Revisiting the Exploitable Threshold Model: 14th century resource procurement and landscape dynamics on Perry Mesa, Arizona

Sophia E. Kelly, Christopher N. Watkins, David Abbott

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study presents a revision of Dean E. Arnold's (1985, 1993) Exploitable Threshold Model, which attempts to explain the selection of raw materials for pottery production. Arnold's model posits that potters' preferences for materials are largely determined by the linear distance to individual resources. We argue, however, that potters' choices are, at least in part, determined by spatial relationships among the necessary resources rather than the distances to them. This study of 14th century pottery production on Perry Mesa, Arizona demonstrates that potters selected materials based on the co-occurrence of readily available sources of temper, clay, and fuel. Lack of water and fuel sources on the mesa top compelled local residents to eschew the use of readily available basaltic sands to temper their plainware pottery. Instead, Perry Mesa potters selected granitic sands from the river valley nearly 300 vertical meters below their settlements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-336
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011

Keywords

  • American Southwest
  • Exploitable Threshold Model
  • Pottery
  • Provenance
  • Temper

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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