Capitánes, Físicos, y Mercaders : special status and inequality during the Late Prehistoric Toyah Interval

Abstract

Despite prevailing archaeological interpretations that the Toyah Interval (ca. 1200/1250-1700 CE) in Texas archeology was largely comprised of highly mobile bands of economically independent family groups of hunter-gatherers, early Spanish colonial accounts dating from 1528 to 1716 suggest that complex social arrangements were a common feature of Late Prehistoric Toyah society. Using the ethnographically-derived models of feasting, violence, and craft specialization, I explore the material culture of inequality and special status from both the aspects of Toyah ethnohistory and archaeology. Evidence for inequality and special status was sought in the mortuary data, while burned rock middens and bone concentrations documented at Toyah sites were analyzed for evidence of feasting behavior. Classic Toyah pottery was evaluated as a specialized craft industry, and a model for the native itinerant trader/crafter was developed and tested with respect to Toyah blade caches. As a result, it is hoped that this study will motivate future investigation toward more socially-based approaches in Toyah research, and that it establishes a dialog around the social factors behind the Toyah phenomenon in Texas archeology.Anthropolog

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This paper was published in Texas ScholarWorks.

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