Please join us for our monthly meeting via Zoom on December 12th 7:30pm for a presentation by Dr. Steven Dorland, Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto titled Let’s Start with Something Small: An evaluation of social learning and scaling practices in Great Lakes potting communities during the Late Woodland.
This research analyses decorative data from Late Woodland ceramic assemblages to investigate scaling practices and its role in learning experiences. Ceramic samples from two Middle Ontario Iroquoian villages (Antrex, Wellington) and five Late Ontario Iroquoian villages (Kloch, Smith-Pagerie, Garoga, Keffer, Draper) were divided into four size classes based on a neck diameter/thickness ratio: Very Small, Small, Medium, Large. A motif distribution analysis and a microstylistic study of element width were then conducted to evaluate the relationship between decorative practices and size dimensions. The results of the motif distribution indicate differences associated with decorating smaller and larger pots, as well as decorative similarities. The results from Student t and ANOVA statistics indicate statistical similarity of element width means for Very Small pots. Overall, the findings lead me to suggest that beginner potters began their pottery experience by focusing on making smaller vessels, which allowed them to establish a basis for achieving pottery proficiency later in their lives. This paper proposes a methodology to strengthen understanding of social learning traditions in the Great Lakes that is applicable across spatiotemporal contexts.
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