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'Vila-Mitja A, Estévez J, 2023: RETHINKING ETHNOARCHEOLOGY:
FOLLOWING A LONG TRAIL LOOKING TO
IMPROVE HUNTER-FISHER-GATHERER SOCIAL
ARCHAEOLOGY. Anthropologie (Brno) 61, 3: 283-302'.
|Our paper describes the demarche of our research trail in Ethnoarchaeology over 20 years through various
research projects since 1986, when we begun carrying out research projects in Tierra del Fuego (TdF). Our objective
was to test and develop the archaeological methodology to open up the possibility of approaching the social organization
of prehistoric hunter-fisher-gatherer (HFG) societies.
We follow chronologically and discuss the successive stages of our line of research and how one step led us to the
next step, structuring a successive series of research projects. The bulky volume of bibliography produced including all
the methodological details, empirical data, concrete results, etc… is cited at each step for readers who want to dig deeper
into the details. There is also an open repository with all the documentation and information on the TdF projects.
The conclusion of this long lasting ethnoarchaeological experimental trail was that it is indeed possible, through
Archeology, to determine the existence and functioning of social organization in prehistoric HFG.
Along these years following the same system of ethnoarchaeological contrasting, we analyzed the development of
the coastal societies of the Northwest Coast of America with that of TdF, considered examples of the opposite extremes
of HFG social organization. We stated the preponderance of social norms that regulate reproduction and their direct
relationship with the discrimination of women and the division of labor according to sex. We have proposed as an
explanation for this divergent development the alternative options for the management of reproduction.
To reinforce these conclusions, we replicate through the use of Agent Simulation the effect of specific social norms
on the reproduction of five groups of HFG.
The conclusions reinforced that social norms that affect biological and social reproduction are critical for the
sustainability of societies that do not directly control the reproduction of their resources.
|Archaeology – Ethnoarchaeology – Theory – Social reproduction – Hunter-Fisher-Gatherer