Agency, practice, and chronological context: a Bayesian approach to household chronologies

dc.contributor.authorOverholtzer, Lisa
dc.descriptionClick on the DOI link to access the article (may not be free).en_US
dc.description.abstractThis article proposes a methodological change within social archaeologies of household agency and practice, specifically a move to prioritize the development of precise household chronologies. Chronological precision can allow scholars to historicize household practice and remain anchored in social, political, and economic context, and thus, chronology is a vital part of archaeological studies of agency at the microscale. Given the field's recent focus on detailed stratigraphic excavations, microstratigraphy, and the reconstruction of genealogies of practice, I suggest that the easiest way to improve chronological precision is Bayesian statistical modeling of a large number of stratified radiocarbon determinations from household contexts. I illustrate the value of such an approach through the case study of the Structure 122 household at Xaltocan, Mexico. I create a precise chronology using Bayesian statistical modeling of 14 AMS radiocarbon dates from stratified deposits, which allows me to not only determine the precise timing of individual deposits, but also to interrogate previous findings of ethnic shift with broader political-economic changes. This sample, while small, hints that chronological imprecision may have led to the incorrect attribution of transformations in practice to elite, imperial actors, and demonstrates how Bayesian household chronologies may help archaeologists better identify agential practices.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipThis research was conducted with the permission of Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History. The Gonzalez-Sanchez family graciously allowed excavations on their property, and the project also benefited from the support of the Xaltocan cultural center, the Xaltocan delegados, and the Gran Senorio de Xaltocan Historical Society. This research was supported by a Dissertation Fieldwork Grant (7797) from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (0968551), a Young Explorer Grant from the National Geographic Society, a Grant-in-Aid of Research from the Sigma Xi Foundation, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a Graduate Research Grant from the University Research Grants Committee at Northwestern University, and a Research Grant from the LeCron Foster and Friends of Anthropology at Northwestern University.en_US
dc.identifier.citationOverholtzer, Lisa. 2015. Agency, practice, and chronological context: a Bayesian approach to household chronologies. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, vol. 37:pp 37–47en_US
dc.publisherElsevier B.V.en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseriesJournal of Anthropological Archaeology;v.37
dc.rights.holderCopyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors. ScienceDirect® is a registered trademark of Elsevier B.V.
dc.subjectHousehold archaeologyen_US
dc.subjectSocial archaeologyen_US
dc.subjectBayesian statisticsen_US
dc.subjectCentral Mexicoen_US
dc.titleAgency, practice, and chronological context: a Bayesian approach to household chronologiesen_US
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