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Multivariate analysis of cooking pots from elite and “commoner” contexts at Yanshi Shangcheng: implications for the politics of daily life and development of ceramic technology in the early Bronze Age of northern China

Multivariate analysis of cooking pots from elite and “commoner” contexts at Yanshi Shangcheng:... In this study, we investigate how ceramics used in domestic contexts may have differed between elites and “commoners” at Yanshi Shangcheng, a walled settlement from the early Shang (Erligang) period of northern China. Marked social stratification is evident at the site, particularly in the form of differential architecture and the layout of the settlement, which had an inner “palace” district and an outer lower status area. We inquire into whether social difference infused the sphere of daily life and daily cuisine at this early Bronze Age settlement. We performed a suite of statistical tests on two types of grayware cooking pots, guan jars and li tripods, from elite and lower status contexts, including a permutation-based modified multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), univariate tests, and a test of the homogeneity of multivariate dispersions. We tested variables related to main stages in the pottery production sequence, including clay preparation, vessel construction, and vessel firing. Pottery data, such as characteristics of the fabric, measurements of thickness, rim diameter, color, and hardness, were recorded at the site visually and with the aid of a hand lens and various measurement devices. Results indicate significant aspects of heterogeneity related to thickness, hardness, pot size, surface texture, and color. Results also indicate little difference in variables related to clay preparation methods. Possible explanations for the differences are explored, including developments in firing conditions and selection of higher quality pieces for elites. The statistical techniques developed herein could be applied to a range of artifactual types to investigate questions of difference. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences Springer Journals

Multivariate analysis of cooking pots from elite and “commoner” contexts at Yanshi Shangcheng: implications for the politics of daily life and development of ceramic technology in the early Bronze Age of northern China

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020
ISSN
1866-9557
eISSN
1866-9565
DOI
10.1007/s12520-020-01100-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In this study, we investigate how ceramics used in domestic contexts may have differed between elites and “commoners” at Yanshi Shangcheng, a walled settlement from the early Shang (Erligang) period of northern China. Marked social stratification is evident at the site, particularly in the form of differential architecture and the layout of the settlement, which had an inner “palace” district and an outer lower status area. We inquire into whether social difference infused the sphere of daily life and daily cuisine at this early Bronze Age settlement. We performed a suite of statistical tests on two types of grayware cooking pots, guan jars and li tripods, from elite and lower status contexts, including a permutation-based modified multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), univariate tests, and a test of the homogeneity of multivariate dispersions. We tested variables related to main stages in the pottery production sequence, including clay preparation, vessel construction, and vessel firing. Pottery data, such as characteristics of the fabric, measurements of thickness, rim diameter, color, and hardness, were recorded at the site visually and with the aid of a hand lens and various measurement devices. Results indicate significant aspects of heterogeneity related to thickness, hardness, pot size, surface texture, and color. Results also indicate little difference in variables related to clay preparation methods. Possible explanations for the differences are explored, including developments in firing conditions and selection of higher quality pieces for elites. The statistical techniques developed herein could be applied to a range of artifactual types to investigate questions of difference.

Journal

Archaeological and Anthropological SciencesSpringer Journals

Published: Sep 2, 2020

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