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Article
The Mortality of Things: Correlates of Use Life in Wola Material Culture Using Age-at-Census Data
Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory
  • Michael Shott, The University of Akron
  • Paul Sillitoe
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
9-1-2001
Disciplines
Abstract
How long ancient artifacts lasted affects the composition of archaeological assemblages. Some research suggests that longevity or use life relates to size and other artifact properties, but we know less than we should about what determines use life. An ethnographic census of Wola objects from highland Papua New Guinea recorded artifact age. From these data we use Hildebrand and Hagstrum's method to estimate mean use life. It does not covary generally with object size as in previous studies but does with commodity value. Among arrows alone, use life covaries with object size. Results complicate in some respects and clarify in others our growing understanding of what determines artifact use life.
Citation Information
Michael Shott and Paul Sillitoe. "The Mortality of Things: Correlates of Use Life in Wola Material Culture Using Age-at-Census Data" Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory Vol. 8 Iss. 3 (2001) p. 269 - 302
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michael_shott/151/