The Mortality of Things: Correlates of Use Life in Wola Material Culture Using Age-at-Census Data
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.
Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory
Shott, Michael and Sillitoe, Paul, "The Mortality of Things: Correlates of Use Life in Wola Material Culture Using Age-at-Census Data" (2001). Anthropology and Classical Studies Faculty Research. 396.