Jeffrey T. Rasic
A wide variety of materials, including lithics, manufactured goods, and food circulated within and between communities in the North American Arctic, including fish and sea-mammal oil, dried meat and fish, skins and furs, walrus ivory, and wood, as well as nephrite jade, soapstone, chert, obsidian, slate, graphite, pyrite, galena, jet, lignite coal, amber, quartz crystal, and hematite. This review considers only the inorganic materials. To establish provenance, Arctic researchers employ standard methods including trace-element characterization, geochemistry, petrography, stable isotope values, visual appearance, and geochronology. The geographic coverage extends across the North American Arctic from western Alaska to Labrador, considering each material’s precontact uses, geological source locations, and distribution patterns in time and space, concluding with the prospects and status of provenance studies.
This article discusses exchange as a process of interaction between two social personae creating a social contract. This process involves the establishment, negotiation, manipulation, and maintenance of social bonds and, through their performance and associated material objects, the formulation of new links between exchange partners. Artifact distributions do not designate or reflect spheres of interaction, but these objects should be perceived as active constituents in the creation of social relations. The geographical diversity of islands in the Caribbean archipelago promotes interaction between the different groups of people inhabiting this region. From a microscale, exchange establishes a social contract between the giver and receiver. The article discusses three categories of exchange, namely spouses, material wealth, and staples. These three categories are fundamental in exchange relations cross-culturally. The discussion describes general patterns of human interaction that can facilitate understanding of the interpersonal relationships, which are established through exchange.
Angus A. A. Mol
There is a single idea to which every Caribbean archaeologist has subscribed: The idea that the history of the indigenous Caribbean is best described from a network perspective, which is most successfully achieved by studying the mobility of its people and their exchange of material and immaterial cultures. This article examines the concepts of mobility and exchange as they have been used in Caribbean archaeology and how they could be used to an even greater effect in the future. First, it discusses the history of research and recent conceptual trends in the regional archaeology of mobility and exchange. Second, the article describes how the distinct materialities of the networks that created this highly interrelated pre-Columbian past could be studied through a single theoretical and analytical network approach. It regards “mobility” as a concept encompassing the range of motivations and types of movement of people at multiple scales.