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WHOM INFLUENCES

WHOM
Style in Archaeology

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Timeplan
2

5-minute report
STYLE
Definitions
Theoretical models
Wiessner (1983)
Wobst (1977)
Sackett (1986, 1990)
Miller (1985)
Lechtman (1975)
examples free for discussion

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Style

The definitions

a distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed

Oxford Dictionary
a way of doing something, especially one which is typical of a person, group of people, place or period

Cambridge Dictionary
Style is the sensible manifestation of pattern

(Lechtmann 1975, 7)
"Stil kan beskrives som kombination af et vist antal subjektivt valgte, klart definerede, dekorative, typologiske elementer

(Malmer 1963, 236)


All attributes of an artifact are potentially stylistic Style should not be reserved just for optically visible morphology or for nonfunctional, aesthetic attributes, it should also be seen in functional, symbolic and institutional properties.

(Godmann 1978)
A stylistic attribute is one for which a match or similar can be found elsewhere in the polythetic group and no artifact can be
style-less
(Davis 1990 , 21)
Style is the formal variation in material culture that transmits information about personal and social identity. Style will be seen
as a means of transmitting information.
(Wiessner 1983, 256)
We talk about style, when it is obvious that the artist of the object choose one (or a few) of the many isochrestic options he has
to perform his work.
(Sackett 1990, 33)
The variation of material culture is idiomatic or diagnostic of ethnicity and is known as style. (Sackett 1986, 267)

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Style

Theoretical models

isochrestic variation
emblematic and assertive style
Stylistic
Stylistic
behaviour
variation
Information exchange
active and passive style

iconological style

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arrrrgh.
5

.. But we have to start somewhere

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emblematic and assertive style and information exchange


Polly Wiessner / M.Wobst
6

There are at least two very distinct aspects of style which each have a different referent, contain different
kinds of information, and generate a different variation pattern.
Emblematic style is formal variation in material culture that has a distinct referent and transmits a clear
message to a defined target population about conscious affiliation or identity. (Wiessner 1983, 257)
Referent: social group
and the norms, values, goals, property
associated with this group
Use: expression of objective social attributes of identity

Emblematic style carries information about the existence of groups


and bounderies

not
about the degree of interaction across groups and boundaries.

In societies with limited social networks, most of the messages transported through
emblematic style are already known.

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emblematic and assertive style and information exchange


Polly Wiessner / M.Wobst
7

Information exchange includes all those communication events in which a message is emitted or in which
a message I received
(Wobst 1977, 321)

Referent

message

receiver

Verbal or non/verbal

Human behaviour involves information exchange


stylistic behavior is actually a strategy of information
exchange
messages can be transmitted in the artifact mode
once the message is in the artifact form it does not
require further energy

Messages in artifact mode are received through the


sense of vision (therefore the visual dimension of
artefacts is often manipulated to take a message
function)

www.eventions.at

www.planet-wissen.de

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emblematic and assertive style and information exchange


Polly Wiessner / M.Wobst
8

Stylistic behavior
is constituted by the emitter,
who puts the stylistic message in the
artefact,
the artefact that includes these
messages
and the group that receive this
messages.

The size of the target group and its relation


to the emitter are from great importance to
understand the stylistic messages.

(Wobst 1977, 325)

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emblematic and assertive style and information exchange


Polly Wiessner / M.Wobst
9

Assertive style is formal variation in material culture which is personally based and which carries information
supporting individual identity.
(Wiessner 1983, 258.)

... Assertive style supports, but does not directly symbolize individual identity.
It can be used to transmit the message
I am myself

without saying directly

I am not like you.

It is commonly used in social groups with a close connection to each other to separate
each individual from the others with the desire to create a positive self-image.

but

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Isochrestism and passive vs. active style

J. R. Sackett

10

Isochrestic (greek) equivalent in use or more than one way to do a thing


The isochrestic model is a model to investigate style in the general case.
We talk about style, when it is obvious that the artist of the object choose one (or a few) of the many
isochrestic options he has to perform his work. The choices which are made are largely dictated by the
technological traditions of the social group (Sackett 1990, 33).
There are two possibilities where style resides in formal variation. It can be only in a restricted realm of
form and is added on (adjunct to the utilitarian functional form - adjunct form by definition is decoration).
Another possibility is that style is a latent quality that is in all formal variation. The broader bulk of style is to
be seen in the variation of functional form, and this is built in, not added on.

o Isochrestic variation is socially bounded idiomatic of ethnicity


o the overall degree of stylistic similarity between two material culture groups (of two different
ethnic groups) can be taken as the expression of their ethnic relatedness.

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Isochrestism and passive vs. active style

J. R. Sackett

11

Social group A

Social group B

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Isochrestism and passive vs. active style

J. R. Sackett

12

, when style is intentionally created, it is possible to speak about stylistic behavior


Stylistic behavior
is constituted by the emitter, who puts the
stylistic message in the artefact,
the artefact that includes these messages
and the group that receive this messages. (Wobst 1977)

The stylistic behavior should be divided into two points of view


The active style holds iconic properties
which constitute ethnic messaging
generated by premeditated behavior

identifying and maintaining boundaries


between social groups.

Emblematic style (?)

The passive style is born out of the fact


that iconicism in style is for the most
part passive.

style itself can serve to identify ethnic groups


because material culture carries a lot of ethnic
symbolism alone through the fact that it is
produced in a social group.

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technological style

Heather Lechtman

13

...not just the artefact has style the activities themselves which produce the artefacts are stylistic.

(Lechtman 1975, 5)
And it is the human behaviour pattern in creating material culture that constitutes the

style of technology.
The combination and choices in the technological behaviour as a packet form style.
Example:
A culture technical capable of smelting and casting copper and forging copper elects one of these
manufacturing techniques to the exclusion of the other.

this decision is not explainable by the properties of the metal

behind technological style are always the attitudes of artisans and of cultural communities

Technological behaviour is characterised by the many elements that make up


technological activities. The origin of the style of technological behaviour is in
technological action, Style lies both within and is the product of technological behaviour
and the measure of its importance is its frequency of occurrence.

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emulation model

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Daniel Miller

14

Continual change in material items


Stage 1:
highest status group adopts a
change in conventional pottery form
Stage 2:
second highest status group adopts
innovation

Stage 3:
third highest status group adopts
innovation
Stage 4:
lowest status group adopts innovation,
but the highest status group has
adopted another change and so
maintained the contrast

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Literature
15

ANSIGH, P. & RASMUSSEN, M. (1986) Regional variation i ldre bronzealder - belyst gennem gravfundne bronzer i Sydvestdanmark
og Sydslesvig. I: Det 4.nordiske bronsealder-symposium p Isegran 1984. Varia 12, Universitets oldsaksamling, pp. 42-66.
ANSIGH, P. & RASMUSSEN, M. (1989) Mange slags grnser. Et eksempel p lokal variation i sydvestdansk ldre bronzealder. I:
Regionale forhold i Nordisk Bronzealder, 5.Nordiske Symposium for Bronzealderforskning p Sandbjerg Slot 1987, Jens Poulsen ed. Jysk
Arkologisk Selskabs Skrifter XXIV pp. 79 - 88. Aarhus

CONKEY, M. & HASTORF, C. (Eds.) (1990) The Uses of Style in Archaeology, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

DAVID, N. (Ed.) (2001) Style and the marking of bounderies: contrasting regional studies. , Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

DUNNELL, R. C. (1978) Style and Function: A Fundamental Dichotomy. American Antiquity, 43, 192-202.

HAHN, H. P. (2005) Materielle Kultur. Eine Einfhrung, Berlin, Dietrich Reimer Verlag, 145-152.

HEGMON, M. (1992) Archaeological Research on Style. Annual Review of Anthropology, 21, 517-536.

MILLER, D. 1985. Artefacts as categories. A study of ceramic variability in Central India., Cambridge,

Cambridge University Press.

MULLER, J. (1971) Style and Culture Contact. IN RILEY, C. R. & KELLY, J. C. (Eds.) Man Across the Sea: Problems of Pre-Columbian Contacts.
London, University of Texas Press. 66-78.
MULLER, J. (1977) Individual Variation in Art Styles. IN HILL, J. N. & GUNN, J. (Eds.) The Individual in Prehistory. Studies of Variability in
Style in PrehistoricTechnologies. New York, Academic Press.23-39.

PLOG, S. (1980) Stylistic Variation in Prehistoric Ceramics, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

PROWN, J. D. (1980) Style as Evidence. Winterthur Portfolio-a Journal of American Material Culture, 15, 197-210.

REDMAN, C. L. (1977) The "Analytical Individual" and Prehistoric Style Variability. IN HILL, J. N. & GUNN, J. (Eds.) The Individual in
Prehistory. Studies of Variability in Style in PrehistoricTechnologies. New Yorck, Academic Press. 41-53.
RNNE, P. (1987) Stilvariationer i ldre bronzealder. rbger for nordisk Oldkyndighed og Historie, 1986, 71-124.

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Literature:
16

SACKETT, J. R. (1973) Style, Function and Artifact Variability in Paleolithic Assemblages. IN RENFREW, C. (Ed.) The Explanation of Culture
Change. London.

SACKETT, J. R. (1977) Meaning of Style in Archeology -General-Model. American Antiquity, 42, 369-380.

SACKETT, J. R. (1982) Approaches to Style in Lithic archaeology. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, Volume 1, 59-112.

SACKETT, J. R. (1985) Style and Ethnicity in the Kalahari -a Reply to Wiessner. American Antiquity, 50, 154-159.

SACKETT, J. R. (1986) Isochrestism and Style -A Clarification. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, 5, 266-277.

VANDKILDE, H. & OLAUSSON, D. (2000) Form, Function and Context. Material Culture studies in Scandinavian archaeology, Lund.

WIESSNER, P. (1983) Style and social Information in Kalahari-San Projectile-Points. American Antiquity, 48, 253-276.

WIESSNER, P. (1985) Style or Isochretic Variation -a Reply to Sackett. American Antiquity, 50, 160-166.

WIESSNER, P. (1984) Reconsidering the Behavioral Basis for Style -a case-Study among the Kalahari San. Journal of Anthropological
Archaeology, 3, 190-234.
WOBST, H. M. (1977) Stylistic Behavior and Information Exchange. IN CLELAND, C. E. (Ed.) For the Director: Research Essays in honor of
James B. Griffin. Michigan, Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan.
ZEEB-LANZ, A. (2003) Keramikverzierungsstil als Kommunikationsmittel: Ein Beispiel aus dem frhen Jungneolithikum Sdwestdeutschlands.
IN VEIT, U. & KIENLIN, T. L. (Eds.) Spuren und Botschaften: Interpretationen materieller Kultur. Berlin.

when you are interested!

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some examples...
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Open for discussion...

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Which kind of style...

and why?

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and here
19

loose hair

Pony tail

Sweater in
trouser

Sweater
untucked

trainers
heeled sandals

(i.dailymail.co.uk)

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and this . . .
20

adjunct form

active artisan

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and that . . .
21

functional form

passive artisan
www.marions-kochbuch.de

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back to the Bronze Age. . .


22

Kvrkeby,
Gravhj Sb.2
(Aner/ Kersten
1976, 1104)

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Thank you
23

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