and the way it is exchanged. The type of exchange relationship appropriate for an artefact is determined by the social context of the object and the meanings attached to it. The analytical distinction between gifts and commodities in hunter-gatherer economics is based upon this dichotomy. Gifts and commodities each have a physical concomitant that can be detected in the archaeological record.

Keyword Aboriginal Australians -- Antiquities
Aboriginal Australians -- Material culture

 
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Created: Wed, 26 Feb 2014, 18:33:40 EST by Nicole Rayner on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service