Anthropology and Classical Studies Faculty Research

Title

The Mortality of Things: Correlates of Use Life in Wola Material Culture Using Age-at-Census Data

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-2001

Abstract

How long ancient artifacts lasted affects the composition of archaeological assemblages. Some research suggests that longevity or use life relates to size and other artifact properties, but we know less than we should about what determines use life. An ethnographic census of Wola objects from highland Papua New Guinea recorded artifact age. From these data we use Hildebrand and Hagstrum's method to estimate mean use life. It does not covary generally with object size as in previous studies but does with commodity value. Among arrows alone, use life covaries with object size. Results complicate in some respects and clarify in others our growing understanding of what determines artifact use life.

Publication Title

Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory

Volume

8

Issue

3

First Page

269

Last Page

302